A DAY IN THE LIFE
Angela Awuah, CEO, The Arts
Angela Awuah, 25, is the founder of the Mental Health: The Arts. She lives in Streatham with her siblings.
What time does your alarm go off?
I have three alarms. I know it’s bad but I really enjoy my sleep. The first one is at 6am and that is just to let me know that it’s almost time to wake up. The second 6:30am, which lets me know I should be up in 15 minutes and the last at 6:45am. At this point, I’m fully awake. I then pray, write in my journal and read my bible. I might check my emails and any messages and then I have a shower, brush my teeth get dressed and do my makeup.
What is a typical day for you?
I’m the founder of Mental Health: TheArts, which is an early intervention creative arts academy for young people between the ages of 13-25 years old with a direct or indirect experience of mental health. We work with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to create creative coping mechanisms through our talks, workshops and The Arts programme.
A typical day would involve going to meetings with a partner organisation or a young person who is interested in becoming a volunteer. I might prepare for a workshop, and either reply to emails or call the young people who are participating or sharing their own personal stories.
How did you start your business?
I initially wanted to launch Mental Health: The Arts as a platform for young people who have experience of ill-mental health, to express themselves in a creative way. However, I didn’t know how to turn this idea into a sustainable business and just went with the flow. I applied for grants and spoke to family and friends who have struggled with mental health and have used art therapy activities. I also sourced venues that were free or could be paid for using the grant money.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
“Although you are a carer, make sure you live your life and chase your dreams.”
What are the best things about your job?
Networking with people and supporting and empowering young people. Also facilitating workshops and sharing my story, knowing that my struggles are not in vain.
How do you unwind after work?
Usually it varies depending on how I'm feeling. I know I should go to the gym but I normally cook for the family. If I'm really tired then I’ll grab something to eat and watch a film on Netflix. There are times where I'll listen to my favourite music either Gospel or Afrobeat and imagine myself dancing.
Where do you go for personal &/or professional advice?
For personal advice, I tend to pray, (although I do forget at times) and then I normally speak to my boyfriend and then to my close friends or mentors. For professional advice, I speak to my business and financial coach.
What do you do to get ideas and inspiration?
Normally I would read my bible or pray, or attend mental health conferences speaking to people about their experiences. I also enjoy watching Elevation Church sermons by Pastor Steven Furtick (is actually the best) or dance groups performing to worship music on YouTube or watch dance groups Sometimes I just sit in silence and let my imagination go into overdrive, which is when I come up with creative ideas.
How do you stay productive throughout the day?
This is a good question! If I'm honest I think I struggle with this because sometimes I feel overwhelmed with having a full-time job, caring for my mother and the other commitments that I have. I pray that God will give me the strength and motivation to continue achieving my goals. When my mind is crowded, I find it hard to get work done so I take a break by dancing, watching videos on YouTube or I reflect on my achievements.
However, the smiles and the tears of the young people that I have been able to support is what keeps me going.
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