Carmen Soraya Kelly

My name is Carmen Soraya Kelly, known to many as Soraya.

I’m educated to a BA (Hons) degree in Youth and Community Education. And founder of the #TheGlovesAreOn registered charity with the key aim of providing a range of opportunities, education and support to children, young adults and their families on difficult and sensitive issues. Topics such as, mental health, school and exam pressure, crime, discrimination, bereavement, personal development and self-confidence. In order to approach, equip and support life skills in our ever changing and challenging society.

I Speak from first-hand experience and come from a mixed-race family. I understand the many cultural, social issues and day to day challenges that potentially could prevent young people from reaching their potential. I was lucky, my grandparents provided this support and gave me the confidence to approach life in a positive manner. Times have changed and not everyone will have that kind of family support. Then, three years ago, I was diagnosed with Cancer. As a mother of four beautiful children, my biggest worry was not what would happen to me if I could not overcome it? But, what would happen to my children? Thankfully, I did beat it, but those concerns overwhelmed me and continued to play on my mind; not just for my own children, but for all young people. What support would they really have in difficult situations? How loud is their voice? Who would listen to them in their time of need? Where could they turn with concerns and issues? I needed to help address these issues and set up `something’ that could do just that.

I had over 30 years of experience working with children, young adults and their families within the community or in the child protection field. I am proud of my achievement winning the “Changing Star” award whilst employed at Cardiff City Council that helped to turn young people’s lives around. From having negative feelings about their futures to believing they could achieve whatever they set their minds to but, this was not enough, and so I set up The Gloves Are On. Utilising my previous employment skills, knowledge, passion and determination to make a difference I started to take the work out to external organisations.