In December 2021, the Foyer Federation welcomed Dami Adeyemi, a 23-year-old Marketing and Communications Officer, to our Board of Trustees.
The team first met Dami through one of our members, Sapphire Community Group, when she helped us to launch the pilot of our Pass It On digital platform. She was also a key member of the Power Up Youth group – the influential team of young people that inspired our current Power Pioneers programme and shaped our Youth Influence and Involvement Strategy. She brings a great deal of knowledge, compassion and perspective to the role, are we delighted to be working more closely with Dami in her role as Trustee.
Dami currently works at Wipers Youth CIC – a social enterprise that empowers young people who have experienced disadvantaging circumstances. She said, “As I get older, I've gotten a more positive outlook on life which wasn't always the case. With parents who were displeased with each other and money problems, later more disruption with housing security, my childhood felt perpetually in disarray and I felt more comfortable in school than at home. Sometimes my introverted nature meant I was unable to socialise and at times it left like there was nowhere I belonged, even at school where I once loved. I've always been naturally smart, but to my detriment. I coasted through life doing the bare minimum and the jump from GCSEs to A-levels and then university made me realise I actually had to take control and become an active participant in my life.
“I felt like a failure for a long time not having achieved a grade at university and being back home getting a hard time for being unemployed. I'm glad that the CEO of Sapphire, a charity I had interned at in my 2nd year of university, took a chance on me. I worked there for some time as an executive assistant before she kindly referred me to my current role. With past setbacks, I still feel behind my peers, but I'm looking forward to reaching my many goals this year and beyond and I feel lucky to be working in line with my passions!”
Dami has a real passion for youth voice and empowering young people to have a say in the things that impact them. This, of course, will influence her work with the Foyer Federation. She said, “I'd like more young people who have lived in Foyers to participate in the governance of the charity. Furthermore, more youth forums for those who are currently in Foyers, participation in other programmes and sharing of experiences on Pass It On. I hope that any barriers brought by the pandemic are able to be broken down and innovations sparked from the negative situation can be turned into a positive.”
So, how has her experience been so far? “I've felt really supported! I've only been to one board meeting so far, but everyone was glad that I had taken the position. The induction process is very thorough with meetings set up in your first year to make sure you understand the agenda before a meeting, what has been discussed and opportunities to talk with everyone on the board. They all have such vast experiences and I look forward to learning more about governance.
“The advice I'd give to young people in general is to apply now! To Young Trustees, I'd say that your input is needed and don't be afraid to make contributions because your voice is important. Young people are the future and we should be involved with helping others to foster a community mentality throughout our life span.”