Life Education Mobile

Healthy Harold brings crucial message to life for youngsters

Instantly recognisable, Harold the Giraffe is the public face of the Life Education Trust. He’s a familiar and much-loved mascot to generations of children out West taking part in the Healthy Harold Programme.

Life Education Trust empowers children to make the right choices to live full and healthy lives. It’s a vital life lesson, which Harold delivers in an engaging, child-friendly way.

The charity operates nationwide, and the Auckland West region covers a large area from Whenuapai to New Lynn and Blockhouse Bay.

Jessica Meurant, Executive Officer, explains that Life Education Trust Auckland West has two mobile classrooms. These visit local early childhood centres (ECCs) and primary and intermediate schools.

‘We offer a fully interactive experience,’ explains Jessica. ‘From watching videos, singing songs and fun quizzes, children learn to make informed choices about their health and wellbeing,’ she says.

According to Jessica, the experienced team of educators explore five main topics:

- food and nutrition

- human biology

- relationships and communities

- identity and resilience

- substances.

Participants develop crucial life skills and knowledge about healthy choices. And the programme also develops young people’s self-esteem and resilience.

In 2019, the Auckland West team visited 34 local ECCs and schools, reaching 13,500 tamariki.

Then along came Covid, and everything changed. Life Education Trust has been dramatically impacted by Covid restrictions, with the mobile classrooms parked up for months at a time.

However, virtual sessions and a dedicated Healthy Harold website helped bridge the gap. And the charity has continued to keep in touch with children, their families and schools.

Thankfully, the mobile classrooms are now back on the road, engaging with children across West Auckland.

And thanks in part to $3,000 from the Your West Support Fund, tamariki get to take home fun-filled activity packs. These booklets mean children can share the Healthy Harold experience with their whānau.

‘The activity packs ensure Harold gets into the homes of our tamariki,’ explains Jessica. ‘They are the perfect vehicle for children to share and discuss these important health messages,’ she adds.

There’s no doubt that Harold the Giraffe is making a difference. Jessica reports that even teenagers enjoy cuddles and selfies with Harold at open days. Such is the enduring impact of Harold and his message.

Check out Life Education Trust’s website for more information about what’s available in West Auckland.