I had been working for five years and just suddenly hit a wall – friends, boyfriend, work all seemed overwhelming; my confidence was crumbling and I felt I was losing the pedals. The Youngbow team advised me to take some time out to volunteer; somewhere where I had to give up my social media addiction and just get back to my own thoughts not influenced by the noise all around me. Youngbow has a variety of volunteering places they signpost too, and despite it being just after the devastating Cyclone Idai – I chose Imire in Zimbabwe http://www.imire.co.zw/volunteer/
Being at Imire was the most phenomenal experience. The place makes your heart sing. I felt immediately settled; in the company of people who were incredibly welcoming and who truly believe in their amazing conservation efforts. Days are spent exploring the mammals, reptiles and beautiful birds inhabiting the game park, caring for the elephants & rhino, assisting in park management, learning the art of tracking, understanding animal behaviour and anti-poaching skills. From feeding the elephants breakfast to scouting injured zebra on horseback, we were able to get up close to these amazing animals and have hands-on involvement in their wellbeing.
The focus is on wildlife and the local community, though no two days are the same, enabling you to get really stuck in to a variety of tasks. A day in the park winds down with a refreshing drink atop a mountain while watching the great African sunset.
It was incredibly satisfying to combine ‘time out and a digital detox’ with making a difference. As the programme continued I grew confidence in a number of skills I wasn’t aware I possessed and also simply feeling valued. The small gifts Imire had asked me to bring of pencils, calculators and other stationery were received with such enthusiasm – I was humbled.
I encourage anyone looking to feel their mind & body refreshed, challenged and their heart warmed, to have some time out, volunteer – and if you can, experience Imire. I am now fully bouncing back and looking forward to London life again!
Thomas read Philosophy at a leading university and then decided to do a law conversion as he couldn’t think of anything he wanted to do when he had finished his first degree. On graduation, despite his very best efforts and excellent academic history, he was unable to secure a job – always coming second at interviews. His confidence was crumbling as he was at a loss as to what to do next – having presumed a career in law would be the right one for him. His sessions with a Youngbow mentor uncovered a breadth of other interests where his skills, knowledge and motivation would be best used. He has recently been selected for Civil Service Fast Stream and hopes to pursue a career in the Diplomatic Service
Lara did not receive the grades she needed to go to her first choice University (Edinburgh) and was uninspired by her second choice. Her parents were conflicted on whether she should go; ‘she needs a degree’ her father argued; her mother disagreed. So Lara decided to take a few months off volunteer travelling where she developed her independence and explored what she wanted to do. On her return she secured three consecutive internships where she experienced marketing and retail – areas she thought she was interested in. During this time she discovered that the work and environment were not really what she had hoped for – she was feeling increasingly lost, excluded from all her friends who were seemingly having such fun at university, and losing confidence. She then appointed a Youngbow Coach to help her clarify her skills and interests. Lara refocused, through the Youngbow networks explored a number of routes and opportunities, and secured a fabulous job in a boutique travel agency where she is thriving and loving life.
15 year old Luke at boarding school.
Luke had been diagnosed with dyslexia from an early age and mild ADHD. He had never really settled at his prep school and when moved to public school found difficulty making friends; he started behaving badly. Aged 14 he was moved to a new school with high hopes that this would improve this behaviour – they had a good sports facility and it was hoped that this would engage him. Unfortunately, despite the ‘excellent pastoral care’ promoted by the school, he became increasingly isolated and disruptive so that he was threatened with expulsion. His exasperated and worried parents were referred to Youngbow by a friend. It became clear that the young boy was simply not receiving the individual care and support he needed from inside the school so it was agreed that Youngbow coach/mentor would be appointed to supplement the existing pastoral care. Working closely with the school and housemaster and very open communication, a programme of external mentoring support, including holiday activities was implemented. This focused attention by an independent and external mentor – continues to give Luke the structure and encouragement he needs and he is now flourishing, growing in confidence, and engaged both academically and on the sportsfield.
23 year old Katie – recent graduate
Katie did not really know what job she wanted to do when she applied to university so chose a course that she enjoyed the most. She had a fun time at university, did well academically and enjoyed being involved in sport, drama, writing and the arts. As she started her final year she had no idea what she wanted to do with her life and very soon Finals became an excuse, and a pretty good one, for her to avoid the issue. She spent time talking to her friends and parents but there was nothing that really stood out for her, nothing that grabbed her attention, nothing that she could focus on. Finals came and went and instead of trying to find a job she took a long summer holiday which stretched into the winter. In the spring, her parents suggested she attend the two day Youngbow programme. Learning key steps to take including identifying her strengths and interests as well as meeting others in a similar situation was encouraging and reassuring. With one follow up coaching session, Katie found the confidence and motivation to start applying for roles. Three months later, she started a role that suits her personality and interests and that she will really commit to and succeed at.
Toby, 22 – Preparing for AOSB
Toby was supported by Youngbow for his attendance at AOSB. He had previously unsuccessfully attended AOSB and was provided with some feedback which was used to design a unique programme of development for him.
As his father commented: ‘Paul genuinely knows his stuff, he cut to the chase from the very beginning and then tailored a specific programme of preparation which ultimately led to our son’s selection for officer training’.
28 year old Susie – reviewing her first career choice.
Susie had always wanted to be a teacher and had completed a PGCE post her degree in biology at a top university. After three years of teaching, Susie had decided that it simply didn’t suit her; she was becoming stressed, anxious and very unhappy. She came to Youngbow seeking some advice as to what to do next and whether indeed there were any options given that she was ‘getting older’. She was also very concerned that all her peers were established in careers so for her to switch would put her behind them. After the initial meeting, it was clear that her current lifestyle and career was unsustainable and damaging her mental health. With reassurance and identifying a fresh options for her to explore, Susie was able to step down from her role and focus on finding a new career and environment that suits her better. She is now happily working for an events management company.
19 year old Tom – not going to university
Tom was certain he did not want to go to university but did not know what else he wanted to do. He took a gap year which was not entirely successful and he returned home. He knew he had to face the big question – what to do? Tension at home was building as his parents were getting frustrated with his lack of drive and direction. Tom knew he needed a career and there was pressure to follow in his father’s footsteps, but he simply didn’t see himself in that world. Competing personal and family pressures confused his thinking and direction – he was keen to find the right way forward but kept getting lost as others put new ideas in front of him. He confidence was crumbling so his parents decided to support him with independent coaching through Youngbow. After a series of coaching sessions comprising well guided questions and space to work things out, Tom came up with a game plan that could help him combine his passion (country sports) with a job that paid him what he needed to earn. He has gained independence, moved out of his house and his relationship with his parents has improved significantly.