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Otago Community Trust commits $644K for greater Green Island youth

The Otago Community Trust has announced a community funding grant of $644,859 for the Wheako Project, an innovative initiative spearheaded by the Greater Green Island Community Network Charitable Trust (GGICN).

The Wheako Project aims to holistically address the needs of Tamariki (children) and taiohi (youth) in the Greater Green Island area by strengthening connections across four key domains: schools, community, whānau, and the establishment of an intentional community space.

“We are thrilled to receive this generous funding from the Otago Community Trust,” said Ben McKenzie of GGICN. “The Wheako Project represents our deep commitment to nurturing our region’s young people and empowering them to thrive within a supportive, inclusive community environment.”

In schools, the project will enhance peer relationships and foster a greater sense of belonging, especially for students facing challenges. Youth workers will engage students during lunchtime, modelling positive relationships and creating an uplifting atmosphere.

Community engagement efforts will encourage taiohi to actively participate in social good projects, cultivating a spirit of generosity and community involvement. The project’s Activate program will provide support and mentorship opportunities for taiohi to explore their interests and hobbies.

“The Wheako Project is an example of what can be achieved when our community, schools, and partners join forces with a shared vision,” said Melanie McNatty of GGICN. “Through our collaborative efforts and leveraging the strengths of our partners and communities, we are creating an enriching environment that enables every young person to grow, thrive, and unlock their full potential. The Wheako Project is a testament to our commitment to investing in the future of our youth and our community.”

The Wheako Project also emphasizes the importance of whānau involvement in supporting young people. Plans are underway to establish an intentional community space that will serve as a hub and safe haven for taiohi and their families. This space will host community services, after-school activities, and accessible learning opportunities.

“The Otago Community Trust is proud to support the Wheako Project and its comprehensive approach to empowering the youth of Greater Green Island,” said Jemma Adams, CE of the Otago Community Trust. “We believe this initiative will have a lasting, positive impact on the community.” The grant falls under the Trust’s Impact for Tamariki & Rangatahi Fund, which aims to empower and enrich the lives of children and youth within the region.

 

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