YWCA has been changing lives for many generations
The thought of rock climbing used to make Laura I’u cry.
‘‘I was like ‘oh no, I’m really scared’ but having my peers around me, motivating me, made me uplift myself and believe in myself so I kept going.
‘‘When I got to the top, I looked down and I was really happy when I finished the course. At the end of the day I was really happy that I finished it and yeah I was proud of myself.’’
Laura overcame her fears as part of a fouryear mentoring programme through YWCA Auckland and has been rock climbing again, as well as tramping.
A fear of heights is not the only hurdle she has conquered during the programme.
She says at age 14 she was shy and unsure of herself.
‘‘I was really quiet. I didn’t like to speak up and I had low selfesteem.’’
Laura says when she partnered with her mentor it changed her life.
‘‘Because of the workshops, it made me want to go even further and it fully made me come out of my comfort zone and have confidence in myself, and look where I am today.’’
The Panmure teen is now head girl at Tamaki College and has taken on a key role at her church.
‘‘It brings out my confidence, and leading within my own school.’’
Laura says she now wants to study nursing at university.
Auckland member Marie Taylor went on to be Auckland president of the organisation in the 1980s, national president in the 1990s and is now on the National Council of Women.
Empowering women has been the key message in the organisation’s 129-year history, the Remuera woman says.
In the 1880s, YWCA workers met young migrant women arriving on ships and helped them find accommodation and jobs.
Margaret Scott has been a member for five years. She says youth, particularly Pacific Island women, need that guidance to get them on to a career path.
Scott mentors young women and works within her community.
The theme for this year’s Global YWCA Day on April 24 is intergenerational leadership.
Women power: Margaret Scott, Laura I’u and Marie Taylor, all members of YWCA Auckland, have gone on to have leadership roles in their communities.