Friday, June 26, 2015

An open letter to cohort 12

Dear Cohort 12,   

Here we are at the end. These 10 short weeks we have learned a lot of things. We have gotten to know your strengths and weaknesses, your dreams and aspirations, and the intricate details of your respective bowel movements. You have all made the experience of being a team leader incredible, especially our amazing team.

The nature of our work is that the results aren’t always visible and it’s difficult to quantify at the best of times. We work for an elusive impact, the effects of which reveal themselves in abstract and subtle ways. It is things like the quiet observation of a centre worker, or the unbridled enthusiasm within a chaotic classroom, or the unexpected comment, or question, of a child that we work with that gives us the odd glimpse that what we are doing really does have meaning.  

Aside from the knowledge that we have imparted, the murals we have painted and the gardens that we have planted. We want you to remember the spark of enthusiasm that you have ignited in so many children and young people for things that they would otherwise not have been exposed to.

You have been the complete strangers that have given up their time to try and improve the circumstances of those less fortunate and how could that not be at least inspiring? Remember that as a child grows, so will the ideas and values that we have planted in them.

Our cooperantes, Emma and Adri, without your knowledge and experience we would have been completely lost. You have guided and taught us so much and the dedication that you have shown in the work that we do has undoubtedly been a driving force.

Our team; Dom, Dan, Lauren, Ruby, Fiona, Alex, Tita and Sole. You have been outstanding. Not only in terms of the endless banter but also the hard work and creativity that we have come to be able to rely on.  

Now, although this is a dry programme, I hope you’ve brought some wine because here comes the cheese:

If we were to see life itself as an infinite novel composed of the most complex characters then right now we would be coming to the end of a chapter, and although I am nervous to turn the page, I’m so glad that I have 40 new characters in my life. 

Some things that I never expected to associate with this experience include diarrhoea, a complete lack of t-shirts and an abundance of nose piercings. Something I also didn’t expect was the level of solidarity that I have seen in you and the way that you have supported each other through this whilst sticking together.

I have seen some amazing friendships form. I have seen life plans change based on this experience.  I have seen young people grow stronger and more independent. You have inspired me, Cohort 12, and you have set the bar high.

Three months is simply too short and In an ideal world we would be able to continue working together to continue to push you and watch you grow. But for now, it’s good bye to the Empo team and Cohort 12 as a whole.

Paths cross, paths fade, paths meet again.

Yours, lovingly, respectfully and always cordially,


UK Team Leader, Empoderando La Niñez Y Juventud, Cohort 12.


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