LEYS CDI has a dream.Fifty years on from the iconic Martin Luther King speech Blackbird Leys Community Development Initiative (CDI) wants youngsters to pen their own inspirational words.
The summer programme of activities kicked off yesterday with cash from the Oxford City Council Positive Futures Programme and the final round of a three-year £372,000 Big Lottery Fund.
The money goes towards a wide array of activities ranging from music production and learning how to DJ to T-shirt making and fashion shows.
It also funds vocational work designed to help people into work.
Project co-ordinator Marsha Jackson said in a twist this year they would include lessons on public speaking and speech making with their “I have a dream” course.
On August 28, 1963, the famous black US activist Martin Luther King called for an end to racism in America with a message to more than 250,000 supporters on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.
It was a defining moment in civil rights history and became one of the most famous speeches of all time.
Ms Jackson said: “We’re hoping to inspire as many youngsters as we can to talk about their hopes, dreams and aspirations. It’s something different this year and we hope that it will be a lot of fun.
“The speech-making course is something different and hopefully it will help people open up.
“The aim of the sessions is to get children off the streets, make friends, keep people together and give them something to do. What else is there for youngsters of their age?
“We’ll make sure we have plenty of sporting activities on too while the weather is good to keep them as active as we can.”
In recent weeks the charity, established 18 years ago to keep youngsters busy in the school holidays, has been showcasing activities on offer at Blackbird Leys Community Centre.
Ms Jackson has been involved with Leys CDI since 1995 and said has seen thousands of youngsters take part.
She added: “It’s all about the children and we are glad we can continue this year and keep going.”
Sinnita Williams, girls and young women participation worker, added: “It’s a challenge to come up with something new each year but we love it and we love the positive impact it has on young lives.”
The sessions run from Monday to Friday, 10am until 4pm and cost £3 a day.
For details call Marsha Jackson on 01865 395927.