Gen Z will need character by the bucket load
As New Zealand wrestles another wave of Covid 19 into submission, it’s time to attend to the future of our young people, says the new director of young adult independence programme, MIOMO (Making It On My Own.)
“Generation Z is going to need character, the ability to think independently and develop resilience by the bucket-load going forwards” says Wee-Yeong Eyou. He predicts courses and advice that help young people with confidence will be in higher demand than ever, due to the uncertain global fall-out from the pandemic.
The Malaysian born Kiwi, 41, worked in corporate and organisational leadership before moving full time into youth work and the not-for-profit sector years ago. He feels it is vital that the 16 to 24-year-old group his programme caters to develop skills that not only round them as people, but give them the ability to face adversity, then adapt. In other words, resilience.
It’s not a skill taught in schools and, increasingly, it’s not taught at home.
“I was very proud to become Director of MIOMO this year” says Eyou. “I’ve been watching its progress for years – MIOMO’s popularity grew because parents of Millennials were struggling with their children’s ‘self-entitlement’, struggling to put the boundaries in place that would see them take responsibility and become independent. That was enough of a reason for us to want to effect change.
“But when my organisation set the wheels in motion to buy it in 2019, Covid 19 did not exist. The world was more predictable. Back then, we were simply thrilled to keep delivering and improving the foundation skills that previous owner and young adult guru, Yvonne Godfrey, laid so effectively.”
Godfrey had grown the brand to help ‘Yadults’ become responsible contributors to society and did so by creating teaching modules in a small-group setting that included: Time, Space and Energy; Independence; Achieving Goals; Healthy Relationships and more.
One such attendee this January was young Sairaj: “During my time at MIOMO I got a clear picture of my goals and dreams. In the past, I would disregard these because they seemed too hard. I have gained confidence that I can achieve my dreams if I know why I want to achieve them and how to get there….”
Dad Ritesh adds that as well as getting better at budgeting, setting goals and being independent, his son now understands the “importance of healthy relationships and the type of company he wants to keep going forward in life…”
Other parents say MIOMO gives young adults a far better idea of what life is really like in the big wide world: “The programme gives them a good dose of reality. It opens up their eyes” says mum of three, Vicki.Her own goals were to see her children come out with an understanding of “healthy relationships, stronger character, heart, and an appreciation for doing things the right way.”
Under Wee-Yeong’s leadership, all this foundation work will be delivered as normal, but the team has added free, follow-up mentoring as a way of coping better with today’s uncertainty.
“Mentoring will help these MIOMO graduates to stick to their resolutions and maintain faith in their dreams during times that are potentially worrying for them….and we all know how difficult sticking to resolutions can be in a good year!” says Eyou, who also aims to increase the number of scholarships available.
In terms of structural difference, the programme is now officially owned by Every Nation Auckland City (ENAC) where Eyou wears his Pastor’s hat. The father of two is keen to assure interested parents that the programme remains “mainstream”.
“Yvonne founded the programme on basic Christian principles – after her own heart. But the boundaries were and are still clear; the course remains a non-religious, open-to-all life-changing experience for young adults who could definitely do with some extra tools in the box right now.”