Birthright has been a provider of Mates & Dates in Hawke’s Bay for four years, delivering in many high schools, alternative education and pathway to employment programmes.
Programme Coordinator, Stacey Rout, says that Mates and Dates is a valuable programme that taught Years 9 – 13 about healthy relationships, consent and sexual violence prevention.
She and her committed team worked with socially-aware high schools from Wairoa to Central Hawke’s Bay. The programme worked in two ways – providing preventative education, but also providing the opportunity for young people to disclose to school counsellors if they had been survivors of sexual violence.
Stacey says that she and her team formed incredibly good relationships with participant schools and their counsellors. Good relationships were also built with students.
“The best stories came after working with students over multiple years, where I saw it start to become more relevant. They wanted and needed to talk about it. You could start to see it click and impact on the way they treated each other”, Stacey says.
“What was really amazing was when Year 13s came up with their own sexual violence prevention campaigns for their schools. They thought of really creative, relevant ways of getting the message out. Some did songs or tik-toks, there were lots of posters and videos. All explaining what consent looks or sounds like, or what it doesn’t look or sound like”.
Stacey wants to give a huge shout-out to the schools that participated in Mates & Dates and looked after their young people’s well-being in this way. She also pays tribute to her dedicated team over the years, who have sacrificed recreational and family time, or even take annual leave from their jobs, to provide this programme to schools. It was only thanks to the commitment of her team and the uptake from schools, that the programme has succeeded to the extent it has.