Levi is a real winner in our eyes We always knew Levi was a special young person when he first walked through the door. It's been quite a journey from a 12 year old lad wandering in, to becoming a member of staff and now a trustee. Life wasn't always easy for Levi, but he has shown amazing strength, resilience and drive to get to where he is today. His is the most inspirational story and commitment to helping young people, both in his working life and giving up his social time to volunteer to benefit young people. He really is an amazing young man. As a young man growing up on the streets of Knowle West in South Bristol, Levi had experienced a lot by the time he reached 13. Being in a single parent family with an older sister and his mum, things weren't always easy and it was a financial struggle. Seeing crime as an option to make money, some of the role models around the estate weren't always the best, and he found himself drifting into anti-social behaviour. This resulted in attendance in school being low, and high level truancy school during a 18 month period, between the age of 12 and 14. His aspirations and motivation was very low, for him he felt there was no way out. It was at this point Youth Moves encountered Levi, and he started to receive mentoring. The charity worked with him to show different options were available, and to offer alternative solutions. Initially, he wasn't responsive and felt it was pointless. As time wore on, with regular meetings his relationship cemented with a youth worker, a bond was formed, and he felt he finally found someone who fully believed in him for the first time. Eventually he became involved in local youth projects and began working on getting back in to school. This significantly increased his self-esteem and it made him want to start doing well in life. Levi started to prioritise exams and wanted to get involved in volunteering with Youth Moves. He volunteered with Youth Opinions, a local youth forum, and his confidence grew and grew. Despite issues at home, Levi also begin to look to at doing his GCSE exams, and recognised their value. The Youth Moves worker could see Levi's untapped potential and intelligence, and supported this process.His motivation began to increase, so much so he voluntarily attended a summer school to catch up, and went back to school full time. Amazingly he would go onto to achieve an A, 2xBs and 4 Cs, enough to get into sixth form college and was accepted onto a law course. Everything for once was going well for Levi, finally he had focus, purpose and something to aim for. And then tragedy struck, and his life was changed for ever. He losy his mum. Levin explains: " “I was settling in to the college really well and my future was looking promising. Just six months later in March 2013 my mum was found collapsed by a family friend. We later discovered that my mum had suffered a stroke, after undertaking numerous scans and tests. This was totally devastating to us all, especially to me and my sister. My mum had really changed her life around and things were finally going good for us all and then this. After weeks of intensive care, mum started to show signs of improvement, and we were all hopeful. Then we had the dreaded phone call, she had another stroke and a bleed on the brain, and she passed away. This was more than I could bear, my education suffered, and I was unable to sit my A levels. My home life was in a mess, with mum gone I was homeless as I was too young to take on her council house; I had no money and no way of supporting myself either physically, emotionally or financially. It felt like I had gone around in a big circle and back to being 13 again. What was the point of all that hard work and trying to make a good life, when I am right back where I started, but this time without my mum looking out for me. Youth Moves sorted me out with a one to one councillor, who talked to me about feelings, emotions, practical issues, and generally helped me to sort out in my head what I needed to do. It was a long path back from there, but slowly with small steps, I managed to get myself back on track. I could not go back to sit my exams, but I was able to start over again at another 6th form. My Nan took me in, even though her house was full. I continued with the support of Youth Moves and the counselling session, until I was in a stronger place. I re looked at my options, as Law was now out of the question, and decided to go down the path of Youth Work. “ After 6th Form Levi could have gone on to get a job and career in many things, but he choose that his passion was to help young people. He took an apprenticeship at the school which wanted to permanently exclude him, as he felt other young people attending that school going through the same as him needed the support he could offer. Again in his words: “I know I was one of the lucky ones to find the help and support of a youth worker, and if I can have the same effect on even just one young person, and give them the opportunities I had, then I will be happy. I was given unconditional belief and support, and this is now what I want to give to other young people. “ Now working full time at another secondary school in South Bristol working with young people who struggle to attend school and those who are sent to the behaviour unit. He still has the same passion for working with these young people and trying to make their lives better. He is still volunteering at Youth Moves on a Friday evening session and is still on our board ensuring that young people’s voices are taken into account. Levi also gave up his summer to work on our NCS programme.He has recently taken on the role as as a trustee on the Youth Moves. In 2015 Levi won the Duke of Gloucester's 2015 Ambition (now UK Youth) Volunteer of the Year, and in 2019 Bristol Young Heroes Award - High Sheriff's Youth Work Award, in recognition of his struggles, and his achievements in life for one so young. He has been through more than most young people should ever have to go through, but has come out of it with resilience and passion and commitment to give back to young people the help and support he had, and he does it so well. He has given up the last 8 years of his life to young people, and at the age of 22 this is an accomplishment in its own right. Levi is an embodiment of everything we try to do with young people at Youth Moves.