Our Annual Party: A Great End to 2023

A recap by Hope for the Young Grantee, Yahya

On 3rd December, Hope for the Young held their 2023 Annual Party, an exuberant celebration that transcended cultural boundaries, echoing the organization’s commitment to fostering unity, celebrating achievements, and embracing diversity. Held at the magnificent Refettorio Felix, nestled in the heart of London, the event unfolded as a testament to the resilience and spirit of the young people Hope for the Young supports.

This year, Hope for the Young had set up a Youth Party Planning Committee, formed of young people from both programmes, who helped make the Annual Party a success. In the weeks leading up to the event, these dedicated young people met with Hope for the Young staff members, first to exchange ideas for the party and then to plan and execute them. Everything from the invitation flyers, to the order of events, to the colourful decorations and signs on the walls were designed and decided in collaboration with these talented and passionate young people.

On the morning of the party, the Youth Party Planning Committee and Hope for the Young staff arrived early and began setting up for the party, transforming the venue into a vibrant space, radiating with colors and an ambiance that promised an unforgettable experience.

As the clock struck 11:30 am, the venue came alive with the arrival of Grantees, Mentees, Volunteer Mentors, and supporters. The air buzzed with excitement as the guests donned name tags and took their seats for the first game of the day: a quiz which required participants to identify international cuisines, items, and songs that encapsulated the global tapestry present at the event.

Next came a bridge-building game, which required each team to construct a bridge sturdy enough to support the weight of a tinned can of beans, armed only with paper straws and a limited amount of tape. The innovation, teamwork, and collaborative creativity displayed during this activity echoed the resilience and strength found within the Hope for the Young community.

As the game ended and the champion bridge builders were announced, the tantalizing aromas of a rich array of Syrian delicacies wafted through the venue, tantalizing the taste buds of the guests.

Imad Al Arnab, the owner of the award-winning central London restaurant Imad’s Syrian Kitchen had offered to cater our event completely free of charge, providing a feast of traditional Syrian dishes for us. Once lunch was finished, Imad came to greet the guests with his colleague  and gave a touching short speech about his own experience coming to the UK as a refugee. The talented chefs received a big round of applause for the delicious meals they so generously provided.

Next, it was time for speeches from Azmat and Iynaz. Azmat, a Grantee, spoke eloquently about their experience of accessing education as an asylum-seeker and never giving up hope, while Iynaz, a former Mentee and current Grantee, gave a heart-warming and inspirational speech about her journey of applying to university with the help of her mentor. Their poignant speeches resonated, narrating stories of triumph, resilience, and the unwavering support offered by Hope for the Young.

Wintana then took to the stage to give a beautiful poetry reading of her original poem entitled ‘To my Mentor’, a poignant piece about the power of Mentoring to change both a Mentor and Mentee’s life.

The crowning moment of the day was the awards ceremony. Each awardee received a personalized certificate of recognition along with a delightful goodie bag filled with chocolates and a Hope for the Young calendar.

Post-ceremony, the atmosphere buzzed with infectious energy as attendees engaged in meaningful conversations, captured cherished moments at the photo booth generously donated for the day by My Fun Photo Booth, and shared laughter, joy, and cultural exchanges.

Young people and mentors also took the opportunity to share the achievements they were most proud of on the colourful ‘Wall of Pride’.

And with that, the event culminated in a sense of shared accomplishment and unity, underscoring the strength found in embracing differences and celebrating achievements.

The Hope for the Young team would like to say a huge thank you to Yahya and the rest of the  Youth Party Planning Committee for all their incredible hard work, which helped make our Annual Party a huge success.

It was wonderful to celebrate the hard work, dedication and accomplishments of each and every member of the Hope for the Young community over the past year. Bring on 2024!

Alice Finta

Comments (1)

Kate Kelly

WOW what a lovely inspiring event, so sorry to have missed it this year.
Well done to the planning committee and Yahya for documenting the party and writing a review to capture the event.
I won’t miss it next year!
Festive greetings to all staff and volunteers at HftY
Kate ( mentor since 2019)

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