Sometimes when you’re caught up in the day to day, it’s hard to take a step back and see what you’re doing as a whole.
Emails, meetings, coffee and more coffee – it can be a mission to even keep track of what day it is, let alone the big picture of Zeal Hamilton.
After (finally) getting our six month report in to council, we broke down our first half of 2017 to let you all know how it’s going.
On the afternoons in the weekday, our usual sleepy hub comes alive with happy chaos, loud music and the smell of freshly ground coffee beans (and teenagers). On average, about 17 young people come and hang with us every day, with a core community of 25. Our afterschools crew is made up of young musicians, photographers, artists, and other creatives who all use Zeal as an outlet for their creativity.
Our drop in times are all about fostering authentic relationships with our young people. This is the core of everything we do – meaningful connections take time, commitment and consistency, and we think it’s the best way to connect young people with their community and passions.
Since January, we’ve had over 109 workshops and classes in creative skills, and 146 young people have been upskilled. Our barista programme has easily been the most popular, with some of our students going on to find employment at cafe’s around the city.
We’ve also expanded our Photography class, widening the skills taught to include videography and web design to keep up with the changing world of media. Recording, live sound and event management students have gotten together to run some of our biggest events this year, and we’ve even hosted a few one-off workshops by creatives around our community.
We’ve held 14 Zeal events this year and welcomed 11 more external hires. We were stoked to host Hamtown Smakdown in 2017, the long-standing hardcore music festival, which saw hundreds of young people come through the doors.
We’ve also had the pleasure of our favourite band, Half Eaten Pie (Rockquest finalists 2016), tear it up in our cafe area. We’ve even seen bands travel all the way from Australia and America to come and play to the young people of our city.
One of the best parts of our job is being able to pull in young people to volunteer with us – volunteers are the backbone of our organisation, and seeing teenagers choose to focus their time on the wider community is amazing to see. 24 young people have volunteered their skills, whether it be snapping photos at events or making coffee at external hires. We’ve even brought in two of our core afterschools group to intern with us during office hours.
“With so much going on at Zeal, it’s inspiring to see my team’s level of care and compassion for our young people never cease or drop for an instant,” says Lehi, Zeal Hamilton Manager. “More and more young people continue to become a part of our afternoon drop-in, adding to the diversity, atmosphere and culture of our space, weaving into the fabric of who Zeal is and how we do what we do.”
“Their individual stories of hardship and growth remind us of the importance of close relationships, vulnerability, and perseverance, and we are continually proud of our young whanau, many of whom have overcome huge obstacles to become who they are today.”