Hospice West Rangatahi youth ambassadors leading the way in their community

Kelston Boys High School is not only known for its champions on the sports field, but for its leaders in the community, with Sports Captain Goldberg Kopa and Perfect Teancum Lopati devoting their already scarce free time to the Hospice West Rangatahi volunteer youth ambassador programme.

The programme launched mid March with the Minister of Youth Affairs, the Honourable Nikki Kaye and Minister of Pacific Peoples, the Honourable Alfred Ngaro inducting our first 11 ambassadors into the programme. Brian Evans, Kelston Boys High School Principal, was also in attendance. Brian says this is an extraordinary opportunity for youth in West Auckland to play a role in growing stronger community connections and one not to be missed.

“It’s great to see our boys have taken the initiative to be involved in this unique opportunity to enhance and build relationships in their community as well as use their leadership skills outside of school.”

For Goldberg Kopa, getting the opportunity to meet two of our national leaders was a surreal experience.

“We were promised real world experiences but never in my wildest dreams did I think we’d be recognised by the Minister for our role in community service. It was definitely a day to remember.”

The programme provides opportunities for youth to be informed, engaged and critical citizens who understand community service and have the necessary educational and social skills to excel. In addition to being of service to their community, the programme engages youth to develop their personal leadership, intercultural communication skills and a deeper understanding of grief, loss, depression and loneliness. They are also given opportunities to learn about career development and meet mentors and successful people in the wider community.

Having already run two workshops to complement their service at Hospice events, the latest was a memorable one for our ambassadors. A Leaders Forum held at the Hospice West Auckland Living and Learning Centre, included a trio of notable local leaders; Mandy Kupenga, host of Maori Television’s Get Your Fish On, Akriti Rana Li, founder and designer at Curiously Creative and Hamish Chan, New Zealand #1 ranked foil fencer, sharing their journeys of how they got to where they are today.

The programme runs throughout the year and students are welcome to apply at any stage. Go to hwa.org.nz for more information or contact Amy Zhou, Hospice West Rangatahi Coordinator to register your interest.

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