For some time now myself and colleges have frequently discussed that there needs to be a change in the community. A change that will allow local youth to develop into the highest versions of themselves. There is so much potential, gifts and talents within our youth that just needs to be guided out.

A lot of youth end up being misunderstood and frustrated which leads to being labeled and stigmatized. This along with distorted attitudes, lack of opportunities, limited youth services, being excluded from the education system and trying to survive in low social economical environments can all contribute towards pushing them down the path of antisocial behaviour.

With the current media attention on the knife situation in London that has tragically claimed so many young lives and injured or traumatized numerous others the question has to be asked. What change needs to be implemented to challenge the mentality that is fueling youth violence?

Obviously this change won’t happen overnight but rather through a long term strategical process. GIFT desires to contribute to early intervention that could possibly save lives through promoting personal development that will inspire a new generation of young leaders that will rise up from among the local community. A holistic approach is needed to cultivate these young leaders and we believe it needs to driven by the voice of the youth. Their voice is crucial in order for us to collectively advance towards solutions. As adults sometimes we have to admit we don’t always have the answers so we must listen to the youth as they are the ones dealing with all kind of complex issues that has lead us into the ugly predicament we currently face. Combative systems must be established and fortified throughout communities nation wide that risk losing their youth to senseless violence or the criminal justice system.

This holistic approach we have in mind will roll out under our new campaign of You Can Be The Change. You Can Be The Change will revolve around equipping our youth with transferable skills from problem solving to leadership to communication that will assist them to deal with local issues they want to change. Through the process they will raise their educational, career or enterprise aspirations whilst enhancing their physical and mental heath. The project also hopes to help our youth become ambassadors for their peers.

We look forward to developing our new project and hope to collaborate with local youth, parents, organisations, schools and colleges in order to achieve this positive change.