In one room there was MP for central Croydon, Gavin Barwell. There was also former footballer and now BBC pundit, Garth Crooks. Then there were parents, carers, teachers, youth workers and a good amount of advocates who believe in young people. The night was to honour and celebrate the young people we work with in Reaching Higher. Reaching Higher is a charity I work for who challenges young people and raises their aspirations.
Without sounding like I’m getting on my high horse – I am trying to get young people to speak louder for themselves. I am trying to be that someone who gives them a space where they can talk, discuss, vent, moan – and then do something about all the talking, discussing, venting and moaning. I formed a theatre workshop called Play Your Part which is free for 12-18 year olds. Myself and a fantastic team of volunteers, teach them drama techniques, how to write plays, act in them, etc. This is all wrapped around helping them to build confidence, raise self-esteem and giving them a chance to bring to life all what they are about. I write plays for young people, so not only can they act in them, learn a few things, but also so parents, carers, teachers and decision-makers can hear their story.
So going back to the awards night; putting the 3 course meal aside, admiring each other in our fancy clothes and talking about how the weather has changed so drastically over the past week, we were all at the Hilton London Croydon for them. Them being the Joash’s, the Warrick’s, the Fernando’s, the Renee’s – and so many more who have used the platform given to them and flown with it. Even if Mr Crooks and Mr Barwell didn’t show up and make the awards night seem more prestigious, we still would have donned our finest and clapped our hardest to tell these young people that they are doing well.
Ok, so maybe I am on my high horse. Maybe I am blowing my own trumpet a little too loud. So I’ll ask this question: is it our responsibility to champion these young people? And if it’s not, then whose it it?
What part are you playing?