Teen credits Mirrors for turning life around

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  • Great strides: Kani Stovell, 17, was the first participant of a programme by youth charity Mirrors designed to teach life skills and help young people finish his education. Here he is shown with one of his coaches (Photograph by Sekou Hendrickson)

    Great strides: Kani Stovell, 17, was the first participant of a programme by youth charity Mirrors designed to teach life skills and help young people finish his education. Here he is shown with one of his coaches (Photograph by Sekou Hendrickson)


A teenager got a second chance at success through a community-centred “satellite programme”.

Kani Stovell, 17, wsas the first participant of a programme by youth charity Mirrors designed to teach life skills and help young people finish their education.

Kani, who was at risk of dropping out of school, now works at the Hamilton Princess and Beach Club, and hopes to become a musician.

He said: “Mirrors has helped me to come far and made me realise you need to believe in yourself before you can get someone else to believe in you.

The teenager, from Paget, became a full-time member of the Mirrors programme in January after working with the group since its SuperCamp last October.

Kani admitted that, before the Mirrors scheme, he was a “small-minded troublemaker” and was expelled from the Impact Mentoring Academy.

He said: “I really wasn’t worrying about the bigger picture of life; I was just worrying about small things like ‘oh, what’s happening next?’ instead of ‘what’s happening ten years down the line?’.”

However, programme coaches and personal tutors helped him to put together a “blueprint of success” to achieve his academic requirements as well as learn practical skills.

Kani said much of his time outside of tailored classes was spent as a volunteer and in learning the “Eight Keys of Excellence”.

Kani added he improved in optimism, a sense of responsibility and in teamwork as a result.

“I’m a person who, if I start something, I’m not going to finish it,” he said. “Mirrors helped me to be committed and think ‘oh, I’ve got to finish this so I can move to the next task’, because at the end of the day, commitment will get me farther.”

He added that his coaches’ own commitments helped him to stay motivated to continue the programme.

He said: “Much of the time I was like ‘oh man, they want me to come for two hours, I don’t feel like it’. I realised they were investing their time in me.”

Kani said the impact of Mirrors was most apparent to him after he wrote a song titled Documentary, a song about overcoming obstacles.

He explained: “When I wrote it, it just felt like a regular song, but after I really thought about it, it reminded me of a Mirrors key, ‘failure leads to success’.”

Kani said he wanted to be an entrepreneur later in life.

He added: “I don’t want to be just known as a rapper, I want to be known as something way better.”

Kani, who has now completed a GED qualification, got the Hamilton Princess job with the help of Mirrors.

Mirrors coaches help him to be professional and his employers provide him with weekly feedback. Despite his plans to follow his dream of becoming a rapper, Kani said he enjoyed the hospitality business.

Jeanene Woods, one of Kani’s coaches, told The Royal Gazette that the youngster had improved over the course of the programme.

She said: “I didn’t see this in Kani a year ago, and now we have a young person who’s dreaming again.”

Bridget Driscoll, Kani’s tutor, added the programme could be useful for many pupils with problems at school.

She said: “We talk about specialised education and that’s a hard thing to do, particularly with struggling teenagers, and this is a great work in progress.”

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Published Sep 7, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Sep 7, 2018 at 8:06 am)

Teen credits Mirrors for turning life around

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