“I left school at 15 and I had no idea what I wanted to do. I admit I was lazy – staying in bed till 3pm and then staying up until 2am on my Xbox.
“I was pretty quiet, a bit of a loner and frustrated that I had nothing to do. I heard about the HITZ Programme at my local youth club, which is also run by YG. When my youth worker suggested I give HITZ a go, I trusted her. They came out and did a few sessions at the youth club. I think if I had just been given a flyer when I was at school or something, I would never have gone along – but the fact they came to me really made a difference.
“HITZ was amazing – I hated school because the teachers never understood me, but this was different. The programme leaders really cared about me and pushed me to achieve. I like to think of myself as quite a sporty person – but if I’m honest I really lacked the motivation to commit to anything.
“HITZ showed me I can push myself and I am capable. We set our own goals and targets and I smashed mine! I absolutely loved the course; I’m so proud of myself and feel like I really achieved something.
“The changes in me might not be obvious on the outside, but to me they are massive. I feel confident and am far more outgoing. I’ve made new friends and I feel both physically and mentally stronger. I have made important changes to my lifestyle – I get up in the morning, I go for runs and use my local outdoor gym.
“I’ve always thought about joining the army, but I was too scared about the physical tests, but now I know I’m capable and can really push myself. I have a plan and I’m ready to work hard to achieve my dreams.”