Graduates in the Forest

From the 2nd to the 4th August 2019 our most recent Graduates took to the forest for their survival weekend.

This activity takes place after Graduation because by then the young men are under no illusions that it’s time to dig deep!

Everyone that follows ORIGIN will know that this retreat is known for ‘2 tarpaulins and a ball of string‘. In other words, don’t be looking for any 5* hotel treatment! This is all about the basics – fruit, water and a sleeping bag… and we done!

From Friday to Sunday a Forest Retreat weekend replaces the digital devises. The panoramic view and the 360 surround sound is experienced in the real.

These weekends always require the Facilitators to think on their feet. Under our cultural frame of reference, you have to slow down to a chill and be prepared to move with events. Truth is, it’s best not to plan too much at all because the forest is the classroom and the programme will emerge…

As with all our retreats, everyone comes away with something – maybe with what we were meant to learn. Whether it be to put up a structure in the dark, fasting on fruit and water, to build a fire from a spark, to listen to the sounds of the forest or just to learn to sit still. There’s something in the forest for everyone.

Then on the day of our return, just before leaving we reflect… on our thoughts before, during and on leaving the forest. How willing were we to attend? What were our ideas about comfort and discomfort? How was the digital detox? Let’s talk about our thoughts that block us from having the experience.

And of course… we Give Thanks to the forest, to the elements, the Facilitators and for the time together to listen, to hear and to feel.

Once again the forest facilitated, aligned and harmonised our urban warriors simply by reminding us that grass glistens with moisture in the morning, fire glows intense, trees stretch to the sky, stars beam at night… that we are nature and that nature is life.

Discussing where we were in our lives, where we are now and where we’re going  is sacred time together. The thing that we may have resisted is probably the thing that we most need. Ahh! and there it is.

Then we go again… because training never ends

…and we out!

London to Paris Bike Ride

ORIGIN CyclistThis year ORIGIN embarked on a London to Paris bike ride to raise funds for the programme. None of the mentors/volunteers had ever done anything like this before and 9 of the 10 were complete novices to cycling.

ORIGIN Ragga

Bike collageThe group established TeamORIGIN. They had to secure bikes and kit, get in excellent physical condition, and to raise £6,000 for the organisation. We secured sponsorship from GLL BETTER and TeamORIGIN spent approximately 4 months preparing for a 244 mile ordeal.

TeamORIGIN knew that public engagement was crucial to overall success, so the team organised a number of themed public events:

  • Run with us (x2)
  • Ride with us (x1)
  • Spin with us sessions (x2)

The intense training camp led by Adisa (a.k.a Captain Africa) included long rides on the road (for example London to Southend-on-Sea) and tough sessions in the gym.

ORIGIN line upITV evening news (6pm), The Voice Newspaper, The South London Press, Afro Culture Blog, numerous networks and community organisations reported on this.

On Friday 31st May 2019 at 6am, the cyclists (and 2 support team members) left New Initiatives in Stockwell, and by 9pm that same day the group arrived in France. On Sunday 2nd of June we completed our mission and celebrated our success at the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Paris 12In terms of fundraising, we achieved the £6,000 fundraising target two weeks before leaving for Paris. We are extremely proud to report having secured approximately £13,500. We’re now hooked and considering… what next!

IMG_9963 PRThe community gathered at New Initiatives on Sunday the 9th  June to welcome the cyclists back from their adventure. Not only was it a tremendous success for fundraising, for the cyclists this was transformative in so many ways.

The team consisted of Brothers Adisa, Tokunbo (Second in Command), Dipo, Patrick, Pablo, Everol, Kasim, Garry, Abdul and Mutada with Neil and Roger in support. What a team and what a statement of Brotherhood.

origin-lonfon-to-paris-salute-72dpi.jpgAt the Return Celebration, Brother Garry’s story is most memorable. Gary spoke of when we arrived in Paris. He saw a young Black boy in a car, who had a look of complete surprise on his face when he saw us. He just couldn’t take his eyes off the cyclists, as he looked down the line at Black men when we were in traffic. Garry spoke about when he locked onto the boys gaze and the young man responded with a Black Power salute. That, Bro G said, is what this trip was all about. A moment that he will never forget.

From all of this you could easily forget that this started as a crazy fundraising idea. The Return Celebration raised a further £400 and funds continue to come in. So far we are over £13,500. What an achievement! Check it out https://uk.gofundme.com/brothers-in-paris-origin

The positive energy generated from this event will propel us forward for some time to come.

We Thank ALL our supporters for their support. It wouldn’t have been possible without you all spurring us on and being so generous with your support.

#LetTheCircleRemainUnbroken

#InvestInOurBoys

#BrothersInParis

#TrainWeMust

#ChickenLegMustDie

#TeamORIGIN

#ORIGIN4Life

Brothers in Paris

ORIGIN Men on Bikes

This year, ten of our Facilitators are cycling from London to Paris to raise money and awareness for the charity. On the 31st May ’19, the team of novices embark on an epic 200 mile journey from our South London home to the iconic Eiffel Tower in the French capital.

Looking back to January 2019 when we decided to take this on, you can really see how much the group has grown in such a short period of time. This image below was used for our first flier. It’s a true reflection of where we were at the beginning; struggling to get up a hill or complete laps of London’s Olympic Velodrome… and we’re going where!

This was also the period when we learned how to ride together on the road.

In the beginning

Now through a rigorous training programme, led by Captain Adisa (who we thought was a nice guy) who bashed us into shape, we’ve been transformed into a solid unit; now fitter, stronger and faster – by far.

We’re truly thrilled with how this initiative has been received by the community and the generosity has been tremendous. We hit our £6,000 fundraising target 2 weeks before the event. On this important point of raising funds… work with young people is not cheap. So please continue to donate so we can smash the target out the park, illustrating the extent of good will in the community for this important cause. Here’s a link to our gofundme page https://uk.gofundme.com/brothers-in-paris-origin.

It’s been a tough 5 months but we’ve really loved when the community has joined us on the journey. Come Run With Us was followed by Come Ride With Us in Victoria Park and these culminated with Come Spin With Us at GLL BETTER (our sponsor) at their Vauxhall Centre. All these activities helped to spread the word, nurture community spirit and raise funds for ORIGIN. By doing so… TeamORIGIN continues to get stronger in so many ways for the 3-day challenge ahead.

ORIGIN Cyclist 6
Click on the image above for a video clip of this session.

Ladies and Gents spin

We want to thank all our supporters who have donated, ‘liked’, ‘commented’ and ‘shared’ and for the donations that are still to come-in. We really appreciate your support. It makes a massive difference.

ORIGIN Spin

Now after all the fun, games and enjoyment, it’s back to the business in-hand… ten Brothers on bikes off to Paris with a determination and spirit consistent with the legend Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor, an African-American professional cyclist who we call upon for this particular mission.

ORIGIN line up

InvestInOurBoys #BrothersInParis #TrainWeMust #ChickenLegMustDie #TeamORIGIN

Graduation 2019

ORIGIN Graduation notification

This years ORIGIN Graduation fulfilled all our expectations and much more… and it needed to because this year’s group was a tough nut to crack! Not only was it our largest group over the last 20 years but the cohort took 18 months to complete the programme – 6 months longer than planned.

ohh but it was well worth it!

The young people’s presentations were just superb. It was a real pleasure to see the difference between the rehearsals and the main event, as the young men shared their skills, talents and new knowledge with the community. The bond between the Brothers was clearly evident. The contrast from the reluctant individuals that started the programme to the Circle created at the end of the community ceremony was clear to everyone who attended the Taster Workshops and Enrolment Evenings in 2017.

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This year’s ORIGIN Graduation was exceptional. The young men rose to the occasion like everything was at stake. They knew that this was the culmination of all that they had learnt. The big day had arrived, the community had gathered, the space was prepared and it was time for them to step forward and shine…, confidently, boldly and with pride. Our Son’s without prompting knew exactly what to do. They were ready!

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From the rapturous applause to every Influential Figure presented, to their explosive Warrior Dance and the powerful Martial Arts demonstration – all evidence of ORIGIN’s identify affirming work with our young men.

There’s a lot that we want to see in return for this prolonged investment. We expect to see a tangible change in values, outlook, attitude and behaviour. And when from time-to-time these standards are difficult to maintain… well, each and every Graduate has the ORIGIN safety-net as a resource to draw on. This may come from relationships within their particular cohort (or Circle), the wider Brotherhood of Graduates or the even broader network of relationships from within the Village.

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The sacred ritual to mark the change ‘from child to adult‘ is also an alignment and a continuation of traditional African culture, adapted to meet the challenges of African Diaspora identity today.

 

The announcement “Let The Circle Remain Unbroken” is the point when the Facilitators know that they have done their job…, for this year group. Then over to the customary set of photographs for future memories and to tell others all about this inspiring process of community empowerment.

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London to Paris

Poster

This year’s fundraising challenge for #TeamORIGIN is a sponsored bike ride from London to Paris. Ten ORIGIN Facilitators are cycling over 200 miles to raise money for ORIGIN – to support our boys to become young adults. Follow this link to our GoFundMe page.
#TBT #TeamORIGIN #InvestInOurBoys #TrainWeMust #ChickenLegMustDie
#ThoseHillsWontKillMe #TwentyYearsInTheGame #ManLikeMajorTaylor #ChallengeAccepted #EbaPower #TheBrotherhood #LondonToParisBikeRide #BrothersInParis

Bike collage final 500

Coasteering 2018/19

In June 2018, ORIGIN young men completed an individual and group challenge; this being one of the Rites of Passage ordeals for the group to tackle. This challenge always reveals surprises about the young men and the group. Sometimes we’re surprised by those that step-up and those that hesitate and need encouragement and support.

It’s always a highpoint of the programme to experience the thrills and excitement of traversing across the rocks of the Irish Sea, rock climbing, abseiling and eventually taking the Leap of Faith into the sea.

Being together after to reflect on our emotions as we complete this exhilarating challenge allows us to focus on our fears, comfort zones and where we were challenged. Lessons to draw on for LIFE.

Graduates reflect on their experience

For over 2 decades ORIGIN has been supporting young people to transition from the stage of being a child to that of becoming a young adult. Here we have Aaron, Lee and Chad, three Graduates who completed the programme reflecting on their experience and describing what ORIGIN is in their own words. It’s refreshing to know that years after their Graduation they remain as Ambassadors with a great sense of ownership and belonging.