How ACES has helped improve my writing skills by Vanessa Yakubu

My name is Vanessa Yakubu, and I joined ACES Aspire in May. I was excited to join since I had heard positive testimonies about the youth group in the past. It was in August when Donia Narh gave us a summer project; to write an article. The topic was influential black people, so my initial thought was ‘typing this up will be a piece of cake’. The influential person I chose was Rihanna because I see her as a great businesswoman and role model.

I sat down and brainstormed how I would piece together my ideas into an article, as well as making it sound professional and well executed. To my

surprise, it was a lot less straight forward than I originally thought it would be! I tried everything; mind mapping, drafting, plotting ideas, bulleting. By

the end of the day, I had made little progress and was so frustrated with myself. I felt like giving up and making a lousy excuse as to why I couldn’t

provide the article.

I had to ask my mum for guidance, and she helped me get the ball rolling. After that, I actually began to enjoy writing it. I finally hit the 500-word mark, sent off the article before its due date and had also equipped a new skill. Although I was doing well in English at school, writing in an article style was something we had never really practised before, so sitting down and typing that article was a great obstacle I had to overcome. Yes, 500 words definitely aren’t astonishing, but for me achieving that considering my circumstances was a big deal.

Now that I’m beginning my GCSE courses, article writing is something that appears more often in school. I have been working at a quicker pace in that field thanks to the articles I had to write for ACES. Without having the previous practice with ACES, I don’t think I would be able to complete my article writing homework. I have also written two articles for my secondary school magazine; one on a sports event at Copthall, and the other about a dance competition I partook in.

It has not only has it benefitted my school life; my business has also benefited. I run a foodie website ( All the tricks I’ve learnt from writing for ACES have now been implemented into my daily blog posts, now they sound less stiff, and are also faster to write.

I’m just writing this to encourage young people like me to get involved in these activities. You get to learn new skills that can actually be implemented into your daily life, just like me. Thank you to Aunty Donia for initiating the project.

-By Vanessa Yakubu, Year 9

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