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Introducing: Shyla

What’s your story?

Hi I am Shyla, I am 11 years old born in 2008. I come from a big family, 3 sisters 2 dogs, mum and dad. I have gone on a lot of of fun trips with my friends and family. Gone on a kayak and saw jellyfish. I love to bake and create things like art. I am very talkative and love to have fun! In the future I want to be successful either a lawyer or an accountant.


How has being involved in the united dance crew, mentoring group supported your story?

I learnt how to dance and gained confidence meeting a lot of different people from other schools. It inspired me to try new things, I never thought I would be a part of something so cool like this. I have gotten more confident in dancing it has helped me to branch out and be myself more.


What have you most enjoyed about being a part of our united dance crew mentoring group?

I have enjoyed hanging out with Ari, doing one on one mentoring, getting to dance and have fun and do crazy activities with everyone. I like playing our handshake game that was really fun!

I enjoyed sharing my rose bud and thorn to the group and hearing about their day as well, I love the events we go on like our sleep overs at Epic and how Ari took us to shop at New World and we made cookies.


Introducing: Hannah

What’s your story?

My name is Hannah, I’m year 10 at Central Hawkes Bay College.

I live on my family farm just outside of Takapau and have done so my whole life.

I live with my parents, my brother and two sisters and a bunch of foster kids.

I enjoy riding horses and reading when I can.


How has being involved in the GGA mentoring group supported your story?

I find it easy and more comfortable to isolate myself rather than attend events and go to social places. GGA has kept me from isolating myself and has given me a safe environment where I feel comfortable to express myself.


What have you enjoyed/valued about being part of our GGA mentoring group?

The experiences; I have done things that I wouldn’t have been able to do without GGA. Many of these experiences have pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me overcome fears.

The environment; it gives me and the other girls a safe and welcoming space to share our thoughts and be heard, while having fun and building connections with each other when we probably wouldn’t have spent time together without GGA.


Introducing: Malachi

What’s your story?

My name is Malachi Fraser Bucknell and I am the fourth child in my family. I have 3 sisters, 1 brother, a dog named Tilly and a cat called Chandler.

I go to St Joseph’s School and I am 12 years old. I grew up in Waipukurau and was born at home in Racecourse Road. 

I like to do flips on the tramp and riding mountain bikes and dirt bikes. I can do a double front flip and land.


How has being involved in the ELEVATE mentoring group supported your story?

Good because I have made new friends and I feel way more confident! It is fun because we get to do cool trips like going to Taupo and doing mountain biking. When I’m older I want to be a motorbike engineer, so biking is really fun for me.


What have you most enjoyed about being a part of our ELEVATE mentoring group?

Going on really fun camps and eating nice food! Meeting with James and new friends. One day James gave me chicken nuggets when I was sick. Going on our mountain bike trips has empowered me to thrive and aim for my goals and dreams.


Introducing: Ihipera 

What’s your story?

Kia Ora ko Ihipera ahau

Ko Takitimu toku waka

Ko Maungapōhatu tuku maunga

Ko Waimana toki hapu

Ko Tuhoe toko iwi

Ko te ahau tuku marae

No reira

Ko Carmen Raua ko Tony taku matua

Ko Roise toku tuakana

Ko Mahahia toku teina

Ko rua te whanau ingoa

No Auckland ahau

E tekau ma toru toku tou

No reira tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.


How has being involved in the Travellers mentoring group supported your story?

I have learned more about who I really am and what my values are.  Have had an increase in self-confidence too. In the past few weeks I have been able to reflect on who I’ve become and Travellers has really put that into perspective for me.


What have you most enjoyed about being a part of our Travellers mentoring group?

It has been a very amazing journey at Travellers. I now know that I have support from a lot of people. It’s been really good to learn that I am not alone through the good and bad stuff that happens in my life. 


Introducing: Carlos

What’s your story?

I have spent my whole life living here in Waipukurau, I have two younger brothers and an older brother and sister. My passions are, skating, surfing, running and rugby. I enjoy being involved at Epic, I think I started in year 4, coming to the Rock Solid programme with my older brother and pretending I was year 5, and I haven’t stopped since. I’m a leader at AMP’D now, helping out with the year 6-8 kids every second Friday night, I really enjoy helping out. I’m also a member of IGNITE, Fuel and the Sk8ups mentoring group. My family and friends mean a lot to me. I love being active, I played in the CHB Ross Shield rugby team, I’ve represented the college in regional and national cross country competitions, I’ve won our local skate comp. Some of my favourite memories are going away on camps, Year 10 Rotorua Adrenaline trip, Epic Easter Camps and other camps they run.


How has being involved in the skate mentoring group supported your story?

I have improved at skateboarding, built up confidence and skills to compete in and win a skate competition. It’s helped me to connect with other people that I wouldn’t normally get to know and build friendships with them. I enjoyed learning and engaging with the Alpha Film series we did. Jono is someone I can talk to about other stuff and life in general, not just skating.


What have you most enjoyed about being a part of our skate mentoring group?

Hanging out with everyone, skating together, getting to know people better. I’ve had the opportunity to skate at more than 20 different skateparks over the year, from Napier to Wellington. Making new stories with other people. I dropped into the 13ft vert ramp in Karori, Wellington for the first time, that was a rush! Palmerston North skatepark is my favourite skatepark that I’ve been to so far. I’m looking forward to our next trip there!


Introducing: Quroshea-Jade

What’s your story?

My name is Quroshea-Jade my mum is Terena and my dad is Shuawn and my sisters are Lyric and Trinity and my brother is Eric. I am Maori and I live in Waipukurau. I was born in New Zealand and when I was 5 I moved to Australia with my mum’s parents for 3 years. I also hate sports because I have cerebal palsy and that affects my legs.


How has being involved in the SHINE mentoring group supported your story?

I used to be shy to tell my story, especially about my legs. But now I know that it’s okay, other people have it. If people spread rumours, it’s my legs and not theirs. 

I also learnt lots about my dreams and goals and believing in myself to achieve them.


What have you most enjoyed about being a part of our SHINE mentoring group?

That Penny has been supporting with stuff. 

I enjoyed the chopstick game with m&m’s. I learnt if things get hard to never give up and push myself.

It’s okay to communicate with people. 

I’m not useless & I’m worth stuff.

You don’t have to change if someone doesn’t like the way you are.

I enjoyed the group and the leaders.


Introducing: Lydia

What’s your story?

 I am 16 years old and a year 11 student at CHBC. I have lived in Waipukurau my whole life and have been involved in Epic my whole life too. I have two brothers and two sisters, I am the middle child. I love leading at Epic, playing sports and just having a good time. I love getting involved and helping making a difference in the community. Since I can remember I have attended all the programs I can and volunteered with everything I can. Epic Ministries has become an important thing in my life and I have loved watching every kid come through and enjoy it as much as me.


How has being involved in the IGNITE Community supported your story?

Being involved in the Ignite community has become my story, I don’t think I could imagine my life without the Ignite community. It has encouraged and inspired me to be the best person I can. I have learnt so much from learning to always be myself to encouraging others to do the same. It has helped develop my leadership skills and given me so many experiences and opportunities. I have learnt that there are always so many people behind you encouraging and supporting you. I know that I will always feel safe and loved when within the Ignite community. It has supported me in so  many different ways and I am so privileged to be able to say that I’m a part of it.


What have you most enjoyed about being a part of our IGNITE Community?

I have valued being able to say that I am involved in the Ignite community. Knowing that I can always come and feel so welcomed. I think the most important thing for me is to be able to see all the amazing youth that come through. Being able to give them the same love and opportunities that I have been given. Knowing that they feel the same way makes me feel so happy. I have enjoyed developing the Fuel band so I can help others experience the connections that I have experienced. I have valued the Ignite LiT team helping make a better program on Friday nights. I have enjoyed and valued all my experiences as they have all become memories and experiences that I will hold onto forever.


Introducing: Hamish

What’s your story?

I’m 12 and I love heavy metal, punk and rock. I live with my mum and dad and 3 siblings, Campbell (17), Cerys (15) and Abbie (10). I was born in Hastings and I’ve lived in Waipukurau my whole life. I love soccer. I’ve had a lot to do with Epic. I’ve been involved with Amp*d, Leap, Rock Solid, Elevate and Strength. I love being an egg and being social.


How has being involved in the STRENGTH mentoring group supported your story?

It’s made me less of a hermit!

I now share more ideas no matter the size of the group.

I used to keep to myself in a small group and be a little reserved.


What have you most enjoyed about being a part of our STRENGTH mentoring group?

James was a good leader.

Eating M&M’s.

Popping balloons.

Lollies & Chips.

Being around friends.

Learning the differences between man or male.



Introducing: Sienna

What’s your story?

I am 10 years old and I go to Waipawa Primary. I have three brothers, two dogs and two cats. I enjoy playing netball and most other sports.


How has being involved in the KidsRock Community supported your story?

I like art and learning about Jesus that way. I really like playing the games too.


What have you most enjoyed about being a part of our KidsRock Community?

I have enjoyed Tama, Monique and Jared, and going on the trips. The sleepovers are fun! The nerf war in the dark and building cardboard houses was cool. Pancakes at Genghi’s was awesome too!


Introducing: Kieran

What’s your story?

I first heard about the youth council (at the time I’m sure it wasn’t even called Inspire yet) when I was a year 5 or 6 student attending a Leap camp where some of the leaders of Leap and members of the youth council suggested it to me. I joined that year and have been a member ever since so around 7 years. At the time Kelly Annand was running the youth council and we enjoyed breakfast at subway once a fortnight. I remember some of the main achievements we made in my junior years were setting up school leaver scholarships and beginning the development of Russell park and the skate park proposals.


How has being involved in the INSPIRE Youth Council supported your story?

It has provided me with a large group of role models and supportive people that I can call my friends and equals that I enjoy spending time with and making a change for the better for the community. Being part of the youth council has helped me build on many of my leadership qualities and has given me experience in working with a highly diverse group of people. Seeing as I have been a member so long I have seen the council grow and change substantially throughout the last 7-8 years and I can honestly say that am so proud to have been part of the making of what the Inspire youth council is today. 


What have you most enjoyed about being a part of our INSPIRE Youth Council?

During my involvement with the Inspire youth council I have gained many things. I am most appreciative for the friends and memories I have made while being part of the team. Some useful skills I have gained while being part of the team have included more confidence in public speaking, event set up and running skills, the confidence not only to speak to  youth but also to older people in the community. Being part of this team has been an amazing experience and I have enjoyed every moment of it and I am extremely excited to see where it goes from here. The Inspire youth council has not only made me a better leader but an overall better person and I thank everyone involved for that.


Introducing: Nellie

What’s your story?

Hi, my name is Nellie. I am a year 9 at CHB College. I live here in Waipukurau with my mum. I have whangai sisters and 4 nephews. One of my main hobbies is netball, I am in the Junior Prems team for school. I have been part of Epic for a few years now. Throughout intermediate I took part in the Leap programme. I am now actively participating in Fuel, Ignite, go away on camps, GGA and Leap+. I also lead at the United dance programme.


How has being involved in the LEAP+ mentoring group supported your story?

I really enjoyed the Leap camps I got to go on in year 7 and 8 so being given the opportunity to take part in Leap+ was something that I was really excited for. Initially I found it a bit difficult because I had to meet some new mentors from Epic and I was nervous about this. However being part of Leap Plus has allowed me to connect more with mentors and people at Epic which has helped me to develop some more positive relationships in my life. So far we have focussed on the topic of relationships. I have gained more of an understanding for what relationships should and could look like and I have learnt a bit about how I can contribute to different relationships in my life more as well. 


What have you most enjoyed about being a part of our LEAP+ mentoring group?

I have really enjoyed being able to connect with other people in my year group at school. I have enjoyed being part of a group of girls who are supportive and stable and who are there for me. To be honest the food we had at different sessions was a highlight for me to, but I also valued the different conversations we had about relationships throughout the term.


Introducing: Gemma

What’s your story?

I live with my brother, sister, mum and stepsister. I’ve lived in Waipukurau for around 12 years now and with that, Epic has played a major part in my life. I’m year 11 in school, which this year I attended CHBC. I’m moving up to Taradale at the end of this year meaning I’m not going to be as involved with Epic as I once had been but I’m really excited that I’m getting a fresh start.


How has being involved in the IGNITE Community supported your story?

Helped me grow my character in a good way

Helped develop my leadership skills

Helped me create forever lasting friends

Everyone is always there for me


What have you most enjoyed about being a part of our IGNITE Community mentoring group?

I’m super grateful for everything the Ignite community has provided me with over the past 3 years. I’ve enjoyed meeting people I never thought I would encounter and I’ve valued all the opportunities Ignite has provided me with. Ignite has opened up a bunch of new doors in my life such as learning about Christianity and faith, experiences such as EC and Spring Break and all the little things in between like LIT and Youth Council. I’ve been presented with heaps of opportunities to grow as a person and help others grow as well which is another thing I value as it is helping shape me into the person I’ll be.  I couldn’t be more grateful as without all this I wouldn’t be where I am today. Ignite isn’t only a place where you come to play games every fortnight, it’s a place to learn and grow which is a major part of why I love it so much.


Introducing: Samara

What’s your story?

I’m 11 years old. I hate doing school work. I’m the middle child of 5 children. I live at Porangahau beach. I was born in Waipukurau and my parents are from here. I have never left the country before. I am very fussy. I like fruit.


How has being involved in LEAP supported your story?

I don’t like doing new things. On the first day of Leap we had to go kayaking and paddleboarding. When I got there I got quite upset and didn’t want to do it. But later I got on by myself. I really liked kayaking.


What have you most enjoyed about being a part of our LEAP mentoring group?

Kayaking, Paddleboarding, mountain biking, sleeping, boxing, relaxing. I learnt that I hate new things, but trying new things doesn’t have to be scary and I may like the new things.

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