A life-changing Blue Light programme that supports 16 to 24-year-olds get their driver's licence is urgently appealing for more volunteers.
Blue Light assists young people to overcome the barriers to getting a driver's licence – something we often take for granted. For many young people, their introduction to the justice system is through repeated driving infringements.
Superintendent Bronwyn Marshall has supported this programme since its launch three years ago.
"The effect this programme has on the lives of the young people who participate is astounding.
"We see young people avoiding the risk of fines and enjoying the benefits of holding a licence including better access to jobs or training, and simply having a legitimate form of photo identification."
Without a licence, jobs are not as accessible, appointments become hard to manage and everyday tasks become a burden, particularly in rural areas.
Blue Light's Youth Driver programme has been running for the past three years in the Katikati district thanks to support from Katikati College and the Katikati Community Centre.
Blue Light provides safe cars with cameras inside and out, professional lessons and endorsed instructors.
This week Blue Light's National Coordinator for Blue Light Youth Driver Navigator programme, Ken Harema handed over the keys to the Katikati-based Blue Light vehicle to a group of Navigators and community representatives who are keen to see youth in Katikati learn safe driving practices and gain their full licences.
Blue Light Navigators are key to the programme's survival and are needed for one to two hours a week to help with practice once the participants have the basics.
Due to the growing demand to help local youth gain their licence, Blue Light is appealing for more volunteers to assist these youth to practise their skills.
Blue Light CEO Rod Bell says the need for volunteers is urgent.
"Public transport isn't an option in many rural areas, and many of the families we deal with are managing low-income work and simply can't afford to pay for the tests, let alone driving lessons.
"We need volunteers to keep this programme going and to offer it to as many young people as we can. We urge anyone with an interest in becoming a Navigator to come to our information evenings being held all around the area this and next month."
A Navigator information evening is being held in Katikati on Monday, July 27, at 7pm at the St John Ambulance Hall.
To RSVP or to find out more call 0800 bluelight or email email@example.com or for the full list of Navigator information meetings visit www.bluelight.co.nz or Facebook @BLDYN