The Achievers Network is our personal development programme, designed to help young people aged 14 – 19 develop their confidence, self-esteem and a range of soft-skills. With the programme celebrating it’s 10th Anniversary this year, we are taking the opportunity to catch-up with Achievers Network graduates, to see where they are now and how the programme influenced their lives. This time we catch up with Riana, from the third cohort of the Achievers Network!
Talk us through your journey with the Jack Petchey Foundation!
I won an Achievement Award at school for my participation in dance at the age of 13. I joined the AN3 cohort 2 years later, and my involvement with the foundation blossomed from there. I became a young coordinator for the AA scheme at school after highlighting inequalities in its delivery. Since then, I’ve sat on various interview panels for grants and recruitment and become a mentor for AN9 and 10. As an original member, I helped to set up the Youth Consultancy Panel which is a pleasure to be a part of.
What was it that first made you apply to be in the AN – did you have any idea where it might lead?
I was encouraged by my teachers at school to put myself forward for the scheme and to be honest, I went into it not knowing what it was all about, so I had an open mind. I definitely had no ide
a that so many doors would open for me following my AN experience.
What is your standout memory from the Achievers Network?
My standout moment was the residential weekend. It felt quite strange to go away for a weekend with people I didn’t know, but everyone was in the same position as me. I really opened up to my peers, and my favourite part was sharing kind words with each other in a workbook. I still have it now!
Can you remember your mentor and anything you worked on with them in particular?
Absolutely! I was so blessed to have Jane, and we still keep in touch. She really enhanced my experience of AN. I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive mentor to guide me through the programme and life. Through her role as grants officer, she would visit me at school while doing her school visits. She appointed me as a young AA scheme coordinator after I expressed my concerns about the programme in the school.
Do you think the Achievers Network has impacted on where you find yourself today?
Most definitely. Learning about different types of leadership styles helped me recognise the leadership qualities within myself. I was always led to believe that my silence amounted to a weak character, but Kevin taught me that I am quietly confident and that in itself is such a powerful thing.
What is one thing you learnt on the Achievers Network that you think other young people would benefit from learning?
Self-reflection is so important. It helps you see where you are, how you’ve come, and how much further you have to go
What is your opinion, is the most important aspect of JPF’s work?
Giving young people a platform on which they can personally develop and affect change in society.
Thank you for talking to us Riana– it has been fascinating to hear your journey and memories of the Achievers Network, and a great reminder of how important to reflect on your journey!
If you have previously taken part in the Achievers Network, help us to celebrate 10 years of this fantastic programme! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your story!
To find out more about the Achievers Network programme, click here!