“My experience so far has been really amazing, I have a team of people and my committed partner who really support me and want the best for me and I’m grateful for that. I have noticed that the way I see things now compared to how I saw things before the residential has changed, it taught me that sometimes there are deeper things in life and sometimes there are things you might overthink too much while the answer is right there on the surface, you just have to find it. I have also learnt to be more true to myself and who I am as a person and can achieve anything I put my mind to. The monthly sessions are mind-opening and are letting me understand different aspects to life” – Young Person, Youth Congress 2017
“Secrets have always been my demise. My entire school experience was hell; I was constantly picked on because of the colour of my skin as well as other imperfections I had. The abuse verbal and sometimes physical however, being that I endured it for so long it become normal to me and I kept it all to myself. I didn’t know the psychological effect of people's actions towards me had made me become void. I was completely empty, I lacked sympathy and other basic emotions and reflected the negativity that had been shown to me onto other people…
Initially when I was introduced to the Youth Congress with Grit I didn't think it was going to be beneficial to me at all; I thought it was gonna give me an opportunity to have my own space for a couple days and I couldn't see the point of me talking about something that I had told myself “happens to everyone”.
I had convinced myself that I wasn’t going to share anything; I was going to sit and mind my business. It wasn’t until the 3rd or 4th day when a girl spoke about her experience that I realised that it's important for me to use this opportunity to speak about something that has impacted my life dramatically. I woke up the next day with an open mind and with the mentality that if I didn't say anything the entire time I was there then it would not only be a wasted opportunity but that I’d also would have failed myself by letting those insecurities people had placed in me take over.
This programme gave me the opportunity to tell my truth. I’m happy that I did because just having people you've never met before listen to you, empathise and relate to you is something remarkable. That feeling of being alone goes away because you have the volunteers, the other young people, committed partners, family, friends etc. I am able to appreciate the support system that I have been blessed with and live my best life knowing and accepting myself for who I am” – Young Person, Youth Congress (London) programme 2017