Challenge 2000 youth workers facilitate afterschool youth programmes at both the Linden and Newlands Community Centres. These programmes are a safe place for rangatahi to hang out and catch up over some kai, do some fun activities and connect with each other. These programmes run during the school term for intermediate and high school aged young people and are free. Young people who attend these programmes also have the opportunity to attend activity days with Challenge 2000 in the school holidays.
In recent months, we’ve worked with seven young people on one programme or another, all with on-going support in place. Each of the rangatahi is supported in a way that suits their current needs and situation; assistance with attending school, after-school support, work experience, mentoring and guidance, work-ready preparation and skills development, and pro-social activities such as being a part of a sports team in the community.
A number of success stories have emerged. Challenge 2000 has supported one young person who successfully completed a hospitality course with a coffee business, leading to potential employment. We’ve also supported another young person through to a discharge from the court system and work towards getting a job. Several of our rangatahi are currently working towards qualifications and are getting experience serving members of the public. For some young people, returning to an educational institute after some time away is a significant achievement in itself. Through a mixture of mentoring, education and guidance, often working in tandem with other agencies, Challenge 2000 has offered opportunities to our rangatahi to develop and succeed in a non-judgemental, supportive environment.
All at Challenge 2000 say a huge THANK YOU to our whanau and community members who have given us money, food, toys, games and other essential items to pass on to those who are struggling. Because of your generosity and care we have been able to provide 200 grocery deliveries (we don’t like the word food parcels!) so far in this lockdown as well as money to those who couldn’t afford their rent or time payments on vehicles. We have also been able to give petrol vouchers to essential workers and people who needed to visit supermarkets, get vaccinated or tested and access services.
A special shout out to Kiwi Community Assistance, Farm Fresh, St Vincent de Paul, the Society of Mary, three other individual benefactors, St Francis of Assisi Parish, Kaibosh, our Board members and Yeah Nah Quizzes for your generous donations.
Also a shout out to our frontline staff who are keeping connected with our young people and whanau in this challenging time! Kei runga noa atu Whanau – You’re the bomb!
O lo’u igoa o Petrina Foaese, I am from the beautiful Hutt Valley but currently live in Kilbirnie. I am one of the youth house leaders supporting our young adults. Living in a youth house has taught me about community and service outside my role as a youth worker in schools.
In a youth house, we try our best to build a safe and comfortable space for rangatahi to learn about themselves and to become more independent and responsible with their decisions. As youth house leaders, we are there to guide and support them.
Living in a youth house, I have experienced both difficult and positive times, which is expected. That is why we value the importance of manaakitanga and communication in the youth house, to build relationships and support positive dynamics in the house. The transition from adolescence to adulthood is difficult. Therefore, supporting our young ones to develop life skills at this stage of their lives is important for their safety and their future. We hope these skills will encourage them to pursue their goals and aspirations.
Some of the ways I contribute to supporting our young adults are cooking, daily chats and check-ins about life, house and living skills, and meeting their whānau.
The support is not just one-way. As a youth house leader, I’ve also learnt a lot from our rangatahi and young adults. It is amazing what they know and what they want to contribute to the community.
During lockdown, we’ve been able to get a few things done outside and inside the house. We did a big clean-up while the weather was nice. It has also been great to learn more about each other in a different environment. There have been a lot of Zoom sessions for many of us in the house, for both work and study. It’s also been great to see the young ones try new kai.
Before the COVID-19 lockdown, we were able to have dinner with one of the Mercy Sisters who also generously support our community. We were able to connect with one of the young adult’s whānau when they stayed over for a significant event. We hope we can get back to this once lockdown restrictions are lowered.
Great Retreat feedback from one of our Gap Year Students.
On Wednesday the 2021 Gap year participants went on a retreat to The Home of Compassion in Island Bay, Wellington.
The retreat was three days and was filled with many sessions and activities. We also had a few sessions and discussions based on how our beliefs in God have changed over the years, and Pa Eddie took us through some meditation exercises.
On Thursday we had a session with Kitty about “Rocks in our shoe or in our backpack” – This analogy was based on when you get a stone in your shoe it’s uncomfortable and holds you back and becomes your major focus. In this session we had to think of some of our own rocks, what holds us back and what we think we need to let go of. We then wrote them down and went to the beach and burnt them and as a group let go of those “rocks” and reflected on what we wrote and let go of what was holding us back. This session personally was a favourite! Some of us also threw other rocks into the sea.
We also learnt about Suzanne Aubert and her life’s journey. We visited her in the chapel and reflected on the hardships and challenges she went through just to help others. This really put things into perspective and made quite a few of us think about our own lives and what we are doing to help others and how we treat others.
Overall this retreat was an experience that was challenging, reflective, wholesome, beautiful and overall one for the books. I can’t put into words the way we all felt leaving after the experiences we all went through personally, emotionally and spiritually.
On the 29th and 30th of April the whole Challenge 2000 Whanau got together for a two-day workshop. Each morning we started with reflection, which was a good time to reflect on Term 1 and reconnect with each other. During the two days, we covered assessments with our Young People, waiata practice and many performances, with great positive feedback from the team!
“It was super informative! It will be extremely helpful when we are working with our young people”.
“It is always amazing getting back as a full whanau, especially after such a full-on term 1!”