Raising Up young people, like Jordan

In West Auckland, the Raise Up crew for 2014 was comprised of young people from a range of backgrounds, including representatives from five of the local high schools. One such young person is 15 year old Massey High School student, Jordan Matakatea, who has been part of the Raise Up Crew based at Massey Leisure Centre for the last three years.

Jordan credits Raise Up with helping her to come out of her shell and putting her on a more positive path towards a brighter future. “When I was in Year 9, I used to go to some of the events the crew at the time were hosting; dance parties and stuff,” explains Jordan. “I was in a bad crowd and getting pulled into bad stuff, but I was also quite secluded and didn’t like meeting new people. One of the coordinators at the time, Darryl, pulled me aside and recruited me.”

Right from the start, Jordan liked the atmosphere and people involved with Raise Up. “Everyone was so funny and open,” she recalls. “I think Darryl bought me in to get me off the streets, and it worked – I’ve turned things around since then. I love how comfortable I am with everyone now too, both my crew and others that I get to meet.”

Not only has Jordan turned things around for herself, she’s been putting her energies towards giving back too. “I really like putting on events, like HydroJam out at Parakai and safe dance parties. We do all the aspects of the organisation, in the lead up and on the day - manning the door and the canteen, checking toilets to make sure no one is doing anything they shouldn’t and just making sure everyone has a good time.”

Jordan is looking forward to being a part of Raise Up for another year in 2015 and helping the crew expand their repertoire of safe community events. “We really want to do more family events,” Jordan explains. “It’ll be cool to get everyone involved and bring people together.”

Bringing people in the community together is what YMCA Auckland is all about. As well as planning more events, Raise Up are set to host a National Youth Camp at their iconic Camp Adair facility in April, to coincide with the school holidays. “I love it when we all come together at camp,” says Jordan. “We have people from other crews and other parts of the country that we wouldn’t get to meet otherwise.”  

As well as the National Youth Camp, 2015 will see Raise Up being bigger and better than ever as they expand their reach, doubling the number of crews established around Auckland.