Hey Sovereignteers, it's your friendly neighbourhood comic evangelist Paul Nelson bellowing “I AM SOVEREIGN!!! at the top of my lungs and inviting you to join me in the further exploits of me and the team.
For those who don’t know, the title is a Naruto reference to having a special skill, something us here at Sovereign Comics are no strangers to.
On Monday 24th of February 2020, the team including Earl Newman, Dean Richards and myself were invited to Rugby Portobello Trust’s “Amplify” youth centre to break the ice with the young people in attendance there.
Earl Newman in Workshop Mode
What my team did not know though, was that Ashton Bennett A.K.A Mr Imagination himself was going to be there also. Having been to visit the facility already I knew Ashton would be astounded to see how plush, jam packed and full of exciting things Amplify had in store.
Entering the building I was greeted by a key player, coordinator and good friend Desiree, stylish as ever, adorned in a very colourful head wrap, I likened at the time to a of bowl fruit salad, (all smiles). It was clear to see straight away what a vital part she plays at the soul of this remarkable centre, as many young people threw themselves at her with open arms and excitement.
My step son Mr Imagination was led away by one of the young people after the signing of paperwork on his behalf, and the tour began. We met the other youth workers and saw the young people in action, playing table tennis, trampolining and socialising.
Super teacher Paul Nelson
We entered the shining recording studio provided by Columbia records and was thoroughly impressed by the young people's efforts to express their emotions through music, especially at such a difficult time of their adolescence. This struck a chord with me as it was the very same opportunity that was given to me as a youth, which led to my career as a recording artist.
All in all, my son and team left feeling that day that we understood where Amplify as a whole was coming from, and we were excited about delivering a taster session of our graphic novel masterclass visual storytelling workshop there later that week.
It was Friday 28th February when the harsh weather of London let up and our team stormed the castle of Amplify. With brimming excitement to deliver our graphic novel taster session, our hope was to impress upon the young people the importance of self-belief, determination, and self-analysis. All skills which contribute to having the right mind set to tell a meaningful story which can positively impact the human psyche.
Dean Richards teaching art skills.
After a briefing by staff on the running of the night’s proceedings, we were escorted down to the communal space where the brief was extended to the young people. Desiree spoke with authority and commanded the space stressing the importance of respect for the youth workers and youth workshop facilitators, this was both impressive and needed in order to set the space for a conducive environment for learning.
I furthered that notion and said that the key to success is to be an opportunist for all the right reasons, I shared that a lot of opportunities such as the one Sovereign Comics are giving are hard to come by.
The space was closed and my team and I set up our class in preparation for the young people to enter. It started with excitement and familiar classroom fashion which soon turned into interest and curiosity.
The special activities that we set were a first step for the class to analyse themselves and their community with fresh eyes. They learned not only about themselves but also about each other, which proved to be a great success all around.
After everything was said and done, we felt satisfied knowing we could make this small contribution by lighting a spark of a special skill amongst some of those who are the greatest hope for change in our society.