Our Stories

Story about THIS IS US holiday programme: Summary of event ESYT relocated in May to a new venue in Seatoun In an effort to build bridges with the community and the young people in Strathmore a Holiday Program was developed where they could share their talents and stories in an effort to build a bridge of understanding A showcase was created called “THIS IS ME” utilising a song from The Greatest Showman. The young people sang the song live, they danced. We collaborated with VOICE ARTS who worked with them to share their stories A young man from a local College’s KapaHaka group worked with some of the maori young ladies. who shared several Waiata. We invited whanau, locals, the Deputy Mayor and City Councellors to our Showcase Approx 80-100 people attended and it was a very successful night


Supper was made and served by several young people including 2 homeless young people (a 15 year old and a 17 year old). When the event was run both of the young people were staying wherever we could find them a home. Since that time the 15 year old is now in a long-term placement with OT: Oranga Tamariki in a Family Home ESYT have since opened in partnership with OT. Work was done with DowntownCity mission and together work was done with the whanau of the 17 year old and since this holiday programme he has returned home and things are going a lot better.


At the beginning f the programme most young men were quite loud about not wanting to participate in dancing or singing By the end of Holiday Programme and when the Showcase was presented every young person participated and really enjoyed it. Whanau were shocked at how engaged their young people were Below are some comments from whanau and young people

11 year old young man

“I was so pissed at mum. Didn’t want to be here eh? but I loved it. Didn’t know I could dance or sing but it was mean as.”


14 year old girl

“The acting was funny. I thought I’d be scared with everyone looking at me but it wasn’t like that. We got into it and I forgot to be scared and just went for it” 


13 year old young man

It was cool when everyone laughed – made me want to keep going.” 


mother of four 11-15 year olds

“Usually the 4 of them are killing each other all holidays. We haven’t had a fight for 2 weeks! the other day I thought ‘O that can’t be good, it’s too quiet’ So went to find them and they were all outside in the backyard practising their singing in the cold! Never ever thought I’d live to see that!” 


FEEDBACK FROM YOUNG PEOPLE, 15 & 16 year old boys, after doing workshops creating C.V’s and practising Interview techniques


“It was intense. They showed us how to shake hands Look people in the eye speak so loud. It was weird and felt real odd When we aren’t at the course thing We all keep on walking around while we are hanging out and like shaking each others hands and practising Fa – we must look weird as but its real hard thing I’m getting close to nailing it!”


“They bought in people we didn’t even know and we had to practise with them First time I wanted to shoot the gap eh But man I was the bomb after a few times.”


“Our CV things look mean as but its still too freaky to take into places They didn’t push me but when im ready they’ll come with me and help me hand them out and ask for a job that’ll be a while – lol”

12 Year old girl
“I was really excited to go
I got really tired over the days we danced
we danced and danced and danced some more
We all pushed through and I feel like I learnt heaps
I danced more than I have before and I was tired but I felt real good about it
It was my thing. I like my sisters but this was just me
We always got fed and here all I did was dance
I forgot to worry about anything else and it was easy to look happy coz I was”

16 year old boy
Working with the girls and Making the dance video was soooooooo fun – I want to do more video shoots and keep thinking about what they could look like. Gave me lots of ideas”

A 15 year old young lady pulled one of the ESYT team members aside at camp during April. She was more excited and animated that anyone in our team had ever seen her to have in the past 2 years.
She grabbed the ESYT youth workers arm and thanked her because she had a feeling inside and for the first time ever she knew what happiness felt like. She had never felt it before and she liked it and wanted to know how to keep it.