Engage is our brilliant project for unemployed young people in East London. We support them to deliver their own community projects and recruit volunteer mentors to help them plan their futures.
Marcus wanted to give local youngsters the chance to try sport and we're thrilled the experience inspired him to start training to become a teacher. Here's his story ...
"I got involved in the Engage project because it looked like a good opportunity to do something positive with my time. Plus the TimeBank coordinator who first informed me about the Engage project at a Job Centre Plus event in Tower Hamlets seemed so enthusiastic about it and reassured me that it would be an all-round good experience. What I enjoyed about the opportunity was that I had the free rein of being able to come up with my own idea, developing it into a project and executing it, although still being provided with excellent help when necessary.
My project was about taking the local youth (aged 7-12) out of the immediate local area and providing them with a new experience which allowed them to play a variety of sports in a safe environment. I ran a small Fitness for Children project where children could come and try different sports activities and have nutritious snacks. This was to encourage children to take up sport and also to eat healthily.
The project was initially supposed to be a one day event, but I have since had many calls from participants asking to make it a regular occurrence. Before delivering the project I was anxious because I'd never led my own project before to such a level. During the project I began feeling confident about it as the plan started coming together and I gained faith in the people around me that if I ever had trouble in my project I would have all the help I needed.
After the event finished, I was extremely satisfied with the results and the experience as a whole, as I met a number of new delightful people during the process and my project went down so well.
Engage has also matched me with a mentor to help me with next steps. From this I would like to get general life advice, especially relating to university studies and fitness training as my mentor has achieved his degree and is now working in a related field. I would also like to develop in my fitness training as this is also something that he takes pretty seriously, so it would be nice to help motivate myself in that way.
Throughout the process and my time in the Engage project from TimeBank, I have been amazed by the amount of help provided by those involved, especially Aklima, who helped me to gain practical work experience in a primary school, which was a vital part of me starting my journey to higher education. Overall I'd like to say a big thank you to everyone involved in the Engage project because it has given me an experience which both helped me develop my skills, learn new ones and gain confidence in previously unknown areas."
If you'd like to support young people like Marcus to get into education, training or work, why not volunteer as a mentor on the Engage project? Take a look here.