BY HANNAH BARR
Nine young people have completed the first Find Your Fire programme with a great celebration on a hot summer’s day in Oxford.
Find Your Fire is a new ten-month leadership development programme for 14-19 year-olds in Oxford aimed at building awareness of positive life choices, giving young people the chance at an accredited qualification in skills for employment, training, and personal development.
The course also facilitates a supportive environment where young people can be mentored in an area they choose, such as confidence-building and skills development.
It is supported by Viva’s Oxford-based partner network, Doorsteps.
As part of Find Your Fire, the young people work together to create peer-led projects and initiatives. This year, the projects included the creation of an awareness-building quiz on sexual consent, an information session on anxiety, and an IT skills session with older people in the community in partnership with Donnington Doorstep.
The team behind the IT project produced a really good and informative handbook on making IT accessible for older people. The projects were of a high standard and reflected the passions of the young people behind them.
The end of Find Your Fire for this year’s cohort was marked with a celebration day which included a boat cruise down the River Thames – perfect on what was an incredibly hot and sunny day.
Each young person received a certificate marking their completion of the programme and achieving the Level 1 NOCN award. They were also given Find Your Fire t-shirts which they then signed and decorated.
There was a real sense of satisfaction amongst the young people over what they had achieved and how they had grown over the ten months of being part of the programme.
At one point in the day, one of the young people independently went to source some extra entertainment for the celebration. She came back remarking, “I couldn’t have done that without Find Your Fire!”
In an age and a culture where we like to define as success things which seem to be ‘big’ achievements or make a big impact, Find Your Fire recognises that achievements for our young people are found just as much, if not more, in the day-to-day growth in confidence and self-esteem.
The programme facilitates young people turning their everyday anxieties and obstacles into situations they can easily and confidently overcome.
Find Your Fire is not about producing the finished article, but is about helping young people take a confident step on the precarious journey towards adulthood.
Steps are in place to keep supporting this year’s ‘graduates’ now that Find Your Fire has finished for this year, and we look forward to beginning with a new intake of young people in September, helping them to dream big dreams and discover their potential.