Queens Young Leaders Award

By Darwin Bernardo

“THERE’S nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer,” is a quote I have repeated on numerous occasions.

Over the years I have found that encouraging and supporting young people to embed the characteristic of a role model from a young age promotes lifelong benefits – not only for the individual but also for the community as a whole.

Last month, I was humbled to have been invited to attend the launch of the Queens Young Leaders programme at Buckingham Palace by Their Royal Highnesses the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry. It aims to recognise the exceptional things young people are doing to benefit themselves and other people.

One of the highlights of the day was speaking to The Duke of Cambridge about my experience with Nutmeg community. It’s a youth empowerment organisation that works in the most deprived areas in the London borough of Barnet, where there are many social problems such as gun crime, drugs and high rates of unemployment.

We chatted about the opportunities and challenges young people have in the UK and what we, as leaders in our fields, could continue to do to support and inspire the 18-29 year old generation.

Today on International Youth Day, I will be championing young people and nominating someone for a Queens Young Leaders Award who deserves to be recognised for the lasting change they’re making in their community.  I will be all over Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, making my followers know that there’s less than 60 days to go before nominations close and that #TheSearchIsOn.

For many years I have aimed to make young people more aware of the opportunities that are available to them. At times it was difficult as many felt volunteering or doing anything to support their communities was not their responsibility. Only by practicing what I was preaching did they decide to get involved as they could see how I was benefiting from helping my community. My communication and networking skills were getting better and meeting like-minded individuals inspired me to work harder and do more.

This is a great opportunity for all to get involved and use the power of social network to truly help promote this campaign and spread the message far and wide that this programme is looking for shinning examples of someone who’s making  lasting change.

The Queens Young Leaders initiative will not only give young people from the UK the opportunity to be awarded for their commitment to tacking social issues, it will also shine light on the young people from across the Commonwealth who are also making a difference in their communities.

I believe this programme will allow Award winners to share best practice with each other and receive mentorship from individuals who are passionate about social action.

Ends

@QueensLeaders

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Watch the #untappedgroup of elections 2014

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Carry my wish around the world

@SeunOshinaike

@SeunOshinaike

I told a friend on the train that I need a new computer and that I’m fed up of Microsoft powered laptop’s. I mentioned how I have heard lots of good reviews about APPLE MAC products but I can only spend upto £500. Knowing that I would at least need £750 for MacBook Air, I made a wish/joke to her that I should buy lots of apple fruits with a message and post it online for luck. She laughed at me!!! that it can’t be done for £500 with my idea. I believe I can prove her wrong. This post might just travel far to someone with a connection that can make my wish/joke happen.

I’m open to suggestions and more creative ideas. Let’s just do it!! Please reblog/share and comment. THANKS xxx @SeunOshinaike

@SeunOshinaike

@SeunOshinaike

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Your video inspired me to want to randomly buy something for someone

Earlier this year I made a short film called “Cash Mob Act of Kindness – Free Shopping” You can see the film at the bottom of this blog. I’m so humbled by couple of the comments on the video that I am so keen to share it and hope you like it.

“revs2021” comment 3 months ago

“i would like you to by me a ipad”

“I replied….”

hahaha nice one 🙂 before I can consider buying you a materialistic product… first, what do you do currently and what makes you come alive?

A month later then I received this comment from “nruiz1….”

“So i know the question wasn’t for me, but seeing a persons face light up when you so something nice for them is what makes me come alive. Your video inspired me to want to randomly buy something for someone. Im thinking groceries. How awesome would that be to surprise someone with free food! Thanks for sharing

You are an awesome and amazing person. I’ve been watching some of your videos. My husband and i love helping people. We want our kids to learn now that its better to give than to receive. Im currently getting things together for 2 different families. One husband lost his job and their kids needed clothes and school supplies. The other husband was recently incarcerated and the wife is struggling to pay bill and rent. She only works part time so its tough for her. Her oldest needed new shoes.”

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Turn a blind eye or turn the other persons world around

I always try to help out when I see someone on the street. I don’t have much to give, but I give what I can. And I know some may just be taking advantage, but I would rather give and take that chance than turn a blind eye to someone who may really need it 🙂

A person should at least speak to someone in that situation, Whether or not they have anything to offer the homeless person. One kind word or a short convo might be all it would take to turn the other persons world around.

Sending kindness thanks to the lovely two people that shared this inspiration via YouTube. 

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You inspired me to carry out 31 Acts of Kindness for my birthday

I was truly blown away when I received this message from a fan on one of my online videos.
Hi Sean! Me again, just wanted to tell you that you are one of the people who inspired me to carry out 31 Acts of Kindness for my birthday last week. Ive told many of my friends about you & your videos encouraged me more to help those in need! Bless you. NZ.

Here is her video BELOW and please do SHARE it. 

If you’re curious about the video that partly inspired the above video, do click

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Kindness happens all the time around us. Stay kind

This evening I attended the naming ceremony of a friend’s son. And I met a very kind couple with their son. We had lots of fascinating and fruitful conversations. Conversation about my organisation Brighter Steppings  even came up and I asked them to have their son join one of our projects (the husband asked for my business card and I gave one to this humble man).

Later on as I was about to leave, I asked the husband for his business card, he didn’t have any, so to my astonishment he brought out his phone, opened the phone cover and took out £10 wrote his email on it. At this point I realised what he’s going to do next! I said noooo, how about you write your email on the back of this business card. He insisted and offered me the money. So we went back and forth, nooo…. Noo… Nooo. So I said okay I will accept it so I can share this moment as a story with the world. And he smiled, and later said you can buy some stamps out of it too (stamp is in reference to our conversation earlier that evening about a project) Hope this story brings a smile to anyone reading it 🙂

Kindness happens all the time around us. Stay kind.

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Babies on heroin and vodka!

I am a big campaigner against homelessness and I have even made a short Act of Kindness film about it, but after coming across this story which I’m still hoping is not true, I thought I have to do the justice of getting the balance right and most importantly spread the words wider across the world to tackle the organised crime of homelessness. But ofcourse I still strongly believe act of kindness towards homeless people is essential.

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WHY DOES THE CHILD IN HANDS OF THE BEGGAR ALWAYS SLEEPING?

“”Near the metro station sits a woman of uncertain age.
Women’s hair is confused and dirty, her head bowed in grief.

The woman sits on the dirty floor and next to her lies a bag. In that bag people throw money. On the hands of a woman, asleep, is a two year old baby. He’s in a dirty hat and dirty clothes.

“Madonna with baby” – numerous passers-by will donate money. The people of our kind- we always feel sorry for less fortunate. We are ready to give unfortunate people the last shirt, the last penny out of your pocket and never think another issue.
Helping, seems like. “Good job done”…

I walked past a beggar for a month. Did not give any money, as I knew that this is a gang operated scam and money collected by the beggar will be given to whoever controls beggars in the area. Those people own numerous luxury properties and cars.
Oh and beggar also gets something, of course “ A bottle of vodka in the evening and a döner kebab”.
A month later, walking past the beggars, as shock, it suddenly hit me….
I’m staying at a busy crossing, stared at the baby, dressed as always- dirty track suit. I realized that it  seemed “wrong”, finding a child in a dirty underground station from morning to evening. The baby slept. Never sobbed or screamed, always asleep, burying his face in the knee of a woman who was his MUM.

Do any of you, dear readers, have children? Remember how often they slept at the age of 1-2-3 years? Hour two, maximum three (not consecutive) afternoon nap, and again – movement. For the whole month, every day of my walking in the underground, I’ve never seen a child awake! I looked at the tiny little man, with his face buried in the knee of his mother, then at the beggar, and my suspicion was gradually formed.
– Why he sleeps all the time? I asked, staring at the baby.

The beggar pretended not to hear me. She lowered her eyes and hid her face in the collar of her shabby jacket. I repeated the question. The woman again looked up. She looked somewhere behind my back, tired with utter irritation. Her look was similar to the creatures from a different planet.
-F **k off … her lips murmured.
-Why is he asleep?! I almost cried …

Behind me someone put his hand on my shoulder. I looked back. A some old man was looking at me disapprovingly:

– What do you want from her? Can’t you see how hard she’s got it in her life… Eh …
He gets some coins from his pocket and throws them in the beggar’s bag.

Beggar made a hand wave of a cross, portraying the face of humility and universal
grief. The guy removed his hand from my shoulder and strolled out of the underground station. I bet, at home, he will tell how he defended poor, distraught woman from a soulless man in a tube station.

Next day I called a friend. It was a funny man with eyes like olives Romanian nationality. He only managed to complete three and a half years of education. The complete lack of education does not prevent him from moving around the City streets on very expensive foreign cars and live in a “small” house with countless number of windows and balconies. From my friend I managed to find out that this business, despite the apparent spontaneity, clearly organized. Its supervised by begging organized crime rings. The children used are in “rent” from families of alcoholics, or simply stolen.
I needed to get the answer to the question – why is the baby sleeping? And I received it. My friend Gypsy said the phrase, completely ordinary with calm voice that twisted me in shock, just like he was talking about weather report:
-They are on heroin, or vodka …
I was dumbfounded. “Who is on heroin? Whom – under vodka?! ”
He answered
-The Child, so he doesn’t scream. The women will be sitting whole day with him, imagine how he might get bored?

In order to make the baby slept the whole day, it pumped up with vodka or drugs. Of course, children’s bodies are not able to cope with such a shock. And children often die. The most terrible thing – sometimes children die during the “working day”. And imaginary mother must hold another dead child on her hands until the evening. These are the rules. And the by passers-by will throw some money in the bag, and believe that they are moral. Helping “mother alone” …
… The next day I was walking near the same underground station. I stocked up journalistic identity, and was ready for a serious conversation. But the conversation didn’t work out. But turned out the following …
A woman was sitting on the floor and in her hands she was holding a child. I asked her a question about the documents on the child, and, most importantly, where was yesterday’s kid, which she simply ignored.
My questions were not ignored by passers-by. I was told that I was out of my mind screaming at poor beggar with a child. All in all, I was escorted out of the tube station in disgrace. One thing remained was to call the police. When police arrived, beggar with the baby disappeared. I stood with a full sense of – “I’m trying to fight windmills”.

When you see in the subway, on the street whether women with children, begging, think before your hand climb for money. Think about that, if it wasn’t for your hundreds of thousands of handouts, the business like this would have died. The business would die and not the children-inflated with vodka or drugs. Do not look at the sleeping child with affection. See horror… Since you’re reading this article, you know now- why the child is sleeping in beggars hands.

P.S.
If you copy this article on your wall or just click “Share”, your friends will read it too. And when you decide again to open your wallet to throw a coin to a beggar, remember that this charity could cost another child’s life.””

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Start with a smile, eye contact, kind words

Start with a smile, eye contact, a kind word – buy a coffee for them. give without expectation. God lives inside each of them as well. Sometimes we entertain angels, unaware!

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An homeless man that have more hope and optimism than most people I know

Just small acts of kindness can have very profound effects. Often we see one small act of kindness as an isolated drop in an ocean of indifference and greed. I believe it’s important to remember the ripple effect of your actions. Just a simple smile can change someone’s day and cause a rippling out of kindness from that one tiny moment.

On Easter Saturday, I took my children and some of their friends in to the city – while they were in a shop, I sat outside in the beautiful sunshine next to a homeless man of about 50. I enjoyed a long conversation with Michael, who had not a trace of self pity, not a hint of bitterness, and had more hope and optimism than most people i know. Michael had a hard life, and a lonely one. I gave him all I had in my wallet and wish it could have been more. Meeting Michael was a blessing to me.

I remember when I was just a little girl and had gone to London for the weekend, to my Aunties house.. I used to get a little bit of pocket money on a Saturday, to go to Woolworth and buy a record :)) One day I see this really old man sat on the floor and Obviously in need… I took my pocket money and bought him Chips and took them over to him… ya know what.. Not having anything that week, was the best thing ever…

“I think it’s mostly people don’t want to because they don’t want to engage.. which is sad. Other times some people don’t because they’re scared to.. I felt bad when I didn’t have any money and I saw a guy around my age asleep in the forest.. I wanted to go up to him and hug him but he was asleep.. other times I have seen a homeless person so drunk.. and I admit, I was scared of him – the way he dressed. I felt sorry for him, but I was scared.”

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading some of the sharing above, do share the post and follow the blog. Ohhh and watch the Act of Kindness video

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