I was insecure, anxious, and unsure what I wanted to do at the end of school. I wore noise-cancelling headphones to manage feeling overwhelmed by people around me and spent a large part of my school time at the Health and Wellbeing building, rather than in class. I had a terrible last year and I only passed by two credits. Then I joined Career Navigator at the beginning of Year 13. At the start of the programme, I was nervous, I was struggling with depression and anxiety, and it was getting in the way of life in general. My biggest challenge was getting the courage to speak. That was a really hard thing for me. I started this year nervous, and I wouldn’t say a lot, I wouldn’t participate in class discussions. Doing Career Navigator, I don’t know what happened… but something just changed halfway through the programme. I even had the courage to secure a part-time job. I do a lot more things that I probably wouldn’t have done before the programme. I talk to my managers now but before I would have been too nervous. I go to them when I have a problem or like something needs to be done. It’s helped me gain confidence which is good. The mentors were great. They had some good ideas and they listened to everyone else’s ideas too. They were so friendly, they always said hi and I felt like they encouraged me to join in the conversation. I would recommend this programme to others – and I’ve been speaking in front of Year 11 and 12 form rooms to tell them all about it. This year I decided to take a year off studying and save some money which I am currently doing by waitressing at Lone Star. I’ve also signed up for a bartending course in Auckland which I am very excited about. I am completing a paper this year to make sure I have University entrance if I choose to go down the tertiary study path. I have thought about the idea of studying psychology and HR but am open to exploring possibilities in my first year. The Graeme Dingle Foundation works with New Zealand’s tamariki and rangatahi at different life stages, working directly with schools and communities through our programmes. Established in 1995, we are proud to be a leading Child and Youth Development charity. Our programmes are currently delivered to over 28,000 young people across New Zealand every year. Our vision is to ensure Aotearoa will be the best place in the world to be young. The Graeme Dingle Foundation are looking for people who want to support New Zealand’s youth by mentoring a young person. Help rangatahi like Cate by becoming a youth mentor. Go to magicofmentoring.org.nz and register today!