“The biggest problem Hamilton teenagers face is getting themselves in trouble,” says Kieran. “On weekends, teenagers usually go out drinking and partying. Or they go out on the streets, risking their safety. Hamilton City is the third most dangerous place in New Zealand, and teenagers have no place safe that they can go to other than their homes.”
“But we want to hang out,” he says. “It’s the weekend!”
Instead of complaining about Hamilton and offering no solutions, Kieran and a group of volunteers have taken it upon themselves to do anything they can for the youth of the city. “We want safe hubs and events for all teenagers, no matter what religion, sexuality, culture or gender they are.”
Initially calling themselves City Changers, the group began meeting up every week at Zeal Hamilton to discuss what sucked about Hamilton and what they could do to change it – this is where SURGE YOUTH was born.
“Our first step for the future is to start getting our events up and running Saturday nights at Zeal Hamilton.” SURGE YOUTH hopes to connect with Zeal’s Street Youth Work programme that runs in the CBD, connecting youth with their peers and social services.