As 2023 is slowly coming to an end, we’ve pulled together a compilation of young people’s stories from across the year to show the difference we can make.
While every story is different, there is a common theme of resilience, determination and bravery. With our support, each of the young people below has overcome significant challenges to get to where they are today. By donating to us and sharing our content, you’ve also played a part in transforming their lives. Scroll down to read each of their inspiring stories…
Mollie was struggling with anxious thoughts that were taking over her life and stopping her from being independent. She felt stuck and constantly feared she was in danger. When Mollie started seeing a YMCA Dialogue counsellor, everything started to change. Mollie was supported to overcome her anxiety and gain control over her life. She’s regained her confidence and is looking forward to travelling and going to university.
“I was in such a dark place. I spent so many years wanting to kill myself, I couldn’t see happiness and thought there was no hope. But then the lovely people at YMCA gave me a nice home to live in and a safe space.”
Ben had a difficult time growing up and was thrown out of home at just 15. He ended up in a hostel with adults which impacted his mental health. Through the perseverance of a teacher, Ben was given a home in our 24-hour supported accommodation and life got better.
Nader left his home country when he was just 14, and after a difficult journey he arrived in the UK as an unaccompanied asylum seeking child. Nader was given a home at YMCA DownsLink Group and was supported to learn English, attend college and take part in lots of activities. Nader has a strong desire to help other people and has been volunteering for a food kitchen for months.
“I’ve changed a lot since moving into YMCA. I’m a lot more open with people and I’m a lot better at talking about my feelings. I didn’t even think I was worth listening to. But now I know I am and I love myself now.”
Alysha had a difficult childhood, full of arguments and tension, which led to her battling with her mental health. Thrown out with nowhere to go, she sofa surfed at friend’s houses until she was given a home with us. With the support of YMCA, Alysha has turned her life around. She’s grown into an independent, determined young person who’s about to start university to train as mental health nurse.
Meet dreams of being a champion. She wants to represent Britain as part of the GB boxing team and win medals. Despite facing many challenges as a teenager, with the support of YMCA DownsLink Group and Hailsham Boxing Club, she’s thriving and is working hard to turn her dreams into reality.
A year ago, Josh was facing homelessness. He was having trouble at home and didn’t get on with his parents. After moving into our supported accommodation, he took every opportunity he could to help others in a similar situation.
A heart attack permanently altered Mapalo’s mum’s personality. Forced to go to school with a suitcase full of her belongings, Mapalo would present herself as homeless. Things changed when she turned 18 and was given a home at YMCA. Our staff did all they could to help her achieve her dream of becoming a midwife.