In May we had a really good time connecting again with one of our pilot groups for the six-month followup feedback session. I'm amazed at how tall everyone has grown, and I'm so proud of them all. We played some games and drew pictures of our future selves, as well as hearing about how our students had used the course material in their lives. (We'll have a little video to show you in July.) A huge thanks must also go to Tony Cairns our teacher champion for all his support. (We also learnt that we need to tweak the written questions asked to more accurately capture people's experiences, which was good learning.)
This month we're looking for partnerships and finalising lesson plans so that we can expand the programme outwards across New Zealand and scale and grow. We know the programme works - now it's time to get it out there. I can't wait until Upwards can be offered to all young people - I can see how much difference it's made even in our pilot groups; counterbalanced by the need to have solid foundations and steward the company carefully as kaitiaki (guardians) of the kaupapa and tikanga that we've been entrusted with.
We're also talking to AIME, a wonderful mentoring programme in Australia - they're looking for a university student aged 18 - 30 to pick up the programme here in NZ and run with it, and we'd like to support that person and have them work with us to offer a 'next step' for our young people once they leave Upwards.