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Kiwi Can more important than ever in adjusting to new norm

    The Kiwi Can team has always known the importance of teaching kids life skills such as self-belief and resilience. Rotorua manager Megan Kusabs says they’re more important now than ever. 

    The programme, run through the Graeme Dingle Foundation Rotorua, returned to Rotorua classrooms in the four schools it operates at this week. They are working to help students adjust to the new normal of school life, and process the changes they’ve been through over the past few months.

    Mrs Kusabs says Kiwi Can has always known the investment they make into young people is important and will only continue to grow, which is why they’re so grateful for a $20,000 grant from the Rotorua Trust.

    The money will help ensure the programme can keep operating in schools on a weekly basis. Currently, Kiwi Can works in four schools – Horohoro School, Sunset Primary, Kaitao Intermediate and Mamaku School – reaching about 670 students each week.

    The organisation delivers lessons in values and life skills in an energetic and interactive way with the goal of supporting tamariki to build self-belief.

    Mrs Kusabs says over the lockdown the team quickly swung into action looking at ways they could continue to support tamariki at home through challenges and online lessons, but it’s great to be back in the classroom.

    “We stayed connected as much as we could but being back in the classroom allows us to do even more. We switched the term two focus to resilience, which is so important not just for the youngsters but the whole of society at the moment.

    “The whole of our society has to rebuild and reconnect, and by investing in youngsters we can help boost them up and that strengthens them to overcome challenges.”

    Rotorua Trust chairman Stewart Edward says the Kiwi Can programme has clearly made a mark on schools since it began operating in Rotorua three years ago.

    “Trustees were fully supportive of funding as we know how difficult it can be for community organisations at the moment. But we genuinely believe Kiwi Can is making a difference to our tamariki – both every day and as they too grapple with the impacts of COVID-19.”

    Mr Edward says the Trust recently carried out a survey around the effectiveness of the education initiatives the Trust supports, with Kiwi Can rating highly.

    “This echoes what we are hearing from students and teachers around the value of the programme. We believe that by making this investment in Kiwi Can, we’re providing tamariki with lifelong skills.”