10 May 2013

Before I got involved with the YMCA, I was living in a foster home; I found living in the intimacy of a family was no longer working for me. It caused many problems in the house and me moving on would be the best for everyone, but living on my own wasn’t an option as I’m only 18 and still need help in certain areas. So, I was left homeless.

I didn’t realise that moving out my foster family wasn’t the best thing for me at the time, I stayed with my sister in an overcrowded home for four months.

My social worker told me about the YMCA’s Open Door project,I had my doubts at first as I knew nothing about the YMCA or what they did, but I was curious to learn more about the scheme so I went along to the meeting and then found out what the project was about and how I could live with “Hosts” who alongside the YMCA, would help me take the steps to independent living. This seemed like a great plan for me! I didn’t have to be pushed into living on my own, but I could live somewhere with the help that would allow me to reach independency comfortably.

I had a meeting with the YMCA to discuss my likes and dislikes which would help them find the best Hosts for me to live with. When I met with the possible Hosts, I knew that I would like to live with them because it felt like I would be supported by them, they felt the same and so I moved in with them!

Although I haven’t been here long, I feel much happier. We all work together helping me become more independent through washing my own clothes, keeping my room tidy and cooking meals, but my Steven & Richard are there to support me if I need to talk or need help with my college work. I also receive support from the YMCA through meetings and conversations encouraging me to reach my goals and aspirations.

I feel refreshed and that I can push forward and achieve things in life at college, also move out of supported lodgings and go to university. I believe that this system saved me from choosing the wrong path and made me realise some bigger dreams.

Laura Beard, Open Door Resident