Mother of two’s youth project on university gap year
�Stratford’s Jacqueline Reid is singing the praises of the young people she employs to teach at her arts project Twisted Pink.
Currently on a gap year from her youth/community work degree at the University of East London, the ambitious mother-of-two always knew she wanted to make a positive impact on young people’s lives.
She found her passion for working with them while training to be a social worker at Waltham Forest College and got the idea to start her own youth project while she was a member of State of the Nation, an innovative company based in the Stratford Theatre Royal.
The idea turned into Twisted Pink, a dance, drama and singing school based at Maryland Studioz since June 2010, that Jacqueline describes as more of a social enterprise than a business.
She laughs: “I wish I could call it a business but I don’t make any money out of it. It’s just something for the community for people to get involved in in any way they can.”
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But Jacqueline has stayed true to her community roots by choosing to employ young people from the area. She has employed three young people to date between the ages of 16 and 19 to teach her twice weekly sessions for seven to thirteen-year-olds.
She said: “I think it has been a valuable experience for them �because the people that work for me want to get into the business and they love doing it.
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Off the streets
“I suppose the idea behind it was just trying to get young �people off of the streets and doing something they love.”
Twisted Pink has proved so popular with its students and the young people it employs that Jacqueline is now looking for a PA and drama teacher to get �involved with the project.
As youth unemployment figures surpass the one million mark, Jacqueline thinks that young people are often discriminated against and not given a fair chance by many employers.
She said: “People always want to judge young people and I have been trying to give them a chance to change that so they can prove themselves.
“More people should give young people a chance. I have been trying to get into the JobCentre actually to tell them that I have these opportunities if people want them.
“I just think young people, �especially from round here, don’t need to be judged on their background any more. No wonder they go into crime when nobody trusts them.
“It’s all about giving them a chance to find out and then do something they really love.”
The community interest is there, Jacqueline insists, but people need the confidence and knowledge to realise their ideas.
She said: “I have had a few �people asking me how they could do something similar actually. You just need to go out there and do it.”
n To get in touch with Jacqueline about Twisted Pink or job opportunities, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.