Cooper Sides

Kia ora koutou, ko Cooper toku ingoa - call me that, Coop or Coops, whatever flows naturally for you, just not she/her or he/him! I’m non-binary and my pronouns are ia/they/them.

I first joined the CYWC in 2005 when I started my career at 198 Youth Health Centre, joining Youthline and setting up what was originally the Ōtautahi Youth Council. After that, I did some time in youth mental health, ran a family violence course for children and young people in Napier, spent some years working with young men with sexually harmful behaviour and did a stint in Care and Protection. During my two years living in Hawkes Bay I realised how spoiled I had been as a youth worker in Ōtautahi with the connectedness that CYWC promoted. This was actually part of my decision in why I moved back and joined the board. Life took me ‘full circle’ back to 298 for 2 1/2yrs where I worked as a youth worker, launched a gender diverse group and started the role of Transgender Peer Support. More recently I've joined Leadership Lab's programmes Puāwai & Rourou with the goals of growing young leaders in the community and finding ways to awhi communities to thrive, breaking through the barriers that have been set upon them by others.

I am super thrilled to be able to support CYWC in being that connector for other youth workers and I am deeply passionate about ethical practice and the support and sustainability of youth work/ers. In my spare time I coach the national roller derby team, admire and tend to my house plants and get bossed around by my gorgeous kitty, Indie!


Deputy Chairperson