L’Oréal Face Your Future
Leaving school and deciding what to do with your life can be an exciting time for young people, whereas for some, having to make these decisions and choices can feel overwhelming. In April forty-three 16 to 18-year-olds in care throughout the country attended ‘Face Your Future’, where they were encouraged to explore career pathways, practise interview skills and build confidence as well as learn about personal presentation.
I thought it was going to be about models and make-up but it was so much more!
Community and business working together
Hosted by L’Oréal New Zealand in partnership with Fostering Kids NZ, Face Your Future has been going for nine years and has reached more than 400 young people in care. “It’s an invaluable partnership between a business and a community agency supporting young people in care to succeed,” says Linda Surtees, the chief executive of Fostering Kids NZ.
Learning from others’ experience
Encouraged to think about their future lives the teenagers were given the chance to listen to others who’d been there before them. This year’s storytellers, music artist Pieter T, ex-model and business owner Amanda Betts, young person Sydney-Anne Martin, and MP Ron Mark (pictured above) had all gone through tough times to achieve fulfilling personal lives and careers.
Ron Mark shares his story
“Growing up in foster care isn’t easy, but you have no excuse. The only person who can make a difference in your life is you - the only person who is going to break your dreams is you,” Ron Mark told them. He became a ward of the state at age three and acknowledged he had to learn to forgive to be able to move on. “Don’t do it for them” he said, “do it for yourself because if you don’t you’ll carry it on your back for the rest of your life.”
Encouragement and motivation to persevere
This message about “not becoming a victim” really hit home for some. “I learnt that I need to stop making excuses and to make sure I go to my course and take responsibility for it,” was one response while another said the encouragement has motivated her to complete her level 2 credits so she can apply to be part of the hair and beauty industry next year.
Choose to be different
Pieter T shared his story of growing up with a gang member father and how at 15 he realised if he followed the same path he’d end up either dead or in jail. “You can choose to be the same as what you see or you can choose to be something different,” he told the group.
Partnering to make a difference
L’Oréal’s aim is to help the young people recognise their potential. “We believe that companies that bring positive change to people's lives bring positive change to the world. So, we hope that our contribution has helped these young people open their eyes and ears to what is within them, and provide them with the tools, ideas, pathways and opportunities to guide their futures,” said L’Oréal’s communications manager Tanya Abbott.
For almost a decade L’Oréal has been part of the Fostering Kids NZ family and staff who volunteer their time find the event rewarding and enriching. Linda Surtees from Fostering Kids NZ said the partnership was an example of how we can all play a role in supporting vulnerable children and young people.
"Not everyone can be a caregiver — but everyone can make a positive impact on the lives of our young people if they think creatively about the ways in which they go about it," she says.
Photo supplied by L’Oréal.