A young person’s tale

Kate* is a 28 year old who would like a career in youth justice.  She was involved in offending between the ages of 14 to 27, and was first convicted at the age of 18. Kate is currently working with CYCJ to share her experiences and reflections on the youth justice system, via blog posts and podcasts.

I have been working in the Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice for several weeks now, and I can’t believe how much I have learnt already.

I can feel my self-confidence grow every day; for the first time in my life, I have a feeling of self-worth. I feel like I have finally found what I am meant to be doing with myself and that’s to be involved in youth justice. I knew when I started to turn my life around that I had a lot to offer young people but wasn’t sure how best to use my lived experiences.  The Centre is helping me realise more of my potential and reach my goals.

I feel like I have been handed the keys to a big secret about a place I never knew existed. Just watching how dedicated and passionate everyone is at their jobs is amazing. Although everyone in here has different jobs, they all have the same goal and that’s to help change the future of kids and young people in Scotland, kids that nobody gets to hear about, kids just the same as me when I was growing up, kids with worse upbringings and problems than me.

I sit at my desk and just watch and listen to the people in the office – how they speak about their work and the young people they are involved with is really phenomenal to see. I have been particularly inspired greatly by one member of staff, whom I heard on the phone fighting for one of her young people. She was refusing to give up on this person and that’s exactly what young people need – someone to fight their corner when the rest of the world is giving up on them. She is a legend in my eyes and I’m sure I will learn a lot from her, and others.

I sometimes feel that any minute security is going to come and escort me out the building, like I’m not supposed to be here.  Seventeen months ago, I was just starting a probation order and my life was upside down, which left me struggling with how I felt about myself and what I had to offer.  Here, everyday someone reassures my doubts as they are really keen to speak to me and get my opinion on stuff and what I would do in certain scenarios.

With the Centre, I feel part of something amazing – everyone buzzes off each other and the team work is amazing. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me here.

*Name has been changed

Image posed for by model.