22 year old Khalid Obeirne has a vision to implement as much positive change for people as he can in his life. Khalid, who lives in Harrow in North West London, has been involved in a variety of youth work initiatives, community events and media projects across London, and has big plans for the future.
“Although it sounds clichéd, I want to change the world. It hurts me to see people in pain, and I aim to do whatever I can to change that.”
Khalid won a Jack Petchey Achievement Award when he was 18 for the volunteering work he was conducting at a West London YMCA, and used the £200 he received to help finance an outside social area at the centre.
“Being recognised for my achievements with a Jack Petchey Award certainly encouraged me to push on and achieve more.”
Khalid began volunteering on the Harrow Council mentoring scheme in 2012, conducting one to one sessions to help young people in the borough develop life skills, confidence and their abilities. Khalid was mentored himself during his younger years when he was referred from the council’s youth offending team - an experience that helped him to change the direction of his life.
“I was in trouble when I was younger and heading down the wrong path, but getting involved in the mentoring scheme really helped me to change my life around. People seeing good in me made me want to go out and do more positive things to help others.”
In 2011, Khalid spontaneously entered a journalism competition organised by The Sun newspaper and Media Trust, impressively finishing runner-up in a field that contained journalism students and individuals with rich writing experiences. With his drive, honesty and passion, Khalid’s story was praised by the panel of judges and elevated him into becoming a creditable and respected representative for young people.
“I entered the competition as I was fed up with the negative media attention surrounding young people. I want to show that young people are doing positive things, and break down the negative stereotypes that exist in today’s society.”
Khalid has also appeared on Sky News, Channel 4 and BBC News Newsnight with Jeremy Paxman, talking about issues affecting young people including youth work schemes and homelessness. He is a Young Ambassador for Media Trust which involves him visiting young people involved in media projects up and down the country, speaking at events and presenting at awards ceremonies.
Khalid was recently involved in the Spirit of London Awards, which celebrates young people’s achievements in London and the Youth Empowerment Day on 4th July 2013, an event for young people to take action and tackle youth violence.
Khalid’s long term plan is to set up his own organisation to offer further opportunities for young people in London, whilst raising money to aid the development of third world countries.
“I believe if you can change a person’s perspective, you can change their world. Obviously there are a lot of small steps to take, but my vision is a big one! I am ambitious to help others and contribute to the domino effect of creating positive change for people around the world.”
Follow Khalid on Twitter @ khalidyouthwork
Photos by Dermot Carlin
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