Updates from our CEO

Our service to tamariki and rangatahi is more vital than ever before as we embark on the uncertainty of the Covid 19 lockdown. Despite the challenges we face the Foundation is intent on finding ways to get through this together. More than ever it is important we help our young people to be resilient and overcome the obstacles that now face Aotearoa as a nation.

Week 3 update

Tēnā koe Dingle whānau,

I hope you are all doing well and surviving the balancing act that has become the work from home norm for many. This update is devoted to saying a huge thank you to you, our fantastic sponsors and friends. You continue to support the Foundation’s work despite the challenging business and circumstances that surround us and over the weeks of lockdown, we want to show you just what your support means. This week’s topic is called behind the front door as we talk to our staff and students from around the country to check out what they have been up to and how they are coping in lockdown. From behind my own front door I’m pleased to report that the chewed lamp is now fixed and the puppy’s training is coming along well – in fact she’s too tired to chew from all the walks (local!).

Let’s start with Kiwi Can. Our leaders have been using their creative talents to make You Tube and social media clips to connect with their tamariki across the school holidays. Check out this clip from our Canterbury team:

We had a chat to Seddon (co-star of the clip) and asked him how it was going and what he was most looking forward to:

Seeing the kids again. We know that schools can be a safe and fun place for some kids; and a great place for us to help them become good little humans. Through online forums we can still give the kids challenges and teach them new skills, but I’m looking forward to being more interactive”

Moving onto Stars:  “Stay safe, we’re here if you need us….”  This was the message the year 13 peer mentors from Wakatipu High sent out to their year 9’s. The school uses Google classrooms already so they have been fantastic in aiding our Programme Development Team develop and launch the online curriculum for term 2. This week is holiday time and their peer mentor group are preparing to run a mini talent show for year 9’s the online platform.

Project K is for Kindness. Project K co-ordinator Kat Matheson (Canterbury) charged her new Project K students with a ‘project kindness’ Community Challenge. These images are a beautiful example of Kyra-Lee from Hornby High School making a positive contribution to the community in this time of level 4 lockdown.

In the Waikato, Career Navigator mentor Stu Davidson had his work cut out for him as his new mentee group had only recently formed as we went into lockdown. We asked him how he was connecting with his new team of recruits.

“Since (lockdown) I’ve had phone contact with all to check up with just how they are feeling at the moment – set up a private face book group for the 4 of us, letting mentees know that I’m here for them. I love the work the Foundation does for young people…. for me, it’s the most exciting thing showing people the opportunities and helping them develop”.

And some wise words for Stu to his Career Navigator mentees
Don’t fall into bad habits, don’t sleep in too late. It is easier to transition back if you keep good habits.

I’m guessing that this is good advice for all of us, but it doesn’t apply this Easter weekend! From our team, to all of you have a wonderful Easter and time with your bubble crew. And to end, here is some Easter fun from our Kiwi Can team.

Thanks again from all of us.

Kia kaha

Jenny Stiles
CEO, Graeme Dingle Foundation

Week 2 Update

Tēnā koe Dingle whanau,

Well what a difference a week makes. A week later and we are in Alert Level 4 lockdown, the most important job now to keep each other and Aotearoa safe. The Graeme Dingle Foundation team has been focused on finding ways to adapt and flex to bring our programmes to students in different ways. Not that the last few days haven’t been a challenge for all of us in different ways as we adapt to the ‘new normal’. In our small team we have seen the inevitable tech challenges, staff trying to look serious on zoom with their children pulling faces behind them, one person sitting on her stairs as the only point of refuge from teenagers, and in my house we no longer have a working lamp as I failed to notice the puppy chomping through the cable while I was on zoom (at least it wasn’t the laptop…). But for all the small things daily life now brings, for essential workers and their families, the Government and teams who are managing this situation, the challenges are a whole different level and we salute them.

This week our teams across the country have focused on maintaining continuity for tamariki and rangatahi finding new ways to work fast and flexibly as they plan for our programmes to go online in Term 2.  They have reached out to vulnerable families and students, checking in on them and this will continue on a regular basis. In addition inspirational focussed content has been delivered to rangatahi and tamariki by video, zoom, skype, tailored around building resilience and hope in these times. We see even greater need to provide an anchor to help our students connect, allay anxiety, keep social connectedness in a safe way and to build resilience.

In brief here are the plans for the continuity of each programme:

Kiwi Can

Preparing a fun/learning sheet as a session resource for those with and without IT/Wifi.

Developing online sessions for a Term 2 start with a focus on resilience.

Getting inspirational Kiwi Can sessions up on YouTube to help families at home and also running with a possible free to air/streaming project with several partners to try and get Kiwi Can on national TV for all families.

Career Navigator

Term 2 start for new workshop plan focused on resilience, wellbeing, connectedness, adaptability and Chaos theory – helping students navigate and identify their strengths, positives, and opportunity.

Continuing to connect students with business mentors online.

Use of Video for Guest Speaker series sharing across Communities.

Delivering through a combination of video, live updates, social media, channels and paper based and messaging to connect and deliver, responding to community resources


Project K

Online mentoring has started, to maintain continuity

The Project K Community Project will be in home focused with students encouraged to learn new skills and to carry out acts of kindness.


Term 2 start online.

Co-ordinated access through Google Hangouts and social media so that peer mentors can continue to meet with their students. Overseen by a coordinator.

Interim measures between now and Term 2 to allow students to connect.

We have also developed the following themes:

  • Experiential learning in the home – structured activities around programme themes and ideas they can do at home with their whanau.
  • Ways to maintain connection to each other and to industry, role models and added support to develop resilience and goal setting through mentoring
  • Focus on Goal Setting. How students can help others developing a growth mind-set and learning to think critically.

Thank you to all our sponsors and friends. We will keep you updated as we get to the start of Term two but want you to know that we are continuing online and see need in our tamariki and rangatahi as never before as we navigate this difficult and challenging time together.

If you have any queries, please feel free to contact me,

Ngā mihi nui,

Jenny Stiles

CEO, Graeme Dingle Foundation

Week 1 Update

Tēnā koutou Dingle whanau,

As we face this uncertain time of COVID-19 together we want to thank you for your support of Graeme Dingle Foundation programmes and to let you know that we are thinking of you all and the challenges you will be facing.

The need for our youth development programmes to support rangatahi and tamariki around Aotearoa is stronger than ever before and in the kaupapa of which our organisation was formed, we are here to assist schools to maintain the social and emotional component of student life. As our valued sponsor you play a vital role in this. Participation in our programmes will help students to allay their anxiety, keep social connectedness in a safe way and to build resilience. As we saw with the disruption to routine during the Kaikoura and Christchurch earthquakes we recognise the need to provide continuity for our tamariki, rangatahi and their whanau during this unsettling time.

Our team has moved fast this week to ensure we are able to maintain our programme delivery whether or not schools remain open and have made adaptations so that our programmes can be implemented to learners in their homes or communities should the need arise. Please note that we have postponed all camps until later in the year but have devised engaging local activities that can be run in school or online to continue to stimulate and engage students – the health and wellbeing of learners, school staff and our staff is at the forefront of all revised programme plans. We have also designed a learning theme, based around building connectedness, resilience and kindness, to help with the situation students face during the COVID-19 situation. The learning theme will run across age cohorts and programmes to allow for a cumulative build-up across student communities.

Should school closure occur, an important part of our delivery will be online. The key competencies of the NZ curriculum will remain interwoven into all our programmes. The mentoring and experiential learning which underpins all our programmes will continue so that tamariki and rangatahi can build their resilience, self-efficacy and a sense of hope for the future.

If you have any queries, please feel free to contact me, Claire Baldwin our Head of Partnerships or Kate Sanderson, National Grants Manager.

Ngā mihi nui,


Jenny Stiles
CEO, Graeme Dingle Foundation