Ray White Whangarei’s Rural and Commercial team have been proud to kick off their support of the I Have a Dream Charitable Trust with a sizeable donation, made to the charity this last week.

The I Have A Dream Charitable Trust aims to inspire Kiwi kids growing up in material hardship to navigate their own path to academic and life success, and creating positive role models who add value to their communities.

The Trust works alongside students, between the ages of 5 and 20, across all areas of life: including leadership, community participation, sports, and quality of life – to give them the life skills and academic support they need to succeed and guide them on a journey to success. Partnering with low decile schools in low-income communities, the program is available to every child within the school.

I Have a Dream, New Zealand was launched by Scott Gilmour in 2002 with a Year 4 class from Wesley Primary School, a decile 1 school in Mt Roskill, Auckland. Eighty percent of the students from this pilot program went on to university or trades, compared with 30 percent of those from similar backgrounds who were not in the program. The success of that pilot program has seen the dream brought to Northland through The Ngātahi Education Initiative – with plans to roll-out similar programs across the country.

“Our long-term intention is to shape education and social policy so that similar initiatives can be rolled out to all high needs children nationwide… The goal is to forge a pathway into tertiary education and/or employment for each and every participating child, regardless of their family’s social or financial circumstances,” said Mr Gilmour, Chairman, I Have a Dream, New Zealand.

“Every child needs a significant adult that believes in them and holds high hopes for them, our goal is to provide that positive influence, not just for a moment, but throughout their entire educational journey,” said New Zealand CEO, Ant Backhouse.

The Ngātahi Education Initiative in Whangarei draws on I Have a Dream’s 35 years of evidence-based research into positive, effective interventions that change the trajectory of children’s lives. It commenced in 2015 with primary and intermediate aged children across four low-decile schools in the suburbs of Tikipunga, Kamo and Otangarei in Whangarei. Full-time ‘Navigators’ bridge the gap between the world of family and school to help students succeed, with intensive tutoring and mentorship, working alongside them from the first day of school through to two years into tertiary education or employment. They have a formal relationship with the participating schools, engage with the children’s parents, families and communities, and provide services for kids that give them the life skills and academic support they need to succeed. It took the team more than two years to raise the program funds – which costs about $1000 per student per year – but will help inspire the dreams and enable the futures of 1,500 local children.

“Every dollar invested in an I Have a Dream child today will deliver a $20 return on investment to New Zealand’s future… We’re proud to say that at least 80% of these children will enter tertiary education, training or employment when they leave school – achieving their education goals, progressing to better jobs, better incomes and contributing positively to our community,” said Mr Gilmour. “Education is a proven social investment able to break inter-generational cycles of poverty. By offering the services we help to ensure that each child graduates with the academic and social skills to successfully transition to career or further study – becoming positive role-models who add value to their communities, increasing economic and social outcomes for our country.”

Ray White Rural Sales Consultant, Peter Ogle has been involved with the charity for over two years now after attending the inaugural meeting at BNZ Partner Centre in Whangarei. He and wife Lynn sponsor two young ‘Dreamers’ [students] in the program. “We believe in giving back to our local community, and this model clearly creates positive role models who add value to their communities… It is the concept of long-term support and mentoring over many years – backed by the talent and infrastructure of the I Have A Dream team that we believe makes the project so successful… We believe that by breaking the cycle, by empowering kids to achieve, the value of education and life success will be passed on to future generations, benefiting families and wider communities, and the results, to date, have spoken for themselves!” Even in the short-term, Peter has seen many positive effects of his sponsorship. “We believe this is one of the best ways to close the widening gaps in our society and involve all of our community in participating in a brighter future,” Peter said.

A chance to make an even greater difference to the lives of local children was the impetus driving Mr Ogle to invite the whole Ray White Rural and Commercial team of Derek Cochrane, Cam Goodhue and Megan McGregor on board. The team were enthusiastic from the outset, and are now happily making a donation from every property sale to the Trust. “The social proof from the pilot program is really impressive… and inspirational…” Cam Goodhue added when asked about his involvement in the project. “The advocates and champions of this initiative will be the young people that have succeeded and have developed a vision for their lives that they would never have had on their own.”

If you are interested in learning more about I Have a Dream, and the work they do in our communities, be sure to visit their website: www.ihaveadream.org.nz

Written by Ray White New Zealand

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