Founders Message to Funders
A message to people trying to decide the best use of the funds available to their community.
The Funders Dilemma
If you are like many of the funders I have spoken with you struggle with many challenges. But here are three that I often hear of in our Mahi.
- Not enough money to fund everything (so you need to make sure you get real value for every dollar spent)
- Declining engagement of youth as they get lost on their devices.
- Concern about the increase in anxiety, depression, decreasing communication skills, disengagement, and suicide by youth in your community.
The Click Happy Response
We completely understand. Our trust was founded after losing two girls in our community to suicide (one a close family friend) and personally dealing with body shame in a 5-year-old niece.
We wanted to develop a program that would help teachers and parents to help youth move from socially vulnerable mindless consumption to mindful creation using the exact same device that had caused the trouble in the first place. Turning the phone from something that sucks our soul into one that is a tool for helping us to do our soul's work.
I'm Mandi Lynn the founder of Click Happy.
I am a practical woman who is also an artist. I wanted to find something that could help and this is what I brought to the mix.
- Prior Naval Nurse Corps Officer with a Fellowship in Holistic Nursing (Wellbeing nursing)
- Have worked as a change manager at HVDHB and developed and ran the program that increased community breastfeeding rates by 20% (when I set my mind to something, things tend to shift).
- Mother of 3 thriving creatives (One is a tech inventor and runs his own company in America (21 years old), One is a professional dancer (22), the youngest is a studying music production at Massey(20).
- I have won New Zealand's Creative Photographer of the Year and am a master photographer and an internationally award-winning artist.
- I am the first documentary film director to win a Fresh Shorts Grant from the NZ Film Commission.
- I am a youth worker (kids inspire and crack me up)
- Tiny Habits certified coach (the most useful method I have found for teaching how to change behaviour)
- a Be Body Positive Facilitator (training to support self-compassion in youth)
- I am a TEDx speaker so I'm not afraid to get up in front of a group and teach.
- I now have an empty nest...so I had time to think about the problem that wouldn't get out of my head:
The Big Question:
How do we support the next generation to reach adulthood happy in their own skins, aware of and focused on developing their innate gifts for the planet, and creatively unblocked?
My guess is you would like to know the answer to this one as well. Click Happy is the result of the past 5 years of research and co-development with youth to answer that question. We continue to evolve the answer with every class we teach.
The Plan of Action
When we are invited into a region we come as part of a national road trip in our vintage Click Happy Caravan.
First you fund and then we run Click Happy Live
- We rock up to libraries (our main community collaborators)
- Set up day-long workshops that invite local schools to bring groups of their most promising creative youth and leaders.
- Intermediates and Highschools
- Ages 10+
- Teach them the HeArtivist Framework (the framework that shows them where they are creatively blocked and what to do about it)
- Teach them how to use their cellphone camera like a DSLR camera using the advanced features of the phone.
- Teach them how to edit their images like a pro using Lightroom, an industry-standard program, that is a free app on their phone.
- Take them on a street photography photo safari where they get to practice what they have learned.
- Challenge them to teach the kids who didn't get to come on the field trip who are back at the school.
The Next step for youth... Provisional entrance to the Visual Poet Society
- Youth submit imagery taken on the day to gain a scholarship into our National Program Visual Poets Society (Program to develop visual story tellers).
- Places are awarded based on images created as judged by our youth curators (youth already in the program in leadership positions).
- Taught via Zoom
- Connect with other talented youth from around the country
- Building a National Creative Community
- Learn Documentary Photography Skills
- Deeper dive into self-reflection with the HeArtivist Framework.
- Success Mindset tools shared (Tiny Habits - BJ Fogg, Principles from Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill)
Visual Poet Society Full Membership
- To gain full membership the youth must use their new documentary photography skills to create a visual story about a local non-profit that is doing good work in their community.
- Then they must gift the images to the organization.
- Teaching service beyond self and the echo effect. What you put out into the world is what you get back eventually.
Click Happy Live 2022/23 tour.
So what next? How do we bring Click Happy to our region?
You have someone in mind when you think of distracted youth. You are wishing you could get them into a program like this.
And lucky you, you are in a position to make that possible. All you have to do is vote yes at the board meeting and hopefully convince a few others to support your belief that Click Happy could impact your region as it has others.
And if you don't have an application from us on your desk but you would like to have one please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently Asked Funder Questions
You have asked for X amount but we only have Y available to give you will you still come?
- Yes, if it is enough to cover our facilitation fees and transport costs. It just means that we may have to visit less libraries and may just have to focus on the lowest decile section of your region. The more money we raise, the more stops possible and the more youth able to be reached. A rule of thumb break down is that to truly just cover our costs in a region it is just shy of 10,000.00. We often cobble this together between COGS, local Creative Communities, and Council Funding. We chose the parts of the region we stop based on which Creative Communities give us funding and where the highest need is within that community for enrichment. And we usually choose which regions to apply for Creative Communities based on which COGS regions funded us. We need at least $4000.00 in combined funding before we can safely visit a region.
- However, we try to make a big bang for the buck and invite as many Intermediate schools and High Schools as possible to attend with a contingent of students to the Local Click Happy Live programs held at the library. We then challenge the students who came to teach what they learned to at least two other students who couldn't come and then challenge them to do the same.
Why should we fund you if you are not already working in our community? (mostly relevant for COGS funders)
Absolutely fair question. We have done nothing to prove ourselves with kids in your community yet. And you have heaps of charities oversubscribing your funds as it is. Our honest answer to that question is this. Give us a chance to prove ourselves. If we do not provide value well in excess of what you pay us, then our founder will pay you back out of her own facilitation fees. We can guarantee this because we know the value of our program. We also know that it not only provides value to the youth directly impacted by it, but that over the year, their work will pay forward to the other charities in the community. The scholarship students are all tasked with creating a visual story for a local non-profit that aligns with their values. We are teaching them impact marketing, and visual storytelling and their testing ground is the charities in your community. Your money invested with us gets amplified. This is why Mandi isn't worried about having to cut you a personal check.
“The definition of ‘insanity' is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. –Albert Einstein Not bringing in fresh blood and new ideas has the risk of leaving you with similar systemic problems that you started with. No we are not saying we will come in and instantly all your youth will become compassionate, respectful, focused, non-tech addicted angels. But what we are saying is that that we bring fresh eyes to the problem and a new kite of tools to share. We are an innovative, soulful, award-winning different thing that will augment the amazing work of the local charities that you are currently investing in. So go on. Give us a crack.
How many of our students will receive scholarships to the advanced program?
We try to be fair about how we divy up the scholarships based on support received from the regions. Say for example we have space for 100 students in the National Click Happy Visual Poets program and 6% of our Click Happy funding comes from your region then we will provide 6 scholarships to your regions students to do the advanced levels of leadership training. This means that 6 local charities will receive a gift of free marketing collateral that tells the story of their organizations mission provided by the Click Happy student.
So the more funding we receive the more of your youth become eligible for scholarships. And the more charities can be served by Click Happy artists. As the program builds in your community it will be the students who have already gone through the program that will make up the scholarship board that decides who gets the scholarships in their communities.
Does the world really need more photographers?
It needs visionaries that can see the world differently than it is currently experienced. It needs people who are well practised at turning ideas into physical reality. It needs doers who are grounded in ethics and who have an open mind. It needs unblocked compassionate creatives. Photography is a brilliant bonus and it is a transferable skill that works in many different career paths. But photography is just the tool that is used to get to the real guts of what we are teaching. Which really is how to be self-reflective and learn to identify our blocks to success and take action to remove them. But could you imaging trying to get a tween to go to a class called "Becoming Self-reflective?" It would never happen, which is why when we started the first program at Manurewa intermediate and Upper Hutt, the youth quickly told us what was cool and would be engaging for them and photography was the key to many of their hearts...so we start there and build a relationship with them and find out what their dreams are and teach them techniques for how to achieve them. And if they plan on being a world-class photographer then absolutely we will show them the path. But Taylor today told me he wanted to be a quantum physicist and I showed him the same technique for how to get there, definite purpose, clarity of vision, emotional engagement, grit, and a pinch of serendipity. It's what you focus on (did ya get the pun?)
Isn't cellphone photography kind of encouraging that narcissistic selfie mentality?
Not the Click Happy version. Because the youth are taught self reflection, looking deep inside, under the skin to what matters in their hearts. They are taught how to identify where they may be creatively and emotionally blocked in seven areas and then given tools to correct those blocks. Essentially creating the opposite of mindless surface obsession. Think of more like a selfie compassion class. And who doesn't need more self reflection and self compassion?
Ultimately it is a incredibly accessible tool to teach grit. We give them difficult photographic challenges that not only increase their technical and artistic skills but they also teach them a great deal about how to develop personal grit.
Te Kahariki Waitai – 15 – Otaki
What is the likely timeline?
We plan on doing a loop of the North Island in term 4 and part of of January this year. And a loop of the South Island during term 1 of next year and we are making plans for where we go based on where we get COGS, Creative Communities, or local regional funding.
Term 2-3 are reserved for the online National Program.
Click Happy = Less checked out consumers and more compassionate connected creators
From the Horses Mouth - Testimonials
Mary Londt – 16 – Waikato
Yahvi Dhabuwala – 13 – Wellington
“These 8 weeks have been a fantastic new experience for me. I was a little nervous at first to meet new people but I am very happy I got over that. There was definitely no reason to be
nervous! The contents of the coarse was great for a beginner like me, we learnt the basic techniques of photography and had a good amount of time to master them. The homework for
the coarse was challenging at times but it took up just the right amount of time. It taught me commitment and grit. Moreover this coarse wasn't just about photography, we talked a lot
about body image and compassion and we learnt to be kind to ourselves and others. Over all I am very glad to have participated, everyone was very welcoming and kind. Mandi, it was an
honour to learn from you, you are an amazing mentor! Thank you so much!”
Neha Arunkumar – 17 – Lower Hutt
If I could describe this course in one word, I'd have to say, "inspiring". Mandi really opened our eyes to the wider world of photography and how it's more than just "taking a picture". Furthermore, we have learnt skills that allow us to adapt our thoughts and ideas, allowing us to create art that we were passionate about. All I can say is, THANK YOU 🙂
I am grittier and am more confident that I can complete long term goals and tasks like this course. It made me persevere and find new ways to problem solve and think outside the box. I liked the PAD challenge, & even though sometimes I edited all my photos at once I’m very very proud of myself for taking a photo every single day - 42/42!!
Gin - 15 - Waiopehu College
Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity…
Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity you gave my daughter to participate at your Click Happy course!
In your course she met other girls of similar age and interest and explored her creativity in a very kind and safe environment. Not only did she learn the basics of photography, composition and presentation in a fun and playful manner, moreover the course concentrated on topics like self compassion , body compassion, emotional literacy, mindfulness and resilience. The participants explored emotional needs, learned how to express them artistically and how to present their work without fear of being exposed. Doing this they sometimes had to push through feelings of frustration with grit and tenacity and even ventured outside their comfort zone. The girls learned how to support each other and how to give and receive kind and constructive critique.
What a great tool for kids to learn at this age! I wished this could be part of every school curriculum.
At all times we parents were well informed and included. Several times you contacted us via phone to ensure the girls’ well-being especially when you touched on some more sensitive topics during your course. My daughter and I both felt very well looked after, cared for and safe throughout your course.
Mandi, I think you are an amazing mentor both for creativity and well-being and we hope that you will be able to continue with your great work.
Te Kahariki Waitai – 15 – Otaki
Senna Watson – 13 – Waikato
Chris Pigott, Manager Libraries & Museum
"The workshops in three of our libraries were well-facilitated and well-attended. Mandi Lynn was confident and professional with the participants. The sessions were an appropriate mix of some theory and proportionately more activity – students learning through doing, with an expert hand to guide them.
There would be real value in Click-Happy courses continuing, particularly in areas like the Far North, where there are high levels of social deprivation and limited access to quality equipment and instruction. These sessions also have the potential to flick a switch for some of the participants and open up potential career pathways that they may not have realized existed.
We recommend the Click-Happy, and hope that it continues and grows."
I had a wonderful experience with the Click Happy Program , I didn't expect it would be like this at all , there's a lot of learning and I need to go back to my presentation files and read them again to grasp all the learning as its not just about photography but it teaches you important life skills
Skyler - 11 - Royal Oak Intermediate
For me Click happy was a great way to extend further outside my comfort zone. I have never really been somebody who liked posting pictures of myself but Click Happy has been a really great space in experimenting with self portraits and other various skills. I have learned that perfection isn’t everything and that even if I don’t finish something, tomorrow gives me reason to try harder and create something new and inspiring. I am not afraid to fail, I am more experimental and I have gained more experience through this course.
Kriya - 14 - Carmel College
Nico Febery – 11 – Waikato
“Great course with an high energy, very talented photographer. My daughter started to think out of
the box and loved the practical side to it. She learnt a lot. Wish I had that opportunity at her age.”
I used to be a very shy and nonindependent person, Click Happy helped me learn that I can be myself, I know that i have Definitely grown as a person this summer. I enjoyed Meeting new people, having such a great teacher and student mentors (Mandi you are always so supportive and positive. You give me feedback that makes me so happy and feel like I have accomplished something). I also really liked doing new challenges eg things u would never do.
Jessie - 12 - St Josephs (2021) St Kevins College (2022)
Khanya Ndebele – 16 – Rodney/North Shore District
Click Happy is a really good course that has really gotten me to open my eyes in terms of photography! I've learnt an extraordinary amount during this course. I appreciate how everyone involved is so kind and welcoming. The constructive criticism is very helpful and makes me think about how I could improve my work in many different aspects. The amount of creativity I have encountered in these people is phenomenal. I really value the opportunity I received to take part in this scholarship course.
Elsie Palmer year 10 – New Plymouth
Elsie was in our post COVID intake where we ran our first Click Happy Plus Scholarship program
This is Elsie, and I was just emailing to tell you that I just had my first successful art gallery exhibition! I sold 5 of my flower prints at an art exhibition at a local gallery called The Collaboration. Thank you so much for helping with my photography I don’t think I would have made it this far without your guidance."
"Getting me into the community a lot more than what I'm used to and I loved how it made you more aware of the beautiful scenes around us that we don't realize on a day to day basis. I also like the way Click Happy along with Mandi was so helpful when I was at the bottom of the grit pit"
Jayden - 13 - Te Kura Kaupapa O Pohutukawa MSWA
("the grit pit" is when you stretch out of your comfort zone and find yourself struggling or in a free fall as you transition between what you know and what is unknown but where good growth lies. I showed this in a diagram but the kids labeled it themselves "the Grit Pit")
Our wonderfully amazing brilliant funders & sponsors
And Youth Librarians! We had no idea how amazing these community treasures are until recently! Thank you to all of the Youth Librarians who have seen the beauty in the project and have invited us to bring it to their region and who are helping to spread the word. You have halved our work and quintupled the number of youth who get to experience this program. What gifts!
Click Happy Funders
Updated on 2022-10-20T12:16:48+13:00, by .