Learning to Unlearn

Back in the year 2000 I started my first charity, Street Dreams. This was a charity that acted as an extended family to disadvantaged, disengaged and disruptive young people to help them achieve a sustainable and positive life.

Street Dreams' main aim was to motivate and elevate young people so that the community becomes a better place to live in.

We were commissioned by The Thames Valley Police, Oxfordshire Fire Service, Job Centre, Buckinghamshire County Council & Milton Keynes Council to name a few, any more than that and I’m just showing off.

Well let's get to the reason behind this blog. The very first project we were commissioned to do was with the Oxford Police. It was to see how their policing of some of the most deprived areas in Oxford could be better. I won't bore you with the details but the project was very successful and we ran it for about three years. I received an Instagram message from a young lady I worked with on this project. Message below: 

"Hi Jay! I just thought I'd send you a message to wish you a wonderful Christmas and new year! I hope you continue to soar like you have been and I wish all the happiness to you. I've told you this before but you are such a great role model for young men and women! I enjoy watching and following your journey! May you have a blessed Christmas and all good things come to you in 2017! X"

Doing this project was my first taste of real hands on community work and I must say, I got the bug from there. To tell the truth this is what has pushed me to keep on going with supporting young people and the communities. To be honest, it works both ways. Some young people have been watching me for over 17 years now and I don’t think they are going to rest up any time soon. This just goes to show that young people are always looking to ‘unlearn’ (breaking habits) what they have previously learnt. In my eyes this is the only way to move forward.  

Back to the young lady, no hold on she has a name it’s Sinead. Well she sent me this message and it got me thinking (as you do) about my life and the effect or impact I have had on so many young people, via the work I've done. Being dyslexic I turned this view point upside down. 'What do you mean?' I hear you say. 

Well, all the young people I have supported, worked with or employed (over the years) have had a great and profound affect upon my life, development and the way I see things.

They get me to think differently about everything, mainly because that's how they see things. I've been alive for 46 (almost 47) years now so one could say, that I might be stuck in my ways of how I like to do things. With young people challenging my perception on how things are done and could be done differently. They have allowed me to be adaptable, flexible and young within my spirit towards this crazy thing we call life. 

Well hold on a minute, I just went a bit deep there. I hope you guys are still with me?

In a nut shell what I am trying to say is, 

Your kids watch you for a living. That's why it's so important to try your best to be a good role model.

Hold on let's get the dyslexic viewpoint

We should be watching our kids (by this I mean all young people) because it's our job. They are doing their best to show us, how to enjoy life. 

(What are you trying to say Jay, your losing me here?) Well we are all getting closer to 2017 I think its time to see what parts of our life we can take a different view point on. Or look at the young people around you and see what you can learn from them, or which leaf, you borrow from their book.

Never stop learning to unlearn.

Jay Blades