Donating to ‘Highest Priority Need’ provides YOU with funding to where it is needed most. YOU supports youth to build skills, confidence and independence to reach their potential. We do this through our services, such as education, skills training, employment supports, and referrals they need to lead positive lives. Each year YOU serves over 3,600 youth between 16 and 30 years of age in London and Strathroy.
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Vince did not think he would ever need support. Growing up he was a good student who avoided trouble, but after graduating high school, Vince’s life completely changed.
Within the first few months of college, “everything that could have gone wrong did”. In addition to struggling to make new friends and pay rent, Vince suffered a head injury, had a death in his family, and his parents announced they were separating. “I came home for Thanksgiving, and one of my parents had moved out. To be outside of the situation and struggle with everything else going on in my life, it was a difficult place to be in”.
Even though Vince grew up with parents who were supportive and caring he suddenly felt very lost and alone, which led him to drop out of college and move back to London to find work.
“I was filled with anger and self-hatred, ashamed at where I was at in life. I isolated myself from everyone I knew and loved. I struggled to find work and purpose. I knew I needed help, but I felt like I was a lost cause with nothing to give or offer to the world.”
Trying to advance in life, Vince worked three part-time jobs. “Through it all I could still feel a light inside me, telling me to push forward, no matter how hard it got. I needed something to push me but I was not getting anywhere.”
The feeling of self-doubt was overpowering his efforts. In the midst of this trying time, Vince found a pamphlet for YOU and decided to check out the services offered. Determined to better his life Vince set up a meeting with a counsellor at YOU and from there was referred to the Youth Job Connection program. In the program, Vince learned new job skills, sharpened his resume, was taught how to prepare for job interviews, and most valuable to Vince, he learned how to balance life, work and take care of himself.
Through YOU Vince quickly learned that he was not alone, and that there were other youth in the same difficult spot he was in that came from all walks of life. “Being enrolled in this program enabled me to open up and start seeing my potential and my self-worth.” Through the Youth Job Connection program, YOU was able to place Vince in a positive environment where he quickly began to thrive. “The job helped me overcome the barrier of social anxiety, I finally took the reins of my life.”
Vince is now a full-time employee with the Thames Valley District School Board and has his own art studio where he is able to express his creative side. He is also enrolled at Western University, pursuing a degree in fine art. “Every time I step on campus, I bask at how far I’ve come from where I was. I have climbed the ladder, thanks to the boost YOU provided me”.
Today, Vince offers advice to other youth who are finding themselves in a dark place, “Sometimes, people just need help. As cliché as it sounds, don’t give up. You are worth a lot more than we tend to think we are worth. Utilize your surroundings and your community will help”.