DIGGLE teenager Tia Henderson has always encouraged herself to have a positive outlook on life.
It is a mantra she has been passing on to peers in her role as chair of Oldham Youth Council.
Now the 18-year-old student has become an ambassador for Hope 2020, a nationwide campaign shining light on the positive contributions of young people.
The initiative marks 20 years since the murder of 10-year-old London schoolboy Damilola Taylor stabbed with a broken bottle on his way home from a library.
Tia, who in 2021 will become Oldham Youth Mayor, is now one of 200 Hope 2020 ambassadors across the UK.
“Job wise I am not sure what I want to do when I am older,” says Tia, who is a former St Anne’s C of E Primary and Saddleworth School pupil.
“But I would like to write a book about the negative aspects in my life and to show young people how with hope they can change that negative into a positive.
“I have been through the foster care system and it proves no matter what kind of difficulties you face if you want something you can get there by putting your mind to it.
“Hopefully, I can show young people, especially across Oldham, they can achieve these things but may not realise the potential they have got.
“Becoming a Hope 2020 ambassador is another massive confidence boost for me.
“At first, I was a little shocked when I received an email asking if I could write a small piece about my hopes and aspirations for the future for their website.
“I had seen the campaign set up by Damilola’s dad put forward on breakfast television but I wasn’t expecting to be part of it.”
However, Tia’s work with the Youth Council made her an ideal candidate.
So when Oldham’s Head of Youth Services was contacted by the Rio Foundation Trust – one of the Hope 2020 partners – an introduction was made.
“I have always tried to use my platform as chair of Oldham Youth Council to show I have got into this position as a normal young person,” added Tia, a second-year performing arts student at Oldham College.
“Everyone has it inside the to realise their potential.”
Damilola who dreamed of being a doctor. Died on November 27, 2000. Shortly before his death he wrote of his hope to change the World.
This 20th anniversary campaign is dedicated to young people and their aspirational stories of ambition and hope.
For ore information on Hope 2020 and its other ambassadors visit www.hope2020.uk