The Helmsman Project celebrated four years of operations last month, a milestone to which more than 120 volunteers have contributed and which has impacted just over 300 young lives. It has been no small feat - hope, self-regulation and resilience have been essential ingredients to our progress
Around this time last year, we decided it was time to take stock and assess how we could continue to improve what we do and the way in which we do it. We invited all our stakeholders including graduates of all our programs, school principals and teachers, parents, The Helmsman Project employees and volunteers, funders and suppliers, to participate in consultations. Our team then spent six months pulling together hundreds of hours of very rich and useful commentary.
Earlier this year, we pulled together an operations working group tasked to develop the next iteration of The Helmsman Project program based on experience and feedback gathered. This group, made up of members of our team, board as well as volunteers with subject matter expertise, has been working on the development of ‘The Helmsman Project 2.0’, focusing on program design and delivery mechanisms. A pilot of this program, which has been fully funded by Teen Spirit Foundation, will be delivered in 2018.
We hope the changes that will be brought forward following the pilot will allow The Helmsman Project to become better integrated into our partner organisations, to plan better, and to successfully bring initiatives to scale – all through a collaborative process.
Another very important development of the last few months has been the recruitment of two key roles to our team: a coach and a head of fundraising.
W Leon Naufahu joined as Coach of The Helmsman Project in mid-July. Leon had been volunteering since 2013 and had coached on a pro bono basis on four programs. This recruitment allows our organisation to not only complement the delivery of our programs with volunteer coaches, but to provide our partner schools with more flexibility and consistency.
Carrie Elton joined our team as Head of Fundraising in mid-August. Carrie has a wealth of experience in fundraising for the not-for-profit sector and is passionate about our cause and helping us to achieve our ambitious growth targets.
Those two recruitments, as well as the development of the ‘next’ The Helmsman Project program, are signs of progress. No doubt a good dose of hope, self-regulation and resilience will be needed over the coming year. I plan on keeping you updated through these notes.