Following Dreams

As humans,

It’s inevitable that we dream,

Sometimes when we close our eyes to sleep,

Other times when we sit in a daze.

Dreaming dreams that are feasible,

Or dreams that are nonsense,

They are still dreams all the same;

Yet there are some

That can become reality,

That we want to make reality

One day.

Dreams that can be described

As goals or passions,

Or your life’s true purpose;

These are the feasible dreams

That many of us hope to transform

Into reality.

We begin to envision those dreams,

Think more on those dreams,

Try to create that reality in our mind,

Think of what we hope to be,

But how many of us turn those thoughts into action,

Making best use of our time.

Although our mind overflows

With ideas and goals,

We drown out the thoughts

Until they finally go

To the pit of the ocean,

Worth nothing at all,

Just an empty dream

Lost on another soul.

This is not the case for all,

At times fear gets in the way,

Also insecurity, extenuating circumstances,

Keeping the dreams at bay;

Or perhaps it’s discouragement

From someone external,

A family member, friend, teacher,

Maybe even a stranger.

They want you to follow the status quo,

Because they believe that’s the way to go,

You should be doing this job,

You should be achieving better,

You should be earning more money,

You should be a go-getter;

So you follow their lead

And suppress your dreams,

Not following your heart,

But the words of somebody

Who isn’t living your life

And never will be;

So why follow what they say,

Be what you will be.

Dream Catcher

Young People Share Their Dreams at the YP Insight Forum

Passion and goals; something inside of you that you want to fulfill; something you hope to be; an imaginary milestone. These were some of the terms used to describe dreams, the focus point of the Young People Insight forum on May 17th.

It only seemed right for us to start by sharing our dreams, which included:

  • Being a fashion designer
  • Happiness
  • Effecting people in a good way
  • Becoming a counselor, marriage therapist or family therapist
  • Becoming a qualified accountant
  • Getting married.

DSC_0783After sharing our about dreams, it was time to hear from the guest speakers for the evening.  First up was Stephanie Kane, who is pursuing her dream of selling art work internationally and opening her own gallery.

Growing up, Stephanie always knew that she wanted “to be an artist of some sort” and that she had “that sort of entrepreneurial spark” in her.  Knowing that she wanted to go into the creative field, she went to study Fashion Illustration at London College of Fashion, which turned out to be the wrong decision for her.

Rather than stay on a course that she didn’t enjoy, Stephanie left university and decided that she wanted to exhibit every month for a year.  After that year, she began working at RISEgallery and she later found herself taking part in an event at the TATE Britain, which led to a collaboration with Apple, which was later seen by a major global brand, kind of like a “snowball effect”.  She told us that as an artist, “it’s really important to know how to market yourself”.

In July 2015, Stephanie was the south-east winner of Young Start-Up Talent, with her vision of STUDIO14.  She said, “Winning the competition meant you had to learn things you didn’t know before”, but “I now know how to manage a business.”  Stephanie’s key word of advice was: “Don’t turn opportunities down.”

DSC_0786Next was Matthew Don, whose dreams are to serve the Lord, play basketball as long as he can without injury and make the basketball culture in Croydon bigger.  However, this wasn’t always the case for him.  When Matthew was 10 or 11 years old, he didn’t know what he wanted – “I was out on the streets a lot, getting into trouble” – but when was 13, something clicked.

Initially forced into playing basketball, Matthew eventually grew to love it and by the time he was 15 or 16, he wanted to pursue basketball as a career.  Matthew was fortunate enough to get a full scholarship to play basketball in the United States and he also had the opportunity to represent Great Britain as part of their U20 basketball team in the 2013 European Championships.

Despite having people tell him that he wouldn’t be paid to play basketball, Matthew is currently professionally in Spain.  He told us, “At the end of the day, people are going to bring you down, but you’ve got to stay motivated,” which has been his biggest lesson.  Matthew’s words of advice to any aspiring basketball players are: “Don’t watch Stephen Curry highlights… Keep grinding everyday, working on fundamentals …[and]… play with older guys.”

DSC_0795When it comes to her dreams, Frances Acquaah says that it’s about being happy and everything having balance.  When she was younger, Frances really wanted to be on TV, as an actor or a singer.  However, her mum planted the seed of becoming a journalist in her mind, which Frances began to gravitate to more a she got older.

After graduating from university, Frances got an internship working at the youth marketing agency, Livity, which was “a really, really cool place to work as my first professional job out of uni.”  She later went on to become the Deputy Editor and then Editor of Live Mag UK for two years, before it closed down, but she admitted that she may have become complacent, which is a danger.  “When you’re not learning anymore in a job, I think that’s when you need to leave,” she told us.

Frances is currently working as a junior researcher at the BBC, and she’s also written pieces for The Guardian and Red Bull Amaphiko.  Leaving Live Mag also gave Frances the opportunity to start her blog for the third time, which prompted her to tell us, “Don’t give up on your blog if you have one.”  However, a key bit of advice from Frances is, “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do this or you can’t do that, because it’s not true.”

DSC_0810Last but not least were Kyle Hylton and Jason Simms-Davis, co-founders of the recently launched social enterprise, Justified Kings, which aims to “enrich young adults with the tools to gain control of their lives.”

During secondary school, Kyle felt that he was in a bubble and not prepared for the real world, not fully knowing what we wanted to do with his life.  However, according to Jason, attending Riddlesdown was quite a deciding point in his and Kyle’s lives, as they came to the realisation about the lack of opportunities in Thornton Heath.

Jason believes that a lot of issues come from a lack of knowledge of self, so he and Kyle want to help people, inspire people and give back to the community.  Kyle believes everyone has their inner king and queen inside of them, but some need to have it extracted from them, which is where the name Justified Kings comes from.  “What we’ve been taught, we’re going to give back to the people,” Kyle says.

Kyle and Jason will be hosting their first Justified Kings event on Wednesday 25th May in Project B.  The event is called J.U.I.C.E, which stands for Justified, Understanding, Incorporating Confidence & Energy.  “It’s helping people through the transition,” Kyle says.


The next forum will be on June 21st at Project B, when we’ll be discussing violent crime.  There will guest speakers, as well as a surprise twist.

Follow @YPInsight on Twitter or like Young People Insight on Facebook for any updates.

Info for May’s Young People Insight Forum

Dreams are defined as a cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal.  This a definition full of powerful words, showing the significance of dreams on our lives.  I think that dreams are incredibly important and so special, as they are our minds beginning to craft what we want from life.

However, it feels that too often, we don’t take the time to chase our dreams or take the necessary steps to make those dreams a reality.  What makes it worse is that we are not encouraged to pursue our dreams on many occasions, instead being pushed into what will be the most secure job or what will make us the most money, which I think is a travesty that needs to be addressed.

Dream Catcher
Photo by Orangefox and used under Creative Commons License.

This is why dreams will be the topic of focus at this month’s forum.  I want us to be able to share our dreams, but also discuss why we are not always encouraged to pursue them by our elders.

My dream is to open a youth centre, have a book published, and get married, which I intend to make it into a reality, in spite of the discouragement I might meet from those around me.

I haven’t reached my dream yet, but there are numerous young individuals who have reached their dreams, or on course to reaching them.  I’ve invited some of those young people to share their story and provide some inspiration.  Those speaking will be:

We’ll also be discussing how we can develop a YouTube channel and further elevate the media element of Young People Insight, in order for us to take it forward.

So if you’re 16-25, don’t miss the Young People Insight forum on Tuesday 17th May.  We’ll be meeting from 6.30-8.30pm in Project B (1 Bell Hill, Croydon CR0 1FB).  Be ready to speak your mind, ask questions and meet new people.

Young People Insight Forum- Project B

Stay updated with Young People Insight by following @YPInsight on Twitter.


Guest Post: Attending the Vlogstar Challenge Event

Chinelo Chizea, 18, tells us about her experience at the Vlogstar Challenge, a one-day workshop that gave 15-25 year-olds the skills and confidence to develop “powerful and compelling blogs”.

On Sunday 17th of April 2016, I took part in the Vlogstar Challenge after being told about it by Shaniqua Benjamin.  This event was a video blogging training workshop hosted by the World Heart Beat Music Academy.

The program began at 10am at the Academy, where I was warmly welcomed.  It was led by a producer and former employee of the BBC.  He began by discussing the basics of vlogging and the aspects which are to be considered when filming yourself.

First of all, lighting, which is very important. When filming, you should make sure that you have good lighting, either natural or artificial. The lighting should enable you to appear bolder and 3D-like, in order to interact with your viewers.

When vlogging, you should have thought about a topic and make little bullet points about your topic and script your session – not long notes because you would appear unprofessional reading from a script.

The next tip we were given was on the editing softwares we can use.  He introduced us to YouTube Capture for iOS and Splice, which are free apps, as well as iMovie.  He advised us that aside from using our computers for editing, we can also make use of our smartphones and edit on the go, so that way, we can vlog and edit anywhere and at anytime.

Image by Sean MacEntee and used under Creative Commons License.
Image by Sean MacEntee and used under Creative Commons License.

After a brief talk, we engaged in an exercise where we were asked to video ourselves for 40 seconds about an interesting thing we had done during the week.  The next exercise we did required us to create a one minute vlog about something that needs more awareness – more like a pressing issue and a solution to that issue.

The last task of the day was to create a one minute vlog about “What Inspires Me”.  These videos were then entered into a competition in which the winner wins £2,000 for their youth organisation or school, one-to-one mentoring with YouTube, access to state of the art production space and the chance to attend the grand final at BAFTA!

The training was powered by the Jack Petchey Foundation and Media Trust in partnership with YouTube and the Evening Standard.

All in all, it was a great experience and I enjoyed the free one day workshop, because I learnt a lot and it was interesting to learn new tricks in terms of filming and vlogging.  I entered for the competition and hopefully I will find out if I was successful.

ChineloChinelo is currently studying Graphic Design, Photography and Media Studies at A-level and she is part of the Young People Insight community.  You can view some of Chinelo’s work on her blog, Kandiie Designs, and follow her on Twitter, @ChineloChizea.