A bus load of hope - Cherise's story
We first met Cherise in 2016. She was 14 and began attending our Youth Bus sessions with a group of friends. As we got to know her, we learned that Cherise was struggling with an extremely problematic home situation. She was was concerned about issues at school, how she would cope with her G.C.S.E.s and what she would do in the future. Cherise was someone who clearly had loads of potential, but needed support and someone to chat with about everything that was going on for her.
For 2 years, Cherise was a regular on the Youth Bus. She joined in with all the activities: cooking, games and quizzes. She joined our Youth Panel, where she contributed ideas for improving the sessions. She enjoyed debating and leading youth discussions on various topical issues during the sessions. She also attended a summer residential last year, where she learnt sailing, team-work and archery. She said, “I enjoy being able to express my opinions on certain issues and topics. I enjoy coming in general because it’s a family type of feel on the Bus. All of the staff contribute in helping young people, giving them advice and making people feel welcome”.
Youth workers, Helen and Yvonne, worked closely with Cherise, building supportive relationships with her and providing opportunities for her to talk about her feelings and concerns, including some serious safeguarding issues. Through Bus activities, one-to-one work and advocating for her well-being, they supported her throughout 2 challenging years and worked with her to ensure her safety. Cherise told us, “Worth Unlimited has improved my life and gave me tools to reach success”. This summer, Cherise not only completed her G.C.S.E.s, but also got a place at a prestigious sixth form. She has now moved to a new area.
“It has been a privilege to share Cherise’s journey with her, knowing that we built a trusting relationship with her where she could share what was really going on. We supported her through lots of struggles at home and school and her not knowing how she would survive year 10 and 11. We are so pleased for her with what she has achieved. Observing her resilience and strength of her character and how she kept going, even when things were very hard, was very moving.”
(Helen, youth worker)