I believe that children are our future, treat them well and let them lead the way! Whitney said it best. It’s a sad state of affairs when the loudest headlines highlight knife crime and anti-social behaviour when it come to our young people. What about the talented and gifted children who are making a positive difference? Spotting this gap, Titi Omole, a mum and project manager by profession, decided to create TruLittle Hero Awards, a platform to recognise and celebrate the remarkable achievements of children and young people.
We caught up with Titi ahead of the 2019 event, which takes place on Saturday 9 November, to find out more about her recognition programme and why it’s so needed.
What is TruLittle Hero Awards all about?
TruLittle Hero Awards is an award and recognition platform focused on celebrating the efforts and positive contributions/achievements of young people in the UK, particularly those who are living in inner city London.
What was the inspiration for TruLittle Hero Awards?
In recent years, there has been too much negative portrayal of youth society in the media. An awful lot of stories about guns, knives, drugs and misbehaviour amongst our youth. I felt this was diminishing the value that is placed on the contributions of the many remarkable youngsters in society. We want the world to see the positive side of our youth and so we use our platform to publicise the positive aspects of our younger population, giving them the boost they need to become positive influences in society.
“I think society is yet to fully understand how important recognition is as an important weapon to combat misbehaviour amongst our youth.”
How has your career path led you to creating TruLittle Hero Awards?
I studied Computer Science as my first degree and General Management for my masters. I have worked in the financial sector, Private and Public sectors. Over the years I have found myself in roles that are project management related and discovered that I really enjoy event planning. I started working with young people in 2003 after having children of my own. During my journey with young people, I have written songs, a children’s book titled Liz and La: The Secret Codes of the Magnificent Book is available on Amazon. I have delivered conferences for young people and hosted an online chat show for young people called Young Opinions which led to my Sunshine Mentorship programme and TruLittle Hero Awards.
What support have you had for setting up TruLittle Hero Awards?
Financial support is always a challenge because the awards event is not funded by the government and we have to rely on organisations and individuals for keeping it running. However, Sunshine mentorship is government funded which is why we have been able to deliver the programme for free. We work in partnership with other organisations that are able to support us through mentorship in diverse areas of skills and expertise.
“I have the opportunity to meet amazing youngsters that are doing amazing things at an early stage of their lives.”
What skills do you need to run a not for profit?
I think you must have a heart full of genuine care for people; selflessness must be your key word. It is what motivates one amidst the challenge of not drawing an income from something that you put so much time and effort in. It is enjoyable and rewarding. You also have to be understanding, approachable, creative, patient and organised in order to work with the young people.
Do you have a team?
Yes, I work with four non-executive directors and they focus on strategic decisions for the organisation. I also have a project team that supports the delivery of the TruLittle Hero Awards event and the Sunshine Mentorship programme.
What are the biggest challenges?
Trying to get others to see the big picture that shapes what we do. I think society is yet to fully understand how important recognition is as an important weapon to combat misbehaviour amongst our youth. People sometimes also struggle to give their 100% commitment if they are not being paid. Another challenge is raising awareness. Often, I find that the media only wants to support a seemingly sad start to a happily ever after story.
What has been your biggest successes?
Taking the bold step to launch the TruLittle Hero Awards. Each year, I have the opportunity to meet amazing youngsters that are doing amazing things at an early stage of their lives. I feel privileged to be availed the opportunity to support them along their journeys. I am looking forward to more successes in the near future.
“Black women need help to showcase their businesses and achievements to inspire our young.”
How do you juggle family life and your business?
It can be difficult. However, I’ve learned a lot about forward planning and taking each step one at a time, as long as I’m moving forward. I focus more on delivering a substantial event of great quality and impact, than several smaller events that add no value.
Have any of the young people awarded gone on to become entrepreneurs?
A handful of nominees and winners in our Entrepreneurship Award were already in business before the awards and have gone on to focus on making their businesses better. About two others have gone ahead to start their own business after completing our Sunshine Mentorship programme that commenced two years ago.
How important is the idea of representation?
Black women need help to showcase their businesses and achievements to inspire our young. This will encourage and motivate them to aspire high and shape their mindset to achieve great things that benefit society and not themselves alone. We must also support each other as women by pulling together and readily offer support to each other.
What’s the best lesson you have learned in your entrepreneurial journey so far?
That you need to step out first in order to get to your destination. Baby steps matter and when they are coupled with focus and consistency, there is no limit to what you can achieve.
The TruLittle Hero Awards take place on Saturday 9 November 2019.