Stories MATES Stories Teenagers Studying during Holidays? Tucked away in Otara is the South Seas Healthcare centre, home to the exciting new grassroots youth venture, Bubblegum. During the school holidays the space was humming with activity, with around 30 MATES Senior mentors and mentees doing schoolwork. These teens came out during their break to study and receive tutoring at the MATES’ Study Fono. This was the first MATES Study Fono run during the holidays. “It’s one way of making up for some of the time lost because of the Covid lockdown”, said Sonya Masoe, MATES’ Programme Manager. The MATES Study Fono had its focus on mentoring and tutoring senior students who have been doubly disadvantaged by the Covid lockdown and loss of nearly a term of schooling. Masoe opened up the Study Fono to all MATES mentees from schools across Auckland. Students ventured from across the city for help with their studies, bringing their laptops, projects and questions to the Fono. MATES Mentors were there to assist them with whatever they needed help with. There were also workshops to assist students with the daunting application process for universities which are about to begin. The collaboration between Bubblegum and MATES was an instant success, with Bubblegum providing the space and the resources, and MATES providing the mentors and mentees. Based on the success of the Study Fono these last holidays - and after a second lockdown - Masoe is certain that MATES will run the programme again in the next holidays, again in collaboration with Bubblegum, testing the determination of these eager teens giving up their holidays to get ahead in their studies.