Nicole, after a torrid time being bullied at school and having fallen into the wrong crowd heard about a course running at the YMCA. After completing her NCEA Level 2 in 8 months through the YMCA Education Course "Learning for life", Nicole is now looking at early childhood teaching at UCOL. When talking to Nicole it seems remarkable that such an articulate and self-assured young woman dropped out of school only a year before.
Nicole is big on people getting a second chance, for her, the YMCA course represents her second opportunity to learn, and it is apparent she values this enormously, “All these people here are working for the same thing, we are working harder than other people, because we want it more. Coming here means that you want a second chance.”
Nicole sees how some people are just not suited to the school environment where bullying can be a major problem for some kids. The supportive environment of the YMCA comes from the tutors and comes from the emphasis that is placed on values. This culture is created from the first day that students enter the course. Nicole explains that “in the YMCA environment it is easier to get more one on one help when you need it, everyone here is positive and helps each other finish what we need to do.”
Nicole holds the YMCA close to her heart, and is quick to point out the YMCA is not for drop outs, it’s for people that may not fit in to a school environment. Tutor Sally-Anne emphasises that some of the students when they arrive are scared of being talked to by adults because of their home life, so they must be made to feel comfortable so that they are in the right frame of mind to learn. Nicole sees this caring values based environment as part of why she has had such success and why she now has the confidence to take up the UCOL challenge.