Every year, Navigators task their Dreamers with raising money through a fundraising activity which they can put towards an end of year activity. Navigator Daisy’s Year 11 Girls really wanted to go to Rainbows End to celebrate the end of 2021, but with lockdown restrictions, this soon proved unrealistic. In amongst this and as the year progressed, it became apparent to Daisy that many of her Year 11 Dreamers were dealing with self-esteem challenges. The prospect of their first school ball seemed to peak anxiety in a number of girls, with many concerned about having to do their own hair and make-up, some worried that they wouldn’t be able to find a ball dress that suited them and others opting to not attend to avoid this pressure altogether. Daisy realised that her Dreamers were in need of some self-care and with Rainbows End off the table, the group came up with the idea of a weekend away full of pampering and a touch of luxury.
Self-esteem refers to whether you appreciate and value yourself. Your self-esteem develops and changes as a result of your life experiences and interactions with other people. [source: University of Queensland]
Daisy enlisted the help of a business mentor (Josie Rogers of New Beginnings) who came in to discuss how through an injury, she needed to find a way to financially support herself and therefore got creative and made a business out of material that would otherwise have been thrown away. The ‘Recycled Earrings’ project was born. During after-school programmes, the Dreamers made 130 pairs of earrings and sold them over 10 months at various markets and through private sales. After costs, they raised over $1,500 which was put towards their weekend away. Tangible benefits aside, the fundraising activity helped the girls develop creativity, entrepreneurial and proactive attitudes, drive and enthusiasm.
Then came the task of organising the weekend away. None of the group had ever stayed in luxury accommodation before, nor had they been treated to an afternoon of pampering from professionals. Through research and Dream Team support, an amazing holiday home was sourced in Whangārei Heads (of which a second night koha was gifted) and the expertise from the team at Lush Life was enlisted to provide all the beauty treatments. But it wasn’t a guarantee that all the girls would automatically go on the trip. The group came up with their own set of prerequisites that each girl had to meet in order to attend:
Thankfully, all the girls achieved these requirements and the trip was booked.
Engaging in a self-care routine has been clinically proven to reduce or eliminate anxiety and depression, reduce stress, improve concentration, minimize frustration and anger, increase happiness, improve energy, and more. [source: Southern New Hampshire University]
As with many Year 11 teenagers, there is a lot going on emotionally, physically and mentally. The Youth19 Rangatahi smart survey of nearly 5000 secondary school students found that 23% of students reported significant symptoms of depression. This was particularly high for students at low decile schools and for those living in high deprivation neighbourhoods (i.e., lower income communities). More females reported significant depression symptoms (29%) than males (17%). [source: National Library of NZ]. Over the weekend, Daisy and the Dreamers held a lot of korero around these themes and explored how they can try and help themselves, and one another, work through these various thoughts and feelings.
Overall the weekend was a great success. The girls were overwhelmed by the beautiful home they stayed in, with one Dreamer commenting that they were “going to get a good job so I can get a view of the ocean every day”, and the pampering brought up everyone’s confidence levels. Daisy was ecstatic that the weekend had its desired effect and more,
“The weekend was incredible. I knew that a pampering weekend would be a good example of self-care but it had the added benefit of exposing them to another lifestyle and the girls wanting to work hard so they can achieve that for themselves.” said Navigator Daisy.
With the feeling of aroha high, the Dreamers wanted to say thank you to the generous hospitality of the holiday home owners and Lush Life staff. They made them earrings, crystal key chains, and bought flowers as a token of their appreciation. They also showed their gratitude to their Navigator, Daisy and prior to the trip, each Dreamer and their whānau coordinated a special gift to share with her.
It was a very special weekend with lots of bonding and memories made. These kinds of shared experiences are important for all rangitahi, to grow confidence and create a sense of belonging.
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