VICTA has introduced a new Young Ambassador Programme which consists of six Young Ambassadors aged between 18-29 years old. Our Young Ambassadors will work with the VICTA team in the production of a bi-annual magazine which will focus on a variety of topics that young visually impaired adults experience as they enter into higher education or employment. Over the past month, our newly recruited Young Ambassadors have been working very hard; conducting research, organising interviews and producing articles for the new VICTA e-magazine, called ‘Strive’. Please scroll down to read their biographies and find out more about their roles on the programme.
Young Ambassador Intern
I am one of the six young ambassadors on the VICTA Young Ambassador Programme. I am currently on a six-month voluntary internship with the charity. I will be involved with the planning and delivery of the Young Ambassador Programme and assist with other general administrative tasks in the VICTA office.
I am an active VICTA service user and l recently took part in VICTA’s cultural discovery trip to Thailand and from my personal experience l know how significant VICTA activities are in reducing the emotional stress that young people experience within their efforts to conquer life with a visual impairment. I am very excited to have the opportunity to contribute my personal experiences within education and employment to the Young Ambassador Programme and help inspire other VI young individuals reach their maximum potential. As a recent graduate, l will use this voluntary internship to further develop the skills, knowledge and experience required for me to successfully secure a place on a Human Resources Graduate Scheme.
Young Ambassador 2018
I was born and raised in South Africa, where I was diagnosed with optic nerve hypoplasia. My right eye has no useful vision but fortunately I do have some functional vision in my left eye, meaning that I am able to read large print. I moved to the UK with family three and a half years ago and here continued my education, completing my A-levels last year. I enjoy music and am an enthusiastic drummer/percussionist and organist and have played a significant part of my school’s cultural life.
I am currently looking for an accounting apprenticeship, but I ultimately hope to run my own business one day, though I’m not entirely sure exactly in what area that will be. I applied to join the VICTA Young Ambassador as I felt it would be an exciting opportunity to take on a different challenge and learn some new skills and experiences other than what I had acquired during my formal education. This, I felt, would be a valuable addition to my CV, thus helping me immensely in hopefully finding the right job soon. It also presented an exciting opportunity to make my contribution to improving accessibility of different opportunities for the VI. I trust that my previous knowledge and experience will allow me to be an effective contributor to this exciting venture being organised by VICTA, and I look forward to the experience I will gain from being part of it.
Young Ambassador 2018
I’m Claire and I live in Coventry where I volunteer for Coventry Resource Centre for the Blind. In 2017 I started my own music blog after having contributed to several other blogs for a number of years. My hobbies aside from writing include listening to and playing music (mandolin, guitar and singing), reading, walking and travelling. My love of writing attracted me to the programme and I hope that it will move me forward into pursuing a career in music journalism.
Young Ambassador 2018
Hello my name is Alex Mackie, I am 26 and feel incredibly honoured to be chosen as a VICTA Young Ambassador. While I like to think I am adventurous, inventive and friendly, there were few roles models for me growing up. I applied for this programme in the hope that by sharing my individual success story I can be a role model for other visually impaired young individuals.
I currently run my own business as a professional soap maker and look forward to using the skills and experience that I gain from the Young Ambassador Programme to expand my soap making business and reach a wider target audience. I am also looking forward to researching and writing articles about other positive role models who have achieved success as a way of inspiring others. I want others who are visually impaired to believe that the impossible is actually possible.
Young Ambassador 2018
My name is Elin, I am 19-years-old and I’m currently studying a BA (Hons) degree in Arts & Humanities with The Open University. I have an aptitude for writing and I aspire to pursue a career in the journalism field. One of my main interests is blogging; I have my own personal blog called ‘My Blurred World’, which I created just over three years ago. My blog consists of beauty, fashion, life and disability related topics.
I decided to apply to be a VICTA Young Ambassador as l saw it as a fantastic opportunity and outlet to express my passion for writing. I also saw it as the perfect opportunity to meet other visually impaired people. I am very much looking forward to what l will achieve on the VICTA Young Ambassador programme over the year.
My name is Robert Wood and I am 20 years old. I was born in Kent where I spent the first five years of my life before moving to the island of Borneo where I lived for 14 years. In Brunei, I attended an international school that taught the British curriculum but with students from 44 different nationalities. I was the youngest lead role in a school play, at the age of 6. Performing Arts has remained my passion to this day. When I lost my sight due to a hypothalamic brain tumour, I had to develop my own methods in order to pursue my passion for acting, writing and singing. Working with directors I was able to play parts that were adjusted to fit my visual needs.
Subsequently, I trained to run acting workshops for visually impaired actors and those with additional needs. This resulted in a great deal of self growth as I had to be flexible and adapt the way that I taught in order to engage the VI students and successfully enable them to overcome any feelings of inadequacy, build their self esteem and technical skills.
As a VICTA Young Ambassador, I intend to research and publicise accessible opportunities for young VI people. My aim is for everyone to be supported to achieve their full potential and ensure that no one is side-lined due to impairments; for the world to embrace us and optimise our opportunities to smile and to shine.