London, United Kingdom—Imagine Committee Room 10 at the Houses of Parliament, full to capacity with 100 people! Standing room only! A group of 20 bright, selfless young achievers from various backgrounds (nominated by UPF Ambassadors for Peace) had come to receive the UPF Youth Achievement Award for their outstanding efforts at service and volunteering.
At the meeting on July 3, 2019, the young achievers were surrounded by supportive friends and family as well as UPF Ambassadors for Peace.
What made the evening even more memorable was that each awardee had the chance to explain about his or her work. Not only did their family and friends cheer them on but also their member of parliament came up to present the award, with photos taken to capture the important moment.
Barry Gardiner, MP, (who had four awardees among his constituency); Steve McCabe, MP; Ada During ,who presented the award on behalf of Kate Hoey, MP; Matt Roda, MP; Vicky Foxcroft, MP; Neil Coyle, MP; and Virendra Sharma, MP, presented the Youth Achievement Award to their constituents.
Tom Brake, MP, hosted the event and also presented an award to his constituent. Hon. Brake, together with Afzal Khan, MP, a friend of UPF, stepped in to present the award to those young people whose MPs could not attend. Also Rt. Hon. Justine Greening, MP, presented an award outside Committee Room 10 before we started the event.
What pleased the awardees was the tremendous praise and words of encouragement they received from members of parliament and others. Each one thanked UPF for having organized the event for the past 10 years. To hear UPF being acknowledged by the recipients and MPs was very rewarding for the organizers. Listening to each person talking about a cause for which they are passionate, one wonders how many more selfless young people are out there carrying out acts of kindness.
The achievers themselves were so interested in each other’s work and deeply touched by their peers that they asked us to organize a get-together to meet and discuss how to go forward. Therefore UPF North Region has scheduled a dinner for September 14 at 6 p.m.—which will be preceded by a 3 p.m. meeting at which we will discuss working together. Through brainstorming we will try to develop a project for the coming year. We will use the same process as we did last year when we developed a project titled “Challenging the Stigma of Mental Health Issues in Young People.”