Posted by Jenny Guthrie
Barbara Payton, Manager of the Otago Youth Wellness Trust spoke to the Rotary Club of Dunedin on 04 April.
Established 20 years ago by visionary, determined and dogmatic Pat Harrison the Otago Youth Wellness Trust is a wraparound service for 12 to 18 year olds.  Barbara Payton, at OYWT since the get go herself, says that the secret of its success is that Pat took no prisoners in the one year set up.  And this start as you mean to go on approach sees OYWT going from strength to strength.
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n 20 years 7,500 young people have been involved in the Trust services.  Their families are also really important - it's not a case of working with a young person in isolation.  Not only over the years has it become more encompassing, the entry age to the service has become younger and younger.

There is a low turnover of a dedicated staff, now 20, all tertiary trained.  The staff don't focus on the organisation itself but come to work "to do themselves out of a job".

While the Trust works across the sector,  getting funding from different parts of the sector, the staff try to provide one person to one child -  at all times doing their utmost to help the young people make sense of their chaotic lives.  The needs of each young person vary enormously.  It's not just about being their friend and it's not about their goals  -  it's all about "giving them hope" and "never giving up".

Donations make a difference tangibly.  Discretionary funding often allows the Trust access to other kinds of funding.  Barbara couldn't emphasise enough that this "untagged" discretionary funding makes all the difference.  It is possible for young people to succeed with the right support.

Barbara expressed the Trust's heartfelt thanks to the Club for its fundraising and for the cheque received.