Wilson Palacios was a special guest as over 100 young people to have come through the Haringey care system were recognised at the sixth annual Haringey Educational Achievement Awards last week.
The midfielder joined Cllr Lorna Reith (Cabinet Member for Children and Young People), Dr Ita O'Donovan (Chief Executive of Haringey Council), and Peter Lewis (Director of Haringey Children and Young People's Service) in handing out certificates and prizes in the ceremony staged at White Hart Lane.
The event, hosted by the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, rewarded young people aged between 12 and 16 for their achievements in five categories:
· Engagement and Success in Cultural and Leisure Activities
· Asset to the School and Wider Community
· Attendance at School
· Academic Achievement
All recipients had received nominations from their social workers, carers, or schools.
"It was an honour and a humbling experience for me to be part of what was no doubt a memorable night for many young people. I appreciate that many have had to overcome difficult experiences in their lives, and it is fantastic that Spurs work closely with the local authority in recognising their achievements with an event like this."
Cllr Lorna Reith, cabinet member for children and young people:
"This was a real celebration of what young people can achieve and there were so many inspirational stories. Congratulations to these young winners. Their excellent achievements are an inspiration to us all."
The event was co-hosted by several young people who had been recipients of awards in the past and have since gone on to attend college and university.
Other guests included the Mayor of Haringey Cllr Bernice Vanier and Leader of the Council Cllr Claire Kober. There was also a performance from Tottenham-based musical collective, Da Clique.
Two young people, Jo Jo and Mauro, received an Outstanding Achievement award from the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation on the night. Both have give up several days a week volunteering within the club's community scheme.
Through the To Care Is To Do programme, run in partnership with Haringey Children and Young People's Services, the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation will engage 120 young people in care over three years.
It aims to increase the number of children in care attending homework clubs and events such as the Haringey Educational Awards, as well as continuing to provide work experience placements.
At the end of October, many of the young people involved will get the chance to travel to South Africa and take part in football coaching clinics held by the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation in townships.
Peter Lewis, Director of Haringey's Children and Young People's Service:
"The celebration of achievement for children looked after by the council was a wonderful experience. At a time when young people get so much bad press, here were young people who have enormous challenges in their lives and still managed to focus on their learning with extraordinary success. Apart from their success in learning, they are successful in many other ways; socially, in giving back to the community through their voluntary work and for their generosity in so many ways - from those who volunteer to support younger children locality to the group who work with and in South African communities to help more vulnerable children there. It is a privilege to know these young people, to be allowed to celebrate with them and, with true respect, congratulate them on their successes."