Project Description

This page showcases the overview of the entry of a 2015 Peer Awards for Excellence finalist, which was judged at conference.
Winner for Inspiration in the Developing Potential category.

Interested in this year’s Peer Awards?
FINALIST: Southside Young Leaders’ Academy (SYLA)
Entry Title: Inspiring Young Black Boys to be Future Leaders
Talk Title: How to End the Cycle of Social Exclusion
Category: Developing Potential (Corporate Responsibility)
In South London, SYLA is quite unique. It provides a great opportunity for the most vulnerable children to enjoy improved opportunities and achieve live goals.We are currently forming a support matrix with schools, agencies, families and experts. This matrix is helping the boys to become young leaders instead of slipping into a cycle of violence and pessimism.

In a nutshell, SYLA is enriching the community with more active and positive citizens.

The educational program of Southside Young Leaders’ Academy has proved to be highly effective since 2007.Our mission is to cultivate leadership in boys of African heritage; we prioritize those who are at risk of academic exclusion.

Our staff has mentored over 200 boys in after-school and holidays activities (literacy projects, coding club, sailing residential trips…). We also train the parents, and we provide in-school versions of our program.

So far, 90% of the boys achieved expected progress in literacy; 80% of parents reported that family environment is improving. What’s more, six boys won bursary places at leading public schools.

SYLA’s program is innovative because we choose to work with a target group: young males of African & Afro-Caribbean heritage in deprived areas of South London. Thus we can develop an educational program tailored to their needs.These boys don’t see themselves as future leaders and committed citizens. That’s why we created a disciplined framework to enhance self-esteem and unlock inner potential.

Boys are awarded leadership grades of apprentice: bronze, silver and gold as they demonstrate various leadership and life skills; they participate to group discussions and role play; and we organize career talks with inpiring role models for them.

One of our goals is to develop a knowledge base of what works in empowering boys to become young leaders.We want to identify and promote effective educational policies, so we built up a theory of change based on four categories of activities: social and emotional training, skills training, engagement in education and collaboration with parents. Our program can inspire professionals working in education, especially when they look after children at risk of academic exclusion.