A man from Ribbleton has gone from being a ‘disengaged student’ to the founder of a movement that aims to be a voice of encouragement and positivity.Advertisement
Rickeem Richardo, who now lives in London, runs community-based organisation Achievable Ways Of Living (AWOL).
Through AWOL, 28-year-old Rickeem uses social media to share inspiration and life advice.
As part of the AWOL offering, a mentoring programme called Inspiring Belief helps young people change their lives though goal setting, habit building and teaching what it takes to develop a growth mindset.
Recently launched football player performance programme, TekkyFc, supports aspiring footballers by teaching them the strategies and methods of elite performers.
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Rickeem, who was born in south east London, moved to Preston when he was four years old. He had a difficult time at school, at one point being excluded from Christ the King Catholic High School in Frenchwood.
He said: “I was raised by a single mother who at the time was pursuing a nursing degree. From a young age I was taught independence, discipline and love.
“During my high school years I was very much a disengaged student. An education was something I didn’t think I was capable of accomplishing so school for me was just a place to socialise and spend time with friends.”
After leaving school, Rickeem worked at James Hall and Co. for three years, until he hit a crossroads in life in 2015.
He said: “I realised there was more to achieve in this world. For the first time in my life, I was ready to take my career and life path seriously. I was obsessed by the idea of creating something to inspire others.”
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However, when Rickeem quit his job to improve his quality of life and pursue something more meaningful, he was met with questions from people around him.
“I had people saying I was crazy for leaving my job, questioning my state of mind and advising me I was better off remaining at James Hall. It was disheartening to hear the doubt.”
Luckily Rickeem had support from his mum and other close family and friends, plus two other key supporters.
“Omar Khan, the founder of Preston United Youth Development Programme helped me tremendously. He was the first person to give me an opportunity to test my idea and service out with young people, and since then has continuously supported me.
“Colleen Francis is another person who at the start pointed me in the right direction. She introduced me to contacts around Preston and believed in what I was aiming to build and do.”
Rickeem says there have been many highlights on his journey with AWOL, including relocating to London and visiting Brazil, where he connected with community groups and communities.
More recently Rickeem has released a book titled A Modern Manifesto to Developing Self-Worth and Building an Indestructible Mindset, which has sold copies across the UK and internationally.
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Looking ahead, Rickeem has big plans for the future.
He said: “Our ultimate aim is to build an AWOL sports, education and training facility.
“It would be a new age development centre for young people who have the aspirations and desire but lack the facilities, support and guidance to fulfil their dreams and ambitions.
“For now the impact and influence the movement is having upon people on a daily basis is certainly a fulfilling thing to see.”
Proud Preston. This, and many stories like it, show how the people of Preston are making a difference. Our Proud Preston section showcases all the charitable, kind, uplifting and great things about our city and the people who live here. #ProudPreston is alive and well, and there’s much to celebrate and be proud of, despite the challenging times we all face.
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