Joey Liu grew up in Tabard estate, south London which is known for its high level of gang crime, territorialism, drug abuse and mass unemployment. As a youngster it wasn’t easy to stay away from negative activities however despite this Joey always had a keen interest in sport and used this as a method of diversion.
Joey started attending Active Communities Network sessions at the age of 13. She had always been an active person and enjoyed sport at school however she had very little self-esteem, so sport and activity were limited to school. Having been part of a workshop at school, ACN approached Joey to encourage her to try one of the sports sessions in a nearby estate. It wasn’t long before Joey attended the ACN session regularly and having gained the respect from her peers she soon became a key member of the group.
At the age of 15 Joey used her initiative and approached ACN regarding any volunteer opportunities. It was soon visible that Joey wanted to grow her personal skills as well as giving back to her community and helping to develop young people like herself. Within the year she had completed three qualifications; Peer mentoring, Introduction to volunteering and Introduction to youth work. Whilst gaining the qualifications she continued to volunteer with ACN and more recently volunteered at a Girls Football Tournament in East London where she helped to promote and organise prior to event and then supported with the operations of the tournament on the day. Joey has an infectious personality and her ability to engage with other peers and positively encourage those around her is inspiring.
Another example of her dedication to volunteering is that she participated annually in the London 10K vitality run which helps to raise funds for ACN because she wants to develop new projects in areas across South London. In 2016 she single handily managed to get a team of 10 young people to join her and they all successfully finished and had a fantastic day out whilst raising money.
Continuing her journey with ACN, she was approached and asked to complete a week of work experience with St James’s Place in the Piccadilly Office. The week-long placement allowed Joey to gain valuable business and leadership skills as well as developing a network of professionals which would happily recommend her for future work experience or paid internship roles. The wealth management company gave her a huge boost in confidence and helped to shape her CV and interview techniques. This opportunity led to her gaining a part-time paid internship at Garden Court Chambers which she completes alongside A-levels where she hopes to gain top marks so that she can pursue a career in law at University.
Joey said, “If it wasn’t for ACN and the opportunity to volunteer I wouldn’t know what I would be doing now. Volunteering has helped to increase my confidence and I have gained valuable skills which will help to shape my CV which will help to get the career that I desire. Giving back to my community is really important to me, I want to help provide people with opportunities to help guide them into positive activities.
On the eve of Thursday 3rd May 2018 Joey won the remarkable achievement award at the St James’s Place London Children of Courage Awards. An award well deserved for her hard work and dedication.
Joey grew up in a single parent family on an inner-city London estate. She could have gone down alternate paths but due to her proactive nature and work with ACN she has taken a leading role as a peer mentor in her group within school and community work.