College leader’s noble feat boosts young people’s confidence

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Heights don’t bother David Murdoch.

What bothers him is the thought of a sudden stop at the bottom.

The University of Otago Vice-Chancellor was one of 50 Dunedin ‘bosses’ who took part in the Toss the Boss fundraiser at Forsyth Barr Stadium yesterday, where they had to abseil 35m from the roof down to the land below.

“Heights don’t particularly bother me – as long as I’m securely attached to something of course,” Prof Murdoch said.

“I’ve done abseiling and parachuting before, so I was looking forward to it. There were naturally some nerves, but it was great once I was on my way.”

The fact that it was something he enjoyed, as well as the fact that it was for such a noble cause, meant that it wasn’t a difficult decision to take the plunge.

“The trust does extremely valuable work and has very similar beliefs and goals to the university – we both work to empower young people and believe they can make a difference.”

The event aimed to raise $30,000 for the Malcam Charitable Trust, which is a not-for-profit agency for young people providing a range of in the Dunedin, Clutha and Waitaki areas.

The trust uses activity-based learning, real-life scenarios and youth-led activities to be able to promote good life choices, goal setting and confidence building.

Its services include behavioral and motivational mentoring; small group engagement; after-school programs for young people; full-time 10-week youth development programs; coordination of the youth council; employment and career planning; life skills development; support for high and complex needs; and transitional support (intermediate-secondary-tertiary).

All funds raised would go into the trust to provide youth development programs.

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