Meet Yasmin Greenaway, one of NYA’s new Trustees.
Tell us a little about your background
My name is Yasmin Greenaway and I am currently studying a masters degree in Technology Entrepreneurship at UCL. Alongside my degree I am learning to code with CodeFirst:Girls. My two main passions are empowering young people and also tech, so recently I combined the two and began building my own start-up which seeks to use digital technologies to support other young people just like me in starting their own businesses. I have won several grants and an award for my business idea. I have extensive experience of empowering young people; from volunteering with young people in China to running workshops with Charities and Institutions in the UK. In regards to raising awareness of the challenges young people face, I was a young advisor for Race for Opportunity for just under two years and also gave a Tedx talk on the importance of investing in young people. Last year I was lucky enough to have my efforts recognised and was selected as an Ambassador for global youth charity, One Young World. More recently I was a speaker and mentor for the Mayor of London’s Inspires Me programme, and have now been appointed as a Trustee for the NYA!
Why did you want to become a Trustee of NYA?
Every time I engage with a new young person, I am humbled and excited by their unique talents, brilliance and ideas. Seeing such bubbling potential energises me, and makes youth work irresistible for me. I have worked extremely hard for every success I have earned, though at the same time I recognise my privileges and fortune in having access to individuals and institutions that have broadened my perspectives, aided my personal development and given me the confidence to aspire without limit. I want to share these gifts with other young people. Having done years of groundwork and projects which were appropriate to my skillset and ability at the time, I have grown enough to take up a position which has the infrastructure and networks to exponentially increase the impact I could make, on my own. Becoming a Trustee of NYA was the perfect opportunity to do this, as it is a Charity I very much believe in, having benefitted myself and with friends who have also benefited from its programmes. The current political and economical uncertainty, alongside the looming threat of cuts to youth services, very much created a sense of urgency in me to take up the position and advocate on behalf of the most vulnerable in society.
What qualities and experience do you bring to the role of Trustee?
The most important quality I hold, is an unwavering faith in young people. The rest can be learned, but it is genuine belief that keeps you committed when things get tough. One of my other favourite qualities about myself is my resilience, because it’s such a difficult thing to teach, but it is one of the main things about me that I attribute my successes to. Alongside the experiences and engagements I have already mentioned I hold an undergraduate degree in Politics and also have experiences at organisations such as the Greater London Authority, JP Morgan Investment Bank, Northern Trust Wealth Management Firm and Barclays Investment Bank. Traversing across such organisations has made me extremely analytical, adaptable and committed to executing efficiently and effectively.
Why do young people need youth work?
Young people need youth work because it is an imperative that they are safeguarded, empowered and advocated on behalf of. They are uniquely the most vulnerable in society yet, often the most forgotten, (because of their their general inability to advocate effectively on their own behalf) and also the most important as they are our future. Aside from the logical and moral reasons, and bringing our current economic and political climate under scrutiny, youth services are currently greatly threatened by cuts. Young people increasingly feel disengaged within society, and as though their voices aren’t being heard in regards to major decisions that affect them. The more people that recognise the importance of and get involved with youth work, the more young people can be shielded from the ramifications of policy change, cuts, and possibly, encourage greater ringfencing of funding of youth work and services as a whole. Youth work is a way of sending a message to young people that they do matter and that they aren’t forgotten, as well as promoting civic engagement and getting them thinking about their futures.
What’s your experience of youth work?
I’ve benefitted from a great deal of youth work; from having various brilliant mentors, to Think Big, the LYST regarding office space for young people, business support from Enterprise Enfield, Clapton Community Housing Trust Summer Playscheme, the Global Graduates programme whilst in Secondary School…the list goes on. And I can genuinely credit so much of my development into who I am today – an active, excelling, engaged, and most of all -happy member of society to all of these people, experiences and organisations. The vital role that youth work and services play in developing our young people must not be overlooked.
In your opinion how does youth work support social mobility?
Youth work is absolutely key in enabling those who are less fortunate, connected or well-off in society to be socially mobile, and to improve their initial social status and circumstances. It allows youth workers to facilitate and amplify the potential and attainment of young people by acting as a bridge; interpreting for example, the cultural capital necessary for young people to be effectively socially mobile and translating it to them in a language they’ll understand. Youth workers stand as a direct, legitimate, and most importantly, accessible testimonial of what can be achieved, and youth work as a result allows young people to absorb these skills and experiences both intentionally and as a result of proximal osmosis.