Zeal Hamilton

Thanks to funding from Common Good Foundation, Zeal Education Trust was able to continue to grow their strength-based skill development programmes for Hamilton young people. These programmes are designed to give young people the opportunity to discover their passions, gain new skills and realise their potential, enabling them to thrive.

Programmes in Barista, Hip-hop Dance, Recording, Graphic Design, Vocal Ensemble, Song Writing and Photography were run.

Young people are supported to take positive risks in a safe environment, building their confidence and self-esteem. A team of youth workers and tutors use these programmes as a vehicle to initiate deeper level journeying with each young person. The goal is that young people leave feeling more confident to play an active role in their community.

Introducing Zeal ...


Stories of impact:

• We’ve had the privilege this year to be working with an Alternative Education school based out of Vision College. These young people have been kicked out of mainstream schooling for a bunch of different reasons, and it has left them all feeling the same – that they are dumb, unworthy, and shouldn’t deserve a “proper” education. We literally get to speak the opposite language to them when we see them twice a week for our barista work-readiness training programme, when we run mentoring sessions with them. One of the biggest successes has been the personal deep connections that are being created between the students and the tutors. There is a genuine trust that the young people are allowing to happen, and we are seeing that in the respect that they give us. These are kids that have often been labelled as having “no respect for authority” and have often been criticised for it. We have seen them come out of their shell, and actually try something new (barista).

• A young girl in Oranga Tamariki care attends our Vocal Ensemble programme. When we started the programme, she didn’t come on the first session and sent a text saying that she was at a funeral. We also got a text from her social worker that day apologizing that the young girl couldn’t make it because she was feeling too shy and embarrassed to sing in front of anyone and was in fact just at home. This is not unusual by any means. Our programmes focus on getting the young people to a confident space, a space where they can be proud of their effort regardless of whether they’re actually good or not. The following week she attended the programme. She was a little shy at first, but quickly got used to the environment and soon she was like a different person. One of the programme tutors has been walking alongside her for the last month or so as a mentor, and she has really opened up about her home life, and that she wants to be a singer to inspire people. She’s come into Zeal outside of the programme to work on recording a few covers of her favourite songs, and we have also helped her with a performance she was asked to do at a Women’s Empowerment Event. This young girl is a completely different person to who she was at the start of the programme, all she needed was some people she could look up to, to say things like “you can do it”, and “we’ve got your back”. This young girl has put her hand up to do one of the solo performances in our end of year showcase, and we can’t wait to celebrate her and the great work she’s been doing this term.

Linda Wilson - Zeal (2021)