Teenager from Croydon set to become face of nation's youth
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Teenager from Croydon set to become the face of the nation's youth
Local 18-year-old Tobias Buck is set to become one of the faces of the nation's youth in a campaign launched by the Department for Children Schools & Families (DCSF) today.
The campaign, entitled 19 Under 19s, aims to reveal the true image of today's teens.
Local authorities and community groups were invited to nominate young people, aged 19 or under, who are making an active contribution to their local area and, crucially, a positive difference to their own lives.
Having been put forward by Croydon council, Tobias, from South Croydon, has been selected by DCSF as one of the 19 most inspiring nominations.
He will now feature in a national photography campaign staged in partnership with Metro newspaper.
Aged 15, after a difficult time at school, Tobias found himself in a pupil referral unit and reappraising his life. For two years, he received mentoring through SOVA (Supporting Others Through
Action) and realised he could find a better direction for himself and help other teenagers by using his own experience of gang culture to help them resist its temptations and pressures.
He joined the "V" programme - a youth volunteer project delivered by SOVA through the Croydon Young People's Project, working to channel their energies in positive directions - and developed the skills to become a positive and respected member of the team.
He was subsequently invited to join the UK Youth Parliament Action Team, representing young people on issues around equality, cohesion and inclusion. He now plans to become a Police Community Support Officer, with a view to entering the mainstream police force.
Jo Freeman, Project Manager for Croydon Young People's Project says: "Tobias has been confronted with many adverse issues while growing up, and these help him to empathise with and develop a non-judgemental attitude towards other young people.
"He has a real desire and commitment to help others and make a positive contribution, raising awareness of issues that affect young people in his own community. With the skills he has developed, his experience and, above all, the personal progress he has made, Tobias is an ideal candidate for 19 Under 19s."
Tobias says: "I'm really pleased to be part of this campaign. It's important that people get to see something positive about young people and understand that they are dependable."
The campaign will run throughout this month, with photographs of Tobias and the other 18 teenagers being showcased for the whole of December at http://www.metro.co.uk/19under19. Further images and information about the chosen 19 will also appear in the newspaper today, as well as on 11 and 18 December.
DCSF hopes that 19 Under 19s will help to encourage more young people to participate in positive leisure time activities.
Through Aiming High for Young People and the work of the Youth Taskforce, the government is investing GBP936,600 in Croydon I 2008/09 towards creating opportunities for young people at a time and a place that suits them, including Friday and Saturday nights.
To find out about events and activities happening in Croydon, teenagers and parents can visit http://www.croydonyouthtube.com or http://www.direct.gov.uk/getinvolved
For a chance to view Tobias Buck, as well as the other 19 Under 19s, visit http://www.metro.co.uk/19under19