From education to employment


Former @Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspurs (@SpursOfficial) player, and Youth Change Campaigner for the educational, sports and community industries, Eartha Pond knows all about sporting achievement and success. She set up the ESP Foundation as a way to reach all young people to help them grow and reach their full potential.

One such initiatives is ‘Prom 8’, a high-quality educational intervention that supports under-achieving pupils make progress and remain in school. ‘Prom 8’ celebrates young people’s progress within schools through accelerated learning and closing the learning gap between achievers and under-achievers and keeping them engaged. Students hold each other accountable for their progress, with the highest achieving participating school winning an extravagant prom. ‘Prom 8’ offers a ‘star of the month’; ‘school of the year’ – with the winner receiving an ‘all paid for’ entry. The event is also attended by celebrities and influencers and currently works across two schools in London, the Crest Academy in Brent, and City Heights in Lambeth.

‘Prom 8’, former participating student turned volunteer, Marwa Hussain, said: “Prom 8 was a priceless moment I would never forget. Just the possibility of meeting influencers I looked up to through simply remaining focused, inspired me to keep going…I am grateful a programme like Prom 8 allowed a structure and reason to simply keep going with the support of my classmates”.

Headteacher at The Crest Academy (2016 – 2021) Cristalina Ferenandes said: “What Prom 8 did was give students a focus and a goal. They worked together towards a common aim.  Ultimately it was a great reward for a year of extremely hard work. Students felt valued and appreciated. They felt special. Prom 8 has now developed into a more focused reward which I am confident will inspire and motivate all students, especially those who have, historically under-performed, to reach their goals.”

However, for the first time, this year, despite all the hard work and efforts from the students, teachers, community leaders and role models alike, Prom 8’s ceremony has been cancelled due to the growing number of Covid cases and restrictions, bringing heartbreak and disappointment. Not one for running away from a challenge, Eartha is more determined than ever to find a way to celebrate the children’s achievements and is planning to take all 356 children to Thorpe Park on the 16th July.

She has started a campaign via the ESP Foundation and set up a Go Fund Me page to raise £35,600 to ‘Help Get the ‘Prom 8′ kids to the Park’ #ParkTheProms. All the money raised will go towards sending 356 hard working kids to Thorpe Park (£100pp includes fast track ticket, transport and lunch).

Eartha strongly believes that if we don’t change the negative image of young people by engaging with them to celebrate the good things they are doing, then we are doing them and society a disservice. “Giving every child the best tools – creative or academic, support and role model is key to sustaining personalised learning, something of less focus in the current education system but critical to celebrating progress and remembering that every child is important.”

Please join the Eartha and the ESP Foundation and ‘Help get the Prom 8 kids to the Park’ #ParkForProms – We can. We must and We will.

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