Springboard charity auction and 1000@10 club

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6 An ‘undeserved start in life’ is Gary Diprose’s gentle phrase for the horrific childhood stories he hears on a regular basis. Gary is the founder and CEO of youth-focused charity Springboard. He gave up farming in Maungatahi to pursue a calling to help people and he’s on a mission to change the local community.

Gangs, alcohol and drugs are common issues, he says. “When kids are from this environment, you can’t just say: ‘Okay, let’s get on with some maths.’ They have too much baggage to carry to go forward.”

Many end up expelled from school; some become young offenders. Springboard aims to break what Gary calls ‘a useless cycle of crime and punishment’ by offering six tailored programmes. “We try to grab them during their most influential years and help them transition into positive adulthood,” says Gary.

One 15-year-old, who does not wish to be named, was a loner at school and got kicked out. He completed Impact, Springboard’s alternative education programme, and is now on track to join the navy. Another boy described himself as ‘a cheat, thief, threatening and threatened’. CYFs were knocking on the door. He said the Springboard team ‘spent time with me, listened without judging me, they treated me as an equal, and they challenged me respectfully’.

Since starting 14 years ago, Springboard has become an established part of the Mahurangi community, working with the police, schools and local government. Companies such as Bayleys and Vodafone are major supporters.

August 6 will see Springboard’s key annual fundraising auction, held at Ascension Vineyard for the second time. Owner Alex Sipka believes everyone needs a second chance and has gifted Springboard the venue hire, food and staff – everything. The night is a sell-out, with Rodney MP Mark Mitchell, Auckland Councillor Penny Webster, and many prominent business people supporting it.

Excellent local band White Chapel Jak will play, and there are both live and silent auctions of some seriously fabulous items. The proceeds have become a ‘seed funder’ for Springboard, enabling the development of large new projects, as well as mentoring and family support.

Another great initiative from Gary is the 1,000@10 club. The theory is if 1,000 people gave $10 a month, the scheme could generate $120,000 per year. “1,000@10 is a win-win situation for everyone,” says Gary. “Investing in our youth can change your community. You’re investing in your own backyard.”

www.springboard.org.net  | Tickets $80 T: 09 425 4623  | E: mail@springboard.co.nz