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Meet Jessi, a young carer, trying her best to look after her mum with severe depression and agoraphobia.  She was juggling caring for her mum and trying to attend college for herself.  She was in turmoil; full of guilt and very unhappy. The college asked her to leave as her attendance was poor (not surprising really) so life took on a few challenges for Jessi. Can any of us imagine how difficult her life may have been?  What services are out there for helping her? Central services are constantly being cut, young people are being asked to fend for themselves, and just get on with it is often the mantra.  Was there any hope?  Yes, Jessi got a Lucky Break! 

She linked up with us at Adviza through our Lucky Break Mentoring Programme – where we link young people in need of some help, some support, some guidance, to a volunteer mentor who gives up their free time to be a positive role model who can help others. Jessi was linked with a mentor from our local community who supported her, they met regularly in a place that worked for Jessi – it was her time, her opportunity to talk about anything and everything. Well, did those meetings make any difference of were they just having a chat?

Yes they did!  The mentor helped her to work through a solution, helped her with time management, made her feel good about having her own life too, plus helped with practical stuff like finding an apprenticeship to suit her goals and skills.  Life began to feel better for Jessi, she secured and achieved an apprenticeship – what an achievement!  The result is a future for Jessi, a happier young person and a happier mum too.  How do we pay for this project?  By fundraising and by using our own resources to fund this project , we receive no local authority funding for this work.  We are always looking for additional funding to keep this project running. If you can help with that please do get in touch with me on 0845 408 5051 from running a marathon, to holding a cake sale to securing a grant. All funds raised go to making a difference!

Jessi recognises she was given a chance, a lifeline to change things for the better.  So, what does she want to do now?  Become a volunteer mentor for Lucky Break!  Full circle, she received help and wants to help others. What goes around comes around….

Being a volunteer mentor is a great opportunity for development too, many of our mentors have gone on to change their own day jobs, some are now working for Adviza and others have moved into new jobs that they’ve always wanted to do.  The commitment doesn’t need to be huge, just a few hours a month can make all the difference BUT it does have to be consistent young people will be relying on you.  If that sounds like something you might want to try then get in touch with us – you’ll receive training and support to make a real difference, ask to talk to the Lucky Break co-ordinator on 0845 408 5002.  If you are a young person, like Jessi, and need some support with college, training, getting into work, planning for the future give us a ring or drop into our centres, whatever your situation we can help. 

So, do we really change lives?  Well, you ask Jessi, you ask Jessi’s mum, you ask any of the 100+ young people we’ve supported on Lucky Break – the answer, most definitely, is YES!

Julie Skinner is Business Development & Fundraising Assistant Director at Adviza

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