Henderson’s Youth Studio Transforms Lives

Enabling communities to connect and flourish is the mission of the Henderson-based MPHS Community Trust. And that’s exactly what’s happening at the charitable organisation’s ground-breaking Youth Studio. A recipient of $20,140 from this year’s Million Dollar Mission, there’s no doubt that the Youth Studio is helping to transform lives. To find out more we spoke with Chief Executive, Kathryn Lawlor.

“The Youth Studio was set up seven years ago,” explains Kathryn. “It’s a community-owned creative space where youth can come together to learn hi-tech skills including painting, film, photography, music production, animation, robotics and graphic design.”

Aimed at the 10-18 age group, the studio’s programmes are free to young people. And according to Kathryn over 90 youth are regularly accessing the Youth Studio either after school or during the school holidays.

For some of these young people the technical skills learnt have helped them to find work or tertiary study. For others the Youth Studio provides a creative outlet enabling them to explore their artistic talents. However, for many young people the most important thing is the social and community support offered by the studio.

Sharney is a typical example. Now 22 years old, Sharney first joined the studio at the age of 15.

“I was really into music,’’ she advises. “At the studio I was able to write songs, use the mic and record them. This really helped the 15-year-old me to express myself and I loved being able to work with friends making music.

“I made lots of friends through Youth Studio which was really important as I’d just moved into the area with my whānau and didn’t know anyone. Through the MPHS Youth Studio I was able to connect and meet other young people.”

Sharney is grateful for the support she received at the Youth Studio, so much so that she now works part-time as a youth leader.

“I love teaching the young people Photoshop and how to create graphics as well as helping them write and record music.

“Youth Studio has been like another home to me and has helped me grow in both skills and confidence,’’ says Sharney.

The Million Dollar Mission funding means that even more young people like Sharney will benefit. The Youth Studio plans to use the money to cover operational expenses such as extra resources and IT equipment.

“We know there are still many youth in our local community who are isolated and could benefit from the network and resource of community youth leaders associated with the Youth Studio and MPHS Community Trust,’’ advises Chief Executive, Kathryn Lawlor.

“We’re very grateful to the Million Dollar Mission for the opportunity to do more in this crucial area. The funding has made a significant difference in helping ensure our Youth Studio remains free and accessible to West Auckland youth.”

The Youth Studio is situated at Hub West, 27 Corban Avenue, Henderson. You can find out more about the studio or the wider work of MPHS Community Trust by going to the website at www.mphscommunity.org