Story image

Saving the lost boys

01 Oct 06

Steve Graham is a man on a mission. He’s in the process of trying to persuade the IT industry to start giving back to the community by devoting time to mentoring.
“It’s about doing something real for the community and one of the huge issues in New Zealand is the large number of boys lacking a male role model,” he says.
Graham was first introduced to mentoring a few years ago when he participated in a six-month mentoring programme, playing big brother to a 12 year old boy.
“At the time I was working at Microsoft and one day I took him into the office. He was completely blown away by the number of computers, leather chairs and even the Xbox’s, it was a scenario he didn’t even know existed.”
With that experience in mind Graham now wants to recruit people within the industry to make a difference.
At this stage he’s in discussions with a number of business leaders and hopes to soon have five companies and five vendors committing to basic funding. Graham is also looking for men to commit 5-6 hours a week for mentoring.
“If we could make a difference in the lives of 100 children we’d be on the way to transforming New Zealand. There are a lot of kids out there making really bad decisions and mentors can help encourage discussions on how to make the right choices.”
Graham is targeting the IT industry as that’s where he has the contacts to get the project up and running and because he believes it should take responsibility.
“We’re the ones putting technology in front of kids in the first place. This isn’t about making money it’s about investing time in the future of New Zealand,” he says.
Another programme, I Had a Dream (IHAD), was established in New Zealand by IT heavyweight Scott Gilmour.
IHAD adopts an entire class from a decile one school – a low socio-economic profile -  and works with it over a period of 10 -15 years to ensure every child completes high school with the literacy, numeracy and life skills to become a productive member of society. 
Three years into the project Gilmour says it’s rewarding to see how the children have grown and increased in confidence.
“They transition to intermediate school this year and you can see what an impact the programme has had on them,” he says.
Gilmour estimates he spends between 10 and 20 hours a week on IHAD and says he loves every minute of it.
“When you try to help other people it has a boomerang effect on your own life. Seeing friends and colleagues get involved is a huge kick.”
Geoff Lawrie, Cisco country manager, says it was Gilmour’s commitment that motivated him to get involved in IHAD.
“I’ve been life-long friends with Scott and was really impressed and inspired by what he was trying to achieve. IHAD is a very different type of engagement that tries to have a positive intervention and change the outcome for these kids,” he says.
Lawrie says he’s at the stage in life where he feels it’s time to give something back.
“I think I’ve been incredibly lucky and I wouldn’t be where I am today without the education and support I’ve received. My own children are now at university and it’s time to make a difference in other lives.”

InternetNZ welcomes Govt's 99.8% broadband coverage plan
The additional coverage will roll out over the next four years as part of the Rural Broadband Initiative phase two/Mobile Black Spots Fund (RBI2/MBSF) programme expansion.
Dr Ryan Ko steps down as head of Cybersecurity Researchers of Waikato
Dr Ko is off to Australia to become the University of Queensland’s UQ Cyber Security chair and director.
Radware joins Chillisoft’s expanding portfolio
The cloud DDoS prevention, app delivery controller, and web app firewall expert is another step toward a total enterprise security portfolio.
Commerce Commission report shows fibre is hot on the heels of copper
The report shows that as of 30 September 2018 there were 668,850 households and businesses connected to fibre, an increase of 45% from 2017.
Wearables market flourishing - fuelled by smartwatches
A market that has stuttered in the past now has a bright forecast as adoption of wearable technology continues to thrive.
The tech that helped the first woman to sail around Australia
Lisa Blair used devices from supplied by Pivotel to aid her in becoming the first woman to circumnavigate Australia non-stop.
Why there will be a battle for the cloud in 2019
Cloud providers such as AWS, Azure, and Google will likely find themselves in a mad scramble to gain additional enterprise customers.
WLAN market picks up thanks to high-end products
Dell’Oro Group have released a report showing that the WLAN market picked up in 2Q18 as 802.11ax saw its first shipments.