Our equity, diversity and inclusion team works with organisations to support and inspire future generations of diverse and inclusive scientists. Three members of our team recently spoke at an event organised by Rocking Ur Teens, a social enterprise in the UK that equips young people with the skills to become leaders. Here we talk to Geoffrey Williams, one of the co-founders of Rocking Ur Teens, about the organisation and how it helps to support the mental wellbeing of young people today.
Tell us about Rocking Ur Teens and the work you do
Rocking Ur Teens was set up to explore and educate teens aged 13 and 14 about their career opportunities and to help them manage their mental health and the many things they have coming at them from parents, teachers, and other teens. We do this via conferences, mentoring, and events focused sometimes on specific areas, for example STEM events for girls, or mental health seminars for boys.
We have existed since 2014 and have engaged with over 200+ schools across the UK and students from all walks of life, from private schools, state schools, kids in referral units and kids in care. This programme is truly open to everyone.
How do initiatives like this help to foster good mental wellbeing from a young age?
I believe letting teens learn from those who came before, and letting them know what is available in today’s societies, in terms of programmes and support. This hopefully gives them clarity, helps them know they aren’t alone in the world and that they should speak and share their feelings and emotions with an adult or even their peers.
What inspired you to get involved in this area?
Rocking Ur Teens came out of a conversation with co-founders Jenny Garrett and Sandy Paris. We wanted to do something to share life experiences and support the next generation. We all looked back on things we thought were serious and “end of the world” at 13, and wished we had received better insights into the world of work, or understood how to overcome hurdles, and been more confident about our capabilities. Rocking Ur Teens was born out of wanting to give back.
What did you want to be when you were younger and who inspired you?
I wanted to be a lot of things, mainly I spent about a decade from age 11 wanting to be a performer/working in a creative way. My dad was my greatest inspiration. He did so many things throughout his career and he has never stopped learning.
What one piece of advice would you give to your 14 year old self?
Do what you love, everything you need will come from that!
For more information on Rocking Ur Teens click here.