Caribbean Focus Takes a Trek to the North Pole with Dwayne Fields
Part 3 of 3 – Back in London
Back on comparatively warmer soil in London, Dwayne is busy completing a Combined Honours degree in Psychology and Third World Development at the University of East London. He also works part time at Barclays Bank.
“I want to be able to help people one day,” Dwayne said. “My degree is preparing me for that. There are many people abroad as well who I would like to help and my choice of third world development is equipping me with knowledge about life abroad.”But Dwayne is already engrossed in his mission of helping others as he has begun work on setting up the Dwayne Fields Youth Foundation. The aim of the Foundation is to give young people a sense of achievement by providing them with opportunities to participate in similar challenges to the Polar Challenge. The aim is also to provide workshops and seminars, as well as mentoring.
“One of the great things about the Polar Challenge,” Dwayne said, “is that it takes you outside of your comfort zone and helps you to see the possibilities of success that are available. I would love to see the Foundation organising events like a week away survival experience for young people to help them to get a hold of these ideas and to transform some harmful mindsets.”
Dwayne added: “A recent government poll highlighted that East London has one of the highest rates of gun and knife crimes in the country. To go a step further, the document stated that young black men were more likely to fall victim to, or commit, these types of crimes in London.”
Dwayne said: “But this does not have to be the case. I hope to encourage individuals to step away from what is stereotypically expected of them and help them to realise that they themselves can become positive role models. Completing the Polar Challenge taught me that your ability is limited only by your imagination. No matter what your circumstances are, if you want to survive, you will! And if people try to limit you, that’s their problem, but you can overcome.”
Everyone needs inspiration and Dwayne said Matthew Henson has been the main one for him. Henson was the first black man to make it to the North Pole. He completed the feat in 1909. James Cracknell and Ben Fogel, both adventurers who have completed events on par with the Polar Challenge, have also been sources of inspiration for Dwayne. “I admire these men because they are constantly trying to better themselves and to achieve more,” he said.
Closer to home, Dwayne’s older brother, Dwight, is also an inspiration. Dwayne first met Dwight when He, Dwayne, was 14 years old. “I fell in love with Dwight straight away,” he said, “and we immediately assumed our older brother, younger brother roles. Dwight is a really smart guy and I always wanted him to be proud of me. When I first told him that I was going to do the Polar Challenge he asked me if I was mad, but then he really encouraged me, as he always does, and told me he had no doubt that I would complete it successfully.”
Dwayne is also currently writing a book about his experiences. “I believe that I have a message for young people,” he said. “And I am well placed to have them listen to me because I am also coming from the grassroots and can therefore relate to youths who are also from disadvantaged backgrounds and who may be at risk from getting involved in gang violence.”
Although Dwayne has been a victim of violence, he said there are some myths surrounding the perceptions of what constitutes a gang. “I grew up in flats,” he said, “and we spent a lot of time in the parks. Fifteen, twenty of us would be hanging around together, because we had nothing else to do. Once people see that, especially if its black youths, they immediately perceive it as a gang.”
As Dwayne continues to encourage and inspire other young people not to live up to the expectations of such stereotypes, his parting words are: “There’s a world outside the box—anything is possible when you believe in what you are doing, when you work hard towards the overall goal and when you keep going even when the going gets tough.”
To contact Dwayne, tel: 07863566917 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to know more about fund raising for the Dwayne Fields’ Youth Foundation, see poster at: low res A3 poster for Dwaynes event.