YMCA boasts some of the best youth workers in Auckland
YMCA Auckland is thrilled to have three co-ordinators from their youth development programme, Raise Up, honoured in the inaugural I Am Auckland Awards. Championed by The Cube, who work with young people with disaibilities who live, work, study or play in Auckland, alongside Auckland Council and the Youth Advisory Panel, the I Am Auckland Awards recognise the work of individuals and youth organisations that support the region’s children and young people.
YMCA Auckland Chief Executive, Peter Fergusson said it was an honour to have YMCA people take out three of the seven individual award categories. “It’s fantastic to see our Raise Up coordinators celebrated for the incredible difference that they make in the lives of so many Auckland youth. These awards are a testament to their passion and the enthusiasm that they bring to the team every day – we’re incredibly proud!”
Kev Carter, Community Development Manager at Mt Albert Community and Recreation Centre managed by YMCA Auckland, won the Youth Voice Award, which aimed to recognise the best youth worker or organisation for giving young people a voice and creating opportunities for young people to have their say. Described as “without a doubt one of the greatest assets young people have in Albert-Eden”, Kev is instrumental in planning youth engagement activities for the region and facilitates young people in delivering culture and recreation projects in their communities.
Hailed as an “iconic role model” and said to not have the word ‘no’ in his dictionary, Kev constantly encourages his Raise Up crew to think for themselves and empowers them to make big decisions. One of Kev’s nominations also stated: “This group [Raise Up Mt Albert] is afforded, through Kev, the opportunity for youth development, personal expression and support in their formative years as young people.
About his nominations and subsequent winning of the Youth Voice Award, Kev says: “I am very humbled – it’s really cool. I was up there with two other great nominees and to be put up there with them is really cool. I think it’s esecially great because we were nominated by under 24s and it’s such a selfless thing for them to nominate us – they don’t get anything out of it.”
Josh Martin, Community Development Manager based at Sir William Jordan Leisure Centre managed by YMCA Auckland and coordinator of Raise Up in Panmure won the Youth Activate Award, for the best youth worker or organisation in the Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation field. An accomplished Hip Hop dancer and musical theatre performer, Josh changes people’s lives not only through his job, but also through the way he lives his life.
As one of his young people said: “I think Josh desrves this award because he has made a massive change in so many people’s lives… He truly believes that anything is possible and he believes in everyone… He has given all of us so many opportunities to get job experience and help with our futures.” Building on the xxx that YMCA Auckland’s Raise Up programme promotes.
About his nominations and subsequent winning of the Youth Activate Award, Josh says “It was such an honour to be nominated, but to win makes me emotional and so proud. I truly believe in the youth of this nation and have a heart for them. To win validates me and shows I’m doing the right thing with my life.”
Emma Ghaemmaghamy, Raise Up Coordinator at Lynfield Leisure Centre managed by YMCA Auckland, won the Rangatahi Tu Rangatira Award, for the best youth worker or organisation that builds and supports the next generation of young Maori. Emma was nominated for “constantly pushing above and beyond to empower everyone around her… spreading the amazing message of personal courage, perseverence and encouragement.” As well as being a youth worker for YMCA Auckland and heading up the Raise Up Programme at the Lynfield Centre, Emma teaches music for Maori Performing Arts Te Wananga O Aotearoa.
The young people that nominated her, descirbed Emma as an inspiration and credited her for “truly being the change the world needs”. One young person summed it up well by saying: “I am nominating Emma because of the impact she has had on my outlook on life and because of what she represents.”
About her nominations and subsequent winning of the I Am Auckland Rangatahi Tu Rangatira Award, Emma says “To learn of my nomination was incredible enough; to have won is overwhelming. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to work with young people every day, strive for positivity, and be the change. We can’t know who we are until we know where we have come from.”
Held on Friday 25 July, the awards also marked the launch the I Am Auckland Action Plan, which sets goals that will accelerate the prospects of young people in Auckland, ensuring the city offers an environment for them to be the best they can be. The I Am Auckland Plan and Awards were developed by young people, for young people, which echoes the ethos of YMCA Auckland’s Raise Up programme, where young people are responsible for planning and coordinating fun, safe, drug and alcohol-free events and initiatives that benefit young people in their community.
“I Am Auckland challenges society to put children and young people first,” says Youth Advisory Panel Chairperson Flora Apulu. As one of the most active and engaged youth programmes in Auckland, YMCA’s Raise Up lives and breathes this everyday, empowering and supporting young people to be the best they can be and reach their full potential.
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