Shaun: I joined the project when I was 14 or 15

Shaun is 21 years of age and local to the area. He is self-employed and rents the house he lives in. He did ‘OK’ at school achieving a number of GCSEs. He joined the Project when he was 14 or 15 years old.

He was placed into foster care when he was 2 or 3 years old, and although he was too young to understand, he understands it was because ‘My mum couldn’t cope’. He has always been slightly deaf and fully understands the challenges he faced during his early life. He says, ‘I guess I created my own friends in my own world and lacked a number of life skills as a result. I clearly wasn’t confident and needed to get out of myself as if I had my way I would choose to sit in a corner on my own’.

He has clear memories of joining the Ynot Project and says, ‘I felt it was an open door, where I could meet new people and gain some much needed confidence. What was immediately apparent was the empathy and understanding Sharon and the rest of the team had for me. Being slightly deaf didn’t matter. They just communicated with me in a positive and thoughtful manner.

There was a lot of team building and team work taking place and I was encouraged to join in. I learnt how to communicate with my peers and other people. Over time my confidence grew and it has helped me to become who I am now. A different person to when I joined the Project!

What has changed about you?

‘As I have said I am more confident and a real team player. I have a purpose in life and know where I am going.

What is the key?

‘The Ynot Project, as it the glue that holds things together. Sharon and her team can refer you to anyone you need and are always so cheerful, positive and have a real ‘can do’ approach. They teach people life skills, which enable confidence, which is the key to everything. They work as a team with themselves and other agencies and I have so much respect for everyone involved. They make things happen and seem to know what you need at any given time. Sharon in particular acts as a mentor and is always there for you’.

What is the future?

‘The future is extremely positive. I am a director in my own not for profit event management company with a colleague who I met on the Project, and it is really successful. I am loving life and can see a really bright future for myself.

Project Manager’s Observations

Shaun was very shy when he first joined us and didn’t feel comfortable in joining in with his peer group. We encouraged him to get more involved in the team building exercises and games and it’s been great to see his self-confidence grow. I’m so proud that he and Eddy are now running their own business, encouraging other young people to get involved in projects and activities and to reach for the stars! He believes in himself and his future, and that is what we want for all young people involved in our projects.

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