Topic: Youth

At-risk youth to benefit from new mentoring initiative

By Online News - Rereātea
  • Auckland

At-risk teenagers excluded from mainstream education are set to benefit from an innovative youth mentoring scheme.

Next July,  around 25 young people in West Auckland will receive 48 hours of mentoring over a 12-week period from student mentors, counsellors and social workers at the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education and Social Work in Epsom.

Each young person will then be supported to move into other social services, educational or employment opportunities.

Called Campus Connections Aotearoa, the scheme has recently received $455,000 from the Ministry for Social Development, the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation and the Fletcher Trust.

Drs Pat Bullen and Kelsey Deane, who specialise in youth development and mentoring will lead the scheme.

Spread over three years, the funding will allow them to set up a therapeutic programme involving third-year social work students mentoring teenagers who have fallen out of the system for a variety of reasons. 

The scheme uniquely combines intensive one-to-one mentoring with group-based activities and on-site therapy.

Bullen says, “Youth mentoring if done well, can be life-changing. Campus Connections Aotearoa will provide a wrap-around service that simultaneously addresses the social, emotional, and educational needs of vulnerable young people, in a safe, well-supported and welcoming environment.”

Dr Bullen says the NZ Youth Mentoring Network has identified a significant service provision gap for high-risk youth, particularly those involved in alternative education, and the new scheme will help to fill this gap.Drs Bullen and Deane are delighted with the continued support from the Vodafone NZ Foundation ($220,000), Fletcher Trust ($20,000) and $215,000 from Youth Minister Nikki Kaye, announced on Friday.

She says the money will allow her team to create a comprehensive programme adapted to the New Zealand context.  It will also provide real opportunities for University of Auckland students studying counselling, social and youth work to experience authentic youth