Charity aims to grow network

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Youthline board member Kari Graber (left) and new community development manager Liv Cochrane are excited about the new chapter for the charity. PHOTO: LUISA GIRAO

YOUTHLINE Southland is getting ready for a reboot and the recruitment of volunteers will be a key part of the process.

Local musician Liv Cochrane was offered the job of community development manager of the charity with the aim to increase the organisation’s volunteer base and help grow its support system in Southland.

She said she was excited about the new challenge as she had always supported and believed in the organisation.

“I’m still learning about the organisation and learning it is so widespread. Locally, my focus is the care of our volunteers and building the base for those superheroes.”

She would also be in contact with agencies and schools to discuss opportunities for youth in Youthline’s mentorship programme.

“A lot of people have been hit hard in the past few weeks. A lot of funders as well… part of my job is to find ways to boost everybody.

“Youthline is such an important charity. It offers mentorship, personal development and a free helpline for young people.

“It is not only the youth who call. Parents and teachers also get in contact with us to help them to find out the best way to deal with youth-related issues.”

Youthline board member Kari Graber said the charity was excited to bring Miss Cochrane on board because she had a real passion for the organisation.

“She also has two sons who are soon to be teenagers and a personal interest in helping young people feel empowered.”

Youthline was the only free helpline available locally for young people.

Ms Graber said youth seeking help during the lockdown increased by more than 50% with anxiety being the common reason for contact.

“In times like this young people are extremely stressed, they are seeing their parents lose jobs, changes to their normal, a lack of routine and uncertainty for the future.

“For young people getting ready to leave school it’s scary – everyone is saying there’s no jobs and we’re in a recession. Media messaging is bleak.

“Youthline acts not just as a safety net for those young people but also a tool for them to develop skills and learn resilience by being involved with the organisation.”

The duo said they had a lot of exciting plans and ideas for the charity.

But they needed the help of volunteers and urged people to get in touch with them as they had several different positions available.

Future Youthline projects could include more creative initiatives.

“Whether that is a competition, whether that is finding ways to connect gifted and talented kids with the services they need.

“There is a lot of connection out there and finding ways to bring them down here, in Southland, is something I’ve been wanting to do.

“I think culture can be a really valuable way to bring youth together. And we just want the kids to get involved and help them,” Miss Cochrane said.

Youthline: Phone 0800 376 633 or free txt 234

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