Emerging Leaders

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In 2022 Steve Farrelly and Breakfast Club introduced a new initiative called Emerging Leaders. An opportunity for Year 6 kids who have been identified as having untapped leadership potential to get out into the real world and meet and learn new skills that will enable them to not only become leaders of the school as they move into Year 7 and 8 but also give them the skills, values and attitudes to become successful leaders in our community well beyond their school years.

So far in 2022 these young emerging leaders have had the opportunity to receive tuition from Peter Gordon, Chef and owner of Homeland. This tuition was given at his Homeland Restaurant. The priceless opportunity. Next up was a visit to Mt Smart, home of the Warriors where they met with Mark Spring DTR CEO and Warriors sponsor. During the day they talked goal setting, leadership and were taken through their paces with a Warriors fitness session. The final event in this Covid interrupted year was the opportunity to work with Rosina Web, CEO Energise Marketing and Rene Bros of Blackmores.

These are opportunities that very few people get to experience. The development we have already seen in these emerging leaders is outstanding. We have seen their confidence grow enormously, their ability to problem solve improve and their relationships not only with each other but the adults they have been working with has grown.

We look forward to seeing this programme develop and grow so we can build on what they have achieved this year. By growing the programme to introduce another 10 in 2022 while still working with this group of emerging leaders we will have an outstanding pool of leaders to run Glen Taylor School and inspire others to want to be part of the programme.

Feedback given to us from local High Schools have commented how the kids who have come from schools using Breakfast Club programmes have achieved higher results and been able to fit into High School life with a lot more confidence than the rest of the cohort.

The evidence proves what Steve and Breakfast Club are doing works. I encourage you get behind these initiatives and support Breakfast Club so that we can continue to make positive changes in these young people’s lives that will have a lasting effect on them well beyond their schooling years.

What do you get if you take a group of 10 Year 6 kids and give them experiences they would never have the opportunity to experience? You get tomorrow’s leaders!
Just one positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.

Mark Spring, Managing Director of Thorn Group Finance has a huge soft spot for the Tamaki area of Auckland. Maybe it’s because he spent some of his formative years there, attending primary school in the area.

“I was born and raised in Glen Innes, and started at GI Primary, so when I found out about Breakfast Club, I was really keen to get involved in any way I could,” says Mark. When introduced to some of the kids he found many of their struggles very familiar. “I saw myself in lots of them. I grew up in similar socio-economic conditions but that didn’t ultimately define me - or stop me from going on to run companies or study for an MBA or anything else. I was thrilled to get a chance to chat to them in the hope it might help them realise they can achieve anything they set their mind to, no matter how things start off.”

Aside from financial support of Breakfast Club through one of his businesses, dtr, Mark gave a talk to the Emerging Leaders group in June last year. “I love helping out on this front. It’s amazing watching all the work Steve and the team do with filling tummies but they are also trying to develop humans and that’s where I really like trying to assist on a personal level”. Mark’s talk revolved around his experience with imposter syndrome, but rather than terming it that way he talked about ‘the little voice’ that’s in all of our heads - the one that tells us we’re not good enough, and to run away from the very challenges that would see us fulfil our potential.

Mark explained to the kids in simple terms how it’s an evolutionary trait our brains developed, but no longer need because the threat of wild predators is no longer an issue. “That voice tries to keep us safe by alerting us to potential threats, but the danger that the cave people faced isn’t our modern reality. The voice keeps going but we don’t need it and if we listen to it, it can hold us back.” In his session Mark related to the group how the little voice talked him out of doing a lot of things and how in the end that really frustrated and angered him. After being disappointed in himself one too many times he set about trying to control it and minimise its power over him. He expanded on this with examples of popular sports people and the way they talk that voice away when it threatens to derail a goal kick or match point.

“I explained to them what a mantra is and how to develop one to drown that voice out. And also, how to look through to the other side of any challenging situation and understand they will actually get through it, even if it’s tough. I also expressed the importance of breaking the cycle and doing something different when that voice is at its loudest - going for a walk, taking a time-out. It’s very personal to me and I hope that by explaining how I went from watching a rugby trial I should have been in, from a hiding place in a tree, to fully participating in life they might understand the importance of not listening to that little voice that says you can’t achieve. I was no different to many of them at that age, and I know if they can find a way to let themselves be great, they have enormously bright futures ahead.”

Let yourself be great

Rene Bros was the former Country Manager of Blackmores NZ and now is the General Manager of Artemis New Zealand.

But some companies, like Blackmores, have been doing this since way before it was common practice. With family values at the base of everything they do, Blackmores have had free counselling long before companies considered it and have always supported both physical and mental health, and have had mental well-being days and community days since before anyone even knew what they were. Rene Bros, Country Manager says it makes him proud to work there and he’s really glad to be able to use some of his community budget to help the Emerging Leaders programme at Glen Innes Primary School.

“I met Steve through a friend a couple of years ago and came to help out at the Breakfast Club Christmas Store at Glen Innes in 2018.” says Rene. “I loved what they were doing in general, but was even more excited to hear about their efforts with young leaders. Working for a company which still runs largely on the family values instilled by Maurice Blackmore in 1932 we are all about helping those less fortunate and we soon had our team in helping the school making value boards - with motivational quotes the kids chose themselves - and painting the walls in bright colours. It’s hard to say who enjoyed it more, us or the kids!” Blackmores also chose one day to buy all the kids Eat my Lunch so they could understand the pay-it-forward concept. “Them all getting lunch meant 240 others somewhere else all got lunch through the scheme too.”

On a personal level, the whole Breakfast Club concept resonates with Rene. He grew up in a house that wasn’t always safe with a single mother who did her best to raise them on her own. “My role model was Mum and since home wasn’t always fun, school was everything to me. Everyone needs role models and the Emerging Leaders Program really aims to provide those for them. It’s such a great concept.” When he’s not at Blackmores, Rene is a qualified suicide intervention prevention officer and supports and co runs a mental health charity. Appalled by the high suicide rate in the country he wants to be able to help anyone who feels like life is no longer worth living. “While not all suicidal thoughts are avoidable, a stable childhood can definitely help and if that’s not happening at home then I really want to be involved with anyone who is trying to make school a stable place for these kids. I’ve heard so many stories about how one teacher, or one parent or one helper can make such a difference in a child’s life. If I could have a modicum of impact on any child other than my own, I would be so happy.”

It’s pretty common these days for companies to have organisational values, mission statements, and at least some focus on giving back; most businesses now understand the need to have goals bigger than an increased bottom line.
Go to the edge, the view is much better

This relatively new space (it opened at the end of 2020) is a cook school, restaurant and small retail space that supports the food producers of Aotearoa and the Pacific. Peter and Alastair, his partner, wanted to make sure the concept of community was integral to the business from the get-go and one of the ways of doing this was by holding regular community days where groups could come and cook for koha.

Beef + Lamb NZ loved this initiative and jumped on board immediately with sponsorship and now every other Tuesday, Homeland hosts different groups from around Tāmaki Makaurau (with a view to the rest of New Zealand as well). On the wall you’ll see the words ‘Manaakitanga. For everyone, From everywhere.’ Community days are this concept actualised.

The Glen Innes kids’ faces were priceless when they entered the brand-new state of the art Fisher and Paykel kitchen. They lit up even further when they were shown the two height-adjustable cook stations that were installed for kids, people in wheelchairs - or even exceptionally tall people. Gordon was a burn victim at a young age from a kitchen accident with his Dad involving a wobbly stool and hot beef fat falling directly on his face. After his personal experience, he wants to make sure his kitchen is safe for all who use it.

The group spent three hours learning to cook baked meatballs in a chickpea tomato stew and pasta with silverbeet and bok choy and finally eating it all together at a long table outside. It was a magical morning for everyone including Peter and the team at Homeland. “We so enjoyed having the Breakfast Club kids with us for Community Tuesday.” says Peter. “Their bright energy was so infectious, and they did so well at turning out some great looking - and tasting - kai. We think everything Steve and the team are doing to help struggling communities in Auckland is amazing and it was so nice to be able to contribute to teaching kids to make budget friendly, nutritious meals for their whanau.”

On the 23rd of March this year The Emerging Leaders group visited well-known New Zealand chef Peter Gordon’s new Food Embassy, Homeland.
Opportunities don’t happen, you create them.

But you can be involved by giving money, or be involved by taking part - and when she started attending events she was bowled over by what she saw, and was all in - regardless of family ties. She loves the Emerging Leaders program and because of her own passion project, has a particular interest in what it can do for young women finding their place in the world.

“I’ve always been involved in what Stephen does, but for the first few years I just donated money or sponsored whatever he needed help with. It was only after attending my first Christmas store event, that I really got it, and only after looking at all the other things that happen during the year that I realised the magnitude of the programme, and how it was so much more than just feeding hungry children. It’s a whole programme that helps nurture young kids on every level.”

In 2019 Rosina’s company Energise helped sponsor the Breakfast Club’s Fun Run Series by providing ‘Wahine Toa’ t-shirts for the female students. “When I went to the event I was so impressed. I saw there was a whole community out there helping shape these kids. Well known netball and league players, police officers. They were all using their positions of influence to help guide these kids in a positive way. It was at this point I really saw how well Stephen really understands the end game here, and knows what he’s shaping. He really has the visioning piece. People don’t just sprout into great leaders - there are always people nurturing them and this is what the Emerging Leaders, and Breakfast Cub as an entire program, does so well.

Rosina says the programme wraps itself round children in every way. “Kids who could be drowned out by stuff get the chance to be heard - and they emerge stronger than what their backgrounds might be. They see a different possible future and by understanding what success feels like they know they want more of it. I’m really interested in this personally as I run a social enterprise called She that provides support and mentoring for women in business. I’ve been in business for 12 years and could never find the support I needed, so have created it myself. One of the biggest things I’ve learned over the years is that success truly comes from the right mindset. And I love that Emerging Leaders does so much work on the importance of positive mindset from such a young age. I have no doubt that one day that I’ll be seeing some of these young women leading the businesses of our future New Zealand.

Rosina Webb didn’t have much of a choice as to whether to be involved in Breakfast Club really, her brotherSteve Farrelly - is the founder.
Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.

the limit




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