Cornelia is a New Zealand born Samoan. Both parents migrated to New Zealand in the early 70's to pursue the migrant dream which has motivated Cornelia to achieve and help others to achieve also. She has dedicated her time working with youth in church ministry and as a youth mentor at secondary schools for the past 10 years.
A combination of Cornelia's volunteer, work and life experiences has led Cornelia to pursue a career in Youth Development. Cornelia graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Human Services majoring in Youth Work. Cornelia is particularly interested in in the provision of a holistic, strength-based approach to support young people in their development, which fits perfectly with the objective of the First Foundation programme. Cornelia was appointed the Student Support role in the end of June. The role is primarily to support First Foundation students transition into tertiary, support students with any academic and work experience issues as well as providing pastoral care for students and mentors, particularly for the year 13 and first year university students.
"I see First Foundation as New Zealanders helping young New Zealanders. I believe that communities and families have such a huge influence on young people and their development. First Foundation creates that sense of family and community. It is a great opportunity for young people, professionals, sponsor partners and First Foundation staff who may come from different worlds and experiences to come together and exchange their stories, understanding and knowledge. This opens up a child's world significantly and broadens their perspective of the world and the amazing opportunities available. I feel very honoured to be a part of First Foundation, supporting young people achieve their academic and personal aspirations"