Future nurse receives Jack Ilott Second Chance Award
Renee Aroha Hayes is the 2017 recipient of the John Ilott Charitable Trust study award for second-chance education, presented at the New Horizons for Women Trust’s annual awards ceremony on 6 July. Christine Hurley represented the Rotary Club of Wellington in handing over the award and congratulating Renee, who is completing a Bachelor of Nursing (Maori) at Whitireia.
Renee says life hasn’t always been good. “Living in a small town with limited opportunities growing up and then finding myself in a dysfunctional relationship for six years deprived me of confidence and self-worth as I struggled to see a good future ahead. When I finally built up the courage to escape this relationship, I moved to the North Island. This decision was one of the hardest decisions I’ve made in my life as it also meant leaving behind my family and friends.”
For Renee, finding employment proved difficult with no qualifications, until she applied for a cleaning job at a retirement village and the nurse manager offered her a job as a health care assistant. This boosted her confidence and set her back on track to a better future and a happier life.
“Becoming a nurse was my dream and although I felt I was not clever enough, I took the risk and applied. Three years later I’ve learnt so much about not only nursing but also myself. I now have children and a very loving and supportive fiancée and I continue to work as a health care assistant while studying. Although we are all faced with challenges in our life, it’s the decisions we make that anticipate our future. Not a day goes by that I don’t feel blessed to be where I am today.”
The John Ilott Charitable Trust makes annual grants in the order of $150,000. It was originally set up in 1960 by Wellington businessman and philanthropist Sir John Ilott. He was succeeded by his son, Jack Ilott, who in turn reached an agreement with the Rotary Club of Wellington (of which Sir John and Jack had both been Presidents) to take on the administration after his passing. The Rotary Club President, President-elect, and Immediate Past-President now serve as Trustees, with a commitment to implement the family’s vision. The Trustees are supported by an Advisory Committee of five senior Rotarians.