I am writing in response to film star Naomie Harris’ comments as reported in the brilliant 12th April newsbeat piece on the BBC News website. Naomie recently starred in a film based around the increase in violence in London. There are claims that the murder rates of our capital are higher than those of New York which is sad, frightening and devastating, all at the same time.
Ms Harris says that “youth aren’t given an outlet, they’re not given an opportunity to have a voice and to express themselves”. She then explains that drama provides this. She is a patron of the Intermission Youth Theatre charity; a drama group especially for young offenders, young people who are at risk of offending or those lacking in opportunities. Activities such as drama offer young people a suitable place to express themselves and make their voice heard in a way that is appropriate.
Young People’s Potential
At Youth for Christ, we strongly believe that every young person has the ability and potential to achieve, regardless of their background. We spend hundreds of collective hours working with young people on the margins of society, particularly in prisons. Our courageous and compassionate Outreach Workers go above and beyond to show young people their worth, mentor them and lead them through different accredited myLife programmes.
These hugely successful courses help them develop the necessary life skills needed to achieve success. myLife programmes have helped hundreds of young people achieve qualifications they thought were not possible. Young people have been equipped to live life with their emotions, finances and other areas in check.
Recently, three young people that a Reflex Outreach Worker works with have become published authors. The books are available to buy on Amazon. This is simply incredible. However, I wonder how many people had previously written these young people off? Too many I think. Someone offered them an opportunity and they grabbed it with both hands. As a result, three ‘young criminals’ are now published authors.
At Youth for Christ, we offer young people from all walks of life opportunities to try new things and have new experiences. This is because we represent God’s heart. We show Jesus in ways that are relevant in schools, prisons, churches and local communities using sport, music, the arts and so much more!
In prisons, we do this through our mentoring programmes and chaplaincy courses and by leading monthly chapel services. Essentially, we know that good courses, programmes and opportunities help. However, the story doesn’t end there. It is in Jesus that we find true freedom and transformation. That’s why, at Youth for Christ, we’re about seeing young people’s lives changed by Jesus.
We are seeing some amazing things happen in prison. Please continue to stand with us in prayer as our Outreach Workers take the love and light of Jesus into some of the most challenging places.
Head of Marginalised and Inclusion