Youth Ambassador Leadership Programme 2021

 

The Youth Ambassador Leadership Programme (YALP) is being held on Friday 21 May at Aotea College from 9:30 am to 2:50 pm and aims to give students the information about family violence and respectful relationships, and encourage students to find their own way of communicating this information to their peers. It is so important that young people get these messages not only from the adults in their lives, but also that they take some ownership of this issue if we want to see real change in Aotearoa.

Speakers include:

Judge Peter Boshier, former Chief Family Court Judge and current Chief Ombudsman

Born and educated in Gisborne, Peter attended Victoria University of Wellington, obtaining a Bachelor of Laws with Honours Degree in 1975. After a period of practice in Wellington he was appointed as a District Court Judge with a specialist Family Court warrant in 1988. In 2004 he was appointed as the Principal Family Court Judge of New Zealand and held that position until December 2012 when he was appointed a Law Commissioner, a position he held until his appointment as Chief Ombudsman. He has served on the government’s Family Violence Taskforce. He is patron of the White Ribbon Trust and patron of the Dwell Community Housing Trust in Wellington. In 2009 he was made a distinguished alumnus of the Victoria University of Wellington for his contribution to the law.

Richie Hardcore, educator, keynote speaker and activist, working in violence prevention, masculinities, mental health and wellness.

Richie is also a retired multiple New Zealand Muay Thai champion, and now works as a coach and personal trainer, having helped some of New Zealand’s most successful fighters achieve their goals. With a fighting career that spanned more than 20 years, he was paid to punch people in the face. These days, that energy is channelled towards Richie’s big mission – to help make the world better by supporting people to live their best lives. He’s spent time as a community worker in drug and alcohol harm reduction, is a campaigner against domestic and sexual violence, and a sexual consent educator. Richie is passionate about helping to overturn this country’s mental health statistics. An excellent public speaker, he’s also an experienced radio host and MC, using his skills to help educate, inspire and challenge.

Eteuati Ete (formerly of the Laughing Samoans)

Eteuati Ete is a comedian, actor, writer and theatre producer who has decided to use his profile and influence particularly amongst Maori and Pasefika to raise awareness of family harm by sharing his own story of family violence as a victim and a perpetrator. He and his wife Mele Wendt have over the last few years been sharing their lived experience of family violence, as presenters in the Nga Vaka Family Violence programme. They believe that “violence thrives in silence” and by speaking out they will encourage and embolden victims to find their own voice. They also provide practical advice on how they were able to eliminate the violence in their marriage. While Ete has been an actor for almost forty years who’s appeared in film, tv and theatre, having been one of the first Pasefika people to attend the New Zealand Drama School, he’s perhaps best known as one half of the highly successful Laughing Samoans comedy duo.

Mele Wendt MNZM, White Ribbon Ambassador

Mele Wendt has a past lived experience of family harm which she and her husband, Eteuati Ete, publicly speak about. Having survived a turbulent period over 20 years ago, they share the particular factors that enabled their marriage to become violence-free and to thrive. Professionally, Mele worked for 24 years in education – first as a secondary school teacher and then at Victoria University of Wellington as the founding Pacific Liaison Officer and the manager of the domestic student recruitment office. She then served ten years as the Executive Director of Fulbright New Zealand. In the past few years Mele has been serving on a number of boards (including Chair of the Pasifika Education Centre in Auckland) and providing consultancies in several areas. Mele is involved in a number of women’s organisations and Pacific community groups, including P.A.C.I.F.I.C.A., the national organisation for Pacific women. She is a strong advocate for and mentor to women and girls, especially in the Pacific community. Mele is Samoan and pakeha/palagi, and has lived in Wellington for over 30 years. With four grown children, she and Ete are doting grandparents of three grandchildren and recently Mele was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to governance, the Pacific community and women.

Rob McCann, White Ribbon Manager

Graduating from Otago University with a double degree majoring in law and drama, Rob has worked for both community organisations and commercial businesses as a manager, coordinator and leader and currently manages the White Ribbon anti-violence campaign. He’s also a first time councillor at the Kapiti Coast District Council. Rob has extensive experience as a speaker and presenter.

Angie Delfavero and Rachel Zhou

Students Angie Delfavero and Rachel Zhou are year 13 students studying at Queen Margaret College. In 2018, they established a non-profit social enterprise called ‘Find Your Fire’ with the aim of empowering youth and encouraging students to make a change in their community. The students absolutely loved the sound of our programme, and reached out saying it’s such an amazing opportunity for youth to get involved, educated, and inspired to make a change. Thanks to ACC and Zerox, they are supplying everyone with a copy of their magazine to have as a resource and to act as a source of inspiration.

David Cournane, White Ribbon Ambassador

David Cournane is our School Liaison for this programme. David is Acting Assistant Principal – Pastoral, at Aotea College and has been instrumental in reinvigorating the programme and ensuring it offers real value to schools. If you would like further information about the programme from a school perspective, please feel free to contact David coe@aotea.school.nz

 

9:00am students arrive between 9am and 9:20am
9:30am Mihi whakatau
10:10am Session 1 Judge Boshier
10:30am Rob McCann
11:10am Session 2 Richie Hardcore
12.20pm Dave Cournane
12:30pm Lunch
1:10pm Session 3 Mele and Ete
1:50pm Session 4 Leadership Angie and Rachel
2:30pm Session 5 School Groups report back
2:50pm Farewell and thankyou

* Breakout sessions occur after each speaker.

Pre COVID, 30 schools and 240 students and staff attended the first full-day workshop with students reporting the event was ‘very engaging’, ‘should continue each year’, ‘thoroughly enjoyed the experience’, ‘would definitely attend in the future’ and ‘really enjoyed the day and learned a lot from it’.

• 86% felt the speakers helped them understand the causes of family violence
• 91% felt speakers helped them understand what a healthy relationship looks like
• 69% strongly agreed the speakers were engaging with a further 31% agreeing
• The workshop at the end of the day helped me come up with ideas of how to create change in my school or community (25% strongly agreed, 60% agreed, 13% neither agreed nor disagreed, and 2% disagreed).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The students also made some helpful suggestions which have been acted upon, such as more time for collaboration between students. This is now built into the programme with a reduced number of speakers and more post-session discussions. Three of these discussion sessions mix students from different schools together, while the final session is in school groups to brainstorm ideas that students can undertake to raise awareness, and highlight healthy relationships in their communities.
For more information on this year’s Youth Ambassador Leadership Programme click here.

  • Notes:
    The programme supports key messages from the Mates and Dates and Loves Me Not Programmes as evidence suggests that peer communication and multiple connections with anti-violence messages increase the chance of change.
  • Students will have the opportunity to learn about violence prevention and take a leadership role on the issue within their schools. As in previous years, we would prefer to focus on Year 12 and Year 13 students as they already have leadership roles within schools.
  • Schools that would like ongoing support will be assigned an adult White Ribbon Ambassador or staff member, to provide support for students and teachers involved in the programme.
  • David Cournane is our School Liaison for this programme. David is Acting Assistant Principal – Pastoral, at Aotea College and has been instrumental in reinvigorating the programme and ensuring it offers real value to schools. If you would like further information about the programme from a school perspective, please feel free to contact David coe@aotea.school.nz
  • The dress code is up to schools. Predominantly schools chose to send students in formal attire, however, this year the event falls on Pink Ribbon Day, so schools may wish to promote the wearing of pink. Messages about stopping bullying and Upstander actions will be built into the day.
  • Schools that sent a teacher or support person found that this assisted their students, especially when it came to supporting the students to organise their activities when back at school.
  • Following the workshops, students have spread the kaupapa in their schools via a range of impressive activities including a spoken word competition.

How to Register

If you would like to register to be part of this programme in 2021 or would like further information, please contact White Ribbon’s Administrator Rachel Woodrow at resources@whiteribbon.org.nz and we will send out the registration forms.  There is no cost to participate in this programme as we do not want to create any barriers to participation, but we are very happy when schools allocate mufti days etc. to raising funds for our charity!

It is so important that young people get these messages not only from the adults in their lives but also that they take ownership of this issue and message if we want to see real change in the future.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Rachel or David at any time. Please ensure you have registered by Wednesday the 5th of May. We look forward to working with you to help prevent violence in our community.

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