#WĀHINEWEDNESDAY: Angelina Del Favero

Educating and empowering the youth of Aotearoa

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August 12, 2020 Abigail Uttley

Angelina Del Favero, who usually goes by Angie (otherwise she feels like she is being told off!) is a high school student who co-founded Find Your Fire, an organisation which aims to inform and empower the youth of Aotearoa to educate themselves and speak up about national and global issues, and encourage them to make a change. Angie and her friend Rachel created an ACC funded magazine through this organisation, which has been distributed to every secondary school in NZ.  All of this was achieved before Angie entered senior school!

Angie is a focused young woman and from the age of five years old has had the dream to become a neurosurgeon - we do not doubt this becoming a reality! Her hobbies include violin, of which she’s played since three years old, badminton and laughing. She shares that if you’re ever doubting your comedic talent, feel free to crack some jokes when she’s around and you’ll seem like the funniest human on earth! She’s half Italian and half Chinese, but favours Italian cuisine. She loves hiking with her family in Wellington’s many different trails, where immersion in New Zealand’s beautiful nature helps her relax and rejuvenate from her busy life schedule!

 

Below are some quick-fire questions to get to know a little more about Angie!

1.  Oldest/middle/youngest/only child?

Only child – unless you count my goldfish, who my mum calls my “sister”.

2.  Greatest phobia?

Gosh, this is a particularly strange one, but I have a completely irrational fear of spilling a full glass or cup in public – like in a café or restaurant. 

3.  Procrastinator or go-getter?

When I have a goal in mind, definitely a go-getter!

4.  Extroverted or introverted?

I think I’m pretty much a bit of both, so… ambivert?

5.  Favourite word/catchphrase right now?

One thing about me is that I laugh a lot! So, if we’re going according to what is my top autocomplete suggestion on iMessage, “hahahahahaha” would have to be my favourite word – other variations include “gahaha”, “bahaha” and “ahahaha”.

 

You're a high school student who has made the most of the opportunities gifted to you in school. One notable example of this stemmed from a simple Year 10 community project at your school that grew into something a lot bigger than originally intended. The result was the formation of a business, Find Your Fire, and the creation of a magazine, imPower, that aims to educate youth about family harm. This magazine was ACC funded and distributed throughout New Zealand high schools. This is quite an achievement and a massive project for a high school junior to tackle!

What words of wisdom or tips would you pass on to other young high schoolers striving to make a difference, but not knowing if it’s possible, or how to do it, or where to start?

Start with something you’re passionate about, find your ‘why’. There are always going to be challenges along the way – whether it’s people who shut down your ideas or the struggle of finding support or funding – but if you’re working towards a dream that you feel strongly about, nothing can stop you. Personally, my ‘why’ came to me after seeing extremely alarming family harm statistics. I was so shocked that I knew nothing about this issue and its severity in New Zealand and wanted to ensure that other students in New Zealand, who may be just as naïve as me, would become educated about this issue so that no more children became part of that statistic. Along the way, there were several people who would encourage me to “set a more achievable goal” and to “focus on an easier issue,” but because I knew my ‘why,’ I was going to keep pushing until my dream became a reality.

And, of course, I have to share my favourite quote by Steve Jobs:

“The people who are crazy enough to think they can make a change are the ones who do.”

Keep dreaming and keep changing the world!

 

You stated that the inspiration for your project was birthed after a discussion about the high statistics of family harm with your mother, who works as a statistician for ACC. Your desire to do something about these disturbing statistics is a commendable desire, but it was the action you then took to combat the issue, through the development of your organisation and magazine, that is most commendable.

What has been your proudest moment through this whole process? 

While I felt a great sense of accomplishment when receiving the first copy of the magazine from Fuji Xerox and when sending off the magazines to schools, my proudest moment would have to be receiving letters and emails from principals and counsellors. Hearing how much they loved the magazine as a tool for both students and staff and knowing that it would serve to be a useful resource in countless schools across Aotearoa filled me with an overwhelming sense of joy, gratitude, and pride.

 

Your organisation and school magazine tackles some heavy topics.

How do you navigate your way through these sensitive issues and whose expertise and/or experience do you draw upon for your content?

It’s always difficult learning about the realities of issues like family harm and human trafficking, but I always remind myself that if I can create a resource that allows students to become educated and feel comfortable talking about these topics, then I’m doing my part – even if it’s only minor – to help create an inclusive and understanding environment in which victims and survivors will feel that they can share their stories and reach out for help.

When embarking on each magazine, I was by no means an expert on the topic at hand. So, to ensure that the content in each magazine was reliable and accurate, I’ve had the knowledge of countless experts in the respective fields to draw upon. It’s so important to never be afraid to reach out to interview or simply chat with these experts because there is always so much more to learn and their knowledge will prove to be invaluable!

 

You’ve proven that age is not an inhibiting factor for achieving major and purposeful products and change.

Have you seen, or do you desire, your actions and achievements to inspire others within your age group to also strive to make a meaningful difference in whatever area they are passionate about?

The aim of Find Your Fire was to empower the youth of Aotearoa to educate themselves and speak up about national and global issues, and encourage them to make a change. For me, personally, my ‘fire’ is always sparked by powerful quotes, and so, on the back of each magazine, I carefully select one quote that I hope will inspire other teens. For example, on the back of our second magazine, I chose Denis Waitley’s quote, “There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept responsibility for changing them.”

I co-founded Find Your Fire and created the first imPower magazine alongside my friend Rachel, but something that brought me a huge amount of happiness was when, after I proposed my idea for creating a second magazine about human trafficking and modern slavery, two of my friends wanted to collaborate with us! This made me so proud to see that they, too, wanted to make a difference in the world about an issue that they felt passionate about.

 

As a Wellington local, can you share with our readers a few of your favourite must-see places or go-to activities to enjoy?

Te Papa – a classic, but a definite must-see! My favourite exhibition would have to be ‘Gallipoli: The scale of our war’ – I’ve seen it countless times, but I always leave with a deepened connection to our history and an appreciation for those who fought for and sacrificed their lives for our country.

Secondly, The Skyline Walkway – it can get incredibly windy at times, but I absolutely love that ‘on top of the world’ feeling that you get as you walk along the Wellington skyline.

Lastly, The Waterfront – you can never go wrong with heading down to the waterfront, but if you’re with your friends or whānau, I strongly suggest going for a cycle on the Crocodile bikes, and if you’ve got a sweet tooth, definitely try out the freakshakes at The Enormous Crocodile & Shake while you’re there!

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