Getting Education Back on Track With a New Fleet of Vans
Students at a Tauranga alternative education programme now have two brand new vans, donated by Trinity Lands.
ImpacTauranga supports young people who have been forced out, or have chosen to leave, mainstream education at Tauranga Girls’, Tauranga Boys’ or Otumoetai colleges. The students attend ImpactTauranga’s education programme Tauranga Youth Academy, where they are supported to set and chase goals, form healthy routines, study towards NCEA, access specialist social worker support and then transition back in to high school, or on to work or training.
The programme has capacity for 18 young people but when Trinity Lands visits to officially hand over the new Toyota Hiace vans in early August, the roll sits at 15. It fluctuates frequently as young people graduate and others come in to the programme. The vans are used to collect students from their homes each morning and return them each afternoon. In between, teachers drive students to a range of activities around Tauranga city, such as fitness and art classes.
ImpacTauranga manager and social worker Nynette Martin says Trinity Lands’ donation of two brand new vans, each at a cost of $54,000, is building self-esteem and a sense of belonging among the students.
“You’ve got no idea what it means for the kids to have two new vans. They feel valued, they feel cared for, they feel supported that – not just us in ImpacTauranga, but – other people in our community love them too and care about them and care enough about them to give them some vans. The kids go: They did this for me?”
ImpacTauranga director Russell Turner says community funding is needed to supplement what the government pays for the alternative education programme.
“Your support is what encourages us,” he told Trinity Lands representatives. “The skeleton is here but it’s the little things we want these young people to enjoy that you help us with.”
Teacher Adam Gardiner says staff spend a lot of time in the vans with the students; chatting about their lives, listening to music.
“The time we spend in the vans is huge and for our students, with the upgrade, we can hold our heads high.”
Trinity Lands CFO Ngaire Scott says it was a “real privilege” to hand over the van keys to the teachers and students at ImpacTauranga.
“We love to partner with people doing amazing work, like yourselves – changing lives, growing lives, improving lives. Life is not always easy and sometimes we need a hand. We count it as a privilege to be able to partner with you.”
ImpacTauranga also has a residential facility run under a contract with Oranga Tamariki. It is home to up to five young people. The house opened in 1996, and the alternative education programme was launched the next year.