Wednesday 11th February 2015
Over 1,000 young people together with family members and friends attended the Victory Youth Group’s (VYG) V-Day 2015 awards ceremony at the Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park on Saturday 8 February.Victory Youth Group’s (VYG) V-Day 2015 awards ceremony at the Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park on Saturday 8 February.
They were there to see a Youth of the Year award presented to one member from each of the 27 VYG branches across the UK, and to celebrate the success of Stratford, east London, on becoming Branch of the Year. During 2014, the Stratford branch persevered to increase its membership. From 12 members, they reached out to troubled youths and their membership increased to well over 50 youths, despite many challenges along the way.
The event was themed Highway to Victory to remind young people that life is like a long straight highway, albeit beset with obstacles, and to celebrate the achievements of VYG members who made the best progress towards becoming the best they are capable of over the past year.
The main auditorium at the Rainbow Theatre was decked out with a red carpet for the occasion and to emphasise the theme, while the youths in attendance dressed as you would for the Oscars or any other iconic awards.
As with other award ceremonies, entertainment preceded the presentations. A poem spoke of the struggles young people face today and was followed by a contemporary dance sequence illustrating the moment a youth decides to stop fighting and improve their life. It was followed by Letting Go, a songabout dropping one’s burdens and gaining the freedom to flourish, and a drama in which a young man finally rejected what he had learnt from poor role models.
It was then time for the individual awards, which went to:
Finsbury Park – Julious Joseph
Stamford Hill – Kesan Edwards
Wood Green – Alimamy Kanu
Edmonton – Andrew Renner
Hackney – Moyo Sonupe
Plaistow – Juliana Silva
Stratford – Benny Okito
Willesden Green – Louise Adjei
Kilburn – Tashan Wright-Mackenzie
Hammersmith – Shanice Pena
Southall – Shantee Barker
Brixton – Saheeda
Peckham – Symphonia Danielle
Croydon – Melania Ipo Sogo
Catford – Kumba Kpakima
Tooting – Naomi Boketsu
Luton – Milena Diogo
Bullring, Birmingham – Anderson Abrantes
Lozells, Birmingham – Anthony Brisset
Nottingham – Jordan Webster
Manchester – Erika Caldeira
Leeds – Andrea Duraes
Newcastle – Marie Kasongo
Cardiff – Augustine Stevens
Youthful newcomers to the event were certainly impressed. Carina Abreu from Islington said: “I’ve not come across many places that celebrate the victory of young people, it made me feel special just being there. Stephannye Da Silva from Islington added: “The life stories were inspirational… that change is possible even when you have hit rock bottom.”
“The road [to a good and fulfilled life] may be beset with traffic, accidents and obstacles, but the important thing is not to forget your goal and keep moving forward,” concluded Victor Alves, the VYG’s national leader. “The problem with many young people is that they try short cuts and end up getting completely lost, not knowing where to go.
Notes to editors
UCKG is a Christian church and registered charity that offers a range of practical support activities alongside spiritual support and comfort and welcomes all-comers. It reached the UK in 1995 and has gone from strength to strength, providing support and spreading the Christian faith. There are UCKG HelpCentre branches in England and Wales.
The UCKG HelpCentre’s youth group, VYG, is a major long-term priority. Designed for 15 – 25 year olds, the VYG provides the same family-style peer group support that attracts young people to gang life, but without the destructive behaviours. Rather, it helps and encourages the young to be the best that they can be.
For further information please contact the UCKG HelpCentre Press Officer via e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org or direct line 020 7686 6033.