Paying It Forward

In 2016, seventeen-year-old Noa Woolloff received a scholarship from Inspiring Stories to attend Festival for the Future and has since launched his own social enterprise, Increase Clothing, to pay it forward and send fellow teen parents along to life-changing courses.

 

A young parent himself, Noa’s vision for Increase Clothing was to use 100% of its profits to send young parents on courses and experiences that they may not otherwise have access to, to help them develop and discover their own potential – courses like the one that started it all for Noa.

Now, a year later, three young mums sat wide-eyed in the audience at this year’s annual Festival For The Future thanks to sponsorships from Increase Clothing.

“To see them get so much out of the weekend meant so much to me” says Noa. “Not only for these three incredible mums, but for their children who the knowledge will get passed on to”.

 Increase Clothing sponsorship recipients Kael, Chantelle and Tracey stand to Noa's left at Festival for the Future 2017.

Increase Clothing sponsorship recipients Kael, Chantelle and Tracey stand to Noa's left at Festival for the Future 2017.

Noa’s vision is to live in a world where everyone has equal opportunities, no matter who you are.

When he became a father at age sixteen, he was afraid of what people would think, and what opportunities might not be available to him anymore.

“It wasn’t until I went to Festival for the Future that made me really believe in myself and my passion to remove the barriers for young parents, and start Increase Clothing”.

One particularly inspiring moment for Noa was hearing Daniel Flynn, Co-founder of Thankyou, speak at the Festival. “I learnt that so much good can be done through business, and this year, I was able to give him one of my T-shirts which I am really stoked about”.

The latest milestone for Increase Clothing was sending young mum Isayah on a 21-day Outward Bound course, despite several logistical miss-haps on the morning of departure.

“After missing her Ferry with the rest of the Outward Bound crew – despite my best efforts to try and stall the Ferry – I booked her a flight to Nelson, when really I needed to book her a flight to Blenheim, luckily I managed to book a bus transfer only to find out the bus didn’t leave from anywhere near the airport! The cards were stacked against me but Isayah was going on this course one way or another.”

The commitment that Noa has, and his passion and determination to succeed in challenging situations is inspiring and admirable. But it wasn’t too long ago that Noa was in the same situation.

In his last year of high school, Noa embarked on an Outward Bound course that changed everything for him.

From rock-climbing to sailing to being left alone in the forest for two days with very little resources, the Outward Bound course taught Noa many different lessons and left him feeling very grateful for the opportunity.

“That whole experience left me wanting to share the experience and made me wonder how I can help more young parents gain access to these kinds of opportunities who wouldn’t otherwise be able to”.

Isayah will return from her 21-day course at the end of November. “I can’t wait to hear her stories from the trip and to see the impact it will have on her life and her child’s life”.

 

Words by Ruawai Te Rata
Photography provided by Inspiring Stories and Noa Woolloff

Inspiring Stories run programmes year-round to empower young Kiwis with ideas for a better world to get out there and make it happen. If you're not already a supporter of their work but would like to help them back more young people like Noa, show them some love with 1% of your income!