I have learnt so much over my time here at the Youth Trust. Here are some of the main things and highlights I will be taking away with me:
1) Children and Young People truly can change the world and make it a better place.
No - you can't change the world over night. BUT you can sure try. Even the smallest thing you can do can make the most incredible difference. Do not ever underestimate the power of a young person. Yes they are young - but their potential is unfathomable if only that small seed of possibility can be planted in their brain. 1 Timothy 4 v 12 says "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity." There have been countless times over the past 22 months where I have seen this be the case. Young people truly leading the way in which we should all go - sharing acts of kindness and serving others in completely selfless and compassionate ways. Be more like them. Have more imagination. Dream bigger.
2) The negative stereotypes around Young People still exist.
We still look down on young people - even I can be guilty of it. That crossing of the street when you see young people walking towards you. That presuming you know what they're going to do or knowing how they'll behave. The media is constantly still using those stereotypes and labels - describing them as "yobs" or continually linking them with stories about alcohol, drugs and knife crime. This is not what defines all young people. You need only look at our news page and social media to see that is not the case! Young people are powerful members of our society - if only we'd give them the chance. Please learn from my experience. All they need is a voice. A voice for the right reasons. They need to be heard and their opinions and talents used and voiced. They are powerful tools ready to be harnessed if only we'd have the courage and time to listen.
3) Teachers really are heroes.
I stand by what I said back in June when we ran our #heroesinourschools campaign. Teachers are the most conscientious, hard-working and passionate beings I know. Learning to say thank you is one of the simplest but most powerful things I have learnt over my time here. We must break the stereotype that teachers only work 9-3 and have long holidays. This is quite simply not the case. They really are changing the future of our nation and rising up the leaders of tomorrow. Let's remember to encourage and build one another up so that no one may ever feel unappreciated.
I will be forever grateful for my time here at the Trust and the incredible team I have worked with. They are a passionate and dynamic group who really believe in Young People and want to see a generation rise up and change the world for the better. God may be calling me to pastures new - but my heart will forever take the lesson with me that children really can be the change they want to see - and so can I.