Dilworth Rural Campus student to walk over 100km for mental health charity

While most young men will be spending their mid-term break socialising with their friends or spending time on their devices, Year 9 Dilworth Rural Campus student, Sam Godsiff-Johnstone will be spending his time off walking almost 106km to raise money for mental health charity “I Am Hope”. Starting in Ahipara at the southern end of Ninety Mile Beach and finishing at Cape Reinga, the Paihia local will be walking for five days beginning on 22 August.

Every year, Dilworth Rural Campus students work on a community TRAIL project. TRAIL is an acronym for what is essentially real-life, inquiry-based learning that deepens understanding through telling, seeing, practicing and transferring. As part of their TRAIL learning, Year 9 students at the Rural Campus are expected to come up with a project idea that benefits the community.

Sam knew he wanted to do something to support “I Am Hope” as he is passionate about mental health and ensuring those that need the support are able to get it. “I really believe everyone deserves a chance to get well from depression or prevent depression,” said Sam.  He hopes to raise awareness but also wants to collect as much money as he can for Gumboot Friday, which is the youth and community-focused support group which provides free counselling for Kiwi kids. It is run by “I Am Hope”, Mike King’s charity.

Earlier this year, Sam reached out to Mike King and sent him a letter about his walk and asked if he would be able to come and speak to the students at Dilworth Rural Campus. Mike obliged and came in with his friend Dallas and spoke to the students.


Sam Godsiff-Johnstone with Mike King at Dilworth Rural Campus

“He did an awesome talk, which was really funny but it was also very meaningful," said Sam. One segment of Mike’s talk that stood out to Sam was when he shared his own experience with mental health and how his friends helped him through it. “He talked about how important it is to check on your mates and let them know that even though you may not understand what they are going through, you will be there for them if they need it,” said Sam.

Despite the challenges COVID-19 presented, Sam has persevered and ensured that he sees this project through. “Initially I was going to do the walk during the school holidays but unfortunately the COVID-19 lockdown prevented this from happening. I also had plans to approach local businesses to sponsor raffles so that I could raise more money but because many small businesses are facing challenging times, I decided not to do this.” One thing Sam has learnt through this experience is the importance of perseverance and not giving up when things get hard. “There were times when I thought about changing my project and doing something a little easier but I decided to stick with it.”

Sam’s mother Steph Godsiff who is also his biggest supporter, will be accompanying him on his 106km journey. He also has the support of William Fuller, the Principal of Russell School who also works with Sam’s mother on the Bay of Islands Walking Weekend. Fuller helped Sam plan the route for his walk and will be providing his camper van as a support vehicle over the five day period.

If you would like to follow Sam’s journey you can like his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/gumboottrail/. If you would like to donate, you can deposit the funds into this account: 12-3102-0075357-50. All the money raised will go directly to I Am Hope. Donations for prizes for the raffle are also welcome. Email stephgodsiff22@gmail.com if you would like to donate towards the raffle.

August 13, 2020