Matt van den Yssel is marking the new year with a new role.
Last week marked the start of new beginnings for Mr van den Yssel, who has joined the team at Puna Rangatahi as youth coach.
The position means Puna Rangatahi will be able to provide further support to children across the district in Alexandra and Roxburgh.
Mr van den Yssel’s appointment has also meant a long-awaited boys’ group can be launched, similar to one already set up for girls.
The aim of the initiative was to have a woman leading the girls’ group and a man leading the boys’ group.
Children can be referred to the groups, which are designed to uplift and nurture youngsters.
Youth development practitioner Sharleen Stirling-Lindsay said participants could then move on to a club initiative, where they could interact in fun activities to further enhance their ability to support each other and be part of a team.
‘‘So, now with Matt on board, the boys won’t miss out any more.’’
She said Puna Rangatahi was fortunate to have youth coach Ben Sanders on board, but he only worked 10 hours a week, which had not allowed him enough time to lead a boy’s group.
‘‘We’re really privileged to have Ben already . . .but with Matt on board we’re able to up that connection we are making with young males. Having a male that can come alongside them and support them on their journey is really important.’’
Mr van den Yssel will lead the group in Roxburgh on Tuesdays from 3.30pm to 5pm and in Alexandra on Fridays from 3.30pm to 5pm.
He was looking forward to supporting the project, among many other initiatives which are on Puna Rangatahi’s calendar this year.
‘‘I’m really excited about working with Puna Rangatahi. If you are passing, call in and say ‘Hi’,’’ he said.
Mr van den Yssel brings a range of attributes to his new role.
He has worked as director for the theatrical society and has a range of big shows to his name, including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Grease.
‘‘I’m looking forward to a new challenge and being able to enrich the lives of youth [by passing] on skills that I’ve got.’’