Real testimonials from some of the young people who have been through the Fresh Start programmes. * The names of the young people have been changed to protect their privacy.
The staff are very nice, friendly and are like family. They make me feel like I am one of their own. They support my family and make them feel very welcome. I have been with Fresh Start for 3 years and they have helped me improve my life excellently and brilliantly, thanks to a great coordinating team and the Directors, Ian and David Durney. The team always make me feel very welcome.
I find Fresh Start very welcoming and I love my staff, they are very friendly. They help me to work out my problems and they are always there for me.
Fresh Start has brought me a long way, staff of Fresh Start have taught me to cook, clean, do my laundry. Staff have helped me to learn how to talk about my problems and control my anger. I know I can go through the day without having a temper tantrum. I got my leaving cert and I am now in college which I now know is better than being on the dole. I am more confident of my abilities now. I also have had lots of fun with Fresh Start.
It's a whole new start for me. It's a whole new life for me. It's a chance to make a better future for myself. It gives me a chance to make something of myself.
My life in Fresh Start: I started off in a house with just me and two members off staff each day. You start to grow close, relationships develop to some, and not so much to others. It's like a normal way of living and then sometimes it hits; "this isn't normal"...how do you cope with this? Talk to staff members; they're there to help. You wonder what will I say to my friends, what will people think?
I use to run away from my problems and put myself in danger. I didn't think it was a big deal at the time, that everyone else was overreacting, I thought nobody understood how I was feeling and that I had the worse life ever. I later then went home to live with my family again. This didn't work out I was still running away blaming everyone else but myself. It then calmed down and I started to take more responsibility for my actions. We later then moved town for a 'fresh start'; this didn't work for me. I got involved with the wrong people and made wrong decisions and was put into foster care. Foster care didn't work for me and I was later put back into Fresh Start.
This time I was put into a house with two other people that I had never met before and had to get to know them. You soon realise that other people have had hard lives and some people have it worse. I get on well with the staff and the young people in the house and we do normal day to day stuff, and we get a take away and a DVD on Fridays and we get to do activities at the weekends.
Being in the house with different people from different places is sometimes hard because people have different ways of doing things. There are a team of Fresh Start staff and two of them are key workers; these people help you with your problems, ca be someone to talk to and someone that will fight for you in meetings, like review meetings.
Fresh Start has turned my life around and hasn't judged me on any mistake I had made or on anything I would like to happen, they have supported every decision I made. I have now learnt that it's not good to run away from your problems and that there are people out there that want to help. When I leave Fresh Start I will truly miss it. Its like home.