Chief executive of youth charity WYO celebrates first anniversary
PUBLISHED: 12:00 19 January 2017
@Budget Photographer London
When a 17-year-old boy dreamed of setting up his own charity in his parents’ house to help shape “the leaders of the future”, he did not know if it was going to be a success.
One year later, Kieran Goodwin has celebrated the charity’s first anniversary in Westminster, surrounded by around 80 trustees, supporters and volunteers that made the dream into a reality.
The former Abbs Cross Academy student, of Southend Road, Hornchurch, welcomed his guests last week to 100 Parliament Street where they enjoyed drinks and canapes while looking back at the World Youth Organisation’s past 12 months.
Performances from Bower Park Academy students, one of the schools that back the charity’s work, and former contestant on The Voice Lydia Lucy entertained the crowds throughout the night.
TV presenter and nutritionist Gillian McKeith also spoke, as the first ambassador of the World Youth Organisation (WYO).
“The whole evening was overwhelming,” Kieran, 18, said.
“This year has definitely flown by, so it was nice to come together and relive what we’ve been doing.”
It was a light bulb moment for Kieran after he swam the English Channel with a group of friends in 2013 in aid of Cancer Research UK.
The experience inspired him to help others.
His charity helps young people in 41 countries and territories through the advancement of education and helping them get into work.
He said: “I liked raising money for charity and this was the last thing that I did that made me think I should set up my own.
“Young people are the leaders of the future and they need a good start in life so thought it would be a good idea to create something for them.
“If we want to make the world better then we need good people to lead the way.”
The future is looking bright with the introduction of WYO Educate workshops in a few months’ time which will be piloted at Bower Park Academy and Marshalls Park School.
Each session will focus on one of four topics: mental health, sex education, politics and careers.
If successful, Kieran hopes to roll out the workshops nationwide.
A charity shop will also be opening in South Street, Romford, selling WYO merchandise, offering work experience to young people and acting as the charity’s new headquarters upstairs.
“I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to achieve in just a year. I think being based at the shop will help as well rather than doing it all from my living room!”
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