March was an amazing month! A video about my Makaton Friendly events reached almost one million views, I was a finalist at the BBC Young Reporters Awards, and I was interviewed on live BBC News. This is how it all happened...
My name is Jake, I am 16 years old and I run Makaton Friendly events under the name DJ Jay. At home one day I saw an advertisement from the BBC looking for Young Reporters and I thought, yes I ‘ve got a story to tell, why not? I filled in the online form and a few weeks later got a phone call asking for more details about why I use Makaton at my events.
Then I forgot about it.
I was completely shocked when I got a phone call weeks later to say that I had been shortlisted as one of the 12 finalists from over 1,500 applicants, and that I was invited to the BBC for a presentation event. Also (as if that wasn’t enough already!) BBC Newsround were to come to one of my events to make a video about my use of Makaton.
Within days a video was made at Dorin Park School, Chester where my cousin Alice is a pupil. Alice is a Makaton User, and she is the reason I wanted to make my events inclusive. It was a great day seeing Alice and her school friends having fun together, Ricky the BBC Newsround Presenter joined in with us to sign’ This is Me’ from the Greatest Showman. Here is the result which I absolutely loved!
The video was released the evening before we travelled to the BBC London for the awards. I woke up to see it had already reached 40k views which was just amazing. It was an early start for me that day as I was appearing on the BBC Radio Merseyside Breakfast Show with Tony Snell. From that moment on my mobile phone started buzzing with messages from friends and well wishers.
My Dad insisted on me having a quick haircut before dashing to Lime Street Station to catch the train to London. At Runcorn station my cousin Alice and my Aunty joined us. I wanted Alice to join me as she is a key part of my story, the BBC agreed and insisted she came along too.
After Arriving at London Euston Station, we were driven to BBC Television Centre for BBC Young Reporters presentations, after a quick bite and one last hug with Alice we were ready to go! The event was amazing with 11 other inspirational individuals all with very diverse stories to tell. Alice and I loved sharing our story and going to collect my award.
After the official photos with trophies we were dashed into a studio for an interview on BBC Live News. Alice loved watching from the green room, with my Dad and Aunty.
It was really nerve racking been on live TV with all the camera’s whizzing around the studio – what an experience!
Finally, we headed back to the train station to go home - shattered but feeling great and overwhelmed about how far my story has spread and how many people have appreciated hearing about Makaton and inclusion. My involvement with BBC Young Reporters has made me really interested in a career as a Children’s TV presenter – using Makaton of course! And I am looking forward to my next level of Makaton training later this year, and one day hope to become a Makaton Tutor.
I would like to thank my Aunty Amanda for all her hard work and commitment, I would also like to thank all my clients and friends who booked me from the start – this all happened because of you!