In the middle of Judea, there’s a small teal-blue shop with a big name and an even bigger heart for the community. The dedicated team of volunteers and staff have one goal in mind: changing their local community one clothes hanger at a time. Supporting children and youth in the community fits perfectly with this vision.
The funds generated from selling high-quality donated clothes help support two youth workers, Brian Kirby and Sophie Pahl. They are part of the 24-7 YouthWork organisation that helps to place youth workers in local schools. This organisation believes in young people and states: “We want to see young people enjoy their school years and build a great foundation to launch themselves into adult life. We want to see a good, strong, healthy next generation of New Zealanders coming through.”
Sophie Pahl understands how important it is for youth to have someone spending time with them. They need listening to and not just a simple “Hang in there” and a pat on the back. Sophie loves the time she spends with various students at Bethlehem College, where she takes time to get to know them and listen to their stories. To thrive, youth need connections, and it’s not always easy for them to create these with peers or family. “It’s a crazy time in life”, says Sophie as she explains how important it is for the youth to talk to someone slightly older, who is not a friend nor a teacher, and someone they can trust.
Brian Kirby, the regional coordinator for 24-7 YouthWork, explains their work as building relationships, bridging the gaps, and supporting youth in schools who can easily fall through the cracks. They help anyone, no matter who they are or where they are from. The generous support from Tallulah currently funds half of the cost for Brian and Sophie to do at least 10 paid hours of work each in the schools involved. Without this help, it would be impossible for them to do what they do.
24-7 YouthWork asks for a three-to-five-year commitment from their youth workers. They also expect them to live a lifestyle of leadership for young people to follow. For Sophie, this is not a challenge. “Trust is important; it takes a long time to build up”, she says as she prepares to head off to help during a sewing class at Bethlehem College. Although the 24-7 youth workers are not teacher aides in schools, her presence is a massive help and gives her a hands-on opportunity to get to know the young people and build relationships. It’s all about finding activities at school where they can help and have the time to build trust and connections with the youth. She has already done almost two years with 24-7 and can’t wait to see the students she works with thrive as they move into adulthood.
Supporting this fantastic work in our local community cannot be more practical or easy than donating or buying high-quality clothing from a unique little shop in Judea. Thank you for being a light of hope for our community, Tallulah!