April 1, 2019
Meeting new people, working in a team and sticking to a schedule are all things you come across daily in a job, but for people out of work these things can seem like a huge challenge, especially if you struggled in school. By working with small groups of eight young people, WYC helps its New Leaf participants to learn these skills in a safe and welcoming environment.
Jake found it difficult to get a job following college. He’d managed to get some seasonal work at Royal Mail, but struggled with the social side of the role, due to having Asperger syndrome, which made talking to people he didn’t know a real challenge.
Fortunately, when Jake was introduced to WYC and the New Leaf team, all that started to change. By working in a small, non-judgemental group, he was able to able to open up.
“Before New Leaf I was very reclusive. I didn’t go out much, I didn’t talk to people much.” Said Jake, “I was terrified before the first New Leaf session, but once I realised everyone has their own battles it was ok. It felt like a level playing field where I could actually talk to people.”
Jake is now putting his skills and confidence to good use and is currently volunteering for two local organisations. Jake helps out at Warrington Play and Sensory Centre where children with disabilities can relax and play. As a black belt in karate, Jake is also supporting children at Green Lane Community Special School by assisting to teach them self-defence.
Jake now hopes to find a career supporting children with learning disabilities, which is a long cry from where he was when he started.
“I can now actually go out and talk to people, that in itself is amazing. Before I would have to have someone take me to where I wanted to go, now I can just walk in on my own.”
Micki, Jake’s mum, has also noticed a change:
“It’s such a huge transformation, he would never have gone into a busy building in the middle of town before, but a couple of weeks ago he went into McDonalds on his own” said Micki “It makes me majorly emotional but it’s actually a little miraculous. He couldn’t speak to anyone except immediate family and we thought that was it, that’s how he would be for the rest of his life, and then in just a few short weeks, all that changed. He’s not had friends since junior school, but now I feel he’s really found his tribe.”