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Happy Birthday Forever Young People

FYP today is three years old! Wow. When you stop to think about your experience so far, it's actually crazy! It is something that I struggle to, to sit and reflect but during my recent break, I gave myself the time to sit, think and reflect on the journey so far.

I started out four years ago with the goal of making my work known, I didn't know how I was going to do that, I just knew that I wanted to put myself out and I am so glad that I started. I am proud with how far we've come.

I've gained a lot of knowledge, made lots of errors, failed a few times, and tried again, but I've never given up. Which is something I hope to inspire young people to do.

It can be intimidating to start a business and put yourself out there. You discover a lot about who you are and at times, you will be overwhelmed with the findings. You'll face challenges, therefore you'll need to be flexible and open-minded to the experience and the journey.

Although every year has its difficulties, this year has been another great year with FYP. The team has expanded with the addition of amazing people that have a lot of experience and passion. In addition to continuing our previous efforts, we have offered more workshops, mentored more children, and assisted more families. We have set up Dots Mum and Baby Group this February which is going strength to strength. We have fantastic partners who we collaborate and host even more community events with. The football team is now playing in the Premier Division in our area, and this year's campaign is off to a fantastic start. Forever Young People also won our second Award at the Lord Lieutenants Entrepreneur Challenge as the highly commendable company at the event.

As I reflect on my own both my personal and professional life, I have had the good fortune to meet and work with many excellent people from a wide range of origins, cultures, places, and circumstances. The most rewarding and fulfilling aspect of my life is working in this field because no two days, or even two people, are ever the same. However, the motivation for choosing to what I believe was a career path but now I feel, the feeling of a purpose that is driving me which stems from childhood and adolescent trauma and pain, which ultimately shaped my adult years for growth, healing and lifelong learning.

Actually, all I really want is to be able to do the things I needed to do during my teenage years. Teenage development is challenging enough without the added pressures of school, the future, friendships, romantic relationships, families, Social media and the elevated standard that everything should be flawless. When you add sentiments, emotions, and painful experiences to life, it becomes far more difficult to process and regulate those thoughts, feelings and emotions. Sometimes you just can't understand what's going on in your head or in your life, but if you just having someone there you can talk to, to guide and to assure that things aren't going to ruin your life, or simply just having someone tell you that everything will be okay, can and will help.

I can see how this might have been beneficial looking back on my younger years. My main goal is to eliminate the stigmatisation of young people in both their communities and among themselves. Despite how beautiful technology has advanced over the last 20–30 years, we have disregarded our human desire to connect—and by that, we don't just mean to WiFi, but to one another. It is now important to increase both our own and those around us' awareness. Starting with mentoring and education is where we need to connect. Education can take many different forms; it's not only about going to school and getting a diploma or a degree. I firmly believe that every day should be considered a school day. From the minute our eyes open in the morning until they are closed at night, there is something to be learned; we just need to start paying closer attention to everything around us.

To inspire the younger generations to be better people and create a more hospitable earth, we need to educate ourselves on self-love, self-care, and breaking generational cycles.

The term "Forever Young People" was chosen because, in my opinion, no matter how much a young person matures or grows, their core will always be considered "forever young." The youthfulness of their zeal for what they do, their desire to impress, their openness to learning, and their desire to make a difference will always be present. The youth of today will shape tomorrow's society, and they will also influence the generation after that, and so on. We need to act better today if we want a better tomorrow.

The Greek saying states that "a society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in." We all need to play our role in this.

I am grateful, proud and excited for what the future holds.

Thank you to my partner, family, team, friends, mentors and to my partners who have supported and allowed me to push Forever Young People forward. Lets keep going.



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