I will make it in the army and prove them all wrong.

Harry’s dream was to join the army, but he was much smaller than his peers and this was the perfect reason for the school bullies to pick on him.

“You’re too small and too weak to join the army,” they would tease. “Look at you, you’re a rat!”

His self-esteem became non-existent, his grades fell and Harry became an angry teenager. He lashed out at those around him and hit desks and tables at school; his anger was quickly becoming an issue.

Life at home wasn’t much better. Harry didn’t get on with his mum’s new partner and he spent his time flitting between his Mum’s and his Nan’s.

Nan’s house was an escape, but he had very little personal space there so it wasn’t ideal. At fifteen and a half he ran away. “Enough was enough” Harry sighed, “I needed my personal space.”

Harry was referred to YMCA Doncaster through another housing group. “I’d never heard of YMCA accommodation, I only knew about the charity shop.” He admitted.

When he moved in he was very nervous, he assumed everyone would be horrible to him, just as the bullies had been at school. For the first month he wanted to stay in his room where he felt safe, but with the help of his keyworker, Harry slowly started to make friends. He was referred to professionals to deal with his issues and Harry started to turn things around.

He joined in with everything he could at YMCA Doncaster. He joined the Shadow Board, took part in Client Forum meetings, he played pool and snooker and attended the Christmas celebrations.  “I feel listened to when I come to the meetings,” Harry nodded.  “I enjoyed Christmas, but I can’t wait to join the next group outing to laser quest.”

His life has improved so much in such a short time; Harry is working on his anger management and has learned how to budget. He is proud of his ability to save a few pounds each week.

He takes part in physical exercise six days a week, attending both martial arts and military preparation classes. He wakes to his alarm every morning, no longer wanting to lounge around in bed all day. He has his mind set on becoming a soldier and is going in the right direction to make it happen.

“If it wasn’t for YMCA, I’d be out there.” he said, pointing out of the window. “I may have been referred here in the beginning, but now I know my options I would choose to live at YMCA Doncaster!”

If you think you have what it takes to help young people who are vulnerable and homeless in Doncaster then please click here for information about vacancies on our staff team.