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"A programme like this, for many rangatahi, is the difference between a life behind bars and a life of freedom, purpose and self worth."
Amelia studied Criminology and Psychology at Victoria University Wellington, then completed an Applied Masters in Criminal Justice. During this time Amelia had years of experience as a Youth group coordinator, Youth Worker, Assistant and Researcher for Police Youth Aid and she held numerous roles for Youthline Wellington. Following her Masters degree Amelia was appointed the Manager of the Wellington City Mission Youth Services where she set up and ran an Alternative School for “at risk” young people as well as a Youth Centre and Drug and Alcohol programme. Against this backdrop Amelia’s interest in working with young “at risk” men was born.
The school that Amelia established at the City Mission ran for twenty years until the City Mission restructured its services a couple of years ago. Around thirty, 13-17 year olds from a diverse mix of cultural and ethnic backgrounds, including a significant proportion of Māori, utilised the programme annually. A post-programme evaluation showed that 6 months after leaving the Mission School around 90% of the young people were still making positive forward movements in their lives.
After leaving the City Mission Amelia became interested in developing an understanding of and ability to treat the trauma that is a common thread in the lives of the young men who end up incarcerated. Having trained in and practiced Systemic Trauma Therapy for more than a decade while engaging in recent years to extend her studies into a range of other trauma treatment modalities she says “ I consistently witness the immense power of addressing trauma on individuals and their family systems. In her therapy practice Amelia has continued to work with Māori, and her abilities, vast knowledge and experience transforming lives as a trauma therapist, with her culturally appropriate practice and experience will be invaluable to the Te Kāhu Tiu programme and its rangatahi.
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