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"Taking the first step to a better future" - VT in the Scotsman

A change for the best can offer new hope to some of our most disadvantaged youngsters, says Joe Connelly.

Last New Year, like many others, I promised myself I would make some changes in my life. I was determined to take up swimming more regularly, finally quit smoking for good, and make more time in my hectic schedule to spend quality time with my family. I’ve done well with the first and third of these goals, but have failed miserably with the second. This week, wondering whether I should just “give up and give in”, I turned to an unconventional source for advice and inspiration.

Let me explain. Over the past year, I have been privileged to meet literally hundreds of young people who vowed to change their lives and who have triumphantly, resoundingly, emphatically achieved their goals.

Last year, Sharon told me this: “I’ve had very dark thoughts, times when I’ve considered it might be better if I’m not here”. This year, she’s a prize-winning student at an Outdoor Education College, where she’s learning to share her skills to teach and inspire other young people.

Last Christmas, David was out of work, becoming increasingly despondent as he struggled to find an employer who would take him on. This Christmas, things look quite different: “I am no longer unemployed. After so long without a job, I’m really delighted to have been given a chance.”

Read the full article over on the Scotsman website, and click here to make a donation or buy some kit for our programmes.

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