YWCA has been chang­ing lives for many gen­er­a­tions

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS ETHERIDGE

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.

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