Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - NationalGalleryMyCityYearExperience
National Gallery: My City Year Experience
Stand and declare - Good, Evening and welcome to you all. I am Zion Thomas,22. I am a City Year Core
Member, very proudly serving at Compass School Southwark.
Who you are?
I am originally from Sierra Leone, West Africa and moved to London at the age of 4. I grew up in probably
two of the most infamous areas in London; Peckham and Dagenham. So as you can imagine I have had a
very colourful upbringing. Like many people I grew up with various issues, I came from a fatherless home,
was surrounded by gangs and drugs from an early age and I had anger management issues.But despite all
of these negatives, I still did well in school. This was because I had people throughout my school career
that dedicated extra time and care for my holistic wellbeing (names a few teachers).I Got through
secondary school and 6th form and I have recently graduated from university and I am now making my way
in life, I’ve learnt to be a leader, to serve, I’ve realised I am not in this world for myself but for others. I wake
up and envision the day my students leave and go on to bigger and better things.
Unfortunately this is not the same story for many I grew up with. I know people who are now in jail, or even
dead. I know people with severe addictions and who are homeless. I know people who have suicidal
thoughts, depression and many more life issues. I know people who are taking all life is throwing at them.
And yes all of these things are bad but in the midst of this the worst thing is that these people are in school,
and were in school when these things happened. These people are the next generation.
Why you’re here?
Growing up in these areas and the peripheries of London I have seen first hand the need, cry and
desperation for education. In this current generation that is swayed and influenced my media, society and
all in between, there needs to be a positive voice speaking life into this generation.I am working with kids
who have the potential to change the world, but they are shut down because life says they are from a
particular postcode, life tells them it's not cool to be a scientist, life tells them they have to look and be a
certain way.Life tells them YOLO but it doesnt tell them that they have the ability to be themselves and be
the best at it. City Year is a charity saying ‘You Can’, it is helping the hand pushing you closer to your
dreams. I serve to be a positive voice. I serve to do my best to make dreams seems more a reality. I serve
to make a difference.
What I am talking about is something much bigger than me or City Year, I am talking about the person next
to you. I am talking about investing in everyone. A wise man once said ‘the man who moves mountains
begins by moving a stone at a time’. To make a difference, be the difference.
How are you helping in school?
Within the school we run early morning breakfast clubs, we assist staff during school competitions, we
conduct 1-1 with the children and aim to develop them as a person as well as educationally.
What’snext – City Year has cemented my vision of I general I`am interested in working with a diverse
range of people who face various difficulties, the homeless and youths of today. I want to start up refuge
homes for the homeless, afflicted and the broken. I want to educate young children as I believe that
empowering them with hope, belief, love and ambition can set up the next generation for global exploits
and this effect can have the potential to ripple throughout world systems and bring a positive, lasting
At Team Imagination we go by this saying …’ If you can dream it, you can be it!’
Thank you for listening!