Israel – My Story10
I first went to prison when I was 16 years old – I ended up in Feltham Young Offenders Institute for committing a string of offences. I was then in and out of prison for more than ten years, I totally wasted my teens and my twenties and caused a lot of misery.
A couple of years ago I was in Coldingley prison serving a three and a half year sentence for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. Plus, I was using a lot of drugs myself. I was completely at rock bottom and I knew I needed to change – for my three sons as much as for me. I knew the first thing I needed to do was to get clean so I started the 12-step RAPt programme and I am pleased to say I have been drugs-free for over four years now.
When I was released from prison (for the last time ever) I heard about Blue Sky and applied for a job as I saw they had a contract near to my house. I worked in the Hillingdon team doing grounds work and I loved it, although it was definitely hard work. Being at Blue Sky helped me become more confident, make it easier to integrate back into society and support my growing family (I’ve got a daughter on the way!). I worked there for four months and then the opportunity came up for a permanent position helping disadvantaged young people and I knew I had to take it.
I have been a Support Worker in a children’s home in North London for six months now. I carry out key work sessions with young people aged between 15-21 years old – some are offenders, some just have no family. I help them prepare for independent living and advise them on anything from budgeting and job searching to hygiene and personal/sexual health. Drawing on my own life experiences definitely helps me to support these kids – I don’t want any of them to be a waster for more than a decade of their lives like I was.