I lost both my parents aged 14. I couldn’t cope with the grief, and to block it out I became involved with gang violence and hid behind my street persona. Streets of Growth's intervention workers tried to meet me where I was hanging out, but I was completely disengaged and resisting all help. I was even verbally abusive. But they never gave up and kept trying different ways and times of the day and night to build trust with me. This went on for three months until I began to open up and let them into my life.
I went into their centre and it was nothing like I had experienced before. The way it was designed, and they never pushed a list of courses at me like I had previously experienced elsewhere with no progression. I needed so many areas of support including my family loss, my education, trying to start a new career, and leaving gang mates. Streets of Growth’s Bridging Model is set up to help young people like me deal with these things.
I have successfully completed a BTEC Award and a work experience placement. It hasn’t been simple though. I was recently caught with cannabis by the police. But I got in touch with my intervention coach at Streets of Growth immediately after who helped me see the consequences of my actions and how this could ruin what I really want in life, and he worked with me to develop an action plan for sorting out set-backs.
Today, I have a full-time job and no longer involved with drugs or mates in gang postcode stuff.
I grew up in care and after many years of problems at home and school I got mixed up with a local gang. I was exploited, forced to take drugs and alcohol, and was eventually caught by police carrying Class A drugs aged 17. Faced with a prison sentence I reached my lowest point and saw no future for myself.
Streets of Growth got involved after I was arrested and started to support me through helping me to really look at my life, my negative thoughts and behaviours and those I was associating with. The intervention staff worked with me in many areas of my life.
They reached out to me on the streets to make sure I was not falling back. This all helped preventing me from getting a prison sentence on the condition that I continued to progress with Streets of Growth. Since then, I have gone on to complete my college course in Business Studies and started my first paid job. I recently returned to Streets of Growth to help mentor some other young people who need help just like I did back then. To help me celebrate my achievements Streets of Growth awarded me with a ‘Inspiration for Change Award.’