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Otara student's confidence boost
Manukau Courier, Auckland  by Emily Ford
14 Nov 2017
General News - Page 11 - 412 words - ID 873205395 - Photo: Yes - Type: News Item - Size: 399.00cm2

A once in a lifetime experience helped a high school student come out of her shell.

Once upon a time Kaylen EnguKey was shy, reserved, and preferred to stay at home than go out with her friends.

Then, the Tangaroa College student became part of Project K, a Graeme Dingle Foundation programme, and she began to flourish.

She's one of 15 recipients of the Project K Excellence Awards, part of the Graeme Dingle Foundation awards in October.

"I'm so glad I did it because now I know I can accomplish anything in life," Kaylen says.

Project K is a 14 month programme involving wilderness adventures, community challenges, and mentoring.

It is designed to build confidence and teach life skills to help young people find purpose and direction.

For 16-year-old Kaylen, it was an opportunity to make new friends, as well as build her confidence.

She's now much more comfortable speaking in public, even giving a speech at the awards ceremony, despite it still being a nerve racking experience for her.

"I never thought I would achieve something like this. I went from being a reserved girl to an independent young woman who's able to speak more about her experiences," she says.

"Without Project K I wouldn't be the girl I am today. It's something I will hold and cherish for the rest of my life."

Kaylen says the camping trip, which involved a lot of walking and outdoors activities, was a challenging time for her, but she's thankful for it.

"I used to lag behind and make everyone wait for me and slow down the group.

"But when you have these teammates, they build you up and help you get back up and keep going."

When she finishes high school next year, she hopes to study computer programming, which is something she excels at.

Project K is a once in a lifetime experience she says, and she recommends anyone thinking about it to be part of it.

"I'm a girl that would rather stay at home by herself than go out and explore, but this changed my perspective on life," Kaylen says.

"Now I don't stay home and I can communicate better with my family and friends. I'm a new person now."

"Without Project K I wouldn't be the girl I am today. It's something I will hold and cherish for the rest of my life."

Caption Text:
Tangaroa College student Kaylen Engu-Key is a recipient of the Graeme Dingle Foundation's Excellence Awards.

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