We had a full house and a top quality audience for our much awaited Young, Gifted and Blocked event this week.

There were many who were there to raise their own awareness and better understand the causes of this penalising educational disadvantage to many young Afro-Caribbean boys. There were also those who genuinely wanted to offer assistance in any way that they could to the charities represented by our three guest (and star) panellists.

Colleen Amos (Amos Bursary), Dwain Neil (Reach Society) and Tony Sewell (Generating Genius) made for an exceptional panel.

Here were three small but vitally important charities punching way above their weight.

With many myths and misconceptions as to why so many able and talented young black boys were struggling to succeed in education, each of our panellists shared insights, data and their very own unique approaches to tackling this stubborn issue.

We soon learned that when tackling intractable problems, large doses of optimism are necessary, but nowhere near enough on their own. Resilience, focus and a sense of realism were portrayed in the many case studies and stories that were shared throughout the evening. There was much frustration that they all just could not do a whole lot more, this soon led to the crunch topic of the scarcity of resources that they continue to face up to and continuously battle.

There was so many insightful gems that lit up the evening but nothing could have beaten the ‘reality check’ that occurred towards the end of our Q&A session. Three students that are part of the Amos Bursary scheme joined us and were invited to come to the front and share what they felt the support of Amos Bursary had delivered for each of them. In fact, they really didn’t have to say a word … they strode purposefully and confidently to the front of the packed house. They stood proud, professionally and patiently as the applause at last died down.

Each in turn were fabulous ambassadors and advocates for why even more assistance and support is necessary, as this challenge CAN be cracked and overcome. The room was still and silent as we all hung on both their words and their manner. In a few minutes, everything was clear and there was no more cynicism.

Nothing beats living proof.

We thank our panellists, Colleen, Dwain and Tony for their candour, good humour and leadership.

And we thank our live audience and all of you who followed us on Facebook Live for your valued continued support.

Watch the extended highlights:

Watch part 1 in full

Watch part 2 (Q&A) in full