Life is what we make it

I will happily admit that my mother did the best job she could have done with her two children.  As a family, our live’s were not always easy.  Through sacrifice and perseverance Mum managed to purchase her first home in Manurewa for $85k, which in the late 80’s was allot of money – especially for a solo mother with two young children.

Unable to work and only receiving the bare minimum needed to bring up two children my mother showed such strength & determination in her life’s mission. Even through the eyes of a child I recognised that strength and it has been something I have looked up to my entire life. I still remember seeing the Salvation Army delivering bags of food & gifts over our fence one Christmas eve.  To me it was like Christmas but to my mother it was survival.

My brother and I

My brother and I

My brother attended Dilworth School for Boys and was required to board full time. I missed him greatly whilst he was away but was thankful that he was given such an amazing opportunity in life, which was thanks in most to my Mother’s perseverance during the application process. I was fortunate enough to attend Manurewa High School – a school that taught me the values and skills needed to carve out a life for myself in this exciting crazy world.  It wasn’t about having things handed to you it was about recognising life’s opportunities and grabbing them with both hands!

Everyone has things in their life that they want but don’t have and you have two basic choices. The first is to dwell on those things, which will close you off to the opportunities that life puts in front of you every single day. The second is to discard those worries and walk through life with your eyes and your heart open. You are the master and creator of your own destiny – no one will do that for you, only you.

I see proof of these things in my life and in the lives of those around me every day. My brother has succeeded in grasping his dream as a commercial pilot, something that came with great personal and financial sacrifice. In some ways our passions are joined, which saw me working for Air NZ across a variety of amazing roles and in that time gaining the skills and knowledge that I now use every day in my job as a Tutor at the International Travel College of New Zealand (ITC).

I truly believe that if I had not ‘lived without’ – I could not enjoy the same level of appreciation for ‘living with’. I now use this message in schools throughout New Zealand in my role within the marketing department at ITC.  I find nothing more rewarding than helping secondary students find their self worth and in turn assisting them to recognise and reach their full potential.

Running a course with Northland students

Running a course with Northland students

Too often students are prevented from stepping up and from becoming whom they feel they are destined to be. Instead they are held back and wrapped up in the cotton wool resulting from the fears in our society. Through role modeling & support we will instill confidence and it is through confidence that people find success.

The outcome of my mentality and vision is already helping students to take charge of their future & reap the rewards of their success. That for me is like winning a million dollars. My life is truly enriched with every success I am blessed to be a part of.

One of my students 18yrs old and now in her dream job as a flight attendant

One of my students, 18 yrs old and now in her dream job as a flight attendant. Success!

I look forward to being a part of the Manurewa High School Humanitarian Aid Leadership Programme in September, which will allow a group of students to witness some of the Humanitarian Aid Programmes in Laos, Thailand as well as giving them the opportunity to give something back. I am confident that these fortunate individuals will come back more motivated, experienced, worldly, mature, responsible, focused leaders.

Each student who attends the HALP programme is required to fundraise and I joined these efforts most recently running the Ultimate Challenge Circuit – a military oriented circuit designed to really push those who participated. I am most fortunate to be a part of this adventure.

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Girls first fifteen, friends and family along with some amazing supporters from The International Travel College of New Zealand, Stray New Zealand, Auckland Adventure Jet and Auckland Bridge Climb and Bungy took part in the one-hour circuit which ultimately challenged every inch of them.

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This left four pretty crazy and determined people to complete the epic two-hour circuit, me being one of them completing the second hour with a gas mask on to replicate the affects of exercise at high altitude. Photo’s were care of the forever talented photographer Caz Donaldson! Amazing moments were captured during this important event.

Another ‘big win’ on the day was undoubtedly the change that we witnessed in many of the participants.  The students who had to take charge of each station transformed from quiet, shy individuals to inspiring and encouraging young adults.  HALP students consistently pushed the participants and were noticeably motivated by the event. It would not have been the success it was without them.

I look forward to sharing the story of this HALP journey in September.  Most of all I look forward to being a part of this amazing opportunity to give back to my high school, who helped to influence and shape the person I am today.

 

 

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