Youthline’s star trainer scores year-long scholarship
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 is one of six recipients of the Vodafone World of Difference scholarship.
The scholarship pays a year’s salary for those selected and gives them the opportunity to help out a youth-related cause.
Tiffany, 31, who has been a Youthline counsellor and mentor since 2006, will spend the next year training a group of 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 con- tribute to the community,” she says.
“It’s amazing to see young people nurtured and succeeding in an environment like this.
“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,” Ms Culpan says.
“She has the ability to make a great difference in a real area of great need.”
Helping out: Kingsland resident Tiffany Harkess has been awarded a Vodafone World of Difference scholarship to train counsellors at Youthline.