Help­ing youth find a di­rec­tion

Bay News - - NEWS - ¯ O

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fore Project K, I doubted my­self and wouldn’t have the mo­ti­va­tion to try new things, be­cause I didn’t be­lieve

my­self.’’ in

Kane Avery

Three Bay of Plenty lo­cals have had their hard work and achieve­ments ac­knowl­edged at the Graeme Din­gle Foun­da­tion 2018 Ex­cel­lence Awards.

The even­ing, which was held in Auck­land, cel­e­brated the achieve­ments of youth, many who have bounced back from hard­ship and con­quered chal­lenges to chart a pos­i­tive course through life.

Stu­dents, 16-year-old Kane Avery from tu­moetai Col­lege and 17-year-old Brylee Comer from Mount Maun­ganui Col­lege, were awarded Project K Ex­cel­lence Awards for ex­hibit­ing con­tin­u­ous de­ter­mi­na­tion, courage and re­silience through­out the pro­gramme and in the face of chal­lenges.

Project K is one of the Foun­da­tion’s five pro­grammes and is a 14-month men­tor­ing pro­gramme de­signed for Year 10 stu­dents. It in­volves three parts (wilder­ness ad­ven­ture, com­mu­nity chal­lenge and an in­di­vid­ual men­tor­ing part­ner­ship with a trained men­tor). It aims to arm young peo­ple with a pow­er­ful be­lief in their own abil­ity to com­plete tasks, achieve goals, and find pur­pose and di­rec­tion in their lives.

Kane feels that his con­fi­dence has grown ex­po­nen­tially due to the Project K pro­gramme.

“Be­fore Project K, I doubted my­self and wouldn’t have the mo­ti­va­tion to try new things, be­cause I didn’t be­lieve in my­self. Now I amde­ter­mined to do well and I have set and achieved goals. I am­now part of the 1st XI hockey team, I’m a mem­ber of the cadets and have been pro­moted to Lance Cor­po­ral and the leader of the haka for our unit.

“Even though it’s the end of Project K, it’s the be­gin­ning of new goals for me,” Kane says.

Be­fore her par­tic­i­pa­tion in Project K, Brylee was a quiet and anx­ious girl, but thanks to the Project K pro­gramme she has dis­cov­ered a new-found con­fi­dence.

“Be­fore Project K, I was a shy per­son to say the least, so when I was asked to par­tic­i­pate in a three-part course, to say Iwas skep­ti­cal was an un­der­state­ment.

“I couldn’t even so much as or­der amovie ticket at the cin­ema be­cause it in­volved hav­ing to ac­tu­ally speak.

“In the year since Project K was com­pleted, I have been fa­cil­i­tat­ing a youth group for 12 months, com­pleted my Bronze Duke of Ed­in­burgh, as­sisted in open­ing up a group within my own school, went to Ja­pan on an ex­change, com­pleted my Queen’s Guide Award and re­cently par­tic­i­pated in my school’s head­shave for can­cer.”

Their men­tor, Dan Al­lenGor­don, was also hon­oured with the Out­stand­ing Con­tri­bu­tion Award for his ded­i­ca­tion as a vol­un­teer and com­mit­ment to help­ing young peo­ple suc­ceed in over­com­ing ad­ver­sity and chal­lenges.

“You’re not go­ing to change kids in aweek. It takes time, some­times 12 months or more, and has a huge amount of men­tor­ing and role mod­el­ling at­tached to it. I’ve seen such a sig­nif­i­cant shift in be­hav­iour from these kids. These pro­grammes have the abil­ity to trans­form and in turn, make a no­tice­able dif­fer­ence in the com­mu­nity. That’s why I be­came so pas­sion­ate about pro­grammes like Project K,” says Dan.

Chief Op­er­at­ing Of­fi­cer of Oji Fi­bre So­lu­tions, Terry Sk­iff­in­g­ton, says they’re proud to be a long-stand­ing spon­sor of the Foun­da­tion.

“It’s great to be in­volved in their Kiwi Can and Stars pro­grammes in Toko­roa, help­ing more than 1000 young peo­ple each year to de­velop their self­con­fi­dence and un­lock their un­lim­ited po­ten­tial. We share this strength-based spirit and are com­mit­ted to build­ing a strong fu­ture in our lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties. That iswhy we are pleased to spon­sor the Foun­da­tion’s first Na­tional Out­stand­ing Con­tri­bu­tionAward. Con­grat­u­la­tions to Dan on win­ning this award.”

The Foun­da­tion’s name­sake, moun­taineer and out­door ed­u­ca­tion pi­o­neer, Sir Graeme Din­gle, says the awards per­fectly show­case­what the Foun­da­tion lives and breathes— trans­form­ing young lives for­ever.

“The ethos of our Foun­da­tion is that we want all young New Zealan­ders to have a life full of pos­si­bil­i­ties so they can achieve their dreams and make the­most of their unique tal­ents. We want to help them build foun­da­tions for suc­cess in aworld where not all child­hoods are cre­ated equal.

“The Awards are an amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity to cel­e­brate this coun­try’s fu­ture— our young peo­ple. It pro­vides a valu­able plat­form for them to recog­nise their own strengths and muster, fromwithin, the con­vic­tion to over­come chal­lenges, both big and small. It is also a won­der­ful re­minder of the in­cred­i­ble work that our men­tors and vol­un­teers de­liver, day in and day out, for our young peo­ple through­out the coun­try.”

“Each year, these kids blow me away with their courage, de­ter­mi­na­tion and re­silience. It givesme a tremen­dous sense of joy to be able to recog­nise and ac­knowl­edge each and every one of our win­ners, who we are all so ex­cep­tion­ally proud of,” Sir Graeme says.

The an­nual Ex­cel­lence Awards be­gan life as the Project K Out­stand­ing Award. They were first hosted by Gover­nor Gen­eral Dame Sil­via Cartwright al­most 20 years ago.


Kane Avery from tu­moetai Col­lege and 17-year-old Brylee Comer from Mount Maun­ganui Col­lege with their men­tor Dan Allen-Gor­don.

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