Homework helpers prove popular
Chelsea Tevaga says lack of money shouldn't be a barrier to tertiary education.
And he's doing everything he can to prove this is the case.
Tevaga co-ordinates the Hands Up Homework Club - an initiative that began out of Maria Sancta Church in Beach Haven.
The concept is simple: Children aged from 5 to 18 are invited to bring along their homework to get help from tutors and mentors.
But there's just one problem.
The club has become so popular the church can no longer house it and so Tevaga is on a mission to find a new headquarters.
"We won't let lack of funding stop us. But we do want to encourage people to invest in people's lives.
"Everyone will benefit in the long run because we will help shape people to contribute greatly to New Zealand," Tevaga says.
The 22-year-old says growing up in Beach Haven had its challenges but it is a place he'll always call home.
"There weren't many places for youth to be there and meet up.
"I always knew it was quite different from other areas on the North Shore but it is a place that embraces multiculturalism and is such a close-knit, laid-back community," he says.
Tevaga says a low socio-economic background doesn't mean tertiary education is impossible.
And he's walking proof.
He is studying towards a double degree in law and arts at the University of Auckland and wants to encourage others to pursue higher education.
Club tutor Eleanor Barlow, 17, is a student at Carmel College but says she wasn't aware of her potential until she started high school.
Now she is joining Tevaga in proving to children that private schools aren't the only road to success.
The duo hope the homework club will be a model for other communities to adopt.
"We are the whole package in terms of holistic care and seeing success in young people," she says.
"There are no boundaries. The only person stopping you from reaching your dream is yourself."
Hands Up Homework Club have turned to the Kaipatiki Local Board and wider community for funding and support.
Kaipatiki community co-ordinator Jill Nerheny says she fully supports the club.
Email handsup0626@ gmail.com for more information.
North Shore Times