The Brazen Woman this week is showing her passion for children by recognizing their excellence and achievements. Titi Omole is a Project Manager by day and a Children's author and their greatest cheerleader every single time. She started the TruLittle Hero Awards to recognize the hard work and achievements of young people in their daily life. This has been a huge tool in boosting their confidence and inspiring others to strive for excellence.
Keep reading my interview with Titi.
The Brazen Closet: What do you do?
Titi: I’m a Project Manager by profession but, my passion has always been working with children and young people. I’ve been a leader in children’s ministry for over 8 years and started various children’s initiatives including conferences, an online talk show called Trutalk Titi and a pre-recorded radio show called Young Opinions that ran for about 2 years.
I had discussions with children and young adults about different issues affecting them like peer pressure, academics, making friends etc. I am also a children’s book author and songwriter. My book “Liz and Laz” was published in 2009; it is the first in a series of 7 which I hope to continue writing in the near future; and of course most recently the Trulittle Hero Awards.
The Brazen Closet: How did TruLittle Hero come about and what are you trying to achieve?
Titi: True Little hero is an award ceremony where we celebrate young people, under the age of 17 that are currently living in the U.K. There is so much negative news in the media about youth violence. The positive achievements of those working hard don’t get highlighted as much. I feel that this is giving young people the wrong impression that hard work is not popular any more.
Our hope is to expand and make it global once it is well established in the U.K. We celebrate the hard work and leadership demonstrated by young people in different areas. There are 8 award categories, and they include sports, music, creativity, entrepreneurship and more. There are 2 age groups; under 12 and under 17.
We also have 2 special categories that are for leadership and inspiration, where we celebrate young people who are inspiring others despite hardships and challenges they may have faced. The 2 special categories - inspirational hero and leadership are not open for nomination, we look for stories that showcase these values and the judges pick the winners.
Doing this has really opened my eyes to what a lot of young people are doing and their excellent work in different areas and not just in academics. The only avenue we seem to recognize and reward children is mostly in academics and sports, so there was really nothing else like this in existence.
Since there is only one winner in each age group and category, we know children might feel disappointed if they don’t win. But we make sure we celebrate everyone. Being nominated truly is a recognition of their hard work and this usually encourages them to take ownership of their work and do better for next year.
So to celebrate everyone we give them medals and a trophy to the winner. The key message is that we are celebrating excellence. Our slogan is – “Celebrating Effort, Rewarding Achievement”.
The Brazen Closet: How do they get nominated?
Titi: We open up the website up in September where people can send in their nominations under the different categories. We publicize it in schools and all Social Media. We leave it open for about 6-weeks. Nominations are submitted with a personal statement and reasons for submission. We pick the finalists and put them out to the public to vote.
We also send them to our 4 judges who score them. The combination of both will then determine the winners. The winners are revealed during the ceremony, and that keeps it exciting as well.
The Brazen Closet: What has been the result of the awards from when you started to now?
Titi: True Little Heros started as a pilot in 2012. It was included in a Christmas party as just a small slot. The response was very positive and we did it a little bigger in 2013 and the young people really looked forward to it.
We decided to go full force in 2014 and made it a bigger formal ceremony, in a banquet setting with speeches from different leaders in the community, performances from different youth groups and the handing out of awards. We also have young people involved in the event, from giving speeches to presenting the awards.
The feedback we’ve received especially from parents have been really positive. They have seen a huge boost in confidence in their kids and they are excelling even more in other areas. Even for those just attending, they see other young people actually taking ownership of everything on stage and they are inspired to be part of the event in the next year.
The Brazen Closet: What motivates you to keep organizing the awards every year?
Titi: It is really the positive results and feedback we’ve received. There have been quite a number of young people that have gone on to excel even more in school, sports and even motivational speaking. From a young lady who was selected as an English prefect, when she showcased her achievements which included her blog, her published articles and her TruLittle Hero award.
To another young man that is now a known motivational speaker in the U.K. We can’t even afford his speaking fees!! And one that is excelling in sports and has represented England and won national medals, making us very proud. These stories show that we are doing something right in motivating young people to strive for excellence.
The Brazen Closet: Tell me about this year’s events?
Titi: This year’s awards is on the 11th of November, 2017. We are very excited for the line up of various performances and of course for the nominees and awards. Some of the performances will include Sashay, a young singer; the Victory youth dance group; Sasha, a poet, as well as Carla Lota, who won the bronze medal in the UK 2017 beauty queen pageant. She will be talking to parents about helping their children discover their inner beauty, confidence and self-esteem. It will definitely be a fun night and we are truly looking forward to it.
We are also very excited for the Youth Mentorship Program that is debuting this year. In addition to the medals and trophies, they will be enrolled into our mentoring program, Sunshine mentoring.
They will be assigned to notable leaders in their different fields which include sports, music and life skills. Some of our current mentors include T.J Ossai, British-European athlete, as a sports mentor. Isabella of Isabella melodies, she is a known gospel artist and Rachel Carr, an award winning singer and song writer as the music mentors. Including Tola Awe, an educator who will be mentoring them in life skills and more.
The Brazen Closet: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Titi: The new thing for us this year is the mentoring program. We are hoping that we will be able to connect with schools and offer workshops by industry professionals especially for the older students about various career paths. We are really looking forward to the awards ceremony and seeing the positive results in our youth!
For ticket information: Go here
Face book: @Trulittle Hero Awards
Instagram: @Trulittle Hero Awards