The Young Hearts Project: Building Resilience in Young Lives
Challenges for young people
I remember vividly sitting in Auckland Airport in August 2013 to catch a flight to China, reading the paper. There was an article that caught my eye, another young person had just taken their life. For some reason New Zealand has one of the highest rates of youth suicide in the world; how could this be? We live in the most beautiful country and have so many opportunities. I just couldn’t understand it. I’ve always had the belief that no matter how bad things are today, you can make them better tomorrow; I call it the gift of hope, but I know it’s easier to hope if you have education, resilience and the right experiences. Was there something we could do?
A business model that continually gives back
I’m a fan of what Blake Mycoskie has achieved with Toms and their ‘One for One’ program; for every pair of shoes sold, they give another pair to a child in need. The growth of Toms has been phenomenal, with them giving away over 13 million of pairs of shoes to kids in impoverished countries. Could we create a business model that also gives back? Even better, could it give back to young people who need help in the country where the shoes are sold? This seemed perfect for Deuce!
Deuce and the Young Hearts Project
We launched the Young Hearts Project in New Zealand and decided to donate $5 from the sale of every full-price pair of Deuce shoes to this cause. Our aim is to provide empowerment, support and inspiration to the next generation - helping build resilience in young people so they can better take on the challenges of life.Looking for partnersWe knew nothing about running a charitable organization, so started looking for the right partners.
Choosing Youthline was a no-brainer, as they’ve been doing an amazing job for years; their vision is “to create communities where young people thrive and can get help if they need it.” Each month their trained volunteers answer thousands of texts, emails and calls from young people who need someone to talk to. The other organization was Great Potentials and their MATES Junior program. Each year hundreds of young New Zealanders don’t make the transition from Intermediate to Secondary school; they might go along for a day or so, have a bad experience and not go back. The Mates Junior programme supplies trained Mentors to Intermediate kids to help them with homework, life skills and teach them the joy of learning.
Written by Shane Anselmi