Jack

“I’ve been encouraged by XLP to think about my future, which has helped me understand why it’s worth staying in school. After a while I actually stopped hating school and even became a prefect!”

When I was younger I had lots of issues and used to cause a lot of trouble in my local area. Secondary school was really tough for me at the start and I hated going, I just didn’t see the point. I ended up hanging around with the wrong people and they influenced me to do bad things. As I got older the ‘bad things’ became more dangerous and the consequences were more severe. I realised that I didn’t want this for my life; I had to do something about it and turn things around to make my life better in the long run. I found that when I looked in the mirror I didn’t recognise myself. It wasn’t me and I knew I could do so much better, but I didn’t know how.

I started coming to the XLP bus because some friends told me about it and I was interested to see it for myself. They seemed to take part in fun activities and have good relationships with the youth workers there and they encouraged me to come along. There were lots of different activities happening on the bus and we did some cooking and played games, and I began to feel more comfortable with the youth workers. That was three years ago now and I’ve been coming to XLP projects ever since.

I’ve learnt so much through XLP, like how to make good choices for myself and how to resist peer pressure. It was only through the support of their youth workers that I managed to break away from the bad crowd I was hanging out with and make some more positive friendships. I’ve learnt so much from mixing with people who are from other areas and are different to me. I’ve been encouraged by XLP to think about my future, which has helped me understand why it’s worth staying in school. After a while I actually stopped hating school and even became a prefect!

XLP has had a great influence on my local area too. Before the project started, young people were causing a lot of trouble on the streets and there was a lot of fighting going on, but things are calmer now. XLP is doing a lot in the area; for example they run football sessions for both boys and girls and have a youth café in Canning Town. Now I don’t only attend the sessions but also get involved with helping the younger kids, even leading activities myself. I’m also in further education, studying Public Services at college and hope to join the army when I’m older. With the help of XLP I’ve turned my life around and things are terrific.