Inspirational

Making a difference through mentoring

Twenty-one years ago, Jo-anne Wilkinson and Graeme Dingle wanted to help young Kiwis become more confident, gain life skills, and achieve success. Today the Graeme Dingle Foundation (formerly known as the Foundation for Youth Development) works to achieve Jo-anne and Graeme’s vision with a single-minded purpose: to transform young lives forever.

One remarkable young person whose life has been transformed is Bailey Roma, a transgender teen who was struggling to make sense of who she was.

Constantly bullied at school, Bailey was feeling lost and alone before she started Project K, one of the Foundation’s mentoring programmes. “I built walls between myself and other people.”

Her mentor Peter Lawson agrees, saying “When I first met Bailey she spent most of her time in her bedroom.”

But through regular mentoring meetings and goal-setting, Bailey’s walls and internal tussles have steadily reduced. She describes her mentoring relationship with Peter as helping her to find herself.

“He showed that he wasn’t going to judge me. Without Peter I would not have acknowledged who I am. He’s just the bomb – top dog.”

Bailey’s story was recently featured on Seven Sharp, which you can watch in full at http://tvnz.co.nz/seven-sharp/he-doesn-t-judge-me-transgender-teen-finds-unlikely-ally-in-insurance-man-video-6425921

Fidelity Life is proud to be a supporter of the Graeme Dingle Foundation, who encourage and help over 20,000 young people like Bailey find purpose and direction on life’s journey.

If you’d like to find out more about the Graeme Dingle Foundation, or you’re interested in becoming a mentor yourself, please visit www.dinglefoundation.org.nz/.

Photo supplied by the Graeme Dingle Foundation