While living in Australia for 26 years Kingston Jones has been observing the impact of mental health and various disabilities on our rangatahi (young people) in Aotearoa.
It has ignited in him a passion to make a difference in the lives of our tamariki and prompted his return to Aotearoa with his whanau.
He sees rangatahi as Aotearoa’s most precious taonga (treasure).
Kingston is a valued member of the Te Ratonga Poumanaaki (TRP) team – we cannot envisage our organisation without him.
Having only recently joined the team, Kingston’s journey has led him to an environment where many rangatahi are navigating a neurotypical world that does not make sense to them; Many with challenging behaviors are struggling to understand themselves and the world of adulthood.
This is where Kingston, as an emerging Youth Kaimahi Tautoko (support worker) and mentor, wants to give back to his people and embrace his Tikanga to nurture and guide wayward rangatahi.
The strategies he applies align with his ‘Why’, a motto he carries close to his heart, ‘Help the boy to shape the man.’
His core principles are to encourage youth to use their voice and to speak, embrace and explore their culture, to empower their self-worth, to learn from their mistakes and to always be kind.
When asked what compelled him to respond to TRP’s job advertisement on seek.co.nz, he said, “Everything just fitted: the location and the job description.
“It presented itself as an opportunity to be part of something that was going to make a difference in the lives of our rangatahi.
“Working with tamariki with neurodiverse challenges has broadened my understanding of how some brain-based impairments affect their everyday lives.
“It is a privilege to be working with such amazing, strong and talented youth,” he said.