Helping youth find a direction
fore Project K, I doubted myself and wouldn’t have the motivation to try new things, because I didn’t believe
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.