As the year draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on an extraordinary journey. If someone had told me at the end of 2022 that I would be sitting on the Youth Advisory Board of Sir Lewis Hamilton’s charitable foundation I would have said, “open your eyes and stop daydreaming.” Yet, here we are, at the end of an amazing 2023, and I can’t help but marvel at the impact Mission 44 has had on the lives of young people facing social injustice.
Growing up, I often felt limited in what I could achieve due to circumstances beyond my control. Whether it was my geographical area, socioeconomic background, culture, ethnicity, or age, these factors seemed to place barriers in front of my dreams. However, being part of Mission 44 has shown me that these limitations can be overcome.
The Youth Advisory Board at Mission 44 is extraordinary, weaving together a diverse range of experiences from all corners of the UK. Each member brings a unique perspective that enriches our shared journey. Being a proud Black British Mancunian with Ghanaian roots, my journey is representative of the vibrant diversity of the Board. In my time as a Board member, I’ve witnessed first hand the incredible power that this group holds, united by a shared goal of reshaping the future and uplifting the lives of young people from underserved communities.
One of the defining highlights of my journey with Mission 44 has been actively engaging in roundtable discussions with Sir Lewis Hamilton, education leaders, policymakers, and members of the Stevenage Council, as part of the launch of the Pioneering Young STEM Futures Programme. These experiences not only allowed me to contribute as a vital voice in the room where decisions are made, but also played a pivotal role in shaping the initiative for long-term change, providing young people from underrepresented backgrounds equal access to Stevenage’s STEM careers.
From sharing spaces with the Queen of Jordan at One Young World, to engaging with Year 10 students during a careers insight day at Sky Studios, my experiences as a Youth Advisory Board member have been both illuminating and inspiring. Through these interactions, I have come to appreciate the universality of our cause, bridging gaps between worlds and affirming the transformative potential Mission 44 has.
A wise person once said education, much like agriculture, is an organic system. Instead of condemning the plants for not growing, farmers strive to meet their optimum requirements. My vision for the future with Mission 44 aligns with this analogy – breaking free from constraints and recognising the limitless potential of the younger generation.
Looking ahead, Mission 44’s expansion internationally, to reach young people in the United States, Brazil, and in Africa is a thrilling prospect. Nelson Mandela’s words echo in my mind – “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” With our growing partners and determined team, the prospect of a better world feels within reach.
As we bid farewell to 2023, Mission 44 stands as a symbol of hope and transformation. I am humbled and grateful to be positioned to influence change on behalf of this extraordinary generation. The journey has been inspiring, personal, evocative, and motivational, and I eagerly anticipate the next chapter for Mission 44 and the lives of the young people we aim to impact.
Youth Advisory Board member