As the ninth of eleven children, it makes sense that Jethro Shearer of Hāwera would have some interesting stories to tell. Having a repurposed boat as a bedroom for the last ten years is just one of many tales. The 17-year-old has been working alongside Tui Ora Youth Service for the last two years as a client and now wants to encourage others to do the same.
Reflecting on his time with the Youth Services team, Jethro recalls some of his achievements.
“My first real goal after I signed up was to get my learners and restricted driver licenses. We created flash cards which really helped the study process,” says Jethro. “The whole thing was actually easier than I expected!”
After achieving this goal he went on to earn his defensive driving certificate.
Jethro then completed a budgeting course. This he says has made a positive impact in his life.
“I realised how much money I really spend on things. When I was earning about $170 I learned to put $100 in savings and spend the other $70 only if I really, really wanted to. I was splitting up what I was saving so I wasn’t just pouring it all into an account. I had my car savings which was $30 a week, in case anything breaks, and $10 a week for petrol”.
The investment in his short-term savings also allowed him to focus on the long-term. “I also set up an account for things like a house that I’m not going to touch for at least three to four years.
Jethro also credits his older sister in getting him on the right track with a few skills like cooking. “I’d definitely consider her a role model.”
With offices in New Plymouth and Hāwera, Tui Ora Youth Service offers a range of services and activities for young people aged 16-19. They maintain a particular focus on those who are not in education, employment or training, as well as those receiving a youth payment or youth parent payment. However, any young person who feels they could benefit from the services are more than welcome.
While Youth Service is a Ministry of Social Development initiative, Tui Ora has picked up facilitation within the Taranaki region and now work with around 150 clients.
Evan Chadwick, Tui Ora Senior Kaimahi Taiohi says his team are proud to work closely with not only individuals, but also their whānau to help them achieve their goals.
“It's great when we can spend time with taiohi getting to know them, and then create a plan to support them in achieving their goals. This could be anything from enrolling them in a new course they like or helping them learn the road code. Supporting them along their journey and then seeing them achieve is really cool!”
As well as facilitating a range of courses around skills such as financial management, first aid and drivers licencing, Youth Service can provide guidance around entering or training for work, finding housing, and offer support for young parents. In addition, they can manage living costs for clients and refer them to other agencies. Taiohi are assigned an individual case worker who will mentor them throughout their time with the service.
After two years with the service, Jethro says he is doing well. “I actually make my bed in the morning!” he laughs. “I’d say in general I’m a bit more organised and personal presentation is something I’m focusing on.”
He has ambitions of joining the Army as a combat engineer in the next couple of years.
Jethro encourages taiohi to take the opportunity to join Youth Service if they need a bit of support or guidance in their life.
“Take the helping hand. A lot of people don’t accept help and just think they can do it on their own. There’s a real “I’ve got this” mentality. Even just the help you get with drivers licensing and budgeting is awesome. A lot of people I think just spend their money on whatever and don’t think about it. It’s about being aware.”
Want to know more about the Youth Service? Free phone 0508496884, visit facebook.com/tuiorayouthservice, or go to @tuiorayouthservice on Instagram.