Toxteth teens and Liverpool housing charity to host Los Angeles youth groupBy Marielle Roux
Five Toxteth teenagers are preparing to build links with a group from Los Angeles in a unique exchange facilitated by the Liverpool Habitat for Humanity housing charity.
After an approach from LA based charity Spirit of Youth, LHFH teamed up with the Tiber Project in Toxteth to find five like-minded young people to spend time with the American group, do voluntary work together on a Liverpool building site and explore each other’s cities and cultures.
The Los Angeles group will arrive in Liverpool for two weeks on July 20th and plans are afoot for the Tiber Project youngsters to travel to LA in summer 2013.
Toxteth teenagers Daniel Robinson, 17, Chloe Sargent, 16, Shannon Simon, 15, Aaron Fontenot, 16, and Cherise Smith, 18, are all members of the Tiber Steering Group, part of a pioneering project driven by young people and set up to transform a five-acre former primary school site at Tiber Street, off Lodge Lane, into a centre for business, learning, performance, sports, arts, event, conference, and leisure activities.
Stephen Nze, Tiber Youth Leadership Facilitator, said: “These young people are a shining example and have played a major part in shaping the Tiber Project and its plans and I have the pleasure of being able to be part of their growth and development.”
The project has brought together volunteers and professionals, artists and athletes, leaders and learners, the young and their elders to create a future for the community and for the neighbourhood.
“This is a future based on the optimism of children, the value of diversity, and the potential of a community to determine its own destiny through cultural investment in young people,” Stephen added.
As such, the Tiber Project was seen as a perfect fit with the Los Angeles based Spirit of Youth Foundation, set up in the wake of the 1992 LA riots. The charity fosters learning, leadership and global understanding among disadvantaged American and British youth through educational activities and cultural exchange.
SOY president Dorothy Doyle-Storer, said: “We are founded on the principal that young people benefit from opportunities to experience the world beyond their immediate neighbourhood. Our mission is to help deserving adolescents gain an understanding of the greater global community through participation in international travel and exchange. We are very much looking forward to visiting Liverpool.”
With their site off Kingsley Road in Granby-Toxteth geared up to employ volunteer labour in the building of 32 low-cost homes, Liverpool Habitat for Humanity was the perfect conduit to bring these two groups of young people together. And as part of the global Habitat for Humanity International charity, founded in the US in 1976, it’s an organisation with which the LA youths will already be familiar.
Habitat has built more than 500,000 homes around the world, including over 350 houses for hard working, low income families in the greater Los Angeles area.
Liza Parry, executive director of Liverpool HFH, said: “Habitat is much less well known in the UK than America where it was founded, but our ethos is very much the same - giving people a helping hand onto the property ladder, not a hand out. Our home owners have to invest 500 hours of their own time helping to build their house in a scheme known as ‘sweat equity’. In Liverpool this then counts as a £10,000 contribution to the cost of their new home.”
As well as working on the Liverpool building site, the LA and Toxteth teenagers will visit a number of Liverpool landmarks together, including both cathedrals, St George’s Hall, the Walker Art Gallery, the Museum of Liverpool, the National Slavery Museum, Liverpool John Moores University, The School of Tropical Medicine and the city’s crown courts. They’ll also meet the Lord Mayor of Liverpool at the Town Hall, take a spin on the Liverpool Wheel, enjoy a BBQ in Sefton Park, go to the top of the Radio City tower, enjoy a guided tour of Liverpool FC’s Anfield stadium and visit the Cavern Club.
For more about volunteering with Liverpool Habitat for Humanity or becoming a home owner visit the website www.liverpoolhfh.org.uk.