Everything you need to know…

Graeme Dingle Foundation in partnership with the University of Auckland’s School of Counselling, Human Services and Social Work and Ara Taiohi are bringing together people in the field of youth work and youth development to discuss research findings, share best practice principles, and to facilitate conversations about child and youth engagement.

The Theme – Youth Engagement
Creating space for the voices of young people and supporting their active engagement in matters that affect them are core principles of effective youth development practice and vital for a sustainable future. Young people in Aotearoa New Zealand desire social change that will improve their lives and the lives of their whānau. Many are eager to contribute but unaware or unsupported to do so. Some are struggling to reconnect with others following the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic. How do we ensure meaningful youth engagement in today’s rapidly changing world? 

Our Speakers:

Jayne Mercier & Jackie Sanders

Jackie Sanders is a Professor in the School of Social Work at Massey University. Her research focus is on children and youth with a particular interest on the types of programmes that support them to grow and thrive.

Jayne Mercier has worked in youth development in practice, management and academic fields. She is currently working on the Relational Resources for Change project with Massey University.

Topic – Reframing Rangatahi Engagement through Relational Practice
Relationship-based practice tells us that regardless of the profession or service, it is the relationship that makes the biggest difference to rangatahi outcomes. PARTH is a relationship-based practice framework developed from Aotearoa-based research with vulnerable rangatahi, led by Professors Robyn Munford and Jackie Sanders at Massey University. Relational practices reframe conversations about engagement/disengagement and empower kaimahi to see how they can positively influence engagement. This presentation will explore the role of organisations and kaimahi in engagement processes and present PARTH practice orientations as a guide for kaimahi (workers) in establishing trust-based and enduring relationships.

Natasha Urale-Baker

I have been Youthtown’s Youth Work Development Manager for just under six months and hold a PhD in Social Work from the University of Auckland. I have developed interests in social work and the youth sector that include youth justice, restorative justice, Pacific/indigenous methodologies and ritual, music and song, wellbeing, and relationality. I am a musician and songwriter, which I have found useful in connecting with our young people. I am hoping to share a waiata/pese as part of my presentation.    

Topic – Stories of Change-Engaging and sustaining youth participation during challenging times.
Here I will share about Youthtown’s GROW programme, developed by Youthtown and The University of Auckland. This will include a description of GROW and its potential impact in the wake of COVID-19, including promotion of self-knowledge and understanding of others. Additionally, I will share compelling evidence on the efficacy and utility of the GROW programme. I also discuss potential future work using GROW as an accompaniment to Youthtown’s YEP (Youth Employability Programme)

Julie Moore

In my role as manager of Research and Evaluation for the Graeme Dingle Foundation, I have worked collaboratively with universities as well as conducting research with a focus on improving youth development programmes and examining outcomes for participants. I have developed a particular interest in the sharing of evidenced-based knowledge that supports the delivery of effective youth development programmes. More recently, I have been exploring the use of a theory of change approach to evaluate programmes and support programme development in real time.

Topic – Finding a Voice: Supporting youth engagement
On August 17th, 2021, Auckland entered a Covid-19 lockdown that lasted over one hundred days. The lockdown disrupted the first Project K community programme as the young participants were beginning their mentoring experience and returning to everyday life. It also created a ‘messiness’ in the evaluation data that resulted in the evaluation being revised to a case study approach. This approach has allowed us to conduct a more in-depth exploration of the issues related to youth engagement, in real-life contexts. I will discuss how youth development programmes, by increasing a young person’s belief in their capacity to effect positive change in their lives where they need it most, can increase engagement and improve an individual’s wellbeing and quality of life.

Tony Laulu

Digital Discipline is a service dedicated to helping people of all ages become more aware of the dangers and impact of social media and the over usage of any form of digital device. Founded by Tony Laulu Digital Discipline has presented in numerous schools, community groups and organizations leaving an undeniable impression of mindfulness and balance when being online. We will guide our participants on a journey to find a more balanced approach to the online world by providing resources and support. We want to help 1 million people half their screen time.

Topic – The depth of impact social media is having on our young people.
Our young people are being bombarded by content on social media that they have not been taught how to properly consume. Even younger children are being exposed to themes and videos that leave lasting impressions on themselves and how they view others. Digital Discipline aims to bring light the negative impact social media is having on our youth and what we are dedicated to improving.

Karla Sanders

Karla is the CEO and co-founder of the multi award winning, bullying prevention charity Sticks ‘n Stones. An experienced educator, Karla taught in Australia and London before returning to Aotearoa to start a family.  Karla also works as a Professional learning facilitator with schools across the motu and when she is not working can usually be found with her nose in a book. Since 2013, SnS has centred young people in decision making and practice, recognising how important it is to work WITH them to create positive social change. Action Research has been the foundation of our mahi from the beginning and we are passionate about co-designed, participative research that moves beyond assumptions to dig deeper into attitudes and experiences.

Topic – How Action Research Shapes Our Practice
From large scale regional action research with 11-18 year olds to our 100 voices project- conversations with tweens and young teens about their time online; action research is a core part of our work.  It shapes our programme design and also the response to challenges the data uncovers, e.g. icon.org.nz our award winning online support tool for young people experiencing online harm or negativity. We will share how we work WITH tamariki and rangatahi to better understand their experiences and the norms, attitudes and behaviour that develop as a result.

Michaela Latimer

Michaela’s work, governance and voluntary involvement is interwoven with for-purpose projects and roles, including three years delivering and managing Graeme Dingle Foundation programmes in the Waikato. She currently works as Pou Hapori for Genesis Energy, leading Ngā Ara, a programme on-ramping rangatahi into STEM education, training and employment. She’s also a board member for Burn Bright and on the Youth Advisory Group for Philanthropy New Zealand. Michaela grew up in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington and now lives in Whāingaroa Raglan.

Topic – Those closest to the problems, are closest to the solutions
In 2022, Michaela travelled on a Winston Churchill Fellowship to the US and UK to explore how positive youth development frameworks may be further adapted and applied in Aotearoa. This presentation will share learnings and insights she gathered when meeting with leading PYD academics, practitioners, schools and organisations. 

Shelley Scarlett

A passionate teacher with 15 years experience, Shelley has worked in both public and private education and has spent the last seven years working at Northern Health School. Here she supports young people largely with mental health disorders who cannot attend school full time or are disengaged from education completely. In her work facilitating school re-entries and transitions beyond schools with these students, she has developed an interest in the relational practice of teachers and how this can be enhanced. She has recently completed a Master of Education evaluating a professional development programme in this field.

Topic – Relationships matter: evaluating the effectiveness of relational training on teachers and the students they support in Aotearoa New Zealand
Shelley will discuss the findings of her Master’s research which evaluated the effects and experiences of a relational training programme for teachers. The FAN (Facilitating Attuned Interactions) training focused on developing practitioner “attunement” – the ability to read cues, empathise and respond flexibly to a young person during interactions to open up new ways of communicating and approaching issues. Shelley will share what aspects of this training teachers found valuable, how it improved their attunement skills, the differences it made to their relationships with students, and the potential it has for wider implementation.

Purchase your tickets here

If you have any questions regarding the event, please contact Julie Moore, Research & Evaluation Manager. 

In Partnership with:

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