The Cookie Time Charitable Trust is proud to support Billy Graham and his Naenae Boxing Academy in Wellington. The academy, established in 2004, aims to turn young boys into young men through working on their attitude, motivation, respect, fitness and boxing skills.
Billy, a dyslexic who left school at 14, started boxing in Naenae when he was eight years old. He went on to become a New Zealand and Australasian light welterweight champion. As Billy tells it, he began life with few advantages. He would have been born on the wrong side of the tracks, if his mates hadn’t stolen the tracks first! From a nine year old boy selling discarded record albums from the local dump, Billy Graham’s career includes manufacturing fitness equipment and teaching in schools and writing a best-selling book. He is now in demand all over the world as a motivational speaker.
In November 2012, Billy Graham launched his biography, written with Phil Gifford and titled ‘Making Champion Men’. The Trust presented the Christchurch launch of the book, with an event at the Cookie Time factory shop. The biography is a candid look at Billy’s work with troubled youth and some home truths from his own challenging childhood. Thanks to a local boxing trainer, Billy turned his life around.
The experience gave him an insight into how training, discipline and a bit of tough love can make all the difference. And it’s a recipe he’s been remarkably successful in employing at the NaeNae Boxing Academy. From this awards have flowed, local police say youth crime is down 30%, and a detailed Massey University study confirmed the academy’s amazing ability to help troubled boys become good young men.
View Billy Graham media coverage
TV ONE Sunday story on the NaeNae Boxing Academy – Struggle Town: Click here
Alongside innovation in learning and thinking differently, Cookie Time Charitable Trust supports initiatives that help New Zealand children discover their gifts through physical pursuits. Physical pursuits encompass sports, arts and culture and provide the ‘doing’ thread to complement the ‘thinking’ focus of innovation in learning and thinking differently. In this way, the Trust’s portfolio supports both physical and mentor endeavours.
One such initiative that brings a physical focus to helping kids succeed is the NaeNae Boxing Academy, brainchild of acclaimed motivational speaker Billy Graham. Interestingly, many of the young people that train with him have also struggled at school through ‘thinking differently’. The academy aims to turn young boys into young men through working on their attitude, motivation, respect, fitness and boxing skills.
Cookie Time Charitable Trust’s support for NaeNae Boxing Academy also includes provision of One Square Meal bars for the boys after training. A complete meal in a tasty, convenient food bar, One Square Meal delivers the optimum balance of nutrients to support the body's repair, growth and maintenance.
Cookie Time Charitable Trust has made numerous grants in the field of physical pursuits, from music and dance to ice skating, karate and motocross. Highlights include supporting Queenstown snowboarder Tiarn Colllins on his the path to the Olympics, helping fund the leadership development of young Wellington dyslexic entrepreneur Matt Strawbridge and helping Rangiora dancer Natasha Boon attend World Dance Championships in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. You can read more about these and other grants under the Latest Grants link below.
Tiarn Collins: Queenstown snowboarder Tiarn Collins received a Cookie Time Charitable Trust grant to support his Northern Hemisphere season, commencing November 2016. Tiarn is a member of Snowsports NZ’s High Performance Development team. Longterm, his goal is to represent New Zealand in the 2018 Winter Games and beyond to 2022. He is aiming to compete in a raft of events that have Olympic qualifying status throughout late 2016 and 2017. The Northern Hemisphere season includes events in Korea, Austria, Switzerland, Canada, Italy, Czechoslovakia, the United States and the pinnacle World Cup event in Spain.
Matt Strawbridge: Matt Strawbridge is a young Wellington entrepreneur who has turned his experiences with dyslexia into a positive force for change. At 13 he launched a successful website – Dyslexia Potential – to offer tutorials, leaning exercise and confidence-boosting content to New Zealanders struggling to read and write. He is also the founder of a Skype tutorial programme called TutorBook. Matt received a Cookie Time Charitable Trust grant to enable him to attend the 2015 Global Leadership Summit in the United States. This week-long event has further supported his development as a leadership mentor, and he is also training in neurolinguistic programming.
Natasha Boon: Rangiora dancer Natasha Boon was awarded a Cookie Time Charitable Trust grant towards the costs of attending dance master classes in the United States and competing in the World Dance Championships in Los Angeles and Las Vegas in July 2013. Natasha began dance training at age four and began competing in New Zealand and Australian championships aged six. At age eight, she started gymnastics to help with strength and flexibility for dancing. She is now in fulltime pre professional training with former Royal New Zealand ballet dancer Anneliese Gilberd.
Hayden Withers: Christchurch entertainer Hayden Withers received a Cookie Time Charitable Trust grant to support his musical theatre study. In 2012, he was awarded a place studying musical theatre at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York (AMDA). Hayden is a skilled singer and tap, jazz and ballet dancer. He has won numerous national and international awards, including being named Grand Champion Dancer of the World at the World Championships of Performing Artists in Los Angeles in 2011.
Taylor Frost: Young New Zealand actor Taylor Frost received a Cookie Time Charitable Trust grant to further his goal of studying at the prestigious Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. This world famous acting school has some well known alumni including Dame Judi Dench, Lord Laurence Olivier and Vanessa Redgrave through to Dawn French, Graham Norton and Rupert Everett. Taylor won one of just 15 places available for 2013, competing against more than 4000 hopefuls from around the world.
Tasman Davids:Talented Kiwi ballet dancer Tasman Davids had long nurtured a dream to study at the legendary Vaganova Ballet Academy in St Petersberg, and a Cookie Time Charitable Trust grant helped enable him to commence training in September 2011. Tasman was the first New Zealand student ever accepted into the school which has operated for nearly three centuries with famous former pupils including Vaslav Nijinsky, Anna Pavlova, Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Tasman overcame many hurdles to achieve this success, including nine months grueling recovery after landing badly from a jump and breaking a bone in his foot in June 2011. Two surgeries and serious rehabilitation were needed to get his strength and flexibility back.