On the right course: QE sixth-formers learn keys for success in life

On the right course: QE sixth-formers learn keys for success in life

Ten sixth-formers completed a personal development course designed to help young people take charge of their own lives.

The WhyOhYou programme is run by the DVS Foundation – a philanthropic organisation established by the family of Old Elizabethan Priyan Shah (1991–1998).

Priyan’s wife, Asmi Shah, who is the Programme Lead, said: “When we don’t take time to know ourselves and what we want, it becomes very difficult to make decisions that are truly right for us. We can become victim to passively following life, which over the years can lead us into the wrong professions, friendships and relationships.

“Our ambition with WhyOhYou is to help address this by empowering youth to ask themselves critical questions early on.”

Mrs Shah runs the WhyOhYou (a play on the letters of YOU) programme with a colleague, Rupal Shah, who is the DVS Foundation’s Head of Philanthropy.

The programme runs over five weeks and provides young people with the space and tools to explore who they are, what they want and how to achieve it. It covers topics such as personal values, goal-setting, coaching, having a ‘growth mindset’ and resilience, with an underlying message on the importance of self-responsibility.

It is not the foundation’s only involvement with the School. Last summer, Priyan visited QE, together with his parents, Dhiru and Rami, to present DVS Foundation Awards to ten sixth-formers for excellence across various subjects and in extra-curricular involvement. The family business is a company specialising in UK institutional real estate investment. The foundation was set up in 2012 to formalise the family’s giving.

One of the ten Year 12 pupils selected to take part in the WhyOhYou Programme is Eashan Raja, who said he had derived considerable benefit from participating.

He highlighted various aspects of the course:

  • Asking the question, ‘who are you?’
  • Practicing meditation in the classroom
  • Many creative tasks, such as learning to coach friends, as well as making vision boards
  • A ten-minute dance activity at the start of every session to loosen participants up a little: (“Although a little strange to be dancing in the classroom, I feel it was a good activity and definitely made us be more open in the sessions.”)
  • Discussions covering topics such as how participants could achieve their goals and how to deal with their emotions.

“Some things were new to me, such as meditation and really deeply thinking about ‘who I am’. There were also some things I already knew, but it was definitely a good reminder to me – such as how to deal with our emotions in positive ways.

“I also feel I have become more confident talking about personal things and feelings in front of my peers, which I believe is very important, especially in our society today, where it is uncommon for men to talk about their feelings and personal things about themselves.”

Eashan thanked the course facilitators: “They were both amazing. They were really kind and considerate, making a safe place for all of us to talk about what was on our minds about the topic at hand.

“They were clearly very keen and passionate about the topics they were talking about, and this definitely showed – and made us more interactive and open. I truly do not think they could have done a better job with us.”

He was also full of praise for the resources they provided, “from the snacks, to the PowerPoint slides, the pens, paper and juggling balls!”