A pilot youth mentoring programme addressing the need for greater access to wellbeing support for young people has resulted in positive outcomes for Cromwell youth.
Te Toki o te Ara Tutuki —Te Ara for short — was developed by the Cromwell Youth Trust (CYT) last year in response to the widening need for wellbeing support.
The group mentoring and outdoor adventure-based programme collaborates with education providers and other social services to provide a holistic approach to wellbeing.
It was trialled with 15 teenagers for six months and participants showed an increase in school attendance, social and community connection and greater whanau links.
CYT youth workers were also able to support some of the older participants in their transition to employment with the Central Otago Youth Employment Programme (COYEP) initiative.
Following the successful pilot , Te Ara will now be a permanent offering from the youth trust.
CYT youth worker and adventure coach Fran Dustin said a key to success working alongside young people was to have ‘‘an open ear through listening, in a non-judgemental, inclusive and supportive space.’’
‘‘Programmes like Te Ara are important for young people because we are working directly alongside youth to develop their personal wellbeing, at their pace, which for some can be a longer process once we can break down their barriers through the ongoing positive relationship building CYT Youth Workers establish,’’ she said.
CYT manager and lead youth worker Rhys Smith said Te Ara was being adapted to find ‘‘just the right amount of support’’ for youth.
‘‘It will continue to grow and we have exciting plans to incorporate other aspects,’’ he said.
Programmes and youth support services were vital in communities to provide a supportive space and encompass a wide range of needs that all young people experienced during their adolescence.