Challenging youth stereotypes

Bringing the community together to celebrate youth culture   -  By Emma Bird

By Emirjona, Omakshi and Stacey

"I was away when the London riots happened. But I came back and you see could feel that the view of young people had totally changed- just over one summer. And you’re just thinking- we’re not actually bad people.

There were so many negative news articles. We were looking up articles on the internet and one of them, a local MP, called youths ‘a slow motion of morale collapse’. We thought that was a bit farfetched- a bit extreme.  We’re not that bad!

So when Envision came along we decided that we needed to do something about the bad feeling in Ealing. We had this idea of holding an event that would celebrate young people and give local people a chance to see the real us. We wanted to promote local talent and just bring everyone together to celebrate our local area.

When we first started out Tracy, our Envision Coordinator, was a bit shocked. We knew what we wanted to do but there were so many things that we hadn’t thought about. Whether it would be inside or outside, how many people, where it would be and loads of other stuff.

That’s when Tracy told us about Pitch4Change. We applied to do it and our idea got accepted.  To help us prepare for the pitch they gave us business mentors from Morgan Stanley.

When we went to Morgan Stanley for the first time we were just like ‘Woah, Canary Wharf - it’s just like so futuristic.  And we’re just a load of young people in this totally business environment’.

We expected them to be really scary people. We thought they’d really patronize us. But you know I was really surprised they were so nice. They didn’t talk down to us or anything. They were really truthful as well. I appreciated it a lot.

Initially we were hesitant because we thought they might think we’re stupid. But then we broke the ice and people were laughing. I think it was a good thing that all the people there were really outgoing – they weren’t reserved.

The first session there was really helpful. They gave us advice on the way we did our presentation. They told us to not put too many things on the slide, to look up when you’re talking and to speak slowly.

Making it happen

The pitch was a huge success and we got our £500! But we realised we actually needed more like £900. So we just did everything that we could possibly do. We did cake sales, waffle sales, guess the sweets in a jar, everything! We went all out."

"It’s funny because beforehand I don’t think we were willing to push ourselves the extra mile. But then we realised if it’s something that you really want to do you will do it.

When the day finally came round we were so excited and nervous. But we didn’t have anything to worry about. The acts were amazing and came from all different schools around Ealing. And over 100 people from the local area came as well. Even the Mayor of Ealing came!

When we were packing up, after being so stressed all day, we just looked at each other and thought -really? We actually did it! There is evidence that young people can make a change.

We’re just glad we met Envision. If Envision wasn’t there to tell you- ‘yes you can do this’- kind of like a kick start- then i don’t think we would have got that far.

Ready for work

Morgan Stanley were really supportive we just wouldn’t have learnt as much as we did without them.

They didn’t really judge you - they saw us as individuals and treated us as individuals. We had expected to be treated like ‘oh, here are a bunch of kids presenting an idea’. But when we went there they were actually like treating us like perspective employees in a way.

The experience we had will help in future interviews because before I would get really nervous in interviews and I wouldn’t be able to hack it but now I think it’s OK

Now I know how to get my point across now. I used to mumble and say something completely irrelevant. I think it’s the whole thing of confidence. Something like Pitch4Change. I’ve never been in that situation before where you have to pitch to people who you don’t know- people who are in such high positions.

We found out that Morgan Stanley offer summer internships to Year 12’s. After working with our mentors I knew what skills people are looking for and doing our Envision project gave me the confidence to apply for it – or even to ask someone if I can. We got accepted and had an amazing time learning about so many new things."