Valerie Vili 2010 Youthbank Ambassador

Media Release - 14 May 2010

At just 15 years of age, current women’s world shot-put champion, Valerie Vili, began a journey requiring commitment, leadership and self development - all attributes Bay of Plenty students will require as they work through the 2010 ZESPRI YouthBank programme.

ZESPRI® YouthBank is a programme involving 12 colleges throughout the Bay of Plenty. Each school establishes a committee of students to consider applications from Not-for-Profit Organisations for promotion and financial assistance.

Each committee has a total of $2000 to allocate with only a few criterion from ZESPRI and New Zeal. The recipient organisation must be a registered charitable entity and the maximum $500 grant must be to support a youth related project. Ultimately, at least four Not-for-Profit Organisations will benefit through each school.

Valerie, who is also an ambassador for Hospice South Auckland, is passionate about the work Not-for-Profit Organisations do in their communities. It is this passion that makes Valerie, who was born in the Bay of Plenty, the perfect choice as ambassador for the young people involved this year.

“This opportunity for young people in the Bay of Plenty to get involved in the important work that is happening in their own back yard really spoke to me. As our communities struggle in these economic times, this help is more important than ever to ensure youth programmes keep happening,” Valerie said.

The students will hear from Valerie at an end of programme awards evening planned for September, where Valerie will share her motivations, challenges and secrets to success.

ZESPRI’s Director of Corporate and Grower Services, Carol Ward said: “ZESPRI is very proud to support this programme. We know how much commitment the students show throughout the year and ZESPRI is thrilled to bring a world class athlete like Valerie to meet and inspire the students.”

Over the past eight years, the ZESPRI® YouthBank programme has seen assistance given to more than 420 youth-focused, Not-for-Profit Organisations, while hundreds of students have learnt valuable skills for their futures.

“The students work as a team, promoting, marketing and developing selection frameworks. Most importantly, they see what it means to make a difference in their own community,” explains New Zeal coordinator Graham Hare.

“Myself and the teachers involved are always amazed and delighted with the enthusiasm and commitment with which the students embrace the challenge of supporting others and making a difference in their communities. We see real leadership emerge as they take ownership of the opportunity, which we believe, comes at an age where opportunities like this can really shape and mould who they become in future.”

Over the next few weeks each school will be asking various Not-for-Profit Organisations to approach them detailing how they could benefit from the grant. A list of participating schools  are available below.

Schools participating in ZESPRI YouthBank 2010: 

  • Mount Maunganui College
  • Edgecumbe College
  • Opotiki College
  • Tauranga Girls College
  • Whakatane High School
  • Bethlehem College
  • Otumoetai College
  • Katikati College
  • Tauranga Boys College
  • Aquinas College
  • Te Puke High School
  • Trident High School
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