TV soap star has timely advice for youth

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 05:00 28/09/2012

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Set goals, have role models and aspire to be great.

These were the life lessons that Shortland Street's Benjamin Mitchell, otherwise known as Dr TK Samuels, had for the youth of Riverton.

He spoke to 130 people at the Riverton Community Charitable Trust free parent and youth evening last night, sharing his life experiences and the principles he lives by.

"I was fortunate with the influences I had and the choices I made. I believe we are all here for a purpose and once you discover that your job is to figure out how to get that," he said.

Step one for young people was to have a vision and a target because without it they could end up nowhere, he said. "People who don't have a vision end up involved with crime and drugs in loserville."

He was a powerful believer in role models for youth.

"No matter what you want to do, whether it's athletics, a career goal or a personal goal, learn from the people who have already done it, don't try to spend your whole life trying to figure it out or you will get stuck," he said.

Riverton Community Charitable Trust youth facilitator Tanya Colyer said it wasn't easy being a teenager and the choices were endless.

She set up the evening to help the youth of Riverton (11 years plus) talk openly and make better choices.

It was part of the "Be inspired" programme funded by the Child Youth and Family Fresh Start Innovation Fund, that aimed to address youth offending.

Parents Inc Attitude presenter James Beck spoke about choices and consequences, good and bad decisions.

He shared life skills with the teenagers and said he hoped it would help them to make life-enhancing choices about sex, drugs and alcohol. He regularly spoke to high school students about topical issues. Young people and parents found certain topics awkward but both needed to be educated, which was another aim of the evening, he said.

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- The Southland Times

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