Meet Aiona Prescott, Queen’s Young Leader 2016
Aiona is a member of Icon Creative Tonga, which uses creative arts to help at-risk young people to build their confidence and learn new skills. As well as teaching dance classes to children aged five to eight, Aiona helps to run the group’s mentoring workshops in villages.
Aiona talks about how young people in Tonga face issues such as violence and unemployment, which initially made her consider leaving. But then she found that dance changed her own perspective and outlook on life, and it inspired her to share that with other young people. “If creative arts is a way to change the mentality of our young people to a better and positive mentality then I am here for the long run.”
Through the sessions young people learn the importance of team work and leadership values. By talking to the participants, the team aims to tackle issues such as teenage pregnancy, early school leavers and gender-based violence. After the mentoring workshops, the young people put on a performance for their community to share what they have learnt. Aiona talks about the importance of empowering the youth in Tonga “We use dance to bring good messages and we use that to empower our young people. We target the youth because they will be the ones running our country in the future.
Aiona is one of 2016’s recipients of a Queen’s Young Leaders Award. The Award, which was presented by Her Majesty The Queen in June, is part of The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme, and celebrates the achievements of young people who are taking the lead to transform the lives of others and make a lasting difference in the communities.
If you, or someone you know is doing exceptional work in your community, applications are now open for the Queen’s Young Leaders of 2017. Visit www.queensyoungleaders.com/apply-now