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
- Effecting people in a good way
- Becoming a counselor, marriage therapist or family therapist
- Becoming a qualified accountant
- Getting married.
After 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.”
Next 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.”
When 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.”
Last 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.