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YMCA Auckland Empowering Teens through Fashion this week

YMCA Auckland Empowering Teens through Fashion this week

The Y's Raise Up youth team's Walk the Line fashion show run entirely by teenagers; sold out in 2010

AUCKLAND, Tuesday 30th August 2011 - For the second year in a row, New Zealand Fashion Week audiences will be dazzled by a rather inspiring show: Walk the Line, organised by YMCA Auckland's youth development programme Raise Up, which provides a platform for the talents of its young teen designers and performers age 14 to 18. This year there are designers from 12 high schools.

This show is being organised by the YMCA North Shore's Youth committee - the Raise Up Crew. The Crew are a group of selected students from every North Shore high school, who meet weekly at the YMCA to organise a range of events and activities throughout the year for teenagers. The aim is to give teenagers safe and positive places to socialise, as well as provide empowering opportunities for teenagers to succeed.

The event is a life-changing experience for those involved, says YMCA Auckland's Raise up and Education Coordinator Ben Rodgers. "The entire show is run by young people. They present, they run the back stage, students do the makeup and hair, they model it, they design it; they do everything." Around 130 teenagers will participate in running the event, 40 of whom are the Raise Up leaders.

"Walk the Line gives them an amazing experience in a real life situation. Not only do they gain a lot of confidence from it, putting together the show empowers them," Ben says. "It's really organised entirely by the students. We give each Raise Up crew member a role, and the crew member who we gave back up manager last year has this year been employed to run the show, because I can't be there on the night. She is running the whole thing - no adult supervision!"

After selling out all 500 tickets to their 2010 show at NZFW's smaller venue, Walk the Line has been upgraded to the main venue with a 1000 person capacity. "Apart from the fact that we sold out, fashion week organisers loved the concept of a show that gives young people a chance to showcase their talents," says Ben.

The evening will feature 45 designers competing in the Wearable Arts, Cultural, High Fashion and Open categories. The show will be judged by Tina Moore - editor of remix magazine and Julie Ralston - NZFW social media manager. "It's a real showcase, featuring not only young designers, but young performers and singers as well," Ben notes.

Walk the Line is only a small part of Raise Up's activities over the year which includes:

- 21000 youths to Raise Up events in the past 12 months
- Four Raise Up Co-coordinators
- Seven volunteer youth crews across different locations in Auckland
- 145 volunteer youth crews who meet on weekly basis to dream up and deliver events and activities for their peers
- 500+ completed Youth Leadership training

"I can't overemphasise the impact that Walk the Line has," says Ben. "Not only does it give really young designers an opportunity to work with top notch people in the design world, it gives them a real career path and something to aspire to. But more than that, all the teens involved gain enormously out of it. I can't wait for this year's show."

Walk the Line will be held as part of NZ Fashion Week's weekend shows:

Date: Saturday 3rd September
Time: 5pm
Venue: Westpac Shed
Tickets from:

build strong kids, strong families and communities

The YMCA Auckland owns/operates nine fitness clubs, delivers youth programmes at seven sites across Auckland with over 4,000 attendances each month, has more stadiums than anyone else (eight), has three camps, a 130 bed hostel and a 100 room hotel. It also has two swim schools, three early childhood education facilities and is the largest provider of OSCAR programmes in New Zealand. YMCA facilities are located in the CBD in Auckland - Albert Street (fitness), Grey Ave, Pitt Street (hostel) and Vincent Street (City Lodge). Ellerslie (fitness), Glendowie (Swim School), Hamilton (fitness), Hunau (Camp Adair), Massey, Mt Albert (fitness), North Shore (fitness), Onehunga (fitness) , Panmure (aquatics and fitness), Panmure (stadium), Shakespeare (camp), Waiwera (camp).


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