During the latter half of 2022 my fellow youth facilitators and I had the opportunity to run the Dressed in Confidence programme which was funded by the Ministry of Education Creatives in Schools initiative at Wymondley Road Primary School in Otara, South Auckland. This was a brand new experience as this was the first programme that from beginning to end was organised and run by our Youth Facilitators team. We ran this 10 week DIC programme with two groups over the last two terms of the school year.
Our first time meeting some of the students was when we had invited them to attend the 2022 Pacific Fusion Fashion Show held in Old Papatoetoe last May. This was a great opportunity for the young students to get a glimpse of the fashion industry and for them to do something different as almost all of them had not attended a fashion show before this.
From our first lesson at the beginning of term 3 to our graduation at the end of term 4 we learnt and experienced a lot with this group. For Apryl, a fellow youth facilitator, this was her first time facilitating & running a programme with youth and she said that it was definitely a change she had to adapt to as it came with having more responsibilities. During our sessions with Wymondley she learnt the importance of patience and attentiveness when working with young children as some may require more than others.
Early in the programme we had Logan Hoani Fenton, one of our Swann models, come in and run the Walk with Confidence programme with our students. While at first it was quite daunting for a few students, by the end of it they had all really enjoyed it and said that they felt more confident to walk with mana and pride for their graduation lesson.
Throughout the programme we had a few off site trips as well. We ran our thriftshop challenge, which is always a standout in the DIC programme. We took them to Manurewa SaveMart where they were given a budget to find an outfit to wear with their DIC shirt for their graduation. It was not only a fun and exciting experience for the students but also taught them about the importance of sustainable fashion. In addition, we had a trip to Whitecliffe Manukau Campus – a fashion tech, arts and design school. Here the students were given a tour of the campus and were able to talk to current students about their experiences as fashion students and ask staff questions about the fashion industry.
Kirin’s highlight came after the graduation presentation, where one of the student’s mothers approached us and gave us all a hug, thanking us for helping her daughter build her self-confidence. She mentioned their family recently moved back to New Zealand from Samoa and her daughter was very shy adapting to the new environment but noticed throughout our Dressed in Confidence programme her daughter was more active and open at home and school. It made our day! It is wins like these that we will take away with us.
If you had seen our first session with the kids you’d find it hard to believe that those were the same students we had at graduation. The chatty and confident kids that you could now see were almost unrecognisable from the quiet, shy bunch we had to teach the first time we had met. The most rewarding aspect of teaching this group was witnessing them progressively come more and more out of their shells every lesson of the programme as we worked to form genuine connections with each of them.
On behalf of the DIC youth facilitators I’d like to thank the Ministry of Education’s Creatives in Schools department for funding our programme and allowing us to do what we do, and the principal of Wymondley Road School, Fleur Petelo, for welcoming us to the school and letting us run our programme with her students.
Devereaux – Youth Facilitator