There are one million young New Zealanders aged 13 to 30. What if every one of them were to reach their full potential in creating change? What would it take?

This is the vision that Guy Ryan and his team at Inspiring Stories are trying to achieve. Their latest initiative, Future Fund, is a bold statement about their mission to really get behind Kiwi youth.

This month, Inspiring Stories is hoping to raise $1m for Future Fund. This will go towards access to their programs, grants and tailored support for young entrepreneurs.

Guy, who was awarded 2015 Young New Zealander of the Year, set up Inspiring Stories back in 2011, with the initial goal of increasing visibility of youth making a difference in their communities and empowering others.

However it soon became apparent that it was extremely difficult for youth who wanted to take action to do so. So the organisation began teaching young people about social entrepreneurship.

“When young people want to take action, we’re looking at how to build their capabilities, their confidence and their connections to be more effective. It’s a journey about supporting young New Zealanders from inspiration to action,” Guy says.

Over the last five years, Inspiring Stories has been responsible for the annual Festival for the Future conference (which TEARAWAY will be at this weekend!), the Live the Dream program and the Making a Difference film competition. However in order to expand and really influence youth in New Zealand, they need financial backing.

“Our ability to really support young New Zealanders has been quite limited, and the Future Fund, once established, will allow us to step this up and really back New Zealand youth to change the world,” Guy explains.

future fund launchI was lucky enough to attend the Future Fund launch last night. It was very powerful to hear some of the Live the Dream alumni talking about how Inspiring Stories helped them to reach their full potential. I could feel the passion these young people have for what they do: utilise their creativity and skills for the greater good.

This is what Guy and his team are enabling and supporting. They are not only giving youth a platform for our voices to be heard, but they are helping us find our voice!

As a young person myself, it is so heartening to see that the people at Inspiring Stories care so much about New Zealand youth.

Guy says, “Often young people are portrayed in a negative light, but time and time again I see that youth are incredibly creative, optimistic, resourceful, energetic, have an amazing drive and can do amazing things.”

So why not donate to an organisation who is built to support us and our dreams? They are fundraising this whole month, so make sure you check out the Future Fund website and give a little.

Jessie will be attending Festival for the Future so stay tuned here and on Instagram for coverage from this an inspirational event!

Photos courtesy of Catherine de Chalain / Inspiring Stories. From top: Guy Ryan, Future Fund launch, Bonnie Howland (Live the Dream alum and founder of Indigo & Iris).

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