LEAP Specialist College student Yanick has been awarded the Rotary Young Citizen Peacemaker Award after making an exceptional impact on his peers and the local community.
Yanick, nominated by LEAP Specialist College, will receive his Young Citizen Peacemaker Award at the presentation ceremony on Saturday, 29 April, at St. Benedict’s High School.
Yanick will be attending the Warwickshire-based school with his mum and brother to accept the prestigious award.
As a young autistic adult, Yanick uses music as a platform to break down barriers, diffuse misconceptions, and raise awareness of autism both locally and nationally. His musical talent was recognised when he was invited to remix one of his songs with a professional music producer at the renowned Tileyard studios in London.
Yanick was the driving force behind the development of the college band; Electric Stars, which provides students with a means of musical therapy. Clubs such as these allow students to self-regulate and help reduce anxiety.
In November 2022, Yanick represented LEAP Specialist College at the Natspec Student Parliament event and participated in discussions about how the college can become more involved in the local community and help to provide more social harmony and understanding.
Yanick’s peace-making efforts stretch far beyond the college walls. He actively participates in community activities and initiatives, including volunteering at a local food bank and performing at the Earlestown Christmas light switch-on.
Yanick’s passion for breaking down barriers even led him to participate in a national Natspec debate around blue badge use and how these can be more inclusive of hidden disabilities.
Julliet Doherty, head of adult services at LEAP Specialist College, said: “Yanick’s positivity, kindness and consideration make him a fantastic role model to other students in the college. He consistently encourages others to take up new opportunities.
“Yanick is the perfect example of a student who, despite facing barriers, is challenging himself and others to be the best possible version of themselves. This is just the start of his journey, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for him.”
Rotary International Director-Elect Eve Conway, founder of the Rotary Young Citizen Awards, said: “Yanick is a very impressive young man who, as an autistic adult himself, is determined to break down the barriers around autism using his music to do that. The Award judges were impressed with his determination to do this and to change attitudes within the local community and also to support his fellow students and chose him as the winner of the Rotary Young Citizen Peacemaker Award 2023.”
Yanick, who resides in Bolton, was beaming with pride when he heard the news. He said: “It makes me so excited and proud to hear the news. I just want to thank everyone who is there for me and giving me a lot of support; it makes me feel so appreciated.”
LEAP Specialist College is part of the Remarkable Autism Charity. The charity has a range of initiatives, including Wargrave House School & Sixth Form, LEAP Specialist College, and Sundial Therapy Services.
Each service offers a unique development experience and focuses on holistic and innovative approaches. Robin Bush, CEO of the Remarkable Autism Charity, said: “Our goal at Remarkable has always been to empower autistic individuals to live happy and fulfilled lives. Each of our initiatives provides flexible, holistic and innovative approaches to learning that place individual well-being at the centre.
“We are exceptionally proud of all our students and their achievements, Yanick is a shining example of what can be accomplished with determination and a positive attitude. Our team at LEAP have supported him over the last year to realise his dreams and this award is a brilliant and well-deserved recognition not only for Yanick but for the whole team.”