FBMF'S YOUNG PEOPLE ROCK CLIMBING ON SELF-DEVELOPMENT AND CONFIDENCE BUILDING PROGRAMME 2004
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"They don't want to have role models who are footballers, they want role models who they know personally... people who are close at home who they can emulate properly." Decima Francis
The From Boyhood to Manhood Foundation in the London Borough of Southwark was founded in 1996 by Decima Francis and Uanu Seshmi, following concern within the community about the number of young black boys being excluded from school and becoming involved with gangs, drugs and violence. Behind their tough street image, disaffected boys like these suffer from low self-esteem and a lack of confidence. All too often they do not have positive role models or stable adults in their lives to guide them through the transition from boyhood to manhood. Excluded from school, free falling through the criminal justice system, they are on course for short and violent lives. The FBMF believes that boys in trouble deserve a chance to turn their lives around before it becomes too late. It helps teachers deal with disruptive pupils to prevent exclusions. But for those who are excluded from school, it offers an alternative to dropping out of the system and hanging out on the streets. Boys are referred to the FBMF by local education authorities, special needs departments, youth-offending teams and social services departments. The FBMF helps them to get back on track through its day-programme of education and self-development.
Since it began, the FBMF has helped over 450 young people: some have returned to school or college, many have gained academic qualifications, all have re-assessed their attitudes, behaviour and direction in life.
"It is no use keep telling a young person that they are bad and they have low self-esteem, we must instead empower them to change their negative behaviour from within, by teaching them how to deal with adversity and the challenges of life." Uanu Seshmi
Who We Work With
The FBMF accepts boys onto its day-programme, aged 11-19, from all cultural backgrounds who have been excluded from school. A typical day starts at 8am when the boys go for a jog round the local park or practice breathing techniques with their youth workers. The boys have breakfast together and clear up before starting their lessons. They receive a minimum of four hours teaching each day, working towards GCSEs or A levels in core curriculum subjects.
Empowering young people to be responsible is a key element of the FBMF programme along with moral principles for the boys to follow: accountability, respect and service to the community.
"It's different here, the focus is on education. My family came to Britain from Jamaica a few years ago and that was the start of my problems. I stopped talking to people. Now I've got a lot more confidence. I go round and talk about FBMF to school kids." Student, Huckeney
The FBMF also runs evening sessions, summer programmes and residential courses offering life-skills and work placements for young people, male and female, from schools in and around Southwark, Lewisham and Lambeth. The summer programme offers work experience to school leavers to give them a taste of working in the fields of media and the performing arts. The ten-day course takes place after they have completed their final exams. Previous projects have included working on a music festival and a sexual health education campaign.
"The FBMF is a brilliant alternative to school. There is no organisation like it that works with vulnerable children in the way that they do. It gets young people back on the path to mainstream education." Parent, K.Bamfo
The FBMF has developed close links with a wide range of organisations to create projects and events which broaden the boys' experiences and understanding of the outside world. Here are just a few examples:
An Outward Bound residential course in Cumbria as part of the 'Damilola Taylor Trust Leadership' programme was an opportunity for the boys to become peer mentors through team building, trust and experiencing new environments.
As well as helping the boys to gain academic qualifications, the FBMF also places great emphasis on teaching morals, discipline and respect. They believe that children and young people learn best from positive role models, especially if they are their peers. The older boys train to qualify as Peer Mentors to offer advice and guidance to other troubled children. They meet once a week to develop their communication and presentation skills so they can take their message out onto the streets with confidence and stop their younger brothers and sisters repeating the same mistakes as them.
"Now I've become a mentor myself. Sometimes when we go into primary schools and talk, the kids cry, not because they are angry but because they know they are wrong."Edmond
Black and Minority Ethnic Groups Imprisonment Rate Soars
The imprisonment rate has grown eight times faster among Black and Minority Ethnic Groups than the White population according to latest figures. Read the Press Release Read the Report