[flickr id=”7314554064″ thumbnail=”medium_640″ overlay=”true” size=”medium_640″ group=”” align=”none”] Step Forward has just held a certificate giving ceremony to mark the achievements of our young people and celebrate in their success. We had a great turn out of young people who had taken part in holiday activities and in our personal development programme.

Our personal development worker Solyma had led on designing the programmes and worked with all of the young people receiving certificates so had been able to witness firsthand the progress and changes they had made in their lives. The group programmes give young people from different backgrounds the opportunity to share and learn together.

One young woman Julia receiving a certificate said:

“I talked to other people and got to do lots of activities I wouldn’t have done otherwise. I got to know others”

It was fantastic to see everybody there, and to see how proud people’s parents were of the hard work they had put in and the success they had achieved.

Aleksandra who is Julia’s mum said:

“Step Forward was very helpful. It is good that kids have a safe place to meet with their peers. In an environment where they feel positively supported. Its good Julia got to meet others and have fun”

Before the certificate-giving, there was plenty of cake (and healthy snacks!) to go round and we had a chance for everyone to get to know each other and catch up. Jennifer handed out the certificates, and spoke beforehand about the amazing progress that we have been lucky enough to see in all of the young people who come to Step Forward.

Everyone who took part in a Positive Activities for Young People (PAYP) holiday scheme was awarded a special Step Forward certificate of achievement. We’ve been holding regular holiday activity programmes for a number of years and it was good to see represented the diversity of people who have attended.

During the holiday activities, we help the young people to identify goals for themselves, like increasing confidence and self-esteem, or finding ways to manage feelings of frustration and anger. For those who met their goals and made a real step in their personal development we felt it was important to reward this achievement: it is a real challenge to make such a positive step in such a short time.

Ryan said:

“I was shy at first and then got more confident in the week. I liked trying new things, cooking and working in a team. The workers were very careful with us and made us feel safe. I am pleased to get a certificate”

Other young people had actually gained accreditation for their work, awarded by the examining body AQA. These qualifications are a formal recognition of someone’s success in facing challenges and having the courage to make a positive change in their life.

Jaheda said:

“Everyone worked together as a team and we can communicate more in a group and share ideas with people. I’ve grown more confident through the programme and it has helped me”

It was fantastic to see how much everyone had achieved – and it didn’t stop there. One of our guests, Tasnim, had to leave early to go to the opening of an art exhibition – of her work! And we had an up-and-coming celebrity in our midst, as Jaheda had already been interviewed that day on camera for the IdeaStore. Luckily for us she was still happy to pose with her certificate for photos, taken by photography maestro Heloise.

Thanks to everyone who helped put the event together and to those who attended. We can’t wait to see you all again!