On the 14th of November 2017 hundreds of teen boys from all around the country went to London to participate in ‘Rockin Ur Teens’. This was a very fulfilling event which had many opportunities. We started by travelling by coach, we then parked and took the tube to The Isle of Dogs. However there were schools that came from Liverpool and they had to take the train down. After getting to The Isle of Dogs, we went inside the building where ‘Rocking Ur Teens’ was being held. We were given name badges showing who we were and our schools. After getting our name badges we put our coats in the coat room and then proceeded to the sitting area outside the conference room. Inside the conference room each of the schools sat down where ever they wanted but the adults had to sit at the back as it was about us teens. The event started with our host, Dean Quinton Smith, introducing the event. He then introduced our first speaker or in their case speakers – being mankind.
Being mankind speakers spoke to us about the meaning of the word man and how its definition has been twisted. They explained this by saying things like, if you give up your job for your family are you being manly?, the answer to this is yes as he was putting his family before him and his job. They then proceeded to ask us about traumatic experiences we had and how we coped. I.e. one boy said “I was diagnosed with depression at a young age but I was too worried to tell my friends as I worried they would leave me out or even bully me. It was hard telling them but I told a close friend and they help me tell the rest of my friends” this was one of 5 boys all with different stories. As the speakers empathised with the boys they decided to award a book to all of their schools and the book was one of theirs and it was all about what the word manly means and the definition. It had many quotes from celebrities and ordinary people. After being mankind’s presentation our host, Dean, introduced our next speaker – Talan Skeels-Piggins.
Talan was a motor biker but he was in a car crash, he was riding on his bike when a car clipped him he then came of his bike onto the other side of the road where a car ran over him the car behind fortunately stopped he was then rushed to hospital. In hospital he thought his life was ruined being told he was paralyzed from the chest down he kept thinking about having them turn of the life support until he spoke to another paralyzed man, he said that he still skies as he sits in a specialised chair which he then steers with skis. After being told this Talan focussed on trying to ski. 12 days after he spoke to the man he went on to ski which then led to him wanting to bike again. He went into a showroom and instead of buying a nice cheap bike he went for the biggest and meanest one. He then had to modify the bike so it would be rideable for him having the gears moved to the handle, as well as having foot and knee traps so that he can stay on the bike. However the straps couldn’t be too tight as if he crashed he’d want to be able to come away from the bikes. After this amazing talk Dean introduced us to our next speaker – Kamal Hyman.
Kamal is the UK’s youngest motivational speaker and he spoke to us about what we want to do in life. He started by telling us his story, when he was at school whenever he went to a parents evening he was always told “Kamal you have potential” and he loved to hear that and when he went home and told his dad his dad was like “Kamal do you know what that means” and he was replied “yeah it means I can do it” his dad proceeded to reply with, “Kamal, it means you have the ability to get there but you’re not there” “oh” Kamal replied. This was very eye opening for quite a few people, one child from Willingdon School, a year 9, said to me “I’ve been told I have potential a lot I better buck up my game”. Kamal was very funny telling us all about how he tried different things and didn’t enjoy/excel in. but after a while he thought to himself what am I good at? And he thought speaking! And that’s how he became a motivational speaker. This showed us that you want get anywhere in life if you do something you want and not something you’re good at. After this eye-opening talk Dean introduced us to our next speaker – Jonny Benjamin.
Jonny’s story was very sad, he had schizoaffective disorder which is a combination of schizophrenia and bipolar. He was diagnosed with this when he was 20 but the symptoms where shown before this. In school he had a voice in his head which told him what to do he thought it was god as it was an angelic voice. This voice he listened to as he thought if he didn’t do it he’d be punished. After a while the voiced changed to a devilish voice and things got worse he had lots of mood swings as well which didn’t help and on top of that he didn’t want to come to terms with his sexuality. In college he ran away when all of this got too much for him. He went to a bridge and decided he was going to jump until a man came up to him and spoke to him he asked what was wrong but Jonny didn’t want to hear it but he was feeling less tense. This was because he never had someone who would listen. So he stopped, this stranger then asked if jonny would come down and have a talk. And when he got down the stranger asked whether he wanted to go for a drink. Later on Jonny when to hospital and was given some medication. However after a while he stopped taking it and his condition got out of hand. He went to hospital where he was kept for a while, this helped him as he got the necessary treatment and this was also when he was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. He stated to make videos on YouTube about his condition, but he wanted to find the stranger on the bridge. So he made flyers and poster and put them round he also made post on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter everything had a description of this mysterious man. He then went onto news shows to find him. He asked everyone if they had helped a man on a bridge in the date he tried to jump. He got many candidates three on that bridge! But none of them where him. He then got a phone call from a man named Neil he decided to meet the man in a coffee shop. When Neil walked in he knew it was him on the bridge. After this Jonny and Neil started to do public speaking and they then went on to make their own charity for mental illness. He also has done articles, interviews on the news and radio interviews. This speaker showed us that there is always someone out there who wants to help. After Jonny, Dean introduced us to our next speaker – Simone Vincenzi.
Simone is the co-founder of GTeX.org.uk and has featured in over 100 podcasts. Just before Simon went on I asked him what phone he had and he said an iPhone 7 but actually this is my third one! He said the first one he was walking down the road with it doing a Facebook live when a man on a scooter reached out and grabbed it! The second he didn’t tell me as he had to go on stage but I’m sure it was a funny story. He started by playing the digeridoo and we all applauded then he said he’d play it ‘his’ way. He beatboxed on it. This was quite awesome, he then went on to talk about two boys going to a street dance lesson and then one of them backing out but the boy who stayed prospered and won the battle. This taught us about choice, that we all have a choice, the digeridoo Simon had a choice whether to play it his way or the normal way. The two boys at the street dance class had a choice, one chose to stay and prospered and then the other boy chose to leave, and he didn’t learn anything. Simon then went on to talk about his company GTeX.org.uk. He was quite open with it telling us its revenue and his salary (2000 a month) he also told us that his company was about to have a revenue of 1 million. If anyone didn’t know Simone’s company teaches adults to use social media and to make a website which benefits their business/company.
In conclusion this was a very fulfilling experience and it probably will have changed a lot of people’s mind on business and work, including mine.
Kai Carson (Year 8)
[…] and International men’s day in November. Over 300 students and their teachers attended, one boy wrote up his experience. In addition I am delighted to become an Entrepreneur in Residence at the University […]