“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me…” – Jack Kerouac

“The youth, intoxicated with his admiration of a hero, fails to see, that it is only a projection of his own soul, which he admires”

If I remember precisely, I was not the only one from fifth year that turned up intoxicated to school that day, in fact I am one hundred per cent certain my drunken behaviour was nothing more than a feign to prove I was just as rebellious as my peers. I wasn’t sick, I didn’t cry, I didn’t cause a fracas, but what I did proceed to do was to disinform, I lied to my guidance teacher, I lied to the year head, I lied to the deputy head, then further more I lied to the school head, I whole heartedly yet obviously unbelievably denied all participation in the drunken hoohah which ravaged through the assembly hall at the St Johns RC High School Annual Talent Show, 2001.

The half bottle of Merrydown cider I shared with friends resulted in my exclusion from school, in fact I was asked not to return for my final sixth year, I was sixteen years old, I had one higher grade and absolutely no guidance as to what I’d do next. There was no discussion of university and my only work experience was selling raffle tickets in the executive lounge at Dundee Football Club- I was destined to a life of long hours and low wage, any nod to academia was slowly washed away with the gold labeled scrumpy I downed idiotically in the girls toilets.

My only palliative was my strict parents, any chance of a continuous downward spiral was blocked, locked and bolted as they demanded I sign up to any college course or take any menial job that would get me up, motivated and out of bed. I was overlooked from the advances of a religious secondary school, yet I was lucky to have the guidance and foundations from home. My concerns lie with the youngsters who are let down not only by the education system but go unsupported or unaware by their carers too.

Not everyone works soundly within further education, it is also not a rarity to come across second or even third generation of unemployment within our social landscape, often school leavers have zero indication in knowing what is necessary to gain employment nor do they have the basic skills in applying for jobs or attending an interview- as basic as punctuality, workplace etiquette or simply, what would be appropriate to wear.  I believe it is vital to focus on this area of social need, to present our teens with the important skills to attain a clear, truthful and sustainable outlook on what is involved whilst gaining employment and to give realisation as to the reality of supporting themselves as they begin to forge their own lives and careers.

I met Anthea Reid whilst attending various charity events throughout the city, a woman with boldness, braveness, determination, endurance and enterprise, Anthea’s perspective falls within helping others. Her work, involving the charity sector within Dundee has elevated Anthea into a position of recognition and I value her ease at getting things done.

Anthea is supporting youngsters within ACK Young Champions, which aims to provide an opportunity for local disadvantaged children and young people (CYP) to develop a range of skills and gain experience in a third sector organisation.  The project will improve the employment potential of disadvantaged CYP from local schools where children’s attainment levels are low and there are behavioural issues with frequent exclusion from school.

The CYP will not only learn a wide range of skills from the ACK team, such as marketing, budgeting, events and planning, but also a sense of structure, increased self-esteem, communications skills, self-respect and respect for others in a workplace during their 10 week placement.

Anthea invited me to join the young champions on their Summer Programme, where I developed and presented a workshop on blogging, encouraging the team to use the skill within the structure of their projects as either a growth tool, accessible diary or a visualisation for clients/employers. Extending and progressing their competency in writing, structuring and involving emotion within their work. Using creativity and visual aids such as mood boards and quick fire quizzes, I was able to get to know each youngster in my short afternoon with them, I look forward to our second acquaintance in August, when I will abseil from the University Tower Building in honour of them.

I feel passionate about giving something back, whether it be my time, my experience, my knowledge or simply throwing myself off of one of Dundee’s tallest buildings.

As a teenager I left school feeling lost and unprepared to fulfil a job role of any capacity, when I heard of ACK Young Champions and the initiative backed by Kirsty Thomson (Along Came Kirsty), to give Dundee’s disadvantaged youngsters the skills and capability to improve their prospects of employment, I asked where I can sign up.

Please support me and the Champions by donating on my crowd funding page –

Long live the VEF and nurture the young and we create a better future QUEEN!

I set each of the group a task of writing a blog about their thoughts and emotions of my blogging workshop experience, I feel privileged to collaborate on this blog with them…

The second day of the summer program was so good,
I really enjoyed listening to Holly talk about fashion and blogging and I really liked the activities like the quick fire questions and the mood board, I also liked listening to her advice on Blogging.


My Blog is going to be on how much fun I had on Wednesday.
I loved when Holly showed us the quote “Find what you love and let it kill you”. My favourite part was when me, Bobbi and Shannon were trying to find things from the magazine, it was really fun but really hard. nI liked when Holly said “be yourself and be
honest.” This is the end of my blog now. It was fun on Wednesday. I hope we see Holly again because it is really fun with her.

Carrie-Anne Valentine.

The second day of the summer program was good. We
had a visit from Holly Scanlan which was good because the sort of things we did isn’t really something I’d normally do but I surprisingly enjoyed it. In first and second year we would have to do things like we did with Holly that I hated but she make it a
lot of fun. Basically what we did with Holly was mood boards where we had to go through magazines and find words, quotes, phrases and pictures to show things we have learned over the 12 weeks. Things like hard skills and soft skills. We also done some quick
fire questions which is used as an icebreaker game. Holly read out some inspiring quotes which are always nice and motivational to hear, hopefully we can work with Holly again because she is bright, bubbly and positive and that is the sort of person Champions should work with.

Young Champion.