YMCA Auckland’s Raise Up youth programme has received a 2017 New Zealand Youth Award from Youth Minister Nikki Kaye in Wellington on 11 April.

Raise Up is one of five national recipients of the Youth Group Award – a category which acknowledges youth groups who have made significant contributions to their communities in areas such as the arts, culture, the environment or sport.

Since 2002 YMCA Auckland’s Raise Up programme has encouraged youth aged 13 to 18 to have a voice and make a positive impact in their local communities. The youth groups operate in 11 sites across Auckland and Hamilton.

YMCA Auckland’s Community Development Manager Kev Carter said Raise Up is empowering for young people. “The programme encourages youth to foster a sense of pride for themselves and the communities in which they live."

Each year Raise Up crews organise a number of events, workshops and activities for their local communities, including the #AKLPLAY free social sporting events. Raise Up youth also run Walk the Line, a New Zealand Fashion Week event for young designers.

Since the programme began, Raise Up youth crews have provided 18,830 hours of voluntary service to their local communities.

“We’re thrilled that YMCA Auckland’s Raise Up programme has been recognised on a national level,” Mr Carter said.

“Empowering youth to engage in community, social and personal growth opportunities can provide youth with a strong sense of purpose and give them a voice in issues affecting young New Zealanders.”

The New Zealand Youth Awards are administered by the Ministry of Youth Development. Raise Up received the award from Minister Kaye at a ceremony held at Parliament on 11 April. Find out more about Raise Up by visiting www.raiseup.co.nz.