We recently caught up with one of our former residents Millie, who has been rallying together her local community to collect donations for young people living in our supported accommodation this Christmas.
Millie had a difficult childhood which impacted her mental health and resulted in her leaving home at just 16. She was given a home in our 24-hour supported accommodation and life began to improve when she received the wraparound care and consistent support she needed. We helped Millie repair her relationship with her family and eventually to move back in with them. She’s now come full circle and wants to give back to YMCA.
She tells us more below:
I was in the pub when I came up with the idea of donating boxes of gifts to YMCA. I saw something about the Love in a Box campaign which happens every year at YMCA and I thought, if I received a box full of goodies at Christmas while I was living there, it would have made my year. It would have given me that little bit of faith in people and humanity. I thought, I could do that. I came up with the idea and then started doing it, putting it on Facebook and asking for donations. People are coming together for it, dropping off bits and pieces.
There’s a craft house down the road from me and I’ve spoken to them and they’re all making personalised Christmas cards for each resident so it’s a bit more special than just the box of gifts. The community have been great, rallying around it all.
I want to give something back to YMCA because of how much they helped me. When I had literally nothing, they were the ones that gave me everything.
If it wasn’t for their support, anything could have happened. After everything that they’ve done for me, I just wanted to give back.
Earlier this week, Millie dropped off her boxes, each filled to the brim with goodies and wrapped up with a card. It was really special to see a young person spend so much of their own time and efforts to make other people happy. The boxes will be shared out across our various housing projects, including where Millie used to live.
Millie was also reunited with her old Project Worker, Eammon (pictured at the top of the article). It was heartwarming to watch Millie talk about the great things she’s achieved since moving out of YMCA, including working two jobs, travelling solo across Europe and living independently. She also gave a card and Christmas gift to Eammon to thank him for everything he did for her when she lived at YMCA.
Eammon told Millie:
What you’re doing here is truly Christian. It’s what the YMCA is meant to be doing. You’ve absorbed our values and are doing it without even realising. That’s what it’s all about, just being there for other people, showing people love. It’s nice to be nice.
I’m so happy that you’re doing so well. I often look back on quiet days and wonder what’s happened to people who have left YMCA and you’ve crossed my mind a few times but knowing that you’re doing so well makes me really happy. That’s the biggest gift I can receive. Well done you for sorting everything out, I can only say things but it’s you who can choose to listen and act on them. It’s all your hard work. You’ve done it and you’ll keep doing it. I’m very proud of you.
We’re so grateful to Millie for all her kind efforts. She is a shining example of how the right support can transform a young person’s life. Millie’s gifts will make our residents’ Christmas days extra special and reminds us all of the power of kindness. We can’t wait to see more from Millie next year as she takes on our YMCA skydive in March! Click here to read her full story.