‘If you want to engage with youth, especially challenging youth, the first thing you need to do is create an experience from an intellectual space into a place where the senses are engaged: where they can see it, hear it, feel it. For Gen Y, experiences are like gold – a valued and prized possession. Young people are hungry for unusual or unique experiences’ – Jarrod Newton from ‘7 Tips to Engaging Gen-Y’
We agree with Jarrod and Benjamin: teaching is only part of our learning. We can observe theory ‘til the cows come home, but experience and engagement is how we really take things in, how we learn. I.e. confidence comes through competence, from doing. The good news is once we learn something, there’s no un-learning it. We simply notch these abilities to our life skills tool belt.
And considering the reality of being judged for what you wear and how you wear it, and clothing is right up there with music, dancing and laughing as a huge mood booster, we think it’s pretty damned important we collectively work out ways to help young people feel good about themselves.
We at BRIDGE THE GAP PROJECT have sacrificed many hours, pooled on tonnes of resources and leveraged ourselves like nuts to work out fun ways to help youth help themselves using experiences and fashion to gain inner confidence.
Jewellery designer Lindi Kingi and I sat together sharing stories of our crazy teen years (I left home and school at 15 years old with two years high school education notched on my life skills belt) and came up with a design for our bracelets:
The solid star charm represents our youth, while the outer star represents those who care for youth in caregivers, Whanau, CYF social workers, teachers etc. The wing is the freedom of choice we always have in our thoughts, words & actions no matter what’s happening around or to us, while the lava beads signify strength from fire: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. The red beads remind us to follow our heart, and also connects to our root chakra, our foundation, which represents abundance.
This inspired our $39 #LK4BTGPBracelet2OutfitChallenge. Simply put, the sale of each Lindi Kingi for #BTGP (#LK4BTGP) bracelet helps us not only dress a disadvantaged teen, but show them how making one change can and does make a change in their outfits (and life). Here’s some examples I did of make one change from my wardrobe here:
The #LK4BTGP $39 #bracelet2outfit challenge goes like this: Each bracelet is $39 for sale on amandabetts.com or through Covet & Designer Wardrobe and dresses a disadvantaged teen from combined pre-loved, new, exchanged & donated clothing.
Here're 3 outfits all coming in under $39 each (excl. shoes).
If you’re into what we’re doing, and you like feeling good from helping others help themselves, help us! Engage with us, share our posts, or make a donation in a way you can. Buy a bracelet for you or someone you know who would love it!
And lastly, never forget what Helen Keller said: ‘Alone we can do so little, Together we can do so much.’
A special, special thanks to Lindi Kingi for your support, love and donations, and allowing me to have now pay later! Making positive, sustainable changes is definitely a collective, collaborative effort!