Since 2002, BGI has been running the Challenge for Change early intervention programme for children and young people, aged from 9 to 13 years old, with a mentor who acts as a positive role model.  Most of the of the mentee referrals come through schools, with the remainder from parents of the young people, Oranga Tamariki, Police Youth Aid, Strengthening Families and the RTLB’s.

Mentors are interviewed and receive over seven weeks training before working directly with the young person and coming together for joint mentoring events.  The mentors commit to meeting the young people twice a week. One session is focused on journalling and the other session is about having fun.  One of the reasons the programme is successful is because we provide the Parents of the young people with a Parenting Programme.

The Saturday reunion marked 23 mentoring programmes, forming over 500 partnerships in the community.

Parents, former mentors and former mentees all gathered to celebrate the collective journey through the Challenge for Change mentoring programme and life afterwards – with some mentees over the years returning to become mentors for the next generation.   Everyone shared what they had learnt and valued about being involved in the programme, the friendships developed and how they had worked to meet personal challenges.  A beautiful moment was when a young woman talked about her experience singing in front of the group and then finding the confidence to do so again in front of a broader Challenge for Change whanau. 

How to bring together a mix of people from 17 years of the programme and make them feel connected in a few hours?  Plenty of good food, fun games, and shared stories. 

The coordinator, Jacinta Krefft, has been involved as a coordinator from the beginning of the programme in 2002.  More information about BGI and Challenge for Change is available here.

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