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Read on to find out how YMCA MK supported Sam to work towards her employment goals.

I was asked to leave home aged 20 and after staying with friends and sofa-surfing for several months I came to the YMCA in 2021. At the time I was feeling lost as I had never had to manage on my own before, but I was also excited for the future.

I needed support to learn how to live independently. This meant getting a job. Whilst working I wasn’t staying in jobs for long because the jobs weren’t interesting me. I was in and out of different jobs and quite often falling into rent arrears. There were times I felt down, depressed and wouldn’t go to work, because I couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.

My Coach took the time to get to know me and encouraged me to join in with the activities programme and get involved with the YMCA community. Joining in with the sporting activities was a great way to re-ignite my passion for sport and get to know new people.

In one of my employability sessions I said to my Employment Coach, Gail, that I had always wanted to work as a Personal Trainer but felt this was beyond my reach. Gail supported me and helped me gain soft skills and self-confidence. I learnt not only how to live independently, but I also learnt resilience. Gail taught me how to believe in myself.

Despite challenges and setbacks I was determined to succeed and YMCA were there all the way. If I could describe the support I’ve received from Gail and my coach it would be ‘nurturing’. Other residents have also been really supportive and encouraging, telling me to believe in myself.

I have now been working for six months in a gym and am living in one of the YM’s independent flats. I love the community here and can still join in the activities when I’m not working.

Talking about what YMCA means to her, Sam said;

“The YMCA is my home, I guess. Home means to me a warm and safe space. The staff make me feel like I belong, and I can develop personally.”