In the first of a series of articles documenting the thoughts and work of local anti-bullying ambassador Elsa Arnold, the founder of the Spreading Kindness Through E11 initiative explains her motivation
I’m Elsa. I’m 18 and an A level student. I have been an anti-bullying ambassador for The Diana Award charity since the age of 15, but this topic has always been close to my heart because of my own experiences, which led to me struggling a lot with my mental health.
I really value being able to turn my negative experiences into something positive, and I am so grateful to have had so many opportunities to have been able to do that.
I believe school is an experience you never forget and that everyone has the right to enjoy and make the most of it. I want to be a part of ensuring that happens for everyone.
In 2017, I started doing more work in the local community, teaming up with Redbridge Libraries to deliver anti-bullying workshops, which are honestly one of my favourite things to do. I’ve been lucky enough to have also worked with some local youth groups and schools.
I’ve experienced bullying at different times in my life, but the memories from primary school cross my mind most often. I was never really aware of what bullying was in primary school, so I didn’t identify what was happening at the time. I believed I deserved to feel the way that I did, and often, one of the hardest parts was trying to find a friend in myself. So, being able to work with children now, at the same age as I was when I struggled, means a lot because I see it as my duty to be a part of ensuring the same experiences don’t happen to anyone else.
I am also a member of the youth panel for the charity YoungMinds, who do amazing work for young people’s mental health and are an amazing, inspiring organisation to be a part of.
But one of the best and most heartwarming things I feel I have done is team up with Mark Mountney (owner of Zoology) in 2018 to launch a local initiative called Spreading Kindness Through E11, because that’s what has always been at the heart of everything I have aimed to do. I have also enjoyed teaming up with local businesses over the last couple of years to continue spreading the messages about which I am passionate.
My life is dedicated to helping other people and being part of making the world a better place. I can’t wait to see where I can take this and who I can work with next to help achieve this.
I’d like to thank the Wanstead Village Directory for giving me this platform to share a bit of my story and let you know how you can get involved. I hope you enjoy reading my articles.