Life skills and strong values give youth a good start
A youth mentoring trust, based at the once-derelict Te Papapa Bowling Club, is providing athlete development, tutoring and life-skills programmes to at-risk male youth who have dreams of a professional career in sport.
Pro-Pare Athlete Management Trust (PAMT) chairman, George Gavet, encourages the teenagers to pursue their dream career outside of rugby league, and works with colleague, Rhys Cullen, facilitators and volunteers to help implement plans to reach those goals. Many are talented Maori and Pasifika rugby league players who may have received offers to move abroad, and families are supported to understand the risks involved and how to avoid exploitative contracts.
The customised programmes are run every weekday afternoon, beginning with physical training and followed by supervised studies. The main tool is an Individual Development Plan, which was created to identify and build on each person’s strengths first, rather than focusing on problem areas. Education is paramount, so players are closely mentored to achieve their NCEA qualifications each year.
George and his team are passionate about increasing the proportion of Year 13 students who achieve University Entrance, and ensure that those who wish to study STEM subjects in Years 12 and 13 can do so with full support. They provide tutoring at Year 11 level in Maths, English, Physical Education, History and Science, and are working to add additional tutoring at NCEA Level 2 and 3.
The students received excellent results for NCEA 2020, further validating the Hub’s success and its potential for the future. George says, “100% of our Year 11 boys achieved their NCEA Level 1 – three were successful due to the out of school courses that were provided. Two Year 10 boys were disengaged from school and did not return following the first lockdown; we helped one achieve his NCEA Level 1, and the other completed the year with 69 of the 80 credits required for NCEA Level 1.”
George stresses the importance of preparing young men to enter the world with their best foot forward. Some do not even have a driver’s licence or bank account, and they have limited life skills on arrival. With proper guidance and a holistic approach, the young men go on to attain these goals, and more. George says, “It’s always a good feeling to watch their attitudes transform over time. They become better young men here, and they take those strong values home with them. Even their parents notice and mention the positive changes.”
Visit tamakisports.nz/pro-pare.php or like the Pro-Pare Athlete Management Trust page on Facebook to follow their journey.