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Toi Ora Trust is an award winning art organisation that provides innovation and leadership in the field of creativity in mental health recovery. Here are a couple of the youth programmes we run:
Express Yourself is Toi Ora’s innovative youth programme that uses creativity and the arts to help young people build resilience, self confidence, self esteem, and grow their ability to deal with stress, anxiety and other mental health challenges.
Projects are led by inspirational artists, musicians, poets, performers, film-makers and an amazing group of youth workers.
Toi Ora’s Next Gen funded project (working title: West Auckland Youth Resiliency programme) is working with a group of young people from West Auckland that are either in Alternative Education, or have been identified through the Youth at Risk Network and are yet to be re-engaged in education. They have all been on a rough road to get to where they are today, and through the programme we’re aiming to provide them with skills and knowledge that will help them be more resilient and navigate a more positive pathway back into education and achievement.
They’ll be working on projects like the Humans of Hendo, a project that uses photo documentary making to create community connection and break down barriers. The result is some truly brilliant photographs and artist statements. The Humans of Hendo book will be launched at the end of March. Other projects we’ve done include a fantastic mural project that saw the young people reflect on their community and what they wanted. The Working for Change Mural is now up in South Henderson.
Our team will also be supporting adults that work and engage with young people, because a truly resilient person has a great team of people around them supporting and nurturing them. Our plan is to help build these relationships too. So we’ll be working with alternative education tutors, police, CYFS, health workers and families. By the end of the programme we’re aiming for a group of kids that feel much more capable of facing and working through the challenges they will inevitably face.
VANESSA GREEN (far left in pic above) is our lead tutor working with young people at Alternative Education in West Auckland. She’s been working with the Humans of Hendo kids supporting them through the photographic documentary process, and setting up the exhibition at the Henderson Library. An experienced photographer, tutor and Express Yourself team member, Vanessa is brilliant at gently encouraging all kids even our most reserved, leading them into a place where they blossom through creative expression and become more confident in what they can do and who they are. This is evident in the amazing things some of the kids she’s been working with have achieved, including public speaking and the publishing of a book of their work!
AMBER WALLS is a creative learning and youth engagement specialist with over 15 years’ experience leading award winning initiatives to achieve better youth health, educational and life outcomes overseas and locally. Amber has worked across diverse environments researching and co-designing initiatives, and has a special passion for social justice and youth-led social action. Amber leads programme research and development at Toi Ora, and is also a doctoral researcher in creative practices and youth mental health at the University of Auckland.
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