Sarah

“I found I was able to talk to them about anything – family stuff, relationships and what I hoped to do with my future…I know a better future is possible now”.

I’ve been involved with XLP for the past 2 years, since I was 10 years old. I had been angry and frustrated for most of my life. Growing up, it was just me and my mum and we didn’t have much of anything. My mum always struggled to find a job so I guess the only thing I’ve really ever known is doing without the stuff you really need – the things you want don’t even really come into it!

I think I just felt really angry and frustrated that it was all so hard, so unfair! I tried to deal with it on the inside and not let it show but it didn’t really work. Lots of people at school would say I would come across as intimidating and having a bad attitude. I’d get into arguments with teachers about it and end up fighting with other students. I think I’m fairly intelligent but I was failing all my subjects – I just wasn’t really able to deal with everything.

When I got involved with XLP, it was through one of their bus projects on my estate and some academic support sessions at school. I was able to go along and get help with my school work. But at first I found it really tough to get past feeling so angry and defensive, but eventually I started to trust the youth workers on the bus to tell them about what my life was really like. I found I was able to talk to them about anything – family stuff, relationships and what I hoped to do with my future. They were able to help me build more positive relationships with others and also make better decisions when it comes to peer pressure.

Right now, I’m very happy to be able to say that I’m doing really well at school. At the start of the year I was mostly getting ‘D’ grades but now I’m starting to get ‘A’ grades! That’s really inspired me to keep going, and aim for the high grades – I know I have a long way to go but I feel proud of myself for the first time. I know a better future is possible now.