This blog is usually about young people’s volunteering, and what they are doing for charitable causes… with particular emphasis on the UK. But a teen actress’s stand against drink and drugs, and the wild party scene that so many stars fall into, has really impressed me, and I felt that I ought to pass it on today.
Sixteen-year-old Chloë Grace Moretz – star of Kick-Ass – was recently quoted in Nylon magazine as being totally disinterested in becoming a party girl like Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan. She rejects the temptation to go on wild nights out, saying she doesn’t want to risk what she has accomplished so far in her Hollywood career.
Here’s what this young role model had to say:
“I’m, like, incredibly straight-laced, considering what some 16 year olds are doing. It’s probably because I’ve gone to nice events with big people there since I was a young girl. Kids my age at school are fighting to get into clubs and be around an open bar, whereas I’ve had the opportunity to drink and do drugs if I wanted to, and I haven’t. I look around me and go, ‘God’s put me here for a reason. Why would I want to go take a drug or do something that can strip away everything I’ve worked for?’ This business is not peaches and cream, and I’ve fought tooth and nail to earn this spot.”
What a star – we need more teen role models like this!
This blog has highlighted on several occasions the impact that sport can have on young people’s development, so I was interested to hear recently of an initiative in the South-West (of the UK) called Community Action Through Sport (CATS), which was set up in Bude, North Cornwall, eight years ago, to encourage youth involvement in the community by rewarding participants with opportunities to experience new sporting activities, as well as other “healthy living rewards”.
Created initially in response to a local anti-social behaviour problem, the CATS initiative now involves school, youth group, sports and police representatives, as well as the young people themselves, and sets out to improve the latter’s image in the area. CATS branches have already been established across Devon and Cornwall, touching the lives of hundreds of young people, and the securing of additional (Big Lottery & Lloyds TSB) funding means that the programme will now be rolled out across the rest of the UK.
There are five levels of CATS awards, and levels 3-5 are designed to dovetail with the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. Rewards range from a leisure swim with a friend (Level 1) to an ‘extreme sports’ weekend (Level 5). Sports and other celebrities are usually involved in the award ceremonies.
Although we have seen a number of schemes that use sport to encourage youth volunteering and leadership development, this is the first I have come across that actually uses sporting incentives as prizes – an interesting idea. CATS says, “Volunteering is the Inspiration, Recognition is the key, and Sport is the driving force.”
A new Community Award Scheme has just been launched in Bedfordshire, UK, to recognise the contributions to local communities by young people. Run by Biggleswade Sandy Lions, it aims to honour community or environmental work carried out by groups of youngsters between the ages of 9 and 20, over a weekend or longer – either as a standalone project, or as part of an ongoing scheme. Winning groups will receive a certificate and £100 to be spent as they choose.
The Lions want to encourage youth involvement, as they believe that not only will it benefit the community but it will also be character-building for the participants. This is exactly what we have been saying, at the Chreda Foundation – where we will also be launching a prize award scheme in a few months’ time. However, our scheme will be directed at individual young people.
To nominate a project for the Lions to consider, call Roger Wolburn on 01462 814967 or Judith Hagger on 0845 833 9749, and just tell them what will be done, when and where: they will then arrange to come and check it out.
The Lions are part of Lions Clubs International, a volunteer organisation consisting of 1.35 million men and women of all ages (and from all walks of life) in over 200 countries, who devote their time to serving less fortunate people locally and world-wide.
When the summer arrives, most teenagers will be relaxing, enjoying their holidays with mates – especially if they have just come to the end of their high school education. But eighteen-year-old Charlotte Adams from Southend, Essex (UK) will be heading off to India for a month, to work with the charitable trust Emmanuel Ministries Calcutta (EMC) … which for nearly thirty years has been offering rehabilitation services for single parents who live on the streets; setting up and running health centres; and working in orphanages and slums, fighting poverty, malnutrition and illiteracy.
Charlotte, who currently attends Southend High School for Boys, has to raise a total of £2,200 to make the trip. So far she has achieved just over half of this from fundraising and savings out of her part-time tutoring job. Now she has started selling her personal belongings on eBay to raise the extra funds: so far she has sold a significant percentage of her own wardrobe, as well as various other items.
Christian-motivated EMC is inspired by the belief that “each individual has intrinsic value and deserves respect and dignity”. This is something that we believe, too, here at the Chreda Foundation. We also believe that young people have much to offer the world, and it’s great to see this latest example of the kind of selfless activities that so many of them are engaged in. This is exactly the kind of altruism that we will be seeking to encourage when we introduce the Chreda Prize at the end of this year.
Award winners with West Dorset District Council chairwoman Gillian Summers.
Throughout January, and into mid-February, residents of West Dorset were invited to nominate young people and groups from the county who had made a difference to their community by voluntarily giving of their time to help locally. The achievements of the nominees were then honoured a fortnight ago at an event entitled ‘Chairman’s Awards: Young Volunteer Champions’, held at the West Dorset District Council Offices, South Walks House, Dorchester.
The Young Community Champion award, for an individual aged 13-18, went jointly to Jess Element from Dorchester and Jacob Neal from Beaminster. Jess supports local young swimmers, is an active member of numerous swimming groups, clubs and sessions, and now trains and teaches regularly. Jacob cares for his mother and is an adult leader with the Scout Association, where he has been volunteering for the last ten years.
The Senior Young Champion award, for an individual aged 19-25, was won by Freddie Higgs from Cerne Abbas. Freddie is a young adult leader at Cerne Valley Youth Club and Cerne Abbas Scout Group. Freddie took full responsibility for running the club and its fundraising activities when the leader fell ill last year.
The Youth Group Champion award went to Sherborne Skate Park Group, who campaigned for three years to keep their skate park open, while they raised £187,000 in order to replace it with a new modern one.
In presenting the awards Council Chairwoman Gillian Summers said: “I want to congratulate all the people nominated for Young Volunteer Champion awards. We had so many worthy entries. I am delighted to thank these fantastic young people in this way for the help they have given to their community. It is brilliant that so many are prepared to give their time to make a real difference.”
For more information visit www.dorsetforyou.com/young-champion/west-dorset.