Monday marked the first annual Day of Hope in the UK, commemorating what would have been Damilola Taylor’s 31st birthday.
Held on December 7, the event saw youth ambassadors from around the world share their own messages of hope for the future and advice to their peers.
Damilola’s father, Richard Taylor OBE, said: “My hope is for my son’s legacy to be one of hope, life and opportunity.
“For every young person to have aspirations and the chance to pursue their dreams.”
Two Millwall football academy players were among those sharing their own dreams and messages of support to other young people.
Seventeen-year-old Chin Okoli, from Lewisham, said: “I wanted to make my parents proud, and that’s still my motivation today. I want to make my parents proud of me.”
He added: “My advice to young people would be to keep working hard. Do not compare yourself to others around you.
“To understand that everyone is on their own individual journey, and this is in everything – not just football – everyone is on their own journey and your time could come to you when you least expect it.
“So just to keep working hard and be ready. And also to also understand that no matter where you come from, no matter your past, there is always a good future out there for you.”
Fellow academy member 18-year-old Nana Boateng, from Lambeth, said his goal is to make my family and friends proud.
“My advice to young players is to be disciplined and to work hard and, finally, to be patient. Because in the situation where things aren’t going right for you, you need solutions to overcome your obstacles.”