Unveiled: The first of our Young Citizen Award 2016 finalists
- Credit: Archant
With the winner of this year’s Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen Award about to be crowned, we unveil our first five inspirational finalists.
The first monthly winner of the Young Citizen Award was selfless 15-year-old Sophie Marlow for the work she had done to help others.
When both Sophie’s parents lost their jobs, the family had to claim benefits and struggled to put food on the table.
After receiving a helping hand from the community at Jubilee Church, in Granville Road, Ilford, the Valentines School pupil was inspired to volunteer there to help others facing tough times.
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Panel chairwoman Eve Conway, who helped pick Sophie as January’s winner was impressed by her altruism.
She said: “Sophie is now helping others in a similar situation and turning a negative into a positive.
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“This is a very topical issue with families and individuals having to use food banks because their situation suddenly changes, often through no fault of their own but circumstances leave them in a difficult situation.”
April’s monthly winner was 18-year-old Nikita Thanki for her dedication to not only her studies but to several charities as well.
Not only did she achieve the highest AS results at her school, she finds time to volunteer every week at a care home with Alzheimer patients and helps out at a special needs school.
The sixth former at Valentines High School, Cranbrook Road, Ilford also donates her time to a Barnardos charity shop, mentors younger pupils at her school and fundraises for charity.
“I try my best – I like doing stuff and getting out in the community and talking and interacting with people I don’t usually get to,” she said.
Form tutor Lisa Shelley said: “I think Nikita is fantastic. She is an inspiration to everybody and balances time between helping others and working very hard.”
The teenager, who is one of four children, was delighted to discover she had been nominated for the Young Citizen award.
A student who bravely escaped a deadly epidemic and had since carried on his studies in the UK scooped May’s monthly award.
Redbridge College’s Mohamed Bangura, 16, had to live with a family friend in Sierra Leone after his mother died from dementia at 56.
Shortly after, the country was ravaged by the Ebola virus, which claimed the lives of 11,325 people.
“It was a disaster seeing people die,” said Mohammed. “You see your friends die, other people and you think about yourself and think, maybe it’s possible for me to have the virus.
“But I guess I was lucky.”
He has since enrolled at Redbridge College where he is studying health and social care.
An altruistic teenage schoolboy from Ilford was the winner of June’s award after one particularly eye-catching fundraiser – he was locked overnight in police cells for charity.
Raza Hussain, 15, of Eastern Avenue, Newbury Park, spends as much of his free time as possible fundraising for charities dear to his heart.
He has so impressed his form tutor Afreedah Khanom of Valentines High School, Cranbrook Road, Gants Hill, that she nominated him for a Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen Award.
“I was sponsored £108 to be locked in the cell at Barkingside Police Station,” Raza said.
“We had a break at some point and I was with two other people.
“It was very difficult and the money went to Help for Heroes.”
The teenager is also a member of the Volunteer Police Cadets (VPC).
Scientist-to-be Laiba Khan earned July’s monthly accolade for her impressive school work.
Not only is the 15-year-old on Ursuline Academy’s “gifted and talented” register for maths, she is also on a mission to become an inspiration for other girls.
Although women are a minority in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), Laiba was nominated for a Young Citizen award for mentoring other girls in science.
She said: “I’m ecstatic to be nominated as it shows that my efforts are being recognised.
“It will give me the platform to inspire the next generation of young female engineers, scientists and many more,” she said.
To find out who are last five finalists are visit our website tomorrow.