“I don’t think I would be alive today if it wasn’t for you”
Kylie* was a troubled teenager who was really struggling with life. She was having a terrible battle with depression and was the target of relentless cyberbullying from her schoolmates. Unable to escape, schoolyard taunts would follow Kylie from school to home and she was stuck in a negative cycle of self-hate and despair.
Today she credits Youth Off The Streets with saving her life. She is so grateful she met our Outreach Workers just at the right time.
“They were always coming to the local skate park and giving us free food,” says Kylie, now 20. “After a while, I came to trust them enough to open up about my struggles. For the first time I felt accepted. They didn’t treat me like I was a freak, but most importantly they gave me strength to believe I could get through it.”
At the time, Kylie said she had few close friends to open up to and didn’t want her mother and brother to know how much she was struggling.
“I was scared I’d be judged. I felt so alone and I didn’t want my family to know everything that was going on in my life. I just needed to talk to someone who understood what I was going through and to show they cared.”
Since meeting our Outreach Workers, Kylie has become free from her past and is now on a mission to help others in situations like she once was. She has become a Youth Off the Streets volunteer and is part of our Youth Advisory group that helps young people overcome their various challenges.
One of the team members who helped Kylie says she was very shy at first but once she confided in her, she came out of her shell and started to shine.
Kylie knows that she couldn’t have overcome her obstacles alone.
“It’s hard to explain how much they have helped me. Words cannot describe how thankful I am. There’s a good chance I might not even be alive if I hadn’t come to outreach that day.”
The best news is that now Kylie is studying nursing which she hopes will also help her mother for whom she is caring. Kylie has a promising future. She is wonderful example to us all.
Seventeen-year-old Billy* is an example of one young person who has really been able to turn his life around.
Billy was expelled from one school and lasted less than two weeks at the next one. He was clearly a young person in need. However, from the time he came to us for help and entered our Chapel School in Merrylands, he has shown wonderful progress.
Billy’s mum: “The (Youth Off The Streets) school has been amazing. Billy is now graduating from high school and I never would have thought that was possible. It was really hard for all of us and I feared for his future. I’m so proud of him and all he’s achieved and it’s all because you gave him a chance and helped him discover his strengths.”
Soon after arriving at Chapel School, Billy showed an interest in bikes and was encouraged to join our Cycle of Courage program. This Outreach solution encourages young people to take up cycling and push their limits to achieve positive results. For kids with a lot of energy like Billy, this program has shown to be an excellent initiative for kids to experience the discipline of training and expel their energy in a positive way.
We have seen many of our young people grow through riding. In Billy’s case, it has taught him self-discipline and helped him improve his social skills. Now, I am delighted to say, he has been working in a bike shop and is currently completing a certified bicycle mechanic’s traineeship through TAFE and his employer.
As Kylie’s and Billy’s story shows, our Outreach and after-school programs are very effective in helping disadvantaged young people form better connections with community, education and employment. Together, we can help provide a better future of young disadvantaged people like Kylie and Billy.