Kicks participant Laila recognised for outstanding commitment

Kicks participant Laila recognised for outstanding commitment

A student working with the Foundation of Light’s Premier League Kicks team has been recognised for her outstanding commitment to the programme, both as a participant and a volunteer.

Laila Johnson, aged 17, has completed 1000 hours of attendance at Kicks sessions at Delves Lane Village Hall which has helped her attain a place at university. 

Premier League Kicks is a free programme that uses the power of football and the value of sports participation to help youngsters in some of the most high-need areas.

The programme uses a wide variety of sports, coaching, music, educational, and personal development sessions to inspire participants to engage in their education and community.

Laila first came to the Delves Lane Kicks session as a quiet and shy character who often struggled to properly participate. When dance and drama was introduced to the programme, Laila became more involved in sessions and was rewarded with a part in the community play.

After excelling in the community play, Laila continued to step up her involvement in Kicks, taking part in multi-sports, holiday clubs, and trips. She would often bring other family members and friends along, introducing other young people to the programme.

Although still reserved, Laila started to support younger students at homework club, and after contributing strong suggestions during discussions, she joined the Junior Youth Forum upon the recommendation of Kicks staff.

Laila has continued to hold a role with the Youth Forum since 2018 - which involves setting termly plans, organising trips, and meeting other forums across various Kicks sites.

After having an involvement in nearly every project in recent years, including attending most of the online sessions during Covid-19 lockdowns, she has taken on a peer mentor role since returning to in-person sessions.

Her willingness to take on this responsibility has shown how Laila has gone from strength-to-strength, from being reserved and struggling to engage in sessions to supporting other young people to settle into the programme and becoming an important asset to the Kicks team.

Laila has completed over 55 hours of volunteering for Kicks and has supported social action projects such as putting on a community show for the elderly, several recycling projects, building a sustainable garden for the Village Hall, doing a litter pick of the River Wear by Kayak, and being part of a small group that successfully applied for £1,000 to build a safe sensory space in the Village Hall.

Throughout her time with the programme, Laila began to show more long-term education and career planning. Having worked towards her university applications over the academic year, Laila has been accepted to study Film Studies and Media in York. This achievement brings huge pride to the staff that have witnessed her progress from primary school, through secondary school, and now on to higher education. 

Foundation of Light are sharing stories of inspirational volunteers throughout National Volunteer Week. Over 100 volunteers support Foundation of Light programmes from Football to Health and Wellbeing, giving their time to support others. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer: Click Here

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