Seventeen-year-old Maea Summers likes helping people and she’s working with the Waikato-based Youth Services team at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa to help find the best way for her to do that professionally.
Maea (Waikato-Tanui) was referred to the team earlier this year after leaving Cambridge High School because she says she was only turning up to eat her lunch.
“None of the subjects interested me. They weren’t really my thing.”
She self-enrolled at a level 4 health and well-being foundation course at Wintec to help her think about what she wanted to do. But she found it wasn’t enough for her and, after discussing it with her Youth Services facilitator Nico Manocha, she also started “shadowing” him at the office to learn more about how social services works. She’s now ended up starting a formal 200 hours placement at Youth Services’ Raroera campus office in Hamilton as part of her Wintec course requirements.
“Everyone here is very friendly, very welcoming to me. I feel part of the team here. It’s been really good for me.”
Successes have included signing up three 16-year-old clients on a visit to the Western Community Centre with Nico.
“The practical experience with Youth Services is helping me be ready for a lot of the stuff at Wintec. I learn practically, not just by books and writing, so getting out and doing it helps my understanding.”
While she’s still not exactly sure what she wants to do, the experience with Youth Services is certainly helping her think things through.
One thing she is clear on is a desire to learn more te reo, which she describes as “my language”, after taking some initial steps on that front.
“I’m certainly interested in doing more te reo at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in future.”