Hawke's Bay teenager shares her story of getting back on track thanks to 'life changing' initiative

After running away from home and "burning bridges" with family, Tyler Taurima-Brown was at a loss.

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Tyler Haurima-Brown was at a loss before finding LIFT, a group which aims for 100 per cent youth employment. Source: Breakfast

At just 15-years-old, she couldn't get into a course or job. That was until she found LIFT, a social enterprise which aims for 100 per cent youth employment in Hawke's Bay.

Stumbling across the stall at a market, the Hawke's Bay teenager met LIFT founder and director Jody Hamilton.

In its two-and-a-half years running, LIFT has helped about 500 young people set goals, prepare for work and engage with employers.

Ms Taurima-Brown told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning she ran away from home in 2016-17, burned bridges with family and was at a low point in her life.

"I was looking for a way to get away from all of that. I was looking for a way to bring myself back, either going to school or going to work," she said.

Ms Taurima-Brown enrolled in several courses, but being under 16 they couldn't cater to her.

But when she met Ms Hamilton she was keen to sign up.

"She gave me their card and she said come in the next day, which was Monday, and I went in and in a space of three days my life had changed.

"What we do at LIFT is we look at the rangatahi, the person themselves, individually as well, and they ask about how we're living life and how we're feel.

"At that time, from a one to 10 I was living at a two in my life. I was not happy, I was ready to just end it, and in three days that had changed. My life had just completely shifted to an eight and that was three days of doing a two-week course."

Ms Taurima-Brown said the course was about self awareness and why people do the things they do, including why they think the way they think.

Source: TVNZ

Ms Hamilton said she was inspired to start the organisation because, as a mother of an 8-year-old son, she felt the choice was to leave the Hawke's Bay region or make the change.

After looking at statistics of Māori boys from the region, Ms Hamilton said: "It's crazy what goes on in terms of their participation in early childhood, what goes on for them at school - they're three times more likely to be suspended - then moving into employment and unemployment".

"The stats just didn't play out to me and I thought to myself: "Well either I leave this region because I want his future to be a great future, or I just be part of changing it", and I love this region I don't want to leave this region so it was about right, what needs to be put in place to change it.

"Our young people have always been looking for connection and pathways, and so in a lot of ways LIFT is just another way of connecting with our young people and loving them and providing another pathway," Ms Hamilton said.