We've had the honour of working with Upside Youth Mentoring for a few years now, and couldn’t be more proud to continue our partnership with them.. Their mission is to support Aotearoa's youth who have faced adverse childhood experiences. They help them feel a little brighter and more loved than they did yesterday. Upside Youth have matched young people with mentors since 2006 and with over 700 matches and 6000 hours of mentoring a year, they've seen time and time again the life-changing effects of this connection.

Chrissy herself is a mentor and encourages anyone with the means to join the Upside Youth Mentoring community.

Gift Wrap That Gives Back can be added to your online or instore purchase for $3, and the whole amount is donated directly to Upside Youth Mentoring to help support the amazing work they do.

We had the honour of catching up with Upside Youth’s team on an interview, to learn more about what they do.

What made you choose to start Upside Youth Mentoring?

A need was identified by Bill Grayson and Dave Robertson to help young people at a crucial time in their life. Without early intervention for young people who experience ACE's (Adverse childhood experiences that child’s development may be affected.  Many of the young people referred to Upside often have complex home situations and a range of services supporting them. An Adverse Childhood Experience is defined in this article. Referrers are predominantly primary, or intermediate schools and our volunteer mentors come from a range of backgrounds and ages. One thing they have in common is the desire to support a young person through whatever they are going through by just showing up for a couple of hours a week to fulfil the need to have another adult in their corner. Someone who is different to a parent, or family member.    

What are your company's processes? 

We match each rangatahi with an adult mentor who is there consistently for them for a year or more, to be a positive force in their life. We believe that to build strong, positive future communities, early intervention is key - that means journeying with young people at this vital time in their lives, while we can make the biggest difference.  In addition to recruiting volunteer mentors to work with the young people referred to us with our partner schools we also actively seek collaboration with other youth organisations to deliver the Upside model in other regions of Aotearoa.  We currently partner with Springboard, Coast Youth Trust and Tipu Skills For Life.

What is your favourite part of being a part of Upside?

Knowing that the work we do as a team is facilitating the most amazing changes in the young people referred to us. These changes have a positive rippling effect across the whānau of our young people, the community as a whole and also our mentors talk about how mentoring provides them with a huge sense of fulfilment. Another favourite part of working with some of the most incredible selfless people, who volunteer their time to mentor the young people on the Upside Program.  Getting to have heaps of fun with the mentoring matches (young people and their mentors) and our team at Upside Events which happen a few times a year also has to be a bonus.

Who do you look up to? 

I guess it would be all the other youth mentoring organisations that work alongside us at our mentoring whare at Greenlane.  And of course our mentors and young people and whānau for having the courage to take that step in creating the most wonderful friendships and support network for each other.

Your 3 favourite things/aspects about the company.

1. We have an amazing team culture at Upside, with meetings held outdoors whenever we can to enjoy the sunshine.

2. a really caring and supportive work environment where we journey life's challenges together both work and personal.

3. The team are all passionate about what they do and hold so much value in the  knowledge that we are doing good work that has a real impact on the lives of the mentors, young people and whānau we support.

Flo & Frankie's wonderful Founder, Chrissy has been a mentor alongside Upside Youth Mentoring for quite some time now. And as a company, we feel honoured to be able to work with Upside on making a difference.

See Upside Youth Mentoring’s website here.

Follow their journey on Instagram here.

With love,

The Flo's Family xx

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