BY JAMES DAVIES
Eleven of London’s most outstanding young people will be honoured at an awards ceremony and fundraising gala tomorrow.
The inaugural Outstanding Community Heroes and Inspirers Awards ceremony (OCHI) awards – at the May Fair Hotel in
Piccadilly, from 7.45pm, is part of a programme to counter negative self-image in young people.
They are being staged by the JAGS Foundation, which recognises youth excellence, supports those bereaved by youth violence, and seeks to challenge youth violence at its root causes.
They will recognise the achievements of young people who have overcome difficult circumstances to achieve academic, entrepreneurial and community leadership success.
JAGS was founded by community campaigner Tracy Ford, whose son James Andre Godfrey Smartt Ford, stabbed to death at Streatham Ice Rink in 2010 by a killer who has never been caught – despite the offer of a £20,000 reward.
Tracey said: “This award ceremony will recognise the exceptional achievements of unrecognised future young leaders and the contributions they have already made to the positive inspiration of others.
“London is facing an unprecedented crisis of children killing children. In among the despair and violence, some have fought adversity to excel in entrepreneurship, in education, in the workplace and in the community.
On November 23, we will come together for an awards ceremony and an evening of music and entertainment to celebrate these inspirational heroes.
“I am tired of the negativity of many news broadcasts around young people. It is rare that we see the positive stories.
“We launched the OCHI Awards to contribute to positive messaging.
“The support for the awards has been heart-warming and we look forward to a great evening.
“Through JAGS and the awards, we want young people – especially young black children – to realise that they can achieve financial freedom without resorting to negative perceptions of what they can become.
“Often the propensity towards crime is borne out of a need for respect, power and money. These young inspirers show how these needs can be met through a
Awards are in the following categories:
- Outststanding Educational Achievement Award
- Youth Award
- OCHI Young Entrepreneur of 2019
- High Achiever of 2019
- School Fundraiser of the Year
- Community Contribution Award for Service
- Service to the Youth – Special Recognition
- Hemraj Goyal Foundation
- Special Award for Outstanding Young Women
- Special Award for Outstanding Young Man
- Anne & Bill Cardey Award for Outstanding young community leader
- James Andre Smartt Ford Award Chosen by Tracey Ford in honour of her son.
JAGS runs workshops, family support schemes and school programmes which Tracey says reveals children and parents who are terrified.
She said: “Some vulnerable teenagers are being left to come to unthinkable conclusions such as, carrying a knife offers personal protection.
“A cycle of violence and fear is created. There is an urgent need to support those traumatised the support they need and so that the cycle can be broken.
“Many of our children in the capital today are suffering the same trauma as children who have lived through war.”
Since its start JAGS has reached thousands with its message, from conferences to schools to universities to workshops. They have campaigned in a number of youth violence specialisms, such as restorative justice, joint enterprise, female offending and supporting families of lost lives.
For more information, go to www.jagsfoundation.org/