College leaders 'making it happen'

SIOBHAN DOWNES
Last updated 12:40 02/07/2014

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Clad in lucky red socks, students at Nayland College have been encouraged to put their best foot forward and chase their dreams.

The group of aspiring young leaders yesterday heard KidsCan co-founder and chief executive Julie Chapman tell the story of how the national charity began in her garage nine years ago.

It has grown to support 405 low decile schools nationwide, providing impoverished children with food, shoes, raincoats and other basic items so they can turn up to school ready to learn.

Chapman is one of 300 high-profile Kiwi leaders speaking to students all over the country as part of the Sir Peter Blake Trust Leadership Week.

The trust's theme for this year is "make it happen", inspiring young people to turn their dreams into realities.

The week will be capped off with Red Sock Day on Friday, which celebrates the work of yachting hero Sir Peter Blake and encourages Kiwis to keep his spirit alive.

Chapman told the Nayland College students the key to her success was collaboration with like-minded people.

"Great leaders have an ability to uplift the people working alongside them," she said.

"You have to make sure you surround yourself with people who share your vision. It's also about never being afraid to ask for help."

Her ultimate goal was for child poverty to be eradicated so KidsCan did not have to exist, she said.

Nayland College student leader Paige Dunlop, 17, said she was inspired by Chapman's work and leadership advice.

"It was such a huge eye-opener to hear about what child poverty is like in New Zealand," she said.

"We hear about poverty overseas all the time, but I had no idea it was this bad here."

Paige is a member of YMCA Nelson's Youth Leaders Project, and spends her free time volunteering at The Truck, a mobile recreation service for young people.

She had been "out in the cold" every morning this week selling Red Socks, she said.

This is the third year Nayland College has participated in Leadership Week.

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- The Nelson Mail

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