Te Aranui Youth Trust strives to allow local youth to thrive

For tamariki and rangatahi, life should be fun, filled with laughter, playing and learning. Unfortunately, without positive role models and guidance, not all children and young people see a positive pathway for their futures.

Te Aranui Youth Trust is a charity working alongside Police and Ministry of Education to support young people and provide a great pathway by surrounding children and young people with positive role models, and a positive path.

25 years ago, local Police staff and business owners decided it was time to do something for vulnerable youth in the community and lead them to a more positive future by surrounding youth with role models to help inspire positive behaviour and choices.

Te Aranui Youth Trust has held varying programmes over 25 years. Currently, it runs programmes for vulnerable youth between seven and 18 in Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty, based at Youth Central in Tauranga.

The young people involved within Te Aranui Youth Trust often have behavioural issues due to experiencing traumas such as poverty, domestic violence, drug or alcohol abuse and further social issues that arise from these issues.

Tanya Grimstone, Te Aranui Youth Trust Funding and Administration Manager, says, “Our programmes are targeted at young people who have the potential to go down a better path and simply need extra support due to their backgrounds or life experiences.”

“We provide them with a sense of whānau and follow Māori tikanga to ensure there is the connection to culture and a sense of belonging so they feel part of something bigger than themselves.”

Programmes range from Wāhine Toa and Tama Toa life skills programmes, a school holiday programme, and one-on-one mentoring to weekly breakfast clubs to ensure each young person has been fed before school and allow role models an opportunity to check in on uniforms, fees, health, and wellbeing.

“We’re finding the most beneficial programme currently is the one-on-one mentoring. It means we have that time to invest and have a proper relationship with a youth, so they feel safe enough to open up and be helped through whatever issues they’re struggling with.”

When individuals come together as groups for the programmes, there is a focus on ensuring the combination of individuals is good, and the environment is safe so everyone can benefit from the programmes. This is aided by including positive role models from the Police, Psychologists and Counsellors to ensure the young people have options for someone to connect with.

“It takes one person to change someone’s life, it’s just finding that person who they connect with and feel they can confide in to discuss the issues they face on a deeper level and make plans and goals on changing their path, for a more productive future,” Tanya says.

TECT has supported Te Aranui Youth Trust with funding towards their operating costs, which allows the Trust to do what they do best, supporting youths to see their potential and make change for themselves and their whānau.

Peter Blackwell, TECT Trustee says, “Not all young people have positive role models or equal access to opportunities or positive experiences due to aspects outside of their control.”

“The funding we provide Te Aranui Youth Trust goes towards breaking the cycle of youths who haven’t had positive experiences with police due to their whānau or haven’t had the support around alternative pathways in life,” says Peter, “They haven’t been shown how to deal with their feelings appropriately. By working closely with youth and showing them positive role models, Te Aranui Youth Trust is showing them what life could be like by staying in school, getting jobs, being nice to others and contributing to their community.”

Te Aranui Youth Trust breaks the cycle and allows youths to be supported, cared for and part of a whānau who want to see the best version of themselves. Discipline is still included in programmes, however, it is partnered with aroha and taught that if you make a bad decision, you can take responsibility, do something to make it better and try not to do it again. Aiming to always improve yourself and those you care for.

To find out more about Te Aranui Youth Trust, visit their website.


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