Here’s what Chance 2 Change has meant for a recent participant.
In 2012, I was given a six year custodial sentence, three years of which I had to serve in prison and the remainder on conditional release. This was the first time I had ever found myself on the wrong side of the law. I was young and found myself keeping the wrong company and making the wrong choices. However, through Chance 2 Change, I have managed to overcome this and leave my chequered past behind me.
During my time in prison, I took the opportunity to take part in many different courses to learn new transferable skills to better myself. Within the last month or so of my sentence, I was notified of a new course which was going to be available just before my release. This was called ‘Chance 2 Change’ and the only other information available at that stage was on how to refer yourself onto the programme. I was completely oblivious to what the course entailed, but naturally assumed that it would be about ‘Change’. I was committed to learning a positive path and therefore decided to take part to continue my journey of personal development and growth.
After session one of C2C, I felt extremely positive. The facilitator and group members gave out a very optimistic vibe which then led me to become curious and eager to find out more. Instantly, I felt a change within my thought process, but couldn’t identify what it was and why I wanted to be present. Prior to C2C, I didn’t have much self-awareness and didn’t reflect on my behaviour, however, since completing the full four weeks, I now have a deeper understanding on how to break the cycle of negative thinking and feelings and also the root cause of my behaviour.
I was extremely fortunate to be given the opportunity to take part in this programme, as it has given me many transferable skills and the determination to construct and maintain long term change. I strongly believe that by participating in the C2C programme, I have successfully obtained self-belief, positive decision making and the appropriate knowledge and tools to lead a law abiding and productive life. As an individual, my life has wholly transformed for the better. I have formed a robust bond with my immediate family, and am fulfilled within the changes that I have achieved with the help of the ‘Beyond Youth’ team. There has been nothing but productive changes within my life since being involved with the C2C programme. The ongoing support and encouragement at the end of the programme has been the fundamental key to my achievement by far.
Not long after being released from custody, I was fortunate enough to be given a four week work experience placement with ‘Beyond Youth’. It was very touching to know that the organisation wanted to help me and offer me this chance at a very early stage of my release. I have absorbed as much as I can within my placement, and have improved my knowledge on the key principles behind the growth of the C2C programme. I have developed as an individual within my time here and have welcomed the process of learning more about what the organisation has to offer to me.
I am truly confident and hopeful about my future now since being introduced to the C2C programme and feel that I have acquired all the necessary skills to transfer into everyday life. I am no longer in a negative thought cycle and believe that “Emotional intelligence is as vital to success as academic ability”. I aim to transmit every skill that I have learnt thanks to the C2C programme in order to maintain the accomplishments I have gained with the support of this organisation.
I would like to voice my appreciation to the very wonderful Managing Director, Emma Morris, for making this opportunity available to me.