Youth Programme candidates prepare to meet Prince Harry

By Taroi Black
  • Auckland

As Auckland prepares for the arrival of Prince Harry, a youth programme that helps at-risk children will meet the Royal Highness for the first time tomorrow.

You can already feel the excitement as two boys take a leap into unknown territory. 

Pounamu Tuscany says, “I didn't think that some boy from out West could meet someone Royal like him. Because he's royalty, he'll just sit in his kingdom having cuppa tea with his mum.”

The story began five years ago, when Pounamu was 15 and taken into the TYLA Youth Development programme. He ran away from home and started getting into trouble. But now that's all changed.

Anastasia Meredith says, “Every young person is referred to us either with school, through community or through the police. They've been highlighted as either low-level of offending, getting into trouble, mischief or they are at risk of offending.”

Julius Reuben has a similar story, at age 13, he now hopes to become a physiotherapist. But tomorrow will be a whole different ball game.

Reuben says, “It's definitely not a walk in the park and I was surprised that I was chosen to meet him.”

The children that TYLA take in range from 9 to 17 years old. The centre has programmes that enable them to develop their skills to match their interests and characteristics which they can use in the community. 

Meredith says, “Our core business is working with them in the home and in the school. So they work on youth plans, they're looking at goals to achieve next term.”

Tomorrow's showdown will be the biggest highlight for these kids.