Jewish Care celebrates inspiring young leaders in Redbridge

02 Jul 2019

This week, The Youth Leadership Awards 2019 celebrated the commitment and dedication to leadership and volunteering of 60 young people at Jewish Care’s Redbridge Jewish Community Centre. They are all participants in the MIKE youth leadership programme, which stands for Motivation, Inspiration, Knowledge and Education.

The programme empowers young people to become youth leaders, learning leadership skills from their peers and as they move through the stages of the programme, becoming educators themselves. The young leaders develop in the programme through training and by running after school clubs and half term schemes for primary school age children at RJCC as well as at the babies and toddler group, Messy Mischief.

The awards evening on Wednesday 27 June was hosted by Jewish Care RJCC youth workers, Joe Smith and Alex Pereira, who have themselves been through the MIKE programme as participants, volunteers and now as members of staff in the youth team.

Graham Freeman, Centre Manager of Jewish Care’s RJCC, said, “There is no other programme quite like MIKE and we are extremely proud of the continued success that this brings both to the young people themselves but also to the community in general. It would be no surprise to find that our future community professionals and lay leaders are sat in this room tonight. On behalf of Jewish Care, I would like to thank everyone who has helped support us this evening and throughout the year to make this fantastic programme possible.”

The recipient of the prestigious Saul Keene Award for Excellence in Youth Leadership this year was awarded to Simone Silver. Danny, Sam and Nettie Keene presented the award in memory of their brother, dad and son, together with Millie West, recipient of last year’s award.

In nominating Simone for her award, the youth team said, “Simone has been a respected and dedicated youth leader and volunteer at RJCC for many years. She is a welcoming, confident and encouraging individual who has supported the MIKE programme, half term scheme and clubs throughout the year. She sets an example, not only for younger MIKE volunteers, but also for the children that come to our schemes, showing them what it means to be a positive, thoughtful and approachable leader, who is loved and appreciated at Redbridge JCC.

“Having completed the whole MIKE programme, Simone is continuously developing her leadership skills, by volunteering and working several times each week at the Centre, going above and beyond her responsibilities in running regular sessions. She is a role model to her peers and has truly been an inspiration to the Centre.”

After receiving the award, Simone Silver, who has just finished her A levels at JCoSS and hopes to go on to University in September, said, “I feel very surprised but very grateful for winning the Saul Keene Award. I didn’t expect it at all. I love seeing the children enjoying the activities we run and seeing how confident and comfortable they become by the end of holiday schemes. I would definitely recommend MIKE to others because you develop so many new skills and become more confident. Alongside that, you go on weekends away and strengthen both new and existing friendships.”

Emma Senitt, Jewish Care’s Youth and Families Coordinator, announced the recipients of The Jack Petchey Achievement Awards given by the Jack Petchey Foundation to support young people to have the opportunity to develop their potential and to be recognised for the positive things they achieve.

One recipient, Emily Sweeney, has dedicated her time to complete over 100 hours of volunteering both for Jewish Care and Spitalfields City farm. She is now continuing with more volunteering by helping in RJCC’s baby and toddler groups, Messy Mischief, at least twice a week. Emily will be using her award to combine her love of children and animals by bringing an animal workshop to Summerworld this July.

Aytan Cohen, who takes part in the MIKE programme, received The Jack Petchey Achievement Award for volunteering his time outside of RJCC as a football trainer for younger children. Other recipients include Chloe Simons and Gaya Aharon.

Jasmine Spurling and Nathan Moscow, presented the awards to the younger participants who they mentored this year. Scott Enness who has just completed his third year, says, “This year at MIKE has been completely different to any other, GCSE’s are a very busy period, most of the time this year was spent on revising for exams. Coming to MIKE every other week was a good way to take a break from exams and a way to de-stress. I’ve had first-hand experiences of volunteering that has helped me to improve as a leader. It’s been amazing so far and we have learnt so much. We look forward to continuing our MIKE journey this summer.”

Jewish Care’s Director of Fundraising and Community Engagement, Adam Overlander-Kaye said, “We are confident that these young people will be the future leaders of our community. Their commitment to motivation, inspiration, knowledge and education brings a much-needed vitality and provides strong foundations for their increased involvement. A huge congratulations goes to all of the graduates and all connected to the running of the MIKE programme, especially the Jewish Youth Fund and to Simone Silver who is the deserving recipient of the prestigious Saul Keene Award.”