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Real lives, real difference

Michaela, Stars Peer Mentor at Manurewa High School

"Before I became a mentor, my attitude was poor, was really bad. I didn’t like coming to school, I didn’t care about anybody else but myself. The Stars programme was a changing point in my life. The disbelief that I got when I was doing the Stars programme was really sad, it made me sad, it made me angry. But I’ve become so much more… I proved them all wrong. Having the training days really helped. Stars has helped me build a positive attitude towards school. It has made me realise that coming to school and being a positive role model is the right way to go instead of skipping school.

Before Stars I didn’t know what to do with my future. I didn’t know where I was going. I possibly could have been a drop out. Now after Stars I know where I want to go. I want to go to university, also look after my grandparents and I love coming to school. Everyday. With a positive attitude."

Jolene Mareko, Kelston Girls High School, Auckland

Jolene Mareko, Stars student

Jolene Mareko received the Stars Peer Mentor Award for being an outstanding peer mentor in the Stars programme. In her speech at the 2013 Excellence Awards she reflected on what this life changing opportunity meant to her in terms of challenging and developing her personality.

“Being given the opportunity is a blessing and being a peer mentor meant that I was to present who I really am as a person and show that I am happy with who I am and how I deal with situations.

Throughout the year we have had great activities to do and what I enjoyed the most was that all these activities required a range of different skills and were good challenges both mentally and physically. Everything I have participated in during the year has been fantastic. The adventure camp was an absolute adventure of the year. I was truly prepared for the camp because I knew that this was going to be a major challenge with getting some girls to do things they may never have been able to see themselves do. I personally found that being a peer mentor didn’t just require being present at sessions but being engaged with the students.

Being a peer mentor and going through the programme I was able to create memories that I will always treasure. I have a big passion towards working with the growing generations and Stars has help me pursue goals towards that passion.

Like the mud at camp that was stuck to me, this experience will be stuck with me forever.”

Christine Philipo, Stars Peer Mentor at Bishop Viard College, Wellington

Christine Philipo, Stars student

Christine Philipo was chosen to be honoured for her effort by being chosen to receive a Stars Peer Mentor Award in 2012.

“I have been a Stars mentor for 2 years now. Before that I was a Stars pupil when I first started school. As a Year 9 student, new to the school, having recently arrived to the country with not much English, I found it really difficult to make friends as I was also very shy. But through the Stars programme, I felt accepted and invited. I also remember feeling really cool because I knew the seniors.

After Stars camp at Year 9, I knew I wanted to be a mentor. From the development of essential skills required for the workforce, to having a positive outlook on life, building self-esteem and relating to others - all of this we've gained through the Stars programme.. It has helped me build self-confidence, leadership skills and most important of all an ‘I CAN’ attitude.”