Young people teach York How To Fly at launch of music video

simona-manni-headshotSimona Manni reports from the emotional and triumphant première of a new song and video


Growing up in care inevitably leaves its mark. But these marks don’t necessarily have to become scars, nor the experience has to hold you back in life.

They could actually become a beautiful strength, a powerful story of hope, especially when shared with others.

The première of the How To Fly music video, created as part of the Springboard Music4Care project, saw a group of inspiring young people take  the stage to share their voices of experience with the world.

These were young people who know what it means to live in care. It was an evening brimming with emotion which left many in the audience moved to tears.

Izzy, one of the young girls involved in the project, and who features in the video, told the audience at York St John University: “I am so inspired.

“I hope it reaches out to other young people in care. I hope people listen to our voices and it makes a difference”.

She articulated her enthusiasm for a creative experience that had given her a chance to consider how her life in care might have actually enriched her.

How To Fly teaches us an important lesson: no situation is hopeless, no dream is lost, no bones are too broken to heal.

Love was the main ingredient of an event in which caring words of support have been shared among social workers, authorities, artists, musicians, writers, and the young people themselves.

The launch powered into life with a live performance of How To Fly by the talented York based rap artist Liam ‘Kritikal’ Powers alongside the beautiful and powerful voice of Isi Dawson.

Next we were captured by the magnetic words of Paolo Hewitt, a hugely successful writer and author. He experienced life in care, but decided to use it as a powerful source of strength to achieve his dreams.

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Real voices

Paolo read a passage  from his new book But We All Shine On: The Remarkable Orphans Of Burbank Children’s Home  for the first time in front of an audience.

He talked about his time in a care home, the dark moments, but also the joy of finding loyal friends and the inspiration he absorbed from music and books – his magic tools to embrace the present and rebuild himself, regardless of his past.

Kev Curran, director of Inspired Youth, who delivered the project, introduced the How To Fly music video explaining what “inspiration” means to him.

“It’s not about trying to instil motivation in them, it’s not Inspired Youth inspiring them; on the contrary, the young people involved in the project are the inspiration.

“It means listening, hearing the real voices of young people who have been through so much, so early in their lives.

“It’s about creating an opportunity for them to discover their inner strength, grow aspirations, and seeing them achieve is amazingly inspiring.”

Young people visualised their experiences in the How To Fly video in a way which absorbed the audience. It also starred Keeva Curran, who has previously been seen in the Freerunner film and the York Samaritans campaign.

Visual artist Kev Curran’s stunning use of natural light transforming the film into a poetic piece of work. As the song grows in hope, the pictures consequently become more and more vibrant.

Watching the video is a deep emotional experience. It explores pain, dreams, hope and love through the  beautiful lyrics written by the young people and brought to life on a professional level by Liam Kritikal Powers and Isi Dawson. 

The young people dedicate the video to the new generations growing up in care, encouraging them to be strong and keep believing in themselves.

‘Absolutely amazing’

The shouts of joy that greeted the end of the film leave no doubt about the impact of this work on the young people, who had watched the fruit of their work on a big screen for the first time.

The Lord Mayor of York Julie Gunnell told the audience she was deeply inspired and moved by a work she defined as “absolutely amazing”, and she sincerely offered to do all she can to make sure the voice of young people in care will be valued in the community.

Her engagement towards supporting young people is well known, and she promised to take the film to councillors as a must see.

Despite a night charged with emotion, the audience left the room with an overwhelming wave of hope.

Flying means not being scared of loving life, it means believing in yourself and in others, learning not to judge other people, embracing life for what it is, in its rich variations of rage and love, and being brave as these brilliant young people are.

They have definitely told us what it means to aspire to more.