Ricky has robbed thousands of people in London. From the age of thirteen he was part of a prolific gang that took what they wanted, intimidated the public and generally ruled their community. After a spell in prison he graduated to dealing crack cocaine. By 17 he was in the devastating cycle that seems to have an inevitable conclusion, death or incarceration.
At 22 his girlfriend became pregnant. The cycle broke. Determined to see his kid grow up, he chose to enter mainstream society, the hard way. No job, no experience, not even a bank account, he found himself at the back of the dole queue. He was a ‘NEET’ in every sense of the word. Then he met Mo.
Mo works for ‘Tomorrow’s People’, a charity dedicated to getting young people back into work. Demonstrating patience, optimism and belief above and beyond the call of duty, he saw the potential in Ricky and over time planted the seed of self belief that has grown into the confidence Ricky needed to stick with it and get his life back on track.
I met Ricky through ‘Private Equity Foundation’, one of the organisations that funds Tomorrow’s People. They tasked me with turning Ricky’s story into a campaign that would help raise substantial amounts of cash from London’s banking community – right in the middle of a double dip recession. A demonstration of the value this community can bring to thousands of young people across the UK. No pressure.
I spent a humbling few weeks with Ricky, his family and children, invited into his home and community to get under the skin of his story. I learned far more than made it into the final cut, initially treating Ricky with scepticism – I could easily have been one of those members of the public he mugged – through to respect for an individual that acknowledged his past and found the courage to change his future. His story is far from over, I only hope it has a happy ending. time will tell.
The film launched during Private Equity’s fundraising dinner where guests left with £1,046,070 less change in their pockets. Well done Ricky, totally legal this time!
More at gregvillalobos.co.uk
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