Wanting to be seen as individuals, wanting to be given options and wanting to be inspired - those are some of the things that a group of 70 young people in London's City Hall wanted when they were asked what they'd like from those in power running companies, running the country and running the media. It was an event held by Radio 1 called The Big Conversation that I attended a month ago.
On Sunday 9th October we held the BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards, where standing at the side of stage ready to be greeted by over 8,000 (mainly girl) teenagers, the contrasting image of how UK Teens are sometimes portrayed in the media and the three youngsters I was about to escort on stage could not have been greater.
Pippa, a 17 year old girl who was considerably more advanced than her years, has been a young carer from the age of 4. Her mother suffered spinal injury from an accident at work shortly after Pippa was born, and with the advent of her parents splitting up she became the main carer for both her disabled Mum and also her sister who has been through bouts of depression. She also found time to join the Army Cadets and work with Southampton Council to improve their services for young people - oh by the way - this in on top of doing her A Levels and GCSE's in school.
The second winner was the quietest and most bashful young man you could expect to meet. But at 17, when it mattered most Charlie's bravery kicked in when he witnessed a young girl falling into a river and get sucked through a tidal pipe off the coast of North Wales while out crabbing. The girl's mother tried to save her but couldn't reach so Charlie jumped into 7 feet of fast-moving water and managed to rescue the little girl without a care for his own safety.
The third winner was one of the most inspirational boys I've ever met. In his short life, Alec has already faced bullying at school, he's been diagnosed with dyspraxia and Asperger's disease and he's now had to cope with cancer, three times. He's 13 years old.
What makes them Teen Heroes is not that they've just coped with what's happened to them or the people around them, it's that they actively went out and helped others in the process. In Alec's case he's raised thousands of pounds for the people who have helped him, even when most adults faced with the difficulties he's had to face would have shut down in self pity.
And on we went, I got my moment on Wembley Arena's stage with Pixie Lott, and as we escorted Alec to the front of the stage to the sound of 8,000 plus screaming teenagers lifting the roof in a standing ovation for him, I thought back to the frustrated requests of those young people at Radio 1's Big Conversation. Their wish to get recognition for the incredible potential and qualities they already have and to just give them the chance to show it.
I will have the three brave Teen Heroes in the back of my mind when I do whatever I can to help Radio 1 help young people in the UK being heard over the next 12 months. Because, believe me, there's a lot more where that came from!
Go to bbc.co.uk/radio1 where you can watch all of the performances from the and see the teen hero's receiving their awards.
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