It takes a village to raise a child

A year ago I attended our local Church Away Day. We do this every year and it’s a wonderful get together for sharing, enjoying each other’s company and for breathing new life and ideas into the Church Family. How can we make our faith relevant in the everyday lives of our local community? How can we reach out? How can we be useful? In today’s very secular society, Christianity and in particular Churches are in danger of becoming ‘not for me’. Yet my faith is something I cherish and thrive on.

Okay so without being a Bible basher I looked at my experience, skills and how I could help others. I wanted to give back and be able to own and drive something of value. I wanted to do something that needed little organising and with just a few helpers. And so ‘THIRD TUESDAY was hatched. From my own experience coaching young talent, giving work experience to kids at school and mapping out futures for friends of my own children, I found that for every smart, off the blocks, ready willing and energised to go seek, find and enjoy their future cookie, there are those who have little or no confidence and don’t know where to begin. I too didn’t know what I wanted to do when I left school. More importantly, I had no one to ask me ‘If you could wave a magic wand Anita, what would bring you the greatest happiness’? ‘What dreams do you have’?

The thing about running a family business is that it’s local. You are part of your local business, family, school, faith community. We all have ideas about being big, going global and so on. What’s needed from you is often under your nose. We say ‘what can I do’? ‘What if’? We decide to do something and then make it happen. We are all busy, and there is never enough time. I love that those who can, do.

THIRD TUESDAY is a relaxed meet-up for youngsters 16+ to tap into advice and support on options for the future. It’s exclusively for students who may be in school, college, university and don’t know what do do next.  We explore future options ie Uni, apprenticeships, college and careers. They can learn practical skills and tools for CV building, create that fab profile, prep for an interview, learn how to fill in application forms. They get great ‘you’ time, advice, training, mentorship and peer-to-peer support. But the hook – the meet-up is a safe place to share your troubles. Share what pressure looks like, money worries, how to build confidence and why take a risk?

I sat in our Church Centre with tea, cake, flip chart, sticky labels and pens not knowing who if anyone would turn up. To my surprise, they came! My wonderful friend Jenny helped out and my beautiful daughter Olympia agreed to be our very first speaker. She was to bare all. Her own journey from School to where she is now working in our own family business has been emotional and colourful for sure. And what an ice breaker. The group said they were embarrassed and frightened about pitching up. They had no clue what to expect but had nothing to lose. My heart went out to them and suffice it to say the evening proved a great success. I even gave them all homework! Let’s see who turns up next month. We will have another real-life story from someone who’s confidence rose from rock bottom and now leading a life they want.

Confidence was a the biggest issue for everyone. Compounded by social media, parents, expectations, peers; it seemed all compared themselves and in so doing had decided they didn’t stand a chance. I’ve got a really successful method of building confidence instantly. I will share it at another date. For now, I’m grateful, joyful and hopeful I can make a difference. It’s worth the risk. As Richard Branson once said ‘The biggest risk is not taking any risk’. Note to anyone reading this and is hesitant – just do it; because you can.

anitabrightleyhodges.com/good-giving/