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Alys’ story

photo Alys GuntleyFollowing a difficult time at home, Alys moved into a YMCA DLG hostel. From that point on she began to turn her life around.

Alys missed quite a lot of school as a teenager, she recalls never being at school preferring instead to be on the streets. Looking back she describes herself as ‘mouthy’ and had several run-ins with the police.  At the same time she says, “I felt as if I had an underground sadness that I never thought I could conquer”.

When Alys needed somewhere to live, a room at the Foyer was available.   At the time she wasn’t working, having been signed off sick, and the future was looking bleak.

She started meeting with her key worker, and found their conversations really helpful. Her keyworker lent her a book about change, commenting, “Change doesn’t have to be scary”.

Alys started studying for English and Maths exams – a challenge considering how much schooling she had missed, but with a new positive attitude she really began to pick things up quickly. When her keyworker suggested she try volunteering her first reaction was very negative.  She says, “In my mind volunteering was working for nothing…little did I know that giving my time would feel so good!”

Alys has since gone from strength to strength, making the most of every opportunity presented to her. She moved on to live independently and secured a cleaning job back at the YMCA.  In her interview she made a lasting impression, saying she could do a better job than the existing cleaner!

Alys had aspirations for the future. She says, “I wanted to work with kids with the same mentality I had so I can give back what I have learned.”  Alys has gone even further to realise this dream, by becoming an Engagement Worker with 16-18 year olds in a YMCA hostel.  She has done this through her own incredible resilience and determination, helped by the encouragement and support she received.  Her former keyworker is now her colleague – both of them are inspirations.