Natalie Walsh goes from years of bullying to rising international model

‘At intermediate school, she was bullied, something that continued for six more years, all through high school, causing her to experience depression, anxiety and an eating disorder’ – Yana O’Gorman, The Post Franklin & North Waikato.

Bullying sucks…at any age. But it sucks big-time when it’s happening to a young person you love and care for. As parents, caregivers or a friend, you often feel powerless to do anything…that’s if you’re ‘lucky’ enough to even know anything about it.

And bullying kills: joy, happiness, appetite, worthiness, grades, relationships, self-esteem, connection with others, confidence… and we also know it sometimes kills a person’s will to live. Dealing with bullying is something we deal with time and again in our work with young people from all walks of life; East, West, North and Southside.

Part of our mission at Bridge The Gap Project is to create a safe, fun, inspiring and creative environment where you’re not only encouraged, but expected, to explore, and share, the best of you.

Often it requires us weeding out and clearing the $hit out first, though. Then it’s about empowering young people how to turn their $hit into fertilizer as they sew seeds in their ‘Garden Of Life’ (because whatever you sew and feed, grows).

We’re all about inspiring hope and igniting change in young people so they can discover, unlock and utilize their potential. We’re also about coaching them in adaptability, resilience, strength and courage. We then handpick young people and often arrange work experience and opportunities while teaching social responsibility within the creative space of Bridge The Gap Project HQ and EAT MY LUNCH .

 ward winning chef, Face of Eat My Lunch and BTGP patron, Michael Meredith has been part of giving over 200, 000 lunches in just over a year through the incredible ‘Eat My Lunch’ business.

ward winning chef, Face of Eat My Lunch and BTGP patron, Michael Meredith has been part of giving over 200, 000 lunches in just over a year through the incredible ‘Eat My Lunch’ business.

The next wheel in the cog to better chances at success is to then connect them with other passionate youth advocates, many of whom run their own businesses, to further help in the personal and professional development of the young people so they can carve out a life they’re proud to live.

We do this because we know when young people believe in and experience the reality of limitless possibility, make decisions and choose sacrifice, self-discipline and hard work, the sky really can, and does, become their limit.

The proof’s in the pudding, though, right? Well, here’s some pretty damned good evidence!

Congratulations to Natalie, her Whanau, friends, the incredible model agency team we introduced Natalie to in 62 Models, and all who’ve joined us in a wrap-around approach to helping this inspiring young woman to help herself. Even better, Natalie is one of the only models we’ve ever worked with to have donated back to Bridge The Gap Project so we can help more people like her.  She’s gifted over 6 black sacks of quality clothing, shoes etc. that she’s rallied up, and she inspires and connects with other young people who work with us at BTGP.

Natalie chooses to be more than ‘just’ a model. She’s a role model.

We’re so super-proud of you, Natalie. You’ve overcome some tough adversity and put in some serious hard yards. Keep up the amazing work, in all arenas.

Love, The People of #BTGP