YWiSS – Check and Connect Pilot Project

Youth Workers in Secondary Schools

Challenge 2000 has been in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Justice, Five Colleges around the Wellington region and lots of young people and their families to assist their amazing students to succeed and stay at school.

Our YWiSS mentors – Oke, Mapihi, Molly and Jeffrey have had a great time working with an amazing group of young people across these five colleges. All the mentors have enjoyed the challenges and successes with our students, their whanau and their schools. We thank the MoE, the Government and especially the students, staff and families for supporting this programme and the young people involved.

The primary focus of YWiSS is on student’s engagement and achievement in mainstream education.

YWiSS Mentors DO NOT replace counsellors, social workers or truancy officers within the school system.

YWiSS Mentors provide the following services for students:

  • Motivation and Encouragement
  • Goal setting – realistic and achievable
  • Support with engagement in learning
  • Support student’s participation in school based activities
  • Monitor progress in school
Ywiss is providing young people in schools a special person they get to check in with at least once a week, set and achieve goals with, strive to improve their attendee or academic achievements and give them a positive space to reflect and feel supported. What I like the most about Ywiss is that it does not have to be in a classroom setting or even a formal setting, it's about going for walks, shooting some hoops, climbing a mountain, swimming in the sea, listening to music or whatever works for the individual young person.

Molly Lyons - Social Worker

A Good News Story

I was working with a young person who had faced many challenges early in the year that led to them being disengaged from mainstream education. I would visit their home every day at the beginning of the year only to find they would not answer the door. The Social Worker and I would visit on other occasions too and offer support to their Mum. There was a lot of support wrapped around this young person however they eventually left school. Over a period of 6 months the whanau had worked together and guided the young person to understanding the importance of education. This resulted in the young person making the decision to return to school. We put in place a supportive plan that would help them transition and met their needs fully. The first day back at school was the first hurdle they overcame, despite appearing nervous, light shone on them and they did it! We have started with one step at a time and working out achievable goals, moving forward a little at a time. There is no rush and working at their pace we are making progress one day at a time. This story highlights how perseverance, patience, effort and love from their whanau and our team really makes a difference.

Oke Time - Youth Worker