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Five Kiwis to make a world of a difference


Five Kiwis to make a world of a difference

Five Kiwis who share a commitment to helping, mentoring and inspiring our youth – particularly those most in need - have just had their dreams fast tracked by the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation.

The annual World of Difference programme is one of a kind, giving passionate people the chance to make a real difference to their favourite child or youth-related cause. The Vodafone New Zealand Foundation funds the programme, covering the salaries and expenses of up to six people a year.

This year’s World of Difference recipients are:

Billie Paea – Crosspower Ministries Trust/Dziah (Manukau City)

Maree Burns - Eating Difficulties Education Network (EDEN) (Auckland)

Richard Aston - Big Buddy Mentoring Trust (Auckland)

Paul Fong – Youth Quest - Trinity Charitable Trust (Wellington)

Deborah Morris-Travers – Every Child Counts (Wellington)

Billie Paea will be working with Crosspower Ministries Trust as director of one its most successful youth programmes, hip-hop dance troupe Dziah. Hip-hop is the culture of South Auckland and a perfect way to inspire young people who have nowhere else to turn. Dziah has proven it can hold its own internationally after winning silver in the 2006 Hip Hop World Championships in L.A.

Maree Burns will be working with EDEN to help young New Zealanders struggling with potentially devastating eating difficulties and to get eating difficulties and disorders on the government health agenda. A key focus for Maree is developing services aimed at prevention and health promotion in this area.

Richard Aston will spend his World of Difference year with the Big Buddy Mentoring Trust. The Trust helps provide positive male role models for fatherless boys from Orewa to Papakura. Funding from the World of Difference programme is giving Richard the opportunity to set up the Big Buddy programme in at least four other centres in the North Island.

Police College physical training instructor Paul Fong will spend his year as project director for a new programme in Paraparaumu called Youth Quest. The programme offers a disciplined and regimented three-month programme incorporating a one-week “boot camp” which will initially target at-risk youth throughout the Kapiti and Horowhenua areas.

The fifth recipient this year is Deborah Morris-Travers, from Otaki, who will work with Every Child Counts, an initiative created by some of the nation’s most significant non-government organisations to advocate for children and young people.

Vodafone New Zealand Foundation Chairman Neil Porteous says entries this year were outstanding and the strength and determination in every application is inspiring.

“The Foundation is passionate about enriching the lives of children and young people and backing programmes that help them be the best they can by helping them develop into healthy, happy and dynamic adults. It has been a very difficult task selecting the five outstanding people who will take the Foundation’s aims forward this year.”

Since its inception in 2002 the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation World of Difference programme has enabled 18 Kiwis to unleash their passion in New Zealand and overseas. Thousands of people’s lives have been touched and charitable causes progressed as a result.

The Vodafone New Zealand Foundation has made a significant contribution to the community and by March 2007 will have granted more than $5 million to charitable projects.

The Vodafone New Zealand Foundation also encourages Vodafone employees to share their talents and passion with the community such as through a mini staff version of World of Difference, launched last year.

Three Vodafone employees have been selected to share their talent and skills, working full-time for up to two weeks with their chosen charity.

Carolyn Lesser will be working with Special Olympics New Zealand, Bonita Moana Rubena will work with Kidsline/Lifeline Auckland and Andy MacLean will work with the Cleft-Palate Support Group.

- ENDS -

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