Foundation North recently approved $25,000 to the Student Volunteer Army to help support rangatahi in Auckland and Northland carry out takoha (acts of service) and solve problems in their local communities.
Now in its fifth year, the association offers programmes in primary and secondary schools in Auckland and Northland with over 11,000 students taking part annually; the recent grant will help to increase the number of schools the programmes reach.
“With Foundation North funding, SVA can grow the number of young people in Northland and Auckland that are accessing our programmes, and do so in a safe, enjoyable and effective way. We want to make sure things like geography, ethnicity and cultural differences are not barriers to entry,” said Operations Manager Penny Roy.
One of the programmes, SVA Kids, mobilises young people to identify issues in their community, work on solutions (as a group or at home) and reflect on what they learned. SVA kids is offered for free to year 1- 8 students with registrations open all year. Projects are planned and delivered by term 4.
Another SVA programme, Service Award, is a free youth-led programme for secondary school students. Foundation North’s funding will contribute to programme delivery costs, as well as improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the service.
The programmes encourage students to take on a role, based on their strengths and interests, and research a problem they would like to solve. Project themes include environmental, social connection and disaster preparedness.
Ms Roy said the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that young people are enthusiastic to make positive changes in their own communities.
“The need for our programmes has become very clear in the context of the covid-19 pandemic. Young people are hungry for opportunities to do something positive in their communities, as well as boost their future prospects. Many are facing unprecedented challenges when it comes to their employment prospects and overall wellbeing.”