The Mana Recovery Trust has spent the past 16 years helping people with mental health disabilities to develop the necessary skills to work and live in the community.
They are taught reading, writing, social skills and how to prepare a CV, among other skills. Once they finish the programme, they are either employed through the charity in its secondhand store Trash Palace or in the wider community.
The trust is working with the Papakura Lions Club on a new initiative where the trainees will dismantle old eye glasses for recycling.
Trust chief executive Elizabeth Meaclem said at the moment 20 per cent of old glasses were sent to the Pacific Islands to be reused and the rest were thrown out.
However, by trainees separating the eye pieces from the metal frames, both parts could be recycled.
She said this would help them develop fine motor and social skills, which would assist in getting a job.
In the past, the charity has helped people move out of residential care - where they were monitored and dependent on the staff - and into the community, where they cook, shop and take care of themselves, while socialising with those around them.
"They're different people when they finish - confident, proud of themselves and have good self-esteem," Ms Meaclem said
The trainees had not yet been told about the project, she said.
"But once we do tell them, they'll be really excited about the work they are doing and how it will help the environment."
To assist in this work, the trust is one of 12 charities to receive $10,000 from the Auckland Airport this Christmas.
Auckland Airport spokesman Charles Spillane said the trust was an inspiring organisation that would make good use of the funds.
"We were particularly attracted to this recycling project as it is a great example of Kiwi ingenuity at its best."
The charity has been well recognised for its work, including at this year's Wellington Gold awards, where it received the Ministry of Environment Green Gold award for positive sustainability.
This Christmas, the Herald is again featuring charities which have been selected for a $10,000 donation from Auckland Airport. The $120,000 to be distributed came from change donated by travellers this year.