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Summer a Time to Reflect - Youth Space

This page contains information about Whangarei's Youth Space Youth Worker, Ryan Donaldson and thoughts.
Updated: 5/12/2018 12:00 a.m.

Youth worker Ryan Donaldson wasn't very keen to sign up to a support programme for DADS at The Pulse a few years ago, but the course turned out to be a springboard into the rest of his life.

It made him aware of the importance of young people having mentors and good role models and drove him to be come one himself.

Now a youth worker at Youth Space, he is in a position to be there to support other young people.

"The DADS programme was the catalyst for me to gain confidence in myself. It connected me with my first mentor and a positive role model, the facilitator called Dani, and made me want to be a better father and to contribute back to my community.

"Having a significant positive relationship in my youth was life-changing for me. I gained a friend and positive role model who treated me not just as a "young father" but simply as a father, and showed me what an important person in the world that is for a child. I still have that mentoring relationship with Dani and I truly value it.

"It helped me to move into various roles and to join a youth group that wanted to create a youth space in Whangarei. That's where I am currently blessed to be working today."

"Here are some thoughts about the next few months coming up as people transition out of school over Christmas / New Year and summer.

Tips and ideas for young people not sure about what next year brings

"For our rangatahi, it's important to use this time over Christmas to relax and reflect on the past year, and maybe start thinking about what you are wanting from 2019 and what you would like to achieve. Make sure you bounce ideas from your whanau and peers to ensure you have as much support to achieve your goals as possible.

Coping with change

"It is so important to communicate with people that you trust and know care about you.

I have learnt to always trust my gut instincts and listen to my feelings. I have learnt how to get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable."

Tips and ideas for parents / care givers

"I see the holidays from both perspectives – that of young people and that of adults. It is a fun, yet potentially stressful time for our community.

A lot of young people are excited to go on break, but potentially feeling daunted about the following year and changes that may bring, so they will need parents to be understanding and supportive during this time.

It is so important to truly listen and communicate with our kids and make quality time with them. Quality time, rather than presents, is honestly the most important thing we can gift our children."


"There is no such thing as a "perfect parent", but we can always try to be a good parent. This is a guideline I am constantly trying to follow myself."

Help for parents, family and friends

Parent Help – 0800 568 856

Family Services 211 Helpline – 0800 211 211

Skylight – 0800 299 100

Commonground website

Helplines for children and young people

Youthline - Phone: 0800 376 633, free text: 234, or email free text 5626 or free text / phone 1737 anytime for support from a trained counsellor

Youthline website



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