Former Otumoetai College student succeeds
Jessica Rose Collins is a true success story, using her creativity and skills learnt through the Project K programme to help her overcome the obstacles that life has put in her way.
Jessica is just one of many alumni from the Graeme Dingle Foundation’s Project K - a 14 month programme designed to help build confidence, life skills and motivation in young people from Year 10.
She credits the programme with “saving her life”, and says “I honestly, with my whole heart, don't think I would be alive today if it wasn't for Project K."
The aim of Project K is to arm rangatahi with a belief in their own ability to complete tasks, achieve goals, and to help them find purpose and direction, transforming their lives.
A former Otumoetai College student, Jess achieved excellence in Project K and went on to receive a national Excellence Award at Year 11. She also received the Graeme Dingle Foundation Alumni Excellence Award at Government House.
Most recently, Jess achieved the Prime Ministers Exemplar Award; an award that recognises resilience, achievement and support for others and community and she has gone on to pursue her passion for art, currently finishing her degree in Maori Visual Arts at Massey University.
Jess says she has always loved everything toi related and ever since she can remember creativity was her favourite tool to use in working through her struggles. Fittingly, the title of her upcoming exhibition is Resilience; one of the Graeme Dingle Foundation's core teachings within their programme.
“Resilience is a strength that is necessary to survive within society,” says Jess.
“I hope to help people engage with new knowledge, understandings and world views of the world around them, hope that they feel inspired to make change and improve the wellbeing of the people and environment surrounding them, and hope that they receive whatever messages they need at this point in their lives.”
Jess is inspired by many people and artists, in particular New Zealand artist Sofia Minson, and she hopes one day to be a source of inspiration for other young New Zealand artists herself.
Many of the works she features in this exhibition are connected to the Mana Whenua Hikoi she completed last year where she walked 668km from Raglan to Kapowairua - fundraising for Lifeline and mourning the 668 people that were lost to suicide in our country the previous year.
Jess is sharing the exhibition space with fellow artist and Graeme Dingle alumni, Symphony Rimaha.
Symphony is another graduate of the Project K programme and she too found her life completely transformed by the experience. Project K gave her the confidence to continue developing her artistic and creative expression and she credits her Project K experience with offering the key support and encouragement she needed to continue to pursue her passion.
Symphony draws inspiration from her Maori heritage and her work displays its fundamental and intrinsic importance to who she is.
She loves to reinterpret traditional elements of Maori art and design within her mixed media images.
We are very proud of these girls and their achievements and hope to see you at the show.