Inspired to be the mentor I had
When I was 5 and still living overseas, my parents divorced. That tore our family apart. When my mom remarried, I had a turbulent relationship with my step-dad. We moved to Canada and life took a turn for the worse. I became depressed and started smoking cigarettes. My brother started using drugs and got kicked out of our home a bunch of times, which meant he was constantly in and out of my life. I was bullied at school, adding to my stress. My brother was violent to my mum and step-dad. When I started high school, I started using drugs and alcohol to deal with my stress and to try to fit in with my classmates.
By the start of grade 10, I was using marijuana every day and I dropped out of school. I was kicked out of my mum’s house the day before my 16th birthday. I was homeless for a few days and then lived with a friend for a few months. I moved to London where I floated between friends’ houses and apartments, none of which were safe places for me to be. I started going to school again, and then entered a program to start working on my mental health. At the same time I started seeing a Community Youth Support Worker with WAYS’ Community Programs. My CYS Worker helped me to apply to live at Jon Clark House. At Jon Clark, I’ve learned how to budget, take care of my own things and get along with others respectfully, and I’ve matured a lot. I haven’t used drugs or alcohol since I entered this program. I’ve gotten involved in Youth Empowerment both through WAYS and a regional program between the youth mental health agencies and Mind Your Mind, helping to bring Youth Engagement philosophy to a bigger audience in London-Middlesex. I’m on track to graduate high school and I have plans to go to college to work with youth because I want to be like the people who helped me to figure out my life and become more confident in who I am. I want to be the inspiration to other people that my mentors have been to me.