What images first come to your mind when you think of young people in your own community? Do you think of positivity & success? Let me help you here. Is your community recognising the successes & contributions of young people & individuals? Still unsure? Read on………

The achievements of young people are often overlooked by society, community groups and those who play a vital part in shaping and developing young people who have skills, talent and potential. The media often encapsulate the issues that young people may present, rather than focus on, what value young people are bringing to their community. The emphasis of recognition, hard work, achievement, credibility and ambition is very easily lost in our discussions and social awareness on what is going on around us.

Celebrating Youth Excellence is an annual event, aimed at recognising the talent, hard work, perseverance, contribution and achievements of young people, individuals and organisations in the West Midlands. The charity was set up in 2008 to honour and celebrate the successes that exist in our local community.

The annual event is organised and directed by Poet, Author and Young Entrepreneur – Talisha Johnson. Talisha is young lady, with impeccable talent and self-drive. She is very active in the local community & has formed and established several community initiatives. Talisha strives to deliver excellence as part of her personal drive and business acumen and has worked hard to establish community presence and build awareness of ‘Youth Excellence’ within the community. Talisha has been heavily involved with this initiative for 5 years now.

The charity was originally founded Councillor, Author & Poet – Esha Johnson (Talisha’s mother) in 2008, as part of Esha’s vision for promoting the growth and development of young people. Esha ‘passed on the baton’ to Talisha in 2010, equipping her with on-going support and plenty of encouragement. Talisha continues to work hard locally to establish the charity ethos further, in turn working with a team of young people to deliver positive outcomes.

This year’s Youth Excellence Annual Award Event took place on Saturday 14th September at the Holiday Inn in Birmingham. It was a spectacular evening, honouring the outstanding achievements of individuals who are not only exceeding, but are making positive changes to the lives of others.

Elegance, panache combined with a remarkable & beautiful refined ambience is what Saturday night was about. This was a black tie event, attended by an array of professionals, organisations, dignitaries, community groups & individuals all coming together to acknowledge & applaud individual accomplishments. What was lovely to see was the high level of professionalism from the beginning of the event, right until the end. It was amazing to see so many young people enjoying themselves, showcasing their talent and being honoured throughout the night.

Key highlights of the night included entertainment from some of Birmingham’s very talented young people. Local singing artists – Nadine Daniel & Vibs Bhatia entertained the crowd with beautiful singing. An original composition of Poetry was performed by Poet – Jade Richards. The event was hosted by the one & only ‘Smash’

Smash Entertainer  -Host

Smash Entertainer -Host

Community speeches were given by Justice Williams – Multi award winning social entrepreneur & MBE & Wassem Zaffer –Labour Councillor & MBE. Other speeches were given by Youth Excellence Award Winner 2012 – Alisha Harris, Chanel Lee Smile Award Winner 2012 – Ellison Porter, & Joel Blake – Award winning entrepreneur. All speeches were inspiring, uplifting and motivational.

Ellison Porter  -  The Chanel Lee Smile Award Winner 2012

Ellison Porter –
The Chanel Lee Smile Award Winner 2012

Paulette Hamilton - Councillor for Birmingham

Paulette Hamilton – Councillor for Birmingham


Organisation of Excellence – The Challenge Network
Youth Award Art – Aaliyah J Allen
Academic Award – Daniel Stone
The Good Samaritan Award – Amy Kirkham
Endurance Award – Jewel Henry
Sportsmanship Award – Joel Stevenson
Entrepreneurial Award – Alexandria Robinson-Sutherland
Parent of Excellence Award – Minto & Neera Kohli

Aliyah J Allen Arts Award Winner 2013

Aliyah J Allen
Arts Award Winner 2013

The Chanel Lee Smile Foundation would like to take the time to acknowledge both winners and nominees for 2013. Congratulations to nominee’s for Endurance Award and Good Samaritan Award – Tia Perkins. Tia has worked tirelessly supporting people in her local community.

Tia Perkins Good Samaritan Award Nominee Endurance Award Nominee

Tia Perkins
Good Samaritan Award Nominee
Endurance Award Nominee

Taylor & Tia

Taylor & Tia

Other nominee’s included Girls UK, a group of girls from High Clare School who have assisted the Chanel Lee Smile Foundation & have also assisted with fundraising initiatives etc. – Special thanks to Gavir, Antonia and Danielle, who have recently raised £575.36 for the Chanel Lee Smile Foundation. Further congratulations to Marcel Rodney -Arts Award nominee. Marcel has made numerous contributions in artistic form in his community and continues to work hard to build his portfolio of art designs.

Marcel Rodney Arts Award Nominee

Marcel Rodney
Arts Award Nominee

The Chanel Lee Smile foundation would like to especially acknowledge, ‘The Chanel Lee Smile Award winner for 2013’ -Rhys McCollin; Reece has made outstanding contribution to assist with work in his community and his local church. We congratulate Rhys on this special achievement.

Chanel Lee Smile Award Winner 2013 Rhys McCollin

Chanel Lee Smile Award Winner 2013 Rhys McCollin

Finally, The Chanel Lee Smile Foundation would like to take this special opportunity to thank Talisha and her team for a wonderful evening & for the hard work and dedication in recognising the talent of young people in the city of Birmingham. We look forward to next year’s event with joy & anticipation.

For further information on Celebrating Youth Excellence visit http://www.youth4excellence.co.uk/

Deborah Lee