Display of hope in Matamata-Piako

Messages of hope have been left as footprints on the hearts of youth battling mental illness in Matamata-Piako. 

The messages have been conveyed on gumboots, as part of the Volunteer Youth Ambassadors (VYA) Boots of Hope project. The youth committees inaugural project partners with Mike King's Gumboot Friday campaign.

Boots of Hope, which ran through the month of March, encouraged Matamata-Piako youth, in school years 7-13, to decorate a gumboot with a message of hope to young people affected by mental illness. It also doubled as a fundraiser for Gumboot UP NZ, Mike King’s charity providing free support and counselling to young people in need.

The local Boots of Hope project raised over $500 for Gumboot UP NZ.   

The gumboots were judged by Cr. Donna Arnold, members of the VYA and Anne Johns, from Fonterra - the projects sponsor. The entire collection of boots are now only on display in the Community Gallery of Wallace Gallery in Morrinsville until 28 April.  

VYA Chair Ruby Stevens said she was blown away by the supportive comments written on each of the gumboots and was pleased the VYA could provide the conduit for youth to reach out to other young people in need.

"I have really really loved the whole concept and the reason behind it and it's not until you get all the boots together and read these beautiful messages that you realise just how much love, support and understanding is out there. I really hope young people in our district who are struggling with mental illness can come along to this exhibition and read these messages and realise that people care and they aren't alone."  

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