Skip to main content

Connecting with and understanding young people

Kia Ora!

My name is Ed Cory-Wright and I’m a youth mentor at Pride Lands.

I was born on the north shore of Auckland but soon moved to Christchurch with parents and younger sister when I was 3. I called Christchurch home through childhood until I moved to Wellington for University in 2018. It was around this time when looking for a part time job I found Pride Lands. I initially worked just doing the after-school programme around my university commitments, but when approached for a more full-time roll working 1-on-1 with cubs who need support and help, I was interested to see what more it entailed.

Through this I feel as though I have properly learned how to connect to and understand young people. The journey began positively but I soon realised I had some hurdles to jump and techniques to learn before I could succeed. I now implement these techniques regularly when working with young people.

Confidence and respect is at the core of Pride Lands as an organisation. I believe manifesting these values in a young person is at the center of my overall goal. But how does one achieve this? To start with confidence, I strive to achieve a sweet spot between self-awareness and ego, I believe this is where the definition of confidence resides. I attempt to succeed with this through showing children a balance between fun and hard work. Too much of either is detrimental to a child’s development, but the right amount of both will set a child up with the tools they need to succeed in life.

The second is respect. The number one factor in teaching respect is the child learning how to listen. If the child can listen and respond, a mutual respect begins to grow. This can be taught in a myriad of ways but once again I think it is a balance. Too much control from my end and the young person will begin to resent me. Not enough and they will take control. This balance is delicate and varies person to person, but finding that equilibrium is vital in teaching respect.

While teaching in a classroom has its place. I believe being out in the real world is the best environment to teach these values. It shows the young person the physical habitat they will one day operate in and thus when my job is done and they are left to their own devices they will not only be able to cope, but thrive.

Some examples of this are:

  • Finding entertainment and adventure in nature instead of in front of a tv screen.
  • A work, then reward based system if the young person has something in particular they want to do.
  • Understanding the world they live in and the history that has brought them to this point through visiting museums like Te Papa, City & Sea, and the Weta Cave.
  • Or even something as simple as walking through town or along the waterfront observing people and society can be very developmentally beneficial.

Other more stimulus heavy activities which are reserved for special occasions include trampoline parks, Time Zone, bowling, go carting etc.

Overall my mission remains the same. To have a positive impact on a young person’s life and help them grow to succeed in the world.