They Did Not Give Up On Me, Even When I Felt Hopeless
Updated: Jul 27
Hi everyone! I'm Bryan. Growing up, I had troubles with managing my emotions and even till now, I'd have small breakdowns because I didn't know how to express myself. I also had confidence and anger issues from being bullied in primary school. I was 14 years old, but little did I know that my life was gonna go down a very different road from then on.
YGOS reached out to me through the school and I can't express how much I love my school, A.B Secondary School (name of school has been kept confidential) for this. Initially, I hated this programme, because I believed the school only sent delinquents and troublemakers in and this was a sort of reform programme. But I was terribly wrong. I was rude to the social workers and even teachers but there was never once where they got angry and left. They listened to my problems and they never failed to encourage me.
It was at that point I realised, I failed to see love within the intentions from the school and the social workers.
One event that I could never forget was when I decided to leave YGOS by my own will and force. The school decided to let me go as I was being too rude and troublesome to the social workers. But, when they still saw me in school, they greeted me and even stayed for a chat. It was at that point I realised, I failed to see love within the intentions from the school and the social workers. I had realised that I needed to start taking control of my life. I was chubby, angry and no one liked me because I was impulsive. My time spent training with the National Cadet Corps changed me completely. I gained new self confidence, maybe too much, but I also learned to compose myself in tense situations. And all this time, the YGOS social workers would always interact with me whenever I saw them.
One happy memory I'd mention would definitely be a day when suddenly I saw Desmond, and some other social workers in school for the new batch of YGOS students. Desmond saw me and waved to me and I walked over. I wanted to cry and thank all of them, for making me realise in this long journey in life, no one is ever alone. I was donning my camo NCC uniform proudly with all my metal badges and achievements pinned. From a boy who skipped CCA daily and caused trouble to a parade commander for a school National Day Parade, I wouldn't have made it without their guidance through little actions like those.
"To all the youths out there who are feeling troubled, and feels that no one cares or listens to you, you are not alone. Never blame yourself or others for your downfalls and shortcomings, because pity only lasts for a few moments but making a difference lasts forever... In this fight against your struggles, you don't have to face it alone. "
To all the youths out there who are feeling troubled, and feels that no one cares or listens to you, you are not alone. Never blame yourself or others for your downfalls and shortcomings, because pity only lasts for a few moments but making a difference lasts forever. Feeling unconfident? Head to the gym, learn to dress up, hang out with people and get out of your comfort zone. In this fight against your struggles, you don't have to face it alone.
Honestly, the biggest person that I owe it to is Madeline, the social worker I interacted with the most but was the most rude to. I hurled insults and threats, but all Madeline did was listen to all I had to say, never once batting an eye to whatever I've said. She wanted to help this boy. I still remember the last thing I said to her before I left YGOS forcefully. "I want to die early," and she looked like she was about to tear up.
"You seem so much happier than 3 years ago," she sent this text and I felt like tearing up. I felt like a son making his mother feel proud, because I've proven my past self wrong and learned to see the brighter side of life.
At that point of time, I was too young and immature to feel the pain and realisation that she could no longer help this boy, who didn't want to be helped. But she prayed for me. And it worked. One day out of no where, 3 years later, I received a text from Madeline. There was so much I wanted to say. I wanted her to feel proud of me. Not because I've changed to become a nicer person now, but because I've learned to accept love and all the things I thought I could never do. I told her about how I had many friends now, I was decorated in badges in the Corps and how I am so much better off than before. "You seem so much happier than 3 years ago," she sent this text and I felt like tearing up. I felt like a son making his mother feel proud, because I've proven my past self wrong and learned to see the brighter side of life.
Thank you, YGOS and A.B Secondary School, I owe all the things I've achieved so far and more in the future, all to you.
By: Bryan (name has been changed to protect the privacy of the youth)
17 years old, ex-youth client
Photo by Sebastiaan Stam on Unsplash