BADU STORIES

DES

First interaction with BADU
Aged 59, 2022

Borough
Hackney, London

Background

Des is a staple of the BADU community. A local resident, he first interacted with BADU when we were just coming out of the other end of a crazy two years during the global pandemic. Des was looking for that sense of belonging away from home that would allow him to become more sociable and meet new people. He immediately found his place by attending events and eventually putting himself forward to become a volunteer. You will often find Des enjoying a drink at the Badu Cafe soaking up the atmosphere and passing on that same warmth that attracted him to Badu.

DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE AS
PART OF THE
BADU FAMILY

” Whenever I am around the BADU community, it gives me a sense of belonging and friendship that I have found challenging in the last couple of years. 

Althea and the community team have been great in pulling me out and away from my comfort zone and I have enjoyed every second. I’ve been involved in various activities and events at BADU and I have even sat for a digitally created portrait whilst being filmed. With BADU, I welcome any new and exciting challenges that come my way!”

ZENIECE

First interaction with BADU
Aged 11, 2009

School
Bridge Academy, Hackney

Background

Zeniece met Mr Badu and the wider team when she was in secondary school. Following this early interaction, she began to play Handball for the Hackney London Youth Games. This was the catalyst for the relationship Zeniece has with BADU now.

Before coming to BADU, Zeniece had started playing sports at a very early age, taking part in Karate with her older siblings where she reached the level of Black belt. After parting with karate, she began to play tennis at Clissold Park in Hackney where she competed in local tournaments, regional tournaments she then playing nationally and internationally travelling to places such as Spain and Peru. Whilst travelling and doing somethihng she loved, Zeniece found herself competing against women all over the World and also represented England at the under 14’s national Wimbledon tournament at just 12 years old.

Background

After spending two years in the United States studying and playing tennis, Zeniece returned to the UK
undertaking her undergraduate degree in Sports therapy at the University of East London, where she is also a recipient of a tennis scholarship. Even with all of these successes and commitments, Zeniece is still an integral part of the BADU team where she is currently the head of the ‘women in sports’ programme and head of tennis for BADU. She is managing key projects – like the triathalon – as well as setting up new opportunities for young people to access sport. Zeniece is a testament to the work we do at BADU, her future is most definitely a promising one.

DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE AS
PART OF THE
BADU FAMILY

” Before meeting Mr Badu, I would say I was strongest in individual sport which is why I think I did well as a tennis player.

However, I wasn’t as confident in team sport, which looking back now probably affected my team skills in other aspects of life. Mr Badu helped change this by selecting me to play in the London Youth Games Handball team representing Hackney. I remember being really reluctant to play because of my lack of confidence, but the BADU coaches really motivated me to compete and instilled confidence in me that hasn’t left.”

JOEL

First interaction with BADU
Aged 11, 2022

School
The City Academy, Hackney

Background

Joel’s first interaction with BADU came in secondary school where Mr Badu and Mr Warbuton taught him
P.E. A young man displaying a high level of skill in sport, Joel naturally gravitated towards BADU coaches building a relationship that blossomed into mentorship and constant guidance throughout school
and thereafter. As a student who showed a lot of potential, Joel began working with BADU as a mentee in the BADU Mentoring group, and later working as a Young Leaders coach. Assisting as a football and holiday camp coach Joel had set the foundation for the role he has grown into and the work he continues to do for the organisation.

Results + Progress

Joel is now a key lead of the Media team and the Badu Media Agency, running projects such as Proud2Be
and leading our new Digital Creative hub in collaboration with Sky which launched in March 2022. Whether it’s creating content, brand marketing or social media management, Joel is key in making the brand what it is. Also a budding music artist and producer who has already featured on the likes of Kiss FM, Joel works just as hard in creating a name for himself in the music industry as he does as a key mamber of the BADU family. We know he will continue to shine and reach his professional and personal goals and BADU are right there behind him every step of the way cheering him on.

DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE AS
PART OF THE
BADU FAMILY

” During my time in secondary school, Mr Badu and Mr Warbuton were two coaches who I can really say had an influence on me as a student. I could tell that they always looked out for me as they always made sure to help me outside of lessons. 

Whatever problems I may have had in school, I always knew that I could go to them without judgement. This kind of guidance continued after secondary school. During sixth form, I was part of the group that started BADU Mentoring. Here I really began to explore my potential and develop the skills needed to succeed.”

LAMIN

First interaction with BADU
Aged 9, 2007

Borough
St. John of Jerusalem, Hackney

Background

Lamin is a lead coach who has grown by leaps and bounds since first connecting with BADU in primary school. Lamin was a student in school who had great natural ability in sport as well as real
confidence and personality. His challenges came with channeling his energy into the right things during school. Often Lamin’s behaviour affected his attainment. The coaches at BADU identified this and began to mentor Lamin throughout primary school. With the right guidance, Lamin began to flourish both in the classroom and during P.E.

Results + Progress

Mid-way through secondary school, Lamin became a young leader for BADU, volunteering as an assistant coach in our summer camps. Though he was young when he started, he showed real confidence and control as a coach. Being able to have these kinds of attributes when coaching and mentoring children as a beginner is a credit to Lamin’s attitude as a coach. Lamin worked his way up to now being a lead coach in schools and in BADU’s Football Academy. His enthusiasm is infectious and makes him popular amongst young people, coaches and parents alike. He is a real credit to the organisation.

DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE AS
PART OF THE
BADU FAMILY

” BADU has helped me grow as a person and as a coach. Being able to work and progress in a field that I enjoy is something that I can only thank Mr Badu and the rest of the senior team at BADU for giving me the opportunity to do. I always try to give my all to the young people I work with because I know the impact that we as coaches can have on them. I was once one of those children, and now I really understand the importance of what we do at BADU because I was once one of those children.”

OLIVIA

First interaction with BADU
Aged 11, Secondary School

Borough
Hackney, London

Background

Olivia first crossed paths with BADU when she was taught by Mr Badu for PE lessons at secondary school.
12 years later, she joined the team as an employee and went from strength to strength in her role within the Media team. Encouraged by her BADU mentor and fellow colleaugues Olivia continued to develop her personal and professional journey by enrolling on a course with Loughborough University studying Sports Business and Leadership MSc.

Results + Progress

For the next step in her career, Olivia joined the NFL on an 8 month internship programme and has gone on to become the Commercial partnerships coordinator.

DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE AS
PART OF THE
BADU FAMILY

“BADU has helped me grow as a person and as a coach. Being able to work and progress in a field that I enjoy is something that I can only thank Mr Badu and the rest of the senior team at BADU for giving me the opportunity to do. I always try to give my all to the young people I work with because I know the impact that we as coaches can have on them. I was once one of those children, and now I really understand the importance of what we do at BADU because I was once one of those children.”