Maths teacher, Divanio Crooks received the Mayor of London’s Volunteering Award on International Volunteer Day 2020 for his work with Southside Young Leaders Academy (SYLA) to support communities during the lockdown. The award recognises the invaluable contribution that volunteers make to creating safer, stronger and more resilient communities.
Divanio has been part of the teaching staff at Lewisham College for eight years. He volunteers at the academy based in South London to help support young boys from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds to break down the barriers to education and help reduce the risk of social exclusion through personal development, teamwork and skills training.
He has worked in a variety of roles within the charity and has recently taken over as CEO. During the lockdown months, Divanio was able to implement fundraising, marketing and recruitment strategies and raised £120,000 which was used to transform the programme’s delivery model to an online platform, prevent redundancies, deliver monthly food parcels and provide 30 families with laptops.
Commenting on receiving the award, he said: “I am deeply touched to be recognised amongst the hundreds of volunteers and NHS workers that serve and support the public during the pandemic. I had become a volunteer to learn and gain experience for my career development, but I aim to make a difference in the community and inspire young people to achieve their goals.”
Asfa Sohail, Principal at Lewisham College, said: “Divanio’s hard work and commitment to the College and the community has had positive impact on families and boys in South London, we are very proud of his hard work and to have Divanio as part of our teaching team at Lewisham College.”
The charity works with young boys from deprived areas to become socially aware and productive members of their community. To find out more about SYLA, visit syla.org.uk.