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“My involvement means progress”

14 Feb 2020

We recently enjoyed a morning of tea and biscuits at the Speakers Trust office, and for good reason – we were joined by our Alumni Ambassadors Group. This group is composed of young speakers whom have taken part in the “Speak Out” Challenge! with the aim of sharing their experience of every aspects of the programme from in-school workshop through to Grand Final. Their purpose is to help shape improvements for the future young people that will participate in “Speak Out” Challenge!.

Ashley De Guzman of Brentford School for Girls was crowned the winner at the 2017-18 “Speak Out” Challenge! Hounslow Regional Final with a speech entitled ‘The Power of Words’. Ashley went on to become a Grand Finalist.

“My speech is about how words impact the way children think,” Ashley explains. “I’ve always been called the word “weird” – and that singular word was very powerful for me. It influenced the way I thought, the way I perceived myself. I wanted people to know that words have power. How words can hurt a person – but heal them too.”

Since her Grand Final, Ashley has further embraced her passion for acting, as well as helped spread the “Speak Out” message by featuring in video for “Speak Out” Challenge! – you might recognise for from the video on the home page of our website! 

We asked Ashley, what attracted you to becoming an Alumni Ambassador?

“As a young person, to have a platform matters. We live in a society where young people want to take action, we know our voices are heard – but I want to act on it. Being Alumni Ambassador means I can do both. To speak and to act is a powerful tool to me, which is what attracted me to being an Alumni Ambassador.”

And how would you like your involvement to impact the programme or other young people?

“My involvement in this programme means progress. Progress for our generation to become better people and that no matter how young you are, everyone is capable.”

Watch Ashley’s speech now.