Founder and Co-Director 'CAUSE YOU CAN LTD
London's most deprived boroughs
"We need to address in more systematic ways the needs of disadvantaged children in London, if we want to enable them to develop and flourish as well as their peers. In deprived boroughs, children are less likely to become familiar with the concepts of leadership and citizenship, which could help them become happier and more successful adults. Effective early interventions are crucial to support their well-being and to reduce the high rates of violence and unemployment among some sections of young people by 2020; I believe London can lead on this."
'CAUSE YOU CAN offers series of after-school workshops for children aged 6 to 12 who may be disadvantaged because they live in a deprived borough. We use performing arts and live performance to build confidence, character and life skills. Each series of workshops culminate in live shows, co-produced by the children and open to members of the local community. We offer vocational training and work opportunities to young people aged 16 to 25.
We support children in developing social, behavioural and communication skills, linked by government-led research into academic performance, SEAL (Social & Emotional Aspects of Learning) and the successful transition from Primary to Secondary school. The rich range of activities that we offer (movement, drama, music, singing, video arts and circus skills) creates a powerful vehicle for learning and growth. Children's development of their own ideas into live performance helps to maximise engagement, ownership and increased confidence.
CYC operates within a value-based and ethical framework. Each session has a theme related to a universal value - such as tolerance, respect or kindness - which is explored through creative practice. Children learn to reflect upon the way they feel, think, speak, act and relate to others in a mindful and positive way.
What does being a London Leader mean to you?
I emigrated from Canada in 2000; I have found London to be a welcoming city with tolerance and progress at the heart of its vibrant culture. Becoming a London Leader is a privilege and an opportunity for me to give something back to the city that I now call home.
What's your past experience?
I have lived in five different countries before settling in London 12 years ago. I became a qualified Lecturer and successful Consultant in healthcare and education by making the best of opportunities that were offered to me since I started volunteering in 2003. Along the years, I have created and developed award-winning community projects and training programmes to support disadvantages and so-called "hard-to-reach" groups.
In 2009, I set up 'CAUSE YOU CAN LTD to sustain the development and well-being of disadvantaged children in London's Primary schools. A challenging up-bringing and my background as a singer-author-composer have led me to appreciate how nurturing creative skills and performing on stage can enable children to acknowledge their own worth, strengths and potential. This conscious shift is what could allow London's next generation to recognise early on the key role that they can play in the advancement of the global community.