This week we celebrated the achievements of 72 participants from our FBB Schools programs who graduated from the programme. Students from 4 partner schools: Elm Green, Harris Peckham, Lilian Baylis, and Chestnut Grove Academy were celebrated for their achievements at the event that took place at Pop Brixton. The night consisted of speeches from our practitioners and our participants who reflected on their FBB journey, as well as a speech from local boxer and motivational speaker, Kheron Kenardo.
An emotional process for our practitioners and young people
FBB Practitioner, Bruk Abdu, gave a heartfelt speech to his group from Elm Green which drew a lot of emotion from the room:
“I came into this role and came to manage my first ever group hoping that I could be the big brother that I never had. I think it’s fair to say that we all have our experiences growing up in a city like this, a city that vilifies young people. A city that has it’s systems to push you back every time you try to bounce forward in life. I am happy to stand here and say I’m proud of all of you, to see how resilient you have been, and to learn a bit about the situations you’ve had to overcome.” For Bruk, he had highlighted the role the Elm Green group had in enabling him to express his own emotions freely in front of the group, creating a space where young men could feel empowered to express their feelings within a safe space.
Similarly, our co-director Jack Reynolds used the time to share his reflections on his younger self at age 16. He said the following:
“You’ll remember that your friends, coaches, and families were the most important thing about your adolescent years. You’ll admit that amongst all the confusion, those friends were always there to turn to, to laugh with, and to pick you up when you were down, and you would call this value, teamwork.”
A holistic education
Too often, the end of a school year can be a stressful time for young people within a results-driven system. This often has an adverse effect on their mental health, with a national survey conducted by the National Education Union this week reporting that across 650 secondary schools, 89% of school leaders reported that the updates to GCSE examinations have led to increased stress and anxiety levels amongst students sitting exams. We know that young people need to be given extracurricular opportunities that extend beyond the classroom for them to improve their social and emotional well being.
The graduation is a crucial part of this process. It marks the end of an FBB journey based on a long-term commitment to our young people. With programmes lasting a minimum of 2 years, it serves as an opportunity to mark the intergenerational learning that takes place between our practitioners and participants. For the youth, it is important that they are able to build positive relationships with strong relatable role models in their lives and go through a process of self-reflection to understand their assets and be able to take those forward as they make a successful transition into adulthood.