For children and teenagers, life should seem full of possibilities. Unfortunately, without positive influences in their lives, not all young people are aware of their true potential.
Te Aranui Youth Trust is a charity working to support young people to live a life they value – with a bright future ahead.
Founded over 20 years ago from a desire to provide disadvantaged youth with the tools for a positive future, Te Aranui Youth Trust surrounds youth with role models who help to inspire constructive behaviours and life choices.
Te Aranui Youth Trust work under a letter of agreement with the New Zealand Police and Ministry of Education to provide a number of interventions and programmes for vulnerable youth between the ages of seven to fourteen in the Western Bay of Plenty.
These young people have often experienced poverty, domestic violence, drug or alcohol abuse, and the social challenges that arise from these issues.
“Our specialised programmes are targeted at those young people who despite having potential, may just need some extra support due to circumstances in the home,” says Tanya Grimstone, Te Aranui Youth Trust Funding & Administration Manager.
“Together we work to build their resilience and confidence. We guide them towards opportunities in education and self-development, and to overcome obstacles in their lives.”
The programmes include a weekly Breakfast Club to fuel the youth for learning and discuss issues they may be having at school or home; school based Wāhine Toa and Tama Toa life skills programmes; a school holiday programme with kapa haka, Māori tikanga, games, and an activity where the youth give back to their community; and one-on-one mentoring.
The Wāhine Toa and Tama Toa programmes are regularly requested by schools and consistently fully subscribed.
The Youth Development Officer mentors a number of youths who have not been engaging in school, an issue that has significantly increased post-Covid-19.
“We have had a lot of success in this area with a number of our rangatahi now back at school full time,” says Tanya. “We have managed to increase our capacity in this space and have employed another Youth Development Officer so that we can increase our level of support in the community. This is a direct intervention in preventing youth from contributing to the growing issues in Tauranga around youth crime.”
Through exposure to positive role models and experiences they might not normally have, youth are able to see a brighter, more productive future, Tanya says.
“We believe that with early intervention we can break the cycle of violence, substance abuse, and benefit dependence, providing our most vulnerable kids with positive role models and a vision of a better life. By giving them the skills and techniques to deal with their anxieties, anger, and frustration, they can grow to be functional adults contributing to their community.”
TECT has been supporting Te Aranui Youth Trust since 2010 with funding towards the Safe Young Driver Expo, and, more recently, towards the Trust’s operating costs.
“We know that not all young people have positive role models in their lives or equal access to opportunities due to systems and experiences beyond their control,” says TECT trustee Pete Blackwell.
“We’re proud to provide Te Aranui Youth Trust with $40,000 in funding support towards the delivery of programmes that are addressing these challenges and achieving such great results for our youth and wider community.”
To find out more about Te Aranui Youth Trust, visit: https://www.tayt.org.nz/