A NORTH Harrow ZUMBA teacher has written a book after being shocked at the bleak future laid out for young people in a recent report.
Beth Shepherd, 32, (pictured), has penned a children’s book called Ernie Gonzales – The Determined Dreamer, to encourage youths to have dreams.
A recent report released by UNICEF, Report Card 11, warns that British teenagers’ prospects trail behind those of their counterparts in much of Europe, including in Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Portugal.
Ongoing high rates of teenage pregnancy, proportionately low levels of young people in education, employment or training, and widespread problems of alcohol abuse in teens combine to push the UK down the international league table.
Beth, who teaches Zumba exercise classes in Pinner, told the Observer: “Poverty of aspiration prevents children from aspiring, dreaming and achieving, there is one in six children who live in poverty in Harrow. I want to encourage young people to read and dream.”
The book tells the story of Ernie the snail, who sets out on the adventure of a lifetime, journeying through many escapades with his faithful friends and together seeing the power of dreams made real, visions realised, and hopes fulfilled.
The author said: “I felt compelled to write a book about Ernie who, despite living in a challenging situation, has a dream of a better life and goes in pursuit of it with a determined, childlike faith and naivety. We all need that sometimes in order to believe in and achieve something that seems impossible at the start.”
* Ernie Gonzales – The Determined Dreamer by Beth Shepherd is available from amazon.co.uk or on her website www.bethshepherd.com .