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Faith in Young People

Wednesday 7th May 2014

I write this at the beginning of Lent, a period of reflection leading up to the death of a beloved Son.

In this role I have the privilege of meeting some remarkable people, none more so than Margaret and Barry Mizen who I first met at the launch of “Step Up To Serve” in November. Margaret and Barry have established the Jimmy Mizen Foundation in memory of their son Jimmy, who was attacked and murdered in May 2008, the day after his sixteenth birthday. Following the murder, the family were determined of two outcomes; they would not be beaten by his death and that some good would come of it.

In February I went to talk with Barry and Margaret about the work and approach of the Foundation. The message of the Foundation to young people is that “it doesn’t have to be like this”. They take the very powerful message of their son’s death into schools and communities and challenge the students to bring about changes for peace. Instead of the young people being passive recipients of anti-crime messages, their approach is to affirm, encourage and most importantly, allow the young people to be the lead for change. They are great advocates of youth organisations and believe in the very positive impact of peer influence. When they go into schools they promote The Boys’ Brigade and the Brigade in London is beginning to see some of the benefit of this. Their belief is that young people are the solution and not the problem and their campaign seemed an embodiment of our mission statement, “Faith in Young People”.

Margaret and Barry talked of being sustained by their faith. I came away humbled, but uplifted. As leaders in the BB we have the opportunity of working alongside children and young people in their formative years. Let us seek to affirm and encourage them as they grow and develop so that they become the catalysts for change in society.

Margaret and Barry were awarded MBE’s in the New Year’s Honours for their work.

Steve Dickinson, Brigade Secretary

Follow Steve on Twitter @sdickinsonbb

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