New program targets at-risk youth

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The Salvation Army in New Zealand partners for “Kiwi Next Generation.”

The Salvation Army in New Zealand partnered with children’s charity Variety to launch a new program targeting at-risk youth—those Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET). The two-year program, called “Kiwi Next Generation,” will provide more than 725 young people, aged 16 to 18, with the resources, support, confidence and motivation to succeed in their chosen education and employment.

The program is designed for young people who have fallen out of mainstream education and need help getting back on track. Commissioner Robert Donaldson, New Zealand territorial commander, said the two charities were pleased to be collaborating to foster the full potential of New Zealand’s young people.

“For some of our young people, their family and personal circumstances create barriers that make success challenging to imagine, let alone achieve,” he said. “We believe no young person should be left behind.”

Donaldson said the program was made possible by funding from The Warehouse Group Gala Dinner. Held at Auckland’s Vector Arena in August, the event was The Warehouse Group’s 24th annual charity dinner and supplier awards. It raised $725,000—a new benchmark for funds raised. Special guests at the black tie event included Prime Minister John Key, a number of government ministers, as well as suppliers and business partners of The Warehouse Group and leaders in the community sector.

“Gaining the support of The Warehouse Group and its suppliers and business partners—who each year make a significant contribution to community development—has ensured this innovative program can go forward,” Donaldson said. “We are immensely grateful for their invaluable support for this program, as well as for the support provided by last year’s dinner, which has supported more than 500 young people through our yearlong Aspire program.”

Mark Powell, chief executive of The Warehouse Group, said the company and the community owed a debt of gratitude to its suppliers and business partners who made the gala dinner such a success. “We’re proud to be able to facilitate what is one of New Zealand’s most important charity events, but its success is due to our suppliers and business partners who get behind it to raise money for what is always an important cause,” he said. “We see great potential in the Kiwi Next Generation program and see this as a great contribution to community development.”

Kiwi Next Generation draws on the expertise, experience and infrastructure of The Salvation Army and Variety. The Salvation Army will facilitate individual mentoring and education for each young person through its Education and Employment (E&E), which is New Zealand’s longest running Private Training Establishment and a provider of the government’s Youth Guarantee program. Variety will provide critical material and social support to ensure candidates go on to acquire further education or employment.

Both The Salvation Army and Variety have high expectations for the program, which, if successful, could lead to new approaches in addressing services and programs for NEET youth.

The Salvation Army E&E is passionate about transforming lives, having helped thousands of people into brighter futures with credits toward nationally recognized qualifications, job training, job placement, and life skills and work ethics.

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