Craig Pinkney is an Educator of Excellence
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Youth, Community and Families lecturer Craig Pinkney has won the ‘Educator of Excellence Award’ at Youth 4 Excellence’s ‘Celebrating Youth Excellence’ annual conference.
The conference aims to celebrate the achievements of young people between the ages of 13-15 across Birmingham and the West Midlands and their positive contributions towards society. There are also awards for individuals and organisations that have helped to support young people.
Craig’s category was competitive as he was shortlisted with some very prestigious nominees: Josh Johnson, who does a lot of work with BBC Birmingham’s Coding Club, a partnership initiative with Digital Birmingham and Ruth Richardson, the Director of Work in Progress and Head of People and Creative Learning at The Drum, an arts centre in Birmingham.
Craig won the award for his continued efforts to engage and educate disadvantaged youth, many of whom have lost their lives due to violence or are serving lengthy prison sentences for gang-related crimes. He visits youth and community centres across the country, raising awareness of knife and gun crime, sexual exploitation, radicalisation and the impact of making poor life choices.
" I am still in shock. I was so nervous about my nomination that I didn't even tell anyone I had been shortlisted. It's an honour to receive such a respected award. I never went into this kind of work for the accolades, other than to see young people, predominantly those of African or African-Caribbean descent, thrive in society, so receiving this level of acknowledgement really touched me. When I went to collect the award and make an acceptance speech, I wanted to say something to all those I have worked with all those that had lost their lives to violence within our community and those currently behind the prison walls to let them know that they have inspired me to break the cycle amongst our next generation of youth. I filmed the audience and myself, selfie-style, and together we delivered a short but powerful message just to assure them that though they feel invisible and unseen, we have the power to make them visible again."
Youth 4 Excellence is an organisation that promotes and celebrates the achievements of young people and those that support them in across the West Midlands. They believe that “everyone is destined for greatness” and help give recognition to the region’s most exceptional young people, parents and organisations.