Award for youth men­tor

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Lisa Har­ri­son

Be­ing a vol­un­teer at Youth­line has made a huge dif­fer­ence to Tif­fany Harkess’ life.

Now she has the op­por­tu­nity to make an even big­ger dif­fer­ence to the lives of other peo­ple.

The Kings­land res­i­dent has been named one of six re­cip­i­ents of the Voda­fone World of Dif­fer­ence schol­ar­ship.

The schol­ar­ship pays re­cip­i­ents a salary for a year to give them the op­por­tu­nity to help out a youth-re­lated cause.

Tif­fany, 31, has been a Youth­line coun­sel­lor and men­tor since 2006 and will spend the next year train­ing 160 new phone coun­sel­lors.

She is ex­cited to have the op­por­tu­nity to de­velop Youth­line’s ser­vices.

“I am over­whelmed be­cause I met the other re­cip­i­ents and I was blown away by their sto­ries,” she says.

“I re­ally iden­tify with the val­ues of Youth­line so it will be great to be able to give the or­gan­i­sa­tion a leg up.”

Tif­fany be­came in­volved with Youth­line as a vol­un­teer af­ter find­ing her­self in a “tran­si­tional phase” af­ter a re­la­tion­ship break-up.

She be­gan as a tele­phone coun­sel­lor and pro­gressed to a men­tor and mem­ber of the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s strate­gic re­view com­mit­tee.

She fits in a shift a week as a men­tor around full­time work as an arts ad­min­is­tra­tor for the Auck­land Fes­ti­val.

Af­ter hear­ing about the Voda­fone World of Dif­fer­ence schol­ar­ship, Tif­fany ap­plied and at­tended an in­ter­view in Septem­ber.

Her project next year will in­volve sup­port­ing trainees and giv­ing ad­vice and feed­back.

She says vol­un­teer­ing for Youth­line has done a lot for her.

“I have made some amaz­ing friends and it is so re­ward­ing to be able to con­trib­ute to the com­mu­nity,” she says.

“It’s amaz­ing to see young peo­ple nur­tured and suc­ceed­ing in an en­vi­ron­ment like this and I en­cour­age peo­ple to be­come a vol­un­teer for Youth­line be­cause it re­ally changed my life.”

Voda­fone Foun­da­tion man­ager An­nette Culpan says she was very im­pressed with Tif­fany.

“She was an ap­pli­cant of ex­cep­tional qual­ity and she shone out be­cause of her pas­sion and en­gage­ment in Youth­line,” she says.

“She has the abil­ity to make a great dif­fer­ence in a real area of great need.”

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Help­ing out: Kings­land res­i­dent Tif­fany Harkess has been awarded a Voda­fone World of Dif­fer­ence schol­ar­ship to train coun­sel­lors at Youth­line.

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