In 2011, Bindy Arthur took part in the Limited Service Volunteer programme at Burnham Military Camp.
Three years on, Bindy is back at Burnham as a guest, watching a new group doing the same course, discovering for themselves the values of self-discipline and self-belief.
She looks back at her time as a teenager in high school, a time when she wasn't interested in going anywhere further with her life.
"I was hanging out with the wrong group of people, associating myself with drugs and alcohol on a day-to-day basis, and now to be clean of drugs and alcohol and to be non-smoking as well, that's a huge thing. I never thought could do that."
The six-week motivational training course run by the New Zealand Defence Force aims to increase the number of young people entering employment or training by improving their self-discipline, self-confidence, motivation and initiative.
Being able to hold down a job and having the confidence to deal with the public are two achievements that have changed Bindy's life.
"I just think that I woke up one day and had a look in the mirror and thought, I don't like the person I'm looking at."
She attributes many of her achievements to celebrity chef Jo Seagar, who is a patron of the Limited Service Volunteers.
Jo describes how when a lot of the kids entering the course come with no respect for the law, and are pretty relaxed about drugs and alcohol.
"I think this just gave them a really good chance: it's old-fashioned stuff, it's discipline, it's sleep, it's good meals, it's respect for each other, learning to look after people."
"[This is] stuff you and I learnt in our families, but some people have gone off those tracks and need a little bit of help."
Bindy remembers the hardest thing about the course was motivation and confidence.
"Self-esteem was a big thing for me. I never really believed I could do all these things."
When Bindy left the course she got a job working for Jo, one of the top New Zealand chefs.
"I've worked for her for two years… She took me under her wing and gave me a job where I really enjoyed making coffee and cooking."
Those two years are now up, and Bindy who left school without qualifications has past her entry exams and been accepted into an early childhood training college.
Watch the full report.