Express & Star

Mentor on a mission: Ambitious Lives aims to help young people

Malachi Nunes is on a mission to be the mentor to young people that he wishes he had while growing up.

Mentor and counsellor Malachi Nunes who runs Ambitious Lives

Living with undiagnosed dyslexia and ADHD, he struggled with school and felt misunderstood by those around him.

"School didn’t identify my needs and I wasn’t offered any support. I also suffered with a stammer which caused many obstacles in my life and presented challenges that led me to stray towards the wrong crowds," says the 38-year-old.

This experience, along with time spent caring for his disabled sister, led to a strong motivation to help others and he now works with young people across Sandwell and Birmingham.

After graduating from London College of Communication with a degree in publishing, he began working as a mentor in the community.

"I gained loads of skills from a lived experience which allowed me to work with young people with special educational needs and autism in schools. I cured my own stammer and taught myself how to manage my impulsive ADHD condition," Malachi tells Weekend.

Keep to champion the achievements of young people, Malachi, who now works as a school behaviour mentor and counsellor, set up Ambitious Magazine, which showcased the work of budding entrepreneurs.

In February this year, he founded Ambitious Lives, a Community Interest Company (CIC) offering young people mentoring, training, workshops and wellbeing activities.

The youth service, based in West Bromwich, has been awarded £10,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund to provide a programme that meets the needs of disadvantaged young people in Sandwell.

Ambitious Lives offers young people mentoring, training, workshops and wellbeing activities

"We help young people by creating a safe space to learn, develop and achieve their creative ambitions to become the best versions of themselves," explains Malachi, who grew up in Highgate, Birmingham.

Ambitious Lives caters for young people who are at risk of ending up not in education, employment or training (NEET), those who have experienced trauma and young people at risk of criminal exploitation.

They also work with young people with behaviour needs and those with special educational needs (SEN) or social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs.

Ambitious Lives offers one-to-one mentoring which aims to improve their self-worth and confidence and manage emotions such as anger and anxiety.

Malachi, who has trained as a mental health counsellor, says they also receive the guidance and support they need to pursue education or employment.

"They have a safe space to discuss their problems and issues. A lot of young people don't get any guidance from their care givers and they need guidance on what to do in life and their purpose," he tells Weekend.

"I would have loved a mentor when I was at school. People at my school didn't understand me. I was dyslexic but I didn't find out until I was 28."

Training and workshop provision aims to provide young people with practical skills they can use in the future as well as important social skills, such as leadership and problem-solving.

The sessions can include music, publishing, multimedia as well as advice on self-employment and starting a business and issues such as social media and internet safety.

Ambitious Lives, which accepts referrals, also offers wellbeing activities that promote positive mental health, healthy living and fitness and hosts community events including a showcase for up and coming young musicians.

As well as mentoring young people who come to him for help, Malachi also goes out into the community to talk to those who may need guidance.

"Recently I’ve been filming my independent outreach work every Saturday in the Birmingham and Sandwell areas, going to hard to reach youth in their areas and mentoring them. I focus on mentoring and educating them on sexual and criminal exploitation, youth violence, safeguarding, gun and knife crime," he explains.

Malachi says being a mentor is very rewarding especially when he can see that he is making a difference to a young person's life. "I love seeing young people who were struggling happy and focussed and havingthe dream of going into work or education. I like see the change in them," he tells Weekend.

His hope for the future is to expand Ambitious Lives so more young people an access its services. "Going forward I would like to have more bases around the Birmingham area so young people don't have to travel too far for mentoring or a service they need," says Malachi.

For more information on Ambitious Lives, see

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.