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Meet the family: Miguel Raman, youth work coordinator

Miguel has been with Zeal Hamilton since before they even had a venue, performing at shows before coming onboard for Afterschools and external hires. Check out some yarns we had with him below!

How did you first get involved with Zeal?

Miguel: I got involved with Zeal through an acoustic night at The Loft back in 2013. My mate and I were asked to perform, and we even got a spot on the next acoustic night in Garden Place. 

After those two acoustic shows, I never heard of Zeal again until I caught up with my good friend Gian in 2015. He gave me a tour of the new building, and that was when I learned more about Zeal’s vision and unique approach. I started to volunteering in 2016, and slowly became more and more involved. Eventually I scored myself a sicko job and never looked back. Mega chur.

What does your typical day at Zeal look like?

Miguel: No day is the same when it comes to Zeal Hamilton. Some days are quiet and chilled – everyone’s tired from a long day of school and they just want to relax. Other days can look like a back alley circus. Paper cups stacked in large pyramids, girls screaming about why Panic! at the Disco is the greatest band ever, and much much more. But this is why I enjoy Afterschools. Boring does not exist. 

What do you do in your spare time?

Miguel: In my spare time, I like to play pool. Not the swimming kind, but the pool where you have to put balls in holes. I was fortunate enough to represent New Zealand at the VNEA Junior Pool Championships 2016 and 2017. This year I’m going along as a coach and I’m stoked! 

I’ve also started kickboxing – I have a fight coming up next month, so fingers crossed.

What’s your favourite memory from Afterschools?

Miguel: Last year we had an awesome Christmas party and a massive feed during afterschools. It was probably the first time we had an “Afterschools Event”. The turn out was great, everybody had a great time and it brought our whanau closer together. 

What are some epic moments you’ve had during your time at Zeal?

Miguel: The most epic moment of this year was when Kieran (a young person) kept a panda mask on his head for 9 hours during a Zeal camp. Nothing will ever beat his love for McDonalds. No dare is too big or too small for my man Kieran. 

What’s some advice you would pass on to someone wanting to work with youth?

Miguel: My three main Youth Work do’s are: be authentic, be patient, and listen. 

Young people are experts at identifying fake personas. It’s counterproductive pretending to be someone you’re not. 

Change takes time. A lot of the time, changes don’t occur within the first few weeks. It is important to build the relationship first before we start pushing for change. A strong relationship is the key to change.

Listening to your young people is always a must. Sometimes young people aren’t looking for answers. They just want someone to be present and listen.

What’s your favourite café in Hamilton?

Miguel: It’s a toss up between SL28 and Grey Street Kitchen. Grey Street is my local so I’m going to have to pick them. 

What’s the actual function of the chalk thing in pool? Does it do anything, or is it just for show?

Miguel: Players chalk their cue when they have no idea what to do. Much like when youth workers go out to get a coffee on a stressful day. Fortunately, it also lets your cue tip grip the ball when chalked properly. 

Read more from Hamilton:

“Whether it’s seeing your favourite band for the first time with thousands of other screaming fans or just cheering for a mate jamming solo on stage at a chill & low-key acoustic show, there’s just something magical about how music brings people together.”

The Zeal Familton crew woke up at the crack of dawn on August 21st (okay, it was like 7am) to head in to Zeal to host the Hamilton City Council’s 30 Under 30 awards – and we ended up winning one, too!