Each year at our Charity Golf Day, we invite a young graduate to share their story with guests.
This year, when Shayla, a year 11 student at Christies Beach High School, took the stage the crowd feel silent. Shayla graduated from the Positive Empowerment Program in 2016 after completing Operation Flinders.
“Before Youth Opportunities, I just wasn’t happy. My grades were suffering. I found it hard to concentrate in class and complete work on time. I struggled to find any motivation and this started a negative spiral and I ended up not bothering with anything.
I got frustrated when friends tried to help me, I felt like they didn’t know what I was going through and as a result, I pushed them away.
Things at home were not much better for me. There was a lot of turmoil between my parents and this was very upsetting for me and my brother and sister.
I wanted to gain back control of my life, have a better relationship with my family and rebuild my confidence and self-worth but I didn’t know how.
That’s when Youth Opportunities came along. I started to use the concepts in the program to help with my grades. I scheduled the time to do school work, I kept to-do lists and worked on my focus in class. As a result, my grades went up! It was great to see the results of the effort I had put in.
I reconnected with the friends in my life that I had pushed away and started to focus on creating a better version of myself.
At home, I worked on my relationship with my parents. I realised I couldn’t save them or sort their problems out, but I could inspire them to get help for themselves. I dropped the attitude and sarcasm at home and used the concept of ‘Sending Stars’, communicating in effective and positive ways with them.
They were suspicious of my star sending at first, but I kept at it. I wanted to show them that I was serious about creating a different relationship with them and a different home life for us as a family. The dynamics started to change and to this day, there are fewer fights between them. It is a lot nicer to be at home now.
The I.G.A.P (I’ve Got a Problem) technique made it easier to talk out my problems and voice how I was feeling, which meant I didn’t have to bottle up my emotions and I feel happier overall.
Through Youth Opportunities, I learnt to expand my knowledge and to try new things, to be a positive communicator, to proactively think about the short and long term future and I learnt to take control of my happiness and choose to do things that will make me feel proud of who I am.
One of the biggest lessons I learnt is….that happiness is contagious, so pass it on”
Shayla spoke with the confidence and eloquence of someone beyond her years and through her powerful story of overcoming adversity and choosing to grow beyond her circumstances, she certainly wowed the crowd.
Empowering young people like Shayla to overcome adversity and thrive is Youth Opportunities mission. You can help change the life of young people like Shayla by donating to Youth Opportunities here. Funds raised through Youth Opportunities go directly to supporting running Positive Empowerment Programs in schools and changing the lives of young South Australians.