Acton's sweethearts

Three volunteers at Youth Street Beats have been nominated for a ‘Young Achiever’ award  

It’s easy to stereotype today's teenage girls as materialistic, vain and somewhat celebrity obsessed but there’s a lot more to Cheyna Hyman-Lawrence, Jodie Ollivierre and Kerry Francis.

Not for them the oft told teenage story of drugs and under age drunken shenanigans. By contrast the girls are about as offensive as white paint and are, says Collette Noel, who runs ‘Youth Street Beats’, her secret weapon.

The trio volunteer at the Acton based youth group where they “teach performing arts techniques and dance routines to young children of all abilities.”

The girls caught the performing bug early having joined Youth Street Beats when they were children. During their tenure Cheuna, Jodie and Kerry all performed in Street Beat’s annual theatre productions as well “as taking part in big dance celebrations at London Bridge,” reveals Collette.

When the girls turned 16 (the group caters for 5-16 year olds), they approached Collette and asked if they could volunteer as “they didn’t want to leave” laughs Collette.

Knowing them to be easy company Collette was quick to agree - and has been delighted with the way in which the girls have proved themselves to be outstanding volunteers.

Clearly their commitment to Youth Street Beats isn’t in doubt. “They come down every single week and I love watching their enthusiasm and keenness to bring fresh ideas to YSB,” says Collette - who has nominated all three for the ‘Young Achiever’ category of our Pride Awards. Collette continues: “Their team spirit and sense of caring is fantastic to watch. They are always so eager for the children to do their best and achieve.”

Collectively Cheuna, Jodie and Kerry provide an attractive alternative for young women seeking upbeat role models, who seem happy with their bodies and themselves.

It’s a stance shared by Collette: “I think they have become great role models, all bringing different skills to the group and helping Youth Street Beats grow and go from strength to strength.”

“They are like my ‘mini me's’ and have made me feel so proud as they believe in the work we are trying to do in the community. Young people supporting other young people is hugely important and it's brilliant that these girls have stepped forward, and also encouraged other young people to come and volunteer too.”

Bottom line? Regardless of whether Cheuna, Jodie and Kerry emerge victorious in the 2014 Pride Awards or not, they are already winners in our books.