Meet Paula Leon-James Local mum of three, lawyer and Trustee Trustee, Paula Leon-James, brings with her a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm to Reedham Children’s Trust. Being an advocate for youth education and mentoring, she is dedicated to positively impacting the life of young people. Having grown up in a disadvantaged community herself, Paula recognises the struggles vulnerable families face. She tells us what her future hopes and aspirations are for Reedham Children’s Trust, and how she strives to empower children to become the leader in their life through education. Tell us a bit about yourself… I am a mum of three children, who were all educated in the borough of Croydon. My daughter is a junior doctor at a local hospital and my son who is at Durham University, also aspires to become a doctor. My eldest son has just started his career as a business analyst in the City of London. Unsurprisingly, education was always a top priority in our household! I have worked as a corporate real-estate lawyer in the City for the last thirty years. Outside of work, I love hiking, cycling, running with my two dogs and just about anything that gets me outdoors, which is ironic because at school I would do anything to get out of PE(!) Why did you decide to become a Trustee at Reedham Children’s Trust? I decided to become a Trustee at Reedham because I wanted to use my experience and skills to contribute and to give back. I also wanted to be part of a vibrant, creative and committed team of people, who are all passionate about the aims of the charity. Coming from a disadvantaged background myself, I thought it was a fantastic opportunity to make a real difference to a cause I care about. Tell us about the skills and experiences you bring to the charity... I am used to working in a team, being impartial and organised, analysing information quickly and effectively, using logical reasoning and making sound judgements. I am also enthusiastic and dedicated to positively impacting the lives of children from disadvantaged communities. What are your hopes and aspirations for the children and young people we support in Croydon? At the end of my time as a Trustee, I would love to be able to say that I helped the children that Reedham supports, or any vulnerable child for that matter. Specifically, I would like to help children believe that they can achieve more in their own lives and become the leader of their life through education. My overarching goal is for Reedham to be synonymous with helping children through educational excellence within the borough. I live locally and I didn’t know that Reedham Children’s Trust existed. It would be lovely to make more people aware of our existence and the good work that we do. Do you volunteer outside of this role? I am a member of a group called ‘Areté Network’, who actively promote service in disadvantaged communities, as well as the advancement of youth education and mentoring through the provision of training programmes within disadvantaged areas. I was also a mentor to four girls in years 9-12 at a South London school. And for a few years, I volunteered at a London Law Centre. What’s your ambition for Reedham Children’s Trust longer term? In the long term, I hope that the charity continues to raise essential funds for as many disadvantaged and vulnerable children as possible. I think that the need is going to become more acute in these challenging times and post COVID. I also think that we need to support our Charity Partners, so that they can keep their doors open to the most vulnerable children. It would be wonderful if children knew that Reedham was a place to go if they needed help. We look forward to working with Paula to raise aspirations for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children in Croydon through education. In these challenging times, disadvantaged children living in poverty need our help and support now more than ever. Are you interested in helping or getting involved? Click here to find out how you can help.