Priscilla Casey, Founder of The Chosen Youth Movement (TCYM)
A voluntary group providing a support network for youths from in and around the London area
When I was a teenager, I was diagnosed with chronic depression and anxiety. I’d struggled with my mental health throughout childhood, but the condition had gone untreated for a number of years and reached its pinnacle when I was at school. My parents, who are very religious and spiritual people, believed that prayer and church was the solution – and although I respected their beliefs and intentions, the time came when I needed medical support.
I dropped out of Sixth Form, where I was studying Law, because I knew I couldn’t continue. The teachers, who knew I had very promising grades, accepted my decision – allowing me the time and space to think about what to do next. It was of utmost importance to take control in some way and I felt an overwhelming need to be there for other young people in my area who felt lost or lonely. The idea soon came to create a network – a youth empowerment initiative – that would make my peers feel inspired and uplifted.
In 2012, Twitter was really popular and I used the platform to launch a viral campaign – asking people to tweet a random colour and a random fruit along with #TGYM (The Golden Youth Movement). Word spread like wildfire, with people wondering what this hashtag was in reference to. Creating the stir I’d intended, hundreds of followers were amassed very quickly and the first TGYM event took place in November that year – a talent showcase for young people to express themselves.
Since then the initiative has won numerous awards and I re-launched TGYM as TCYM last year – throwing a sold-out empowerment event which attracted big brand sponsorship and featured the participation of influential speakers.
The movement continues to be a going concern, but in 2018 I also launched a second career as a private chef – catering for parties and weddings, as well as cooking at clients’ houses. For a time, I lived and worked at a community hostel, where cooking was my escape. I’d prepare meals from all over the world as a means of ‘travelling the globe’ – opening people up to new culinary experiences whilst enhancing my own skill-set.
Managing health-wise, I’m focused on both ventures.