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Junior, aged 20, Leap Graduate and former Youth Ambassador

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Junior, aged 20, Leap Graduate and former Youth Ambassador

In 2017, Junior was referred onto one of Leap’s conflict navigation courses through his Youth Offenders’ Team Worker. His experience with Leap was transformational – no longer a person struggling with emotional challenges and the impact of a lack of opportunities, he’s now a confident, bubbly man with a career and big hopes for the future.

Here’s his story, in his words: 

“After my YOP sentence, I joined Leap on their ‘Choice to Change’ 10-week course about conflict and navigating different conflicts in life. This was a requirement from court – I had no real interest in the course to begin with. 

But things changed during the fourth week of the course. I realised that my mindset was changing, that I was changing as a person. I found myself becoming a better person – someone I didn’t expect to be. I liked the version of myself I had discovered through this course, this version of myself has:

1. More self-esteem 

Before Leap’s training, I had no self-belief at all. I didn’t believe I could achieve anything or be anything. I suffered from negative self-talk, always putting myself down. Through the course, these barriers broke down. Leap’s support helped me challenge my own perceptions of myself and challenge my limiting beliefs.  

Now, I’m very positive about life and about myself: If there’s something I can’t do, now I’ll work to do it – I see every challenge as a chance for self-growth. 

2. No anger 

Before the course with Leap, I was angry all the time. This anger could escalate, causing issues in my life. Through Leap’s training, I was able to map out who I am and why I am that way. They helped me to challenge my anger and figure out where it stemmed from and how to deal with it.  

I’m not angry anymore - I’m a smiley, bubbly, positive person. 

3. A positive outlook on life 

Prior to Leap’s training, I was in a bad place – I didn’t care about life; I didn’t feel positive about the future. I suffered from severe depression. During a Leap session, the trainers helped me to reveal this and talk about it. For the first time in my life, I realised I had people to confide in, people who genuinely cared about me. The care you receive through Leap is amazing – people working at Leap truly want to see you grow and develop.  

The training with Leap changed my outlook on life forever – I now see life as endless possibilities.” 

 

Junior outside in London
Junior in 2020 for the Remember Me campaign. Credit: Alicia Canter

Following Junior’s 10-week training programme, he was keen to remain involved working with Leap. He successfully applied for Leap’s Youth Ambassador Programme and worked as an Ambassador for two years. Here he explains why he has continued to maintain a connection with Leap: 

“I loved my time as a Youth Ambassador, and I intend to enter the programme again this year. As an Ambassador, I helped with the hiring process for senior managers, participated in the ‘Remember Me’ campaign, and hosted Leap’s Lighting the Fire annual fundraising event. 

Hosting the awards ceremony was one of the biggest achievements in my life. In preparation for the event, Leap staff provided us with tools and resources on public speaking; teaching us how to present ourselves, how to network, and how to speak confidently to an audience. 

Working with Leap has helped me access opportunities that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise, they helped me to get onto the first rung of the ladder in my career. 

When I finished the Leap course, I was still in education, in Year 11. I didn’t get into college. Jaden, a former Leap employee, reached out to me with a job opportunity. That turned into my first ever job and kickstarted my career. 

With his 1:1 support, we worked together on how to prepare for the interview – what to expect, how to present myself, how to talk about my skills. Afterwards, he met me for a full de-brief to talk about how I was feeling and how it went. 

Now I’m on my third job, still working in the same field, thanks to Leap. In times of transition, I always return to Leap – I haven’t received support like it from anywhere else. They help me to stay active and to keep my head up during tough times. 

My advice to other young people considering reaching out to Leap: 

Go for it – you have nothing to lose. Leap have transformed many lives. I’ve seen what a positive impact they’ve made on my life, I want the same for other young people. Leap can help you reach the next level. 

Leap provide 1:1 support, a space to be heard and understood, a space where your opinion is humanised and valued. If you’re searching for meaning and direction, talk to Leap – they can help you to figure out what you want in life and how to go get it.”