Hannah Leyns

Hannah is an Alumni coordinator at TADA (Toekomst Atelier de l’ Avenir) where she inspires underprivileged kids to become role models and reach their full potential. She gets her energy from working with young people and getting inspired by them reaching their potential. After the ambassadors training at the U.S. embassy, Hannah says she noticed many of the TADA alumni were taking on more responsibilities. “We saw them empowered as role models for their younger peers. That was amazing to see.”

About Hannah “I get my energy from working with people and getting inspired by them reaching their potential.”

“My name is Hannah, I’m 25 years old and I work for TADA Toekomst Atelier de l’ Avenir, which is a weekend school for kids who grew up in the more difficult neighborhoods of Brussels. I’m actually a very happy person, and I tend to see the positive side of life. I also try to follow my gut feeling and my heart. That’s also what I want for the kids at TADA.

I’m responsible for the alumni network at TADA. Kids come to the weekend school where they can learn about the job market or discover their own talents. Through our alumni network, we want to help these kids to grow up as confident and proud adults.”

Ambassadors training

“Last year we partnered with the embassy to organize an ambassador’s training. The goal of this 2-day workshop was for our alumni to develop skills and confidence. It was all about learning skills to become ambassadors for TADA and role models for the younger TADA kids. They learned how to act in front of a camera, how to write a speech, and how to answer difficult questions by journalists. It was an amazing experience!

We saw the kids being very proud of themselves while talking to all the officials of the embassy. Learning how to answer difficult questions from journalists in the Media HUB was an amazing experience.

After the ambassadors training, we noticed many of our alumni were taking more and more responsibility. We saw them empowered as role models for their younger peers. That was amazing to see!”

Solidarity and respect

“I think the level of respect is the thing I would like to change most.”

“On a professional level I hope that in a few years I can see the kids in my class grow up to be confident adults. To see them happy would make me happy. Not that they have to become Prime Minister or a famous cook, as long as they do something they love, because it’s really important to find something that you can put all your soul into.

On a global level, I wish there was more solidarity in the world, and that people would listen to each other. We’re all different but if we respect each other and have some more solidarity it would certainly make the world a better place.

Next to the environment, I’m thinking of solidarity and respect as my main focus. Making sure there is a future for our kids. We’re living in a world that is becoming smaller and smaller. We now have so many ways of communicating. We actually now know what happens on the other side of the world. On the other hand this makes it more difficult. Sometimes I would hope people would have more respect for each other. I think the level of respect is the thing that I would like to change the most.”

 

People are like onions

“People are like onions. They have many layers. My own identity? I was born in Ghent, so I feel like a true Ghentian. I love this city. It’s an amazing place, but at the same time, I now work in Brussels which has its unique vibe.

Identity to me is not only about places but also about the people that surround you. I’m surrounded by amazing friends and a warm family. I believe that family and friends make up my identity. I’m also a sister, a daughter I’m a girlfriend.

I don’t feel just Belgian. I also feel like a European or even a citizen of the world. I feel connected when I go places and I meet people with the same vision or passion I do. It doesn’t matter if they are Belgian, or American, or Congolese, as long as you have things in common it makes you feel connected.

I love The Beatles and I’m also an active member of the Girl Scouts. I’m active in several pedagogical teams, and I’m engaged for the environment. So, I’m all of those things, and all together that makes me who I am.

Home for me doesn’t represent a house with an address. To me, it represents a place I can feel at ease. A place where I feel comfortable, and where I feel surrounded by people that I love and who inspire me.”

“Embrace challenges and turn them into something positive.”

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