Mentor Shane Ives with Christian Lange-Gerrard. Photo below is Mentor Peter Jackson with Levi and Melissa Hurcomb.
A Kapiti mentoring scheme is changing lives - one young person at a time.
Challenge for Change, an early intervention mentoring programme, has been running in Kapiti by the Kapiti Impact Trust for two years and has just started year 3 this week.
Young people aged between 9 and 13-years old are paired with trained volunteer mentors.
Debbie Mattingley from Kapiti Impact Trust says research has shown that on average adults can only identify around three emotions. She says if young people can identify what they are feeling they can then process those feelings more constructively.
Eleven year-old Christian Lange-Gerrard recently completed Challenge for Change says the programme has taught him that you can express your feelings in many different ways. He says "sometimes you feel sad and it comes out as angry."
Shane Ives, Christian's mentor says "Christian is an amazing kid and has grown so much during our time together. It is so rewarding to see the growth in Christian. I had a tough time growing up and something like this would have been really valuable to me."
Beatrice Fisher, Challenge for Change Programme Coordinator says Challenge for Change is a strengths-based programme supporting young people to develop resilience and confidence and to help them thrive. Through the relationships they develop, the children grow and gain confidence.
Melissa Hurcomb's 10 year-old son Levi was paired with local business owner Peter Jackson. Melissa says her and Levi's lives have been changed for the better.
"Levi is thriving and he has confidence… just having a Peter in his life has made a huge difference. It is someone he can go to and talk man stuff and do bloke things."
Melissa says, she highly recommends the programme; "our lives have been changed forever."
Peter Jackson says he decided to do the mentoring because he has had such a fortunate life and really wanted to give back to the community. "Working with Levi has been such a rewarding experience for me and for my family," says Peter.
Parents are given support throughout the process and attend an 8-week parenting course, Positive Parenting. The course focuses on three main areas: proactive discipline, setting boundaries and building a co-operative positive relationship.
Mentors are all volunteers and go through a Police vetting process and in-depth interviews before they are accepted. Once the formal part is done, mentors then attend 20-hours of training and only then are they carefully matched with their mentored.
The Boys and Girls Institute developed the programme in 2002 and many lives have been changed over the 18-years.