The annual Graeme Dingle Foundation Waikato Youth Excellence awards to be presented in Hamilton on Tuesday evening will celebrate Waikato youth overcoming the odds.

A total of 18 awards will be made to young people in the Waikato community recognising their struggles and their contributions to society through the help of programmes run by the foundation.

Founded by Sir Graeme Dingle to help youth in the Waikato the GDF awards has had success running programmes in schools to challenge negative youth statistics and help form the leaders and business people of the future.

"The awards are an amazing opportunity to celebrate this country's future - our children and our young people," Sir Graeme says.

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The foundation's annual awards evening is an opportunity to celebrate more than 3000 students, their mentors, leaders and volunteers across the Waikato who have been involved in their various youth development programmes including Kiwi Can, Stars and Career Navigator over the previous 12 months.

The awards will showcase the stories and journeys that led them to winning the awards.

General manager of the Graeme Dingle Foundation Waikato, Michelle Daly, says: "Hearing the stories of our Waikato youth who have overcome obstacles to develop confidence, leadership and employability skills makes you feel so positive for the future of our region."

Attendees at the ceremony at the University of Waikato on Tuesday evening will include school principals, Waikato industry members and supporters of the foundation and the great work it does.

They will hear the personal stories of a number of graduates who bounced back from hardship and conquered immense challenges.