In the summer of 2013 I was involved in trialling a new mentor programme in London. This mentor programme encouraged young people to consider their own ambitions and the world around them, and from this to develop greater independence skills that could help them to then pursue these ideas.
The notion of ambitions – and what is needed to pursue them, has always fascinated me. What different ambitions do people actually have? How important is it even to have ambitions? And, what do you actually need to try and make them happen?
One of the activities in this mentor programme really stood out. Having asked the participants to reflect on their own ambitions and what they needed in order to get there, they then interviewed members of the community to understand their journeys and the advice they wanted to share with the teenagers.
As someone supporting young people there was a slight risk. What if the advice was demoralising? Or, even worse, completely contradictory to what we were advocating through the programme?
But, of course, it was fine. In fact, it was really effective; members of the community were mostly genuinely interested in wanting to support the younger generation. They just need to be asked…. And whilst each person had a slightly different take on the question the teenagers reflected on the different points of view and really considered the implications for their own stories.
This project is just an extension of this simple idea; seeking to capture the ambitions of young people from different communities across the world and at the same time trying to share with them the lessons and advice from adults who are a bit further along in their own journeys.