It wasn’t something Jordan Walker ever expected to receive, but recently the young teenager was awarded the YMCA Youth Volunteer of the Year award.

Presented to him at the annual AGM in Auckland, the award recognised the work Jordan had done through his role in the Raise Up group and also his work in the OSCAR holiday and afterschool care program.

“It came out of the blue. I was just at work and my boss came up to me and was like, ‘Hey we need you to take the day off tomorrow, can you come to the AGM? We’ll give you an award,’ and I was just shocked,” he says.

Jordan says while he was honoured by the recognition, he didn’t want to make a big deal out of it.

The 16-year-old has been part of various youth events planned by YMCA’s Raise Up, aimed at providing young people with fun and safe activities.

Every year the group plan four events, such as quiz nights and music concerts. “I really enjoyed one we did this year called New Found Sound… that was a concert event,” he says.

Due to the event’s success, the organisers have been given a larger budget and now they are turning New Found Sound into an annual event in four different locations across Auckland.

Jordan encourages others to try their hand volunteering at YMCA, saying that he has not only grown friendships but he has also become a lot more confident through his experiences there. “Once upon a time I wouldn’t have been able to stand up and organise an event, stand in front of people and talk to them about it.”

While the young award winner says he does not see volunteering as his future career, he knows he will always enjoy it. “It’s something that I want to be a part of my life, but not necessarily be my life.”


Keen to try volunteering with YMCA for yourself? Head on over to their web page!