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Kled is currently a Junior Youth Development Worker, having recently joined our SW!TCH team. But Kled first came to us while he was in Sixth Form, referred for mentoring by his school. After developing under the guidance of his mentor, he stepped up to become a SW!TCH Ambassador, supporting our team and helping to mentor others. And we were extremely happy that he chose to follow the passion he found there for youth work and wanted to become part of the SW!TCH team.

Five years ago, I was at a crossroads after being threatened with exclusion from school. I’d stood up for a friend in a fight with a sixth former. Raised in Dagenham within a proud Albanian family, notions of honour and respect were deeply rooted in me. My actions were a product of my upbringing, but they led to consequences that I hadn’t anticipated.

Thankfully, I was only excluded for two days—soon after that was when I first encountered Mo, a Youth Development Worker from LifeLine’s SW!TCH team. I was referred to LifeLine by a school staff member—Mo would become my mentor. His guidance and the interventions of SW!TCH put me on a path of controlling my emotions and increasing my skill set.

I have a really strong memory of attending a workshop on Serious Youth Violence that Mo was involved in delivering. It gave me a deeper understanding of SYV, it challenged my perspective on conflict. It also taught me about the dangers of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Sadly, not long after that, youth violence hit close to home. My best friend fell victim to a senseless stabbing on his way back from school. This increased my awareness of the ever-present danger in my community and the importance of staying focused and avoiding negative influences. Despite the challenges, I found comfort and support through SW!TCH’s activities, like football and residential holiday trips, which provided positive outlets for my energy and drove up my ambition.

My journey towards personal and professional development continued on the SW!TCH programme, where I spent three amazing years that changed me forever. The programme taught me some valuable lessons—how to keep active, avoid trouble and build connections within communities. As time went on, I found myself stepping into leadership roles, eventually becoming a SW!TCH Ambassador. My sociable personality and a deep commitment to positive change made me an effective mentor to others. Being a mentor to others also helped me understand better how community dynamics work.

After being an Ambassador, I started a law degree at Canterbury University. But I decided to take a break to explore my passion for youth work and I soon ended up back at LifeLine as a Junior Youth Development Worker. It was here that I started a journey to obtain a Level 2 youth work certificate. This decision was not taken easily, but it felt like a natural progression towards a career where I could make a big difference in young people’s lives.

The sacrifices my parents made to provide me with opportunities in the UK constantly remind me of the importance of striving for success. My aspirations go beyond personal achievements—I dream of giving back to my community and providing for my family in ways that honour their sacrifices.

LifeLine has provided me with a supportive environment where I feel valued and connected to a team that shares my passion for youth development. Looking ahead, I envision a future where I can build a family, own a home, and continue making meaningful contributions to my community. With LifeLine’s support, I am confident that these dreams are within reach.

Theo, Youth Development Worker

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These articles may contain testimonials by LifeLine staff members and service users of our programmes and/or services. These testimonials reflect the real-life experiences and opinions of such staff members/service users. However, the experiences are personal to those staff members/service users and may not necessarily be representative of all staff members/service users of our programmes and/or services. We do not claim, and you should not assume, that all staff members/service users will have the same experiences. Individual results may vary.

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The views and opinions contained in the testimonials belong solely to the individual user and do not reflect our views and opinions. Staff members/service users are not paid or otherwise compensated for their testimonials.


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