After studying at home to complete her GCSEs, Maisie* wasn’t feeling ready to go to college. Her low attendance at school had left her feeling unprepared for the transition and she was feeling anxious about the workload. Going to college wasn’t the right option for Maisie at the time, but she knew she wanted to do something – that’s where the YES Project came in.
Maisie wanted to find something that was right for her; something creative and accessible, with the right support and less pressure than a formal education setting. She knew college wasn’t off the cards completely, but she just wanted some time to work on herself and her confidence first. So when she heard about the YES Project through a careers interview, she was eager to join and access the support.
Maisie started her YES journey with YES Creative; an informal space that encourages young people to develop their preferred creative skills with the help of industry support. Attending these sessions not only gave her the chance to expand her painting, sketching and digital art skills, but Maisie was also given the opportunity to showcase her work at an exhibition hosted by the partner delivering these sessions.
During her time on the YES Project, Maisie also got involved with other things that the project offers, like BE ME. BE ME is an inclusive and fun group of young people that come together regularly to find their passions, share their stories and learn new skills. The group wants to help young people feel empowered to make their own choices and understand what’s going on in the world around them. Through BE ME, Maisie also attended online sessions that were focused on mental health, hosted by Richmond Fellowship Life Links.
Maisie engaged incredibly well on the project, even supporting the YES team when a research report was conducted by De Montfort University. The research sought to identify how the project is helping to change the lives of the young people it supports, so Maisie provided valuable insight by answering their questions and sharing her own experience.
Feeling more comfortable in social settings than she did before, Maisie has a new found confidence; she’s feeling better in herself and the future too. With YES’ support, Maisie has been able to develop both her confidence and creative skills, and she’s also had the time she wanted to work on herself too. Accepting a place at Leicester College to study BTEC Art and Design, Maisie is preparing for her next challenge… college.
When asked what she’d say to other young people considering joining the YES Project, Maisie said:
“Honestly, it’s a really welcoming environment for young people that struggle socially and/or in school. I feel ready for college now which I wouldn’t have a couple of years ago. I’d really recommend it.”
*Names have been changed to keep the participant anonymous.