Umar Saeed, City Year Birmingham

“I started City Year UK viewing it as a chance to showcase my own skills and grow and develop. I thought that my own personal development would be placed at the centre of the experience. I soon realised this is not the whole picture. This experience has been humbling and as I have built up stronger relationships with my class and focus-list children I understand the importance of this year of service. It is rewarding to have an opportunity to educate young minds from disadvantaged backgrounds. I want to empower the youth of our future.

“I have received lots of positive feedback from children and staff and this has made me feel proud of what I am doing. One of my focus-list children’s mum told me that Farhaan “loves me and speaks about me all the time’”. I have also been told I motivate the children, but honestly they motivate me.

“This experience – even if it is challenging – has brought the best out of me. This past seven months with City Year and at St Francis’ has been the best in my life and it has brought me so much joy. This experience really means a lot to me and I will miss it when I leave.

“I don’t want to leave here feeling that I have left my pupils in the same position I found them.  I want to have an impact and it will be my biggest achievement if by the time I leave each child hits the 100 mark in their maths and English summer test – that is my target. I want people to still talk about me and remember me positively next year.”