On Thursday 4 February, Tracey Ford, mum of Andre Smartt-Ford (pictured above) joined us to talk about Andre’s life and the work of JAGS Foundation, which was set up to help young people.
Andre Smartt-Ford lost his life, at the age of 17, in 2007 to violent crime in Streatham, South London. Following his death, his mother, Tracey Ford, set up JAGS Foundation (reflecting Andre’s full name: James Andre Godfrey Smartt-Ford) to focus on education to build empower and build resilience in young people.
Tracey spoke movingly about Andre’s life, her greatest emphasis was on painting a picture of the joy and hope in his life as he grew up, but she also described the shock and trauma of his death; the on-going pain of his loss and the anguish that no-one has been found responsible for his murder.
We heard about the variety of work carried out by JAGS, which includes visiting prisons and schools to talk about Andre’s life to raise awareness in young people of the the effects of violent crime, to educate young people on the effects of trauma, as well as projects that include support for bereaved parents, awards to celebrate positive contributions by young people to their communities and more recently the provision of meals to those in greatest need during the Covonavirus pandemic.
For those present via Zoom, it was a deeply moving presentation – to feel connected to Andre’s life, and the pain of his loss, through Tracey’s words and the pictures and videos she brought to us, with the accompanying thankfulness that Tracey and the JAGS team have made a significant contribution to the efforts to bring positive action in the wake of this traumatic loss.
Below is the post event chat room…