Source: Auckland Council
With a specific focus on nurturing young people into future leaders and agents of change, the Synergy Project group is facilitating programmes within the Oranga and Onehunga’s communities.
Among the group’s most popular initiatives is the Maungakiekie Community Sports Program. Created in collaboration with local sports clubs, the project makes use of local sports grounds. In Fergusson Park Domain they have stated offering T-Ball/Offside Touch which draws over 100 local children and young people to register and take part.
“The idea is to help provide other sporting platforms that appeal to a wide range of interests” explains Ron Muavae, Synergy Project Programme Coordinator
In conjunction with the Oranga and Onehunga Community Centers, Synergy Project also helps arrange school holiday offerings and weekly drop-in programmes for after school activities. Both are well attended and designed foremost around the needs and interests of local kids.
“We are passionate about communities and have made a commitment that we were going to do life with people. Only the hood can fix the hood, so we will be here for the long haul.”
Synergy Project also provides two youth mentoring programmes, FUSE and Triple Ex, which are both well-supported by local under 25s.
FUSE is a 6-weekly workshop which aims to increase the number of people who enroll in tertiary studies, apply for work, or enter apprenticeship training, through delivery of skills that the participants have highlighted are a barrier to their moving towards their goals.
The programme supports driver’s license applications, curriculum vitae writing, school applications, as well as music creation to encourage locals’ creative gifts. Taonga Puoro (Maori musical instruments) are utilized as a tool to help youth to connect with their cultural identity and to realize untapped potential.
Triple Ex is a 10-week programme which helps to build life skills, helping participants become more future-focused in their decision making, self-aware and improving belief in self-worth so that they feel enabled to contribute positively in society.
“We are incredibly proud of the both of these mentoring programmes, not just the visible and countable outcomes such as the numbers who attend, but the other – possibly more important – stuff like increased confidence and connection to their whakapapa, which we can see in their attitudes and how participants talk when they finish the course” explains Ron.
“Many people come back after completing the course and become course facilitators themselves.”
Funded in part by grants from Maungakiekie Tāmaki Local Board as part of their youth-focused priorities, the Synergy Project has an important part to play in helping improve the future for youth in Oranga and Onehunga.