Tackling teenage issues

A new nationwide skills-for-life youth programme tackling sensitive issues such as binge drinking, sexual and peer-group pressures among teenagers was launched in Tauranga by DARE’s Bay of Plenty branch this week.

Tauranga police officer Sarah McKenzie and DARE Bay of Plenty coordinator Wendy Nicholls at the launch of DARE to Move On.

Called DARE To Move On, DARE Foundation of New Zealand’s new programme uses storytelling, or bibliotherapy, to engage with and challenge ‘at risk’ youth aged 14 years and above, to help them develop insights and understanding about making more positive choices and decisions when faced with conflict in their lives.
The programme is based around a book called ‘Smashed’ by author and former special needs teacher Mandy Hager. It has already been successfully trialled in Hawke’s Bay and Southland with Year 10 and 11 students who had come to the attention of their college guidance counsellors.
BOP DARE coordinator Wendy Nicholls says feedback from the trial programmes has been very positive, with year deans and school principals reporting that participating students are now ‘more settled’ and ‘more focussed’ and contributing much better in class. Most of them have also formed new friendships and/or become involved in kapa haka groups.
Jenny Corlet, an experienced guidance counsellor at Invercargill’s Aurora College, has run two DARE To Move On programmes.
“It fills a gap because it’s an intervention programme for older students who are experiencing challenging issues and situations in their lives which puts them at risk. It shows them that choices and behaviours have consequences, and offers them time to reflect on the choices the characters make in the book – and thus the choices they make themselves.”
‘Smashed’ centres on a group of teenage friends who have to deal with such challenging issues as binge drinking and the terrible repercussions of date rape including, guilt, pain, confusion and revenge. It is a fast-paced story that pulls no punches and hooks its readers (and group participants) into wanting to know what happens next.
‘Smashed’ won this year’s Esther Glen Medal which Library and Information
Association New Zealand Aotearoa awards annually to the book/writer it believes has made the most distinguished contribution to Literature for Children in NZ.
It is the second novel (along with the programme resource guide) Mandy has developed for the DARE Foundation’s community programmes.
‘Run For The Trees’ forms the basis of the DARE To Be You programme, a versatile skills-for-life programme aimed at young people from 10 years of age that has already attracted over 1200 pre-teen participants since its launch two years ago.
For more information on DARE to Move On and other programmes, phone Wendy on
07 577 4430 or email
wendy.nicholls@xtra.co.nz




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