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Impact Stories

Jenny’s story: Building confidence

Hi, my name is Jenny* and I live locally to one of the London Youth Zones. I watched it being built and was excited to find out more about it. I joined and started coming from the day it opened because I wanted to make new friends. When I first started coming to the Youth Zone I was really nervous and scared to talk to people. It was very busy and there were lots of people I didn’t know. I even found it difficult to talk to the staff.

That has all changed. I come to the Youth Zone 4-5 times a week and I know that there will always be a member of staff that I can talk to or will help me to get involved in an activity. I feel like the staff know me and support me, especially with issues that I experience outside and at school including bullying. I’m moving schools because of the bullying, and staff at the Youth Zone have really helped me to stay positive. They have also taught me not to react to the bullies. I used to cry a lot, but not so much anymore.

There is always someone at the Youth Zone who will listen and give me advice. I have lots of friends and I am more confident in talking to people I don’t know. I am quite sporty and love taking part in challenges. I’ve learnt to box at the Youth Zone, which has helped me control my anger. I think I am getting much better and I am hoping to do a boxing qualification soon.

The Youth Zone has helped me to concentrate more on school and homework. I sometimes ask staff to help me with my homework and I know I can use the computers. I’ve also started the mentoring programme. I think my attitude has changed. I am better behaved at school and at home and am a much more confident person than I was before. The Youth Zone makes me happy.

“Jenny has grown in confidence since joining the Youth Zone. She used to be regularly in tears and had problems sustaining friendships. Jenny is a different person now. Much more focused and engaged in activities, keen to take part in projects and groups and her confidence is blossoming.” Youth Zone Art Team Leader.

*names have been changed.

I think my attitude has changed. I am better behaved at school and at home. I am a much more confident person than I was before. The Youth Zone makes me happy.