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Harold the Giraffe reaches new heights with help from Taupo District Council

Life Education Trust’s Harold the giraffe, a childhood staple for more than 30 years, has received a helping hand from Taupō District Council.

Life Education Trust recieved a council social services community grant to help deliver its education program and purchase a new Harold giraffe puppet.

Life Education Trust and Harold the giraffe provide in-class education about health and wellness to Kiwi kids. The funding ensures the programme, and Harold, can continue to equip, entertain and encourage the next generation of tamariki.

Harold is puppeteered by the Life Education Trust educator during sessions with classes. He does not speak, but whispers what he wants shared in the educator’s ear. Students of all ages know Harold isn’t a real giraffe, but the creative and convincing explanations from educators are enough to keep the peace.

Life Education Trust Central Plateau’s Harold was a little worse for wear when the funding application was made.

“The old Harold was looking a bit tatty. He was about five years old and getting daily use,” Central Plateau educator Leiset Gregory says.

“He was falling apart and the stuffing was coming out.”

Life Education Trust’s mobile classrooms park at schools, where classes visit regularly for a few weeks. Educators take the students through programmes chosen by the school, covering health and wellbeing topics that affect young people.

“We’re finding identity and resilience to be one of the biggest areas of need following the pandemic, schools are really asking for it,” Leiset says.

“Substances is another big one for intermediate classes with the rise in vaping.”

The demand for Life Education Trust’s service is growing.

“The Central Plateau covers about 65 schools, with a waitlist, as many are wanting to increase the number of visits from once every two years to annually.

“Our goal is to work with 6000 children in the Central Plateau each year. We’ll go to schools with as few as five students – it’s important that we reach every child we can.”

Taupō District Council community grants will be open again in early 2024. If you need funding for a project that makes your community a better place, start thinking about applying now.

Check out the funding toolkit to learn how to make the best application possible. Visit www.taupo.govt.nz/grants to learn more.


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