AYV Investment speech – Kane Milne, August 15 2014

Adobe Youth Voices (AYV) Investment Speech
Kane Milne, Director of Learning
Friday 15 August 2014
Firstly, I want to welcome you David. It was back in 2005, that you first came to visit
us in what was then known, as the old school library. You were the minister of ICT at
the time, so a lot has changed for both you, and us as an organisation. This year we
celebrate our tenth year anniversary, and it’s a milestone that is nice to achieve, but
it was never a goal. Our goal, our purpose, is to allow the youth of Otara, and our
families, to reimagine a new future. It was perhaps naive to think that as an
organisation, our community would support us in reimagining our own future as well.
We never dreamed in those early days that we would get to help communities from
Dunedin to Hawaii reimagine their futures too, but we knew our community had the
capacity for great things. We never dreamed we would get to send youth from Otara,
to Stamford University, and Santa Clara University, to work with other youth from
around the world, but we knew our kids had unlimited and untapped potential. And
we never dreamed that we would get to partner with industry giants such as
Microsoft and Adobe, but we believed if we could share our hearts, then the industry
would walk along side us. And we have done that by staying positive, by
understanding the strengths our cultures and communities have, by struggling
together, and by not focusing on what we might lack, but instead on what we do well.
A few of things that we do really well is tutu, imagine, and tell stories. In 2007 we
were invited to be a trial site for a fairly new initiative by the Adobe Foundation,
called Adobe Youth Voices. Through this initiative, Adobe provided us with software
and some training, and basically said “go and create some media”. So we did. We
tutu’ed, we imagined and an amazing thing happened. One of our youth members
named Ofoi created a story about poverty. That story turned into lyrics which then
became a song. And in 2008, with more tutu under our belts, we turned that song
into a video. Because of that video, that 14 year old girl went on to be selected to
attend the very first Adobe Youth Voices Summit in 2009, at Stamford University in
San Francisco. She went on to lead an amazing group of young people who kept
producing outstanding videos, and is now, in her final year of a Bachelor of
Communication degree at Auckland University, majoring I might add, in politics. So
this early partnership from Adobe, with a small organisation in Otara, New Zealand,
combined with the imagination and creativity of the youth in this community, has
worked to let them develop the creative confidence to not only reimagine their
futures, but to follow it as well.
It is because of this, and so many other stories just like it, that I am extremely proud
to announce that the Adobe Foundation has invested $75,000 in addition to over
$250,000 that they have provided to High Tech Youth, for the Adobe Youth Voices
programme to continue to grow in New Zealand and the Pacific.
This investment is being used for new equipment, training, developing, collaboration
and assessment tools, and allowing communities to get together to showcase the
awesome media and stories produced by our youth. On top of this, Adobe is
investing in software licenses for High Tech Youth Studios and partner schools, so
the same opportunities we have, can be shared even further.
Ten years ago we may never have dreamed we would be standing here today.
Adobe may never have dreamed that their initial partnership in 2007 would have
such a profound impact. Ofoi may never have dreamed that she would be the first
Tongan Prime Minister of New Zealand, but all of us believed in the capacity of our
kids and our communities to achieve great things. And through partnerships such as
this, faith, and the hard work and support of all of us, achieving great things is
exactly what we are doing.
Thank you.