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Young Citizen: Elsa, 16, triumphs over bullies to help others with mental health

PUBLISHED: 14:00 25 October 2018 | UPDATED: 09:53 05 November 2018

Young Citizen nominee Elsa Arnold.

Young Citizen nominee Elsa Arnold.

Archant

A 16-year-old volunteer who has overcome being bullied and is now campaigning stamp it out across the country is this week’s Young Citizen nominee.

Elsa Arnold, of Wanstead, is an anti-bullying ambassador with legacy charity the Diana Award.

She first got involved with the charity two years ago, when she was offered work experience off the back of her outspokenness on her Instagram account on matters of bullying and mental health.

Reacting to being nominated for our award, the Wanstead High School student said: “Oh wow! I’m very shocked.”

Elsa said that she endured verbal bullying in primary school and physical bullying in secondary.

“I think the experiences from primary affect me every day of my life,” she said.

“Young people don’t understand the power of their words.”

These experiences now fuel Elsa’s work delivering classes about mental health and how bullying takes place, offline and online, to schools and libraries across the borough.

Currently studying for her A-levels, Elsa hopes to one day start her own charity or business helping young people overcome adversity by realising their passions.

“Something that really helped me was dancing,” she said.

Asked what motivates her, she said: “School is an experience that you never forget and that everyone has a right to enjoy and make the most of.

“I want to be part of ensuring that happens for everyone.”

She was nominated by fellow Wanstead resident Liz Calvert, who came across Elsa’s campaigning through Facebook.

Liz said: “We cannot start to explain the impact this young woman has had, she is humble and humbling and so very much deserves this award.

The Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen Award is about celebrating the amazing young people in our borough.

It is run by the Recorder in conjunction with Redbridge Rotary Club, and sponsored by The Exchange shopping centre, Ilford, which provides each monthly winner with a £30 gift card.

The Young Citizen of the Year will be crowned at the Mayor’s Community Awards in March.

You can nominate any person from Redbridge, as long as they are under 25, by emailing aaron.walawalkar@archant.co.uk

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