Zeal offers more youth the chance to thrive

“Zeal is a safe haven for all people and a great open space for people like myself who grew up in a tough environment.”
Zeal Youth
“I have anxiety and I don't like approaching people normally, but the Zeal staff are easy going and I definitely feel comfortable around them.”
Zeal Youth

NZCT has awarded a grant of $19,896 to the Zeal Education Trust towards the cost of the salaries for Taranaki and Kapiti Youth Workers.

“The staff are amazing at Zeal. Very supportive, patient, always happy and are always wanting to provide us with so much learning opportunities to better ourselves no matter what and know that it takes a while to get better.”

“It’s improved my social well-being, mental well-being and has helped me to grow more as a person.”

“I don't have a bad attitude when I go home, unlike when I used to before I came to Zeal and I’m doing better as a person now.”

“I found Zeal when I was lost in my high school years and it's given me opportunities ever since then, and continues to show me new avenues and ways I can develop my career and my care within myself.”

“I grew as a person, I became the best version of myself through the help and support of Zeal. I became steady and healthy and I would not have made it this far in life without the support and help from the Zeal whanau and all the opportunities they provided.”

CEO Jesse Boyce says

Zeal’s kaupapa is to support all rangatahi to feel seen, valued, empowered and have an equitable shot to thrive.' The last couple of years have been very challenging for our rangatahi navigating the impacts of Covid, cost of living increases, severe weather events and more. For many young people these events have resulted in challenging mental health outcomes, more challenging home environments and increased disconnection from positive social environments, school and whanau.

Zeal supports and empowers young people to be resilient, healthy, and connected. We do this by providing safe, vibrant, spaces and programmes for young people in which to connect, learn skills, and overcome life challenges. Our work consists of afternoon drop-in spaces, mentoring, skill development and work-readiness programmes, and youth and community events.

As a result of the needs outlined above, we have seen a huge influx of young people accessing our drop-in spaces looking for connection, belonging and support. Currently we are not funded to a level that can meet this increased demand, meaning some young people may miss out on important one-to-one support. This extra funding has equated to about 770 youth work hours, helping to ensure any young person who connects with us has access to a trained youth worker.

This grant has provided young people with access to transformative spaces and experiences that nurture their self-worth and foster a sense of belonging. It has empowered youth workers to reach a greater number of rangatahi, helping them build confidence in their self-worth and live purposefully within the wider community. Ultimately, this grant will benefit not only the young people but also the broader community surrounding them.

Zeal Taranaki Manager Luke Galley adds -

Daily (especially first thing on a morning) we have rangatahi arriving on our doorstep with significant needs. We currently have young people attending our afternoon hangs and programmes for the homeless and others who don’t have their basic needs met. To be able to increase our team will be life-changing for these amazing humans, who through no fault of their own find themselves in these heart-breaking situations. More youth work hours would also enable us to safely increase our numbers in afternoon hangs and in our creative programmes.

The NZCT grant has been used to support our team of youth workers in our youth centres located in New Plymouth and Kapiti. This will help to ensure any young person who walks through our doors has access to a trained youth worker as well as enabling us to extend our outreach into the community where we are needed the most.

Established in 1998, Zeal is a leading New Zealand youth development organisation that exists to support and empower young people in Aotearoa to flourish, especially those experiencing distress or disconnection. Zeal’s mission is to make transformative spaces and experiences accessible to all young people, supporting and empowering rangatahi to be resilient, safe, healthy and connected. Through our online engagement and youth facilities located in Auckland, Hamilton, New Plymouth, Kapiti, and Wellington we provide safe spaces for young people to connect, learn skills, and overcome life challenges. Our end goal is that all young people feel seen, valued, safe, and empowered.