The input and insights of these 10 awesome rangatahi – picked from applicants around the country -is helping us to better tailor our programmes and gauge their impact in schools. Some Council members are KidsCan recipients, all are inspirational change-makers in their communities, and all are passionate about making a difference. We’re so lucky to have them join this inaugural scholarship programme and to welcome them into the KidsCan family.
“Young people are one of our greatest resources and their value can often be overlooked. Listening to their opinions gives KidsCan a genuine insight into what matters in their school communities and the attention we need to pay to certain societal concerns that may otherwise be missed.” - Ray, Youth Council Coordinator
So come and meet our Youth Council members!
“For me, ever since primary school, if your shoes broke at school, you got given KidsCan ones, or if you didn’t have a jacket, you got given a KidsCan ones, or if you didn’t have lunch there was KidsCan food. And then I moved to an intermediate school that didn’t have that stuff. And you could tell the difference.
Now, in my high school every morning, I help out in the school’s breakfast club, giving people who don’t have food something to eat before they start their learning. Often, they take away trail mix and fruit cups for later on.
I think it makes a big difference for people who would have otherwise been hungry throughout the school day, or who would have been worried about spending lots of money at our school canteen, which is egregiously expensive. I think it just adds a little bit more comfort for those people.
And people who don't necessarily need food also come into the Kai Club to hang out with their friends or because it's somewhere warm so there's not so much stigma around. I think it's implemented really well in our school community.
It’s really inspiring to see that people are able to make that difference, and it's all because of what KidsCan does. So, I was keen to be involved with that. Being on the Youth Council has been a really interesting opportunity, to be able to meet like-minded people and have some input on what needs to be done to further improve and help out, especially as times are getting tougher. And also, to learn about how small the team is at KidsCan! You wouldn’t think that, given the widespread nature of what KidsCan is able to do, and the impact that they make.
The thing is to think about how the other people are feeling, especially with kids. They're not in a position to make any change, but they're stuck dealing with the repercussions. So, they're stuck being hungry at school, without a jacket in the cold. And so, someone has to do something. And if I can be a part of that change that, obviously it’s a thing that I'd want to do.”
“It's been such an amazing experience being with a group of people who have the same values and mindset as me, because we can all collaborate to bring ideas to the table. It’s awesome to meet people that come from so many different areas around New Zealand, and hearing what their struggles are in their community and what they're doing to help fix those problems.
“We live in a really small community down in Turangi. My mum has always taught us that it’s so important to give back and help anyone if we have the means to. At school I'm involved in the Manaakitanga group. We identify local charities and issues and we go and awhi those causes. We’ve helped our local food bank and Orange Sky [a free laundry/hot shower service for the homeless]. It’s an amazing group of people.
“Last year we became a KidsCan school, and I help at our school breakfast club every day. At the start of the year, I was naïve about the level of need there was, and the impact we would have. It has flourished into something so amazing. We’ve created a safe space where kids don't feel shame that they’re asking for help. I organised for our student executives to come – they’re looked at as the ‘cool’ students’ – so having them in that space makes it okay. And then we create a fun place. We run activities. We have music playing. The local radio station came in and did a dance competition. I love going to help and talking with everyone.”
“For me, it's very important to be on the KidsCan Youth Council. It makes me feel important. It’s important for us ‘young folk’ to have a voice in what we might want for our community, and to be able to discuss with other young people how we can create a better environment for the next generation to grow up in.”
“Everyone in my school really enjoys KidsCan snacks. I've seen a lot of people going in to grab bars and scroggin and peach cups. No one sees it as, ‘Oh they don't have food they need to get a peach cup.’ It’s “Ahhh there’s peach cups available, I’m going to have one!” So, there's no stigma around it at all, which I love. It's empowering.”
“There is definitely a lot of poverty in Northland. There are people sleeping on the streets and having to beg others for food. It’s honestly very sad. It's just not really what you'd hope for any community. But we all have each other’s backs. Although Northland is huge. Every town is quite small, and I find that beautiful. Everyone knows each other. We help each other in need.”
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