Aaron is a CREATE Young Consultant who shared his experience with us about his involvement with CREATE, and specifically the CREATE Your Future program. The program helped to shift his mindset, improve his self-esteem and provided a safe space to learn essential life lessons. It’s amazing to hear the impact a program like this can have on the life of young people! Without further ado – here is Aaron’s story.
I’m 22 years old and my care history began when I was 4 years old.
Originally, I was in foster care, then I went to kinship care and then resi-care. I moved out independently when I was 15 years old, however I then ended back in residential care.
The CREATE Your Future program enabled me to change and grow and gave me opportunities to work around negative experiences, and change my behaviours to positive ones. I did have reservations about being involved with the program when I was younger and in care because I thought it was something childish or silly, but when I got involved it changed my position because I really learnt a lot of things from the program that have benefited my life. Independence is hard, and I learnt the hard way about it when I moved out on my own at 15.
I think there needs to be more support for young people in their transition from care and being taught what they need to do and what they can do. I wish I had had somebody to keep me on track with things like cleaning my room and doing chores to help get me in that routine. Young people also need to be shown the necessary skills that are needed to be independent, especially when it comes to things like being social. In residential care the attitude that young people can have is appalling and they are often rude, arrogant and selfish. Looking back, I wouldn’t like talking to myself back when I was in resi care.
The most important thing CREATE Your Future has taught me is how not to be toxic. Growing up in resi I was toxic, but that’s not me anymore. When I was in my late teens I was surrounded by negative people. Through CREATE Your Future I learnt what a non-toxic person does, who they are and how they act. It’s about being nice and saying thank you, returning the favour, and not being one sided. I’m implementing what I learnt to be a better person. It’s also about the people you choose to surround yourself with, sometimes you don’t realize that you are being manipulated and guilt tripped. CREATE Your Future helps with techniques on how to avoid unhealthy relationships in the future. Completing the CREATE Your Future program put me in a reflective mood and improved my self-worth. Before I was involved I didn’t actually like my own personality and I didn’t know how to mix well with the world.
Completing the program helped me progress into the person that I want to be and currently am. The best part about CREATE Your Future is the ability to learn at workshops and events whilst having fun. I definitely think CREATE Your Future should be made available to more young people. It should be available to all kids not just kids from foster care as anyone can learn from it.
CREATE Your Future can and does work. My advice to young people is to try and keep an open mind and listen, because some young people have their heads closed. We think we know it all and don’t need any help, but in reality, don’t we all need a little help?