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Crossroads Youth With a Future inspiring our young people

At Crossroads Youth With a Future, youth are supported ‘until journey’s end’.

Crossroads Youth With a Future works with schools in Christchurch to give young people the tools they need to be ‘leaders of their own lives’ through their Stay Real programme.

Stay Real runs over the course of one year and includes a weekly discussion group, as well as a range of outdoor adventure-based activities like camping, mountain biking, kayaking, and bush walks.

The programme supports youths to accept the challenges life brings, and look to a future beyond their current problems.

Projects Director Richard Starling says a lot of the young people involved in Stay Real end up staying for more than just the one year.

“Most people call them ‘at-risk youth’ but I call them ‘youth of the future’,” he says.

 “We have a point of difference in that we journey with people until journey’s end – which means we are with them however long they need  support.”

He says many young people can find themselves in difficult and vulnerable situations, whether it be at home or with their friends, and the positive relationships they have with Crossroads youth workers is invaluable.

“Stay Real is a tool we use to engage with young people and encourage them to be leaders of their own lives. We want them to see that change comes from them. We often say to them ‘who changes you?’ and they say ‘we change ourselves’.”

The Crossroads Drop-In Centre in Aranui is open every Wednesday for youths to connect with their mentors – whether it be playing table-tennis, making art in the carving studio, or just having a chat.

“My goal when a young person comes to me is to make sure they have a sense of belonging. They find a place with us where they belong, where they are loved, cared about and safe.”

Crossroads runs four Stay Real programmes, one each in Haeata Community Campus, Shirley Intermediate, Mairehau High School and Chisnallwood Intermediate, with each group having up to 8 students.