Looking Out for Our Youth

Elise McMurchie, Jamie Bradbury and Jordan Hunt at KYS
Elise McMurchie, Jamie Bradbury and Jordan Hunt at KYS

KYS – Kapiti Youth Support — has been open in Ōtaki since 2012 and working quietly under our noses since then. But no more. This is the first of a regular column from them with news and tips from the wonderful staff at KYS Ōtaki.  This service is well used.

For those of you who don’t know what they do, KYS has a three pronged approach to the health and well-being of our youth. They offer a doctor and nurse clinic, Career planning and mentoring and for the last nine months a pilot project, under the auspices of KCD and KYS, looking at ‘Youth to Employment’. They have dedicated staff, Jordan Hunt with a degree in Social Work, Elise McMurchie with a degree in Educational Psychology and on a nine month contract Jaime Bradbury in charge of the ‘Youth to Employment’.

Their GP service with a female doctor and nurse runs at both the college and at their own rooms in Matene Street.  It is held on Tuesday 9am – 10.30 and Thursday 10-1pm at the College or by appointment at the rooms in Matene Street. While the youth services are available for 16-18 year olds free, the free health service is available for 10-24 year olds as well. While the service is confidential, the staff at KYS likes to have family involvement for the younger clients but will respect their individual wishes even though the parents do have a legal right to know.

Mentoring is also available, not only for school kids but also for those who have left school early. Working with WINZ, the benefit support programme is available for under 18 year olds who have left school for one reason or another and available on an MSD referral.  The focus is on managing your benefit alongside general health and wellbeing issues.

The nine month pilot programme ‘Youth to Employment’ is now complete with the final report for project manager Jamie Bradbury due at KCDC soon. This innovative programme with the support of council focuses on youth living in Ōtaki and finding out what is going on in their lives be it health, money, travel, entertainment or any other of the myriad of issues faced by young unemployed people. Not only has Jamie been talking to the kids but she has been out and about talking to employers to determine whether they are youth friendly, whether they offer jobs to the young and whether they mentor them once employed. We await with anticipation the results of council’s deliberation once the report is finalised.