Group off to Van­u­atu to vol­un­teer

Coastal News - - Coastal News - By NIK LAING

In July 2019, an ex­cited youth team from Whanga­mata¯ will be em­bark­ing on a third over­seas work trip to Pango, in Van­u­atu. The team con­sists of 17 lo­cal youth from Whanga­mata¯ Area School and a group of young adult lead­ers, with lead­ers Greg and Nik Laing, Vanessa Holmes and Ryan Thomp­son.

Over the past eight years, teams have been to Van­u­atu and Cam­bo­dia, with the mis­sion to com­plete prac­ti­cal projects that serve the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties, to visit vil­lages and home and ul­ti­mately, to use their time and re­sources to ben­e­fit those who are less for­tu­nate.

The group has built wa­ter tanks and a dis­pen­sary in vil­lages.

They have built a home, painted a chil­dren’s ward in a hos­pi­tal, worked with chil­dren in kinder­gartens and schools and vis­ited hos­pi­tals and pris­ons.

Th­ese ad­ven­tures have had last­ing im­pact both for the com­mu­ni­ties the group works in and for ev­ery team mem­ber.

Be­tween now and then, the MV19 team will be meet­ing to plan the projects it will un­der­take, to fundraise and to build team unity. It will be go­ing into chal­leng­ing sit­u­a­tions, into un­known en­vi­ron­ments and at times, harsh con­di­tions.

Work­ing as a team, sup­port­ing each other and step­ping out of their com­fort zones makes this an op­por­tu­nity of a life­time for many youth.

Each team mem­ber pays a large por­tion of their fees from their own pocket and the project and ex­tra costs are raised through creative and fun fundrais­ing events. Th­ese in­clude a Mega Garage Sale at Labour Week­end at the Bap­tist Church, a din­ner with Ian Fos­ter, All Black As­sis­tant Coach, and a Fash­ion Show.

“We strongly value our Whanga­mata¯ com­mu­nity stand­ing with us in the lead-up to this ven­ture,” the lead­ers say.

“We have been blown away in the past by the gen­eros­ity and sup­port of our com­mu­nity and look for­ward to see­ing this new team rep­re­sent our com­mu­nity with aroha and mana.

“Ehara taku toa, e te toa tak­i­tahi en­gari he toa taki­mano” — Our strength is not the strength of one, but of many.

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