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Apopo means ‘tomorrow’ in Maori, and Taupo organisation Apopo is “empowering youth and their whanau today to create hope for tomorrow”.
Jodi Manuel is the inspirational woman behind Apopo. An experienced youth worker, Jodi observed that local young people had nowhere to go that provided a “community based whanau”. She took the initiative to open a youth centre with her own savings.
Young people, aged 12-24, are referred to Apopo by Youth Justice, social service agencies and word of mouth. On average they see 220 young people per week.
Apopo runs wide-ranging activities including alcohol and drug counselling, martial arts, hair and makeup, adventure based learning, anger management and sports coaching.
Last winter, Apopo youth collected pine cones for firewood for a disabled man and a new mother. “We’re teaching them generosity. If you’re generous to people, you’re less likely to offend against them,” said Jodi Manuel.
Alicia DeYoung, a teenage mum, commented: “Apopo is everything to me and my son. It has helped me so much. I was an angry person before I met Jodi and started going to Apopo. It’s a place we need in Taupo for us young ones, where we can go and have fun and act like kids and not get judged.”
The Tindall Foundation funded the ‘Know the Warrior Within’ programme, where young people learn how to deal appropriately with their emotions.
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