Kimm Rae never thought she would be the recipient of a major award, but that all changed in October when she was surprised with something special.

Kimm is part of the Raise Up crew at Massey Leisure Centre managed by YMCA. The Raise Up crew is made up of teenagers who volunteer their time to help organise and run events. When she was asked to help out at an important YMCA annual awards night, she was more than happy to help.

When her name was called out as the winner of the George Adair Family Volunteer of the Year award, she says she couldn’t believe it. “I was pretty surprised, I don’t really get awards for stuff.

"I was quite shy because there was important people there, but it was a good feeling to get the award.” Raise Up co-ordinator for the Massey Centre, Conin Bowker, says Kimm is extremely deserving of the award. “Kimm has been a part of the Massey Raise Up crew since February, and has volunteered more than 100 hours by helping at various Raise Up, YMCA and community events. She has been a very reliable crew member and has helped immensely throughout this year. Spending so much time outside of school and other commitments is a huge undertaking for a young person and we are highly appreciative.

“It’s awesome having someone from Massey win the award! It just shows you what we’re made of out west! More than that however, I think it’s even better that the award went to a Raise Up crew member, and a young person. It sends a message to everyone that young people can do great things when given opportunities and it proves just how awesome Raise Up is.”

15-year-old Kimm says since joining Raise Up, she has come out of her shell, and learnt some great skills. “I feel more confident, so I’ll probably join more groups and be more involved with things now. The best part is the friends that I’ve made and getting involved with different things around the community. They have all been really friendly and welcoming, and they are just really, really happy people.

 “I’m quite shy when it comes to group events, but I’m getting involved with those things now, and I’m the chair of the Raise Up crew meetings.” Conin says he looks forward to watching Kimm achieve even more in the future. “Kimm has a lovely personality and cares lots about everyone and everything she comes in contact with. She is always keen to help out where she can and endeavours to start early or finish late to ensure everything is done. She has been super reliable and I have been able to count on her with many different roles across the various events we have hosted and attended. “Kimm has a big future ahead of her and I hope that we are able to share that journey with her.”