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Youth Stories

I am 18 years old and my name is Josh. All my life I struggle with anger and I have been kicked out of school many times. Also the police called on me a lot. My grandpa found the Liberty For Youth website and recommended I attend. So I committed to Liberty For Youth Prodigal Sonz program. Through attending the program, I built the courage to develop friendships with police officers and also I play in the Liberty and Justice Unity Basketball game. At the game I gave a reconciliation speech to Hamilton Police Services. Also, I volunteered at Liberty For Youth and received a bursary for all the hours that I volunteered. With that I will get my G1. I got back on track with my school and now I have hopes and dreams to graduate High School and move on to college or university. Another big highlight for me was at the fundraising Gala this year I was able to give a thank you gift for one of the Police Officer that has helped me.

Prior to being incarcerated I met a friend at school and he told me about Liberty For Youth and how they were really helping him. At first I thought he was just nagging me but afterwards I witnessed changes in his life. After coming out of incarceration I started visiting Liberty's Character and Leadership programs.

Through the program I went back to school. I already attended 4 different Hamilton high schools in 6 years but this time was different. I started and finished. I graduated. I was proud and I had a right to be. I started working fulltime.

Six months later because of my accomplishments I was given a trophy at the Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast. Then, Frederick took me to RBC Bank where I got some credit counseling and I opened my first investment account. With their support I finally paid off all my debts. Life is good.
To be honest I'm not like many of the other youth in the programs. I was never in prison nor was I in any gangs. That has never been my problem; my issue was that I was starting to dislike the police because of some family issues. Someone really close to me in my family was always getting arrested. They always seemed to be in and out of prison. As soon as we starting building our relationship they would get locked up again. I became frustrated with this family member, and also developed mixed emotions for the police and the justice system. I told Frederick about my problem and he asked me if I would be willing to have lunch with a police officer. He told me about the Liberty For Youth and Police Lunch partnership where I could meet with a police officer for lunch.

So for the past year I have been meeting with Sgt. Allison for lunch once a month. He has helped me see that Police officers are real people that really care about youth and society. I enjoyed it a lot because it felt good to talk to someone who is important and that is very smart. Honestly, it made me feel special because he listened to me and he showed he cared. Also it was cool getting picked up in his police car at my school. Everyone would stare at me and ask me questions about what was going on! It felt nice lol. I really consider it a privilege.

I want to thank Liberty For Youth for making this possible for me and helping me realize my dream.
Up until 2 summers ago, I did have the opportunity to see my dad every other weekend, but because he was in and out of jail, I often could not see him. He was addicted to drugs, and was getting arrested frequently for drug possession.

Because of this, he was eventually deported to his country of birth, which hurt me a lot. That hurt me a lot because we had a close relationship. I did look up to him for guidance and direction. I felt like I had to do more as in taking a fathers place in the family. When my dad got deported I started making bad decision. I started doing drugs and not concentrating at school. I wasn't really listening to my mom.

Thankfully, one day I was invited to the Liberty program. I started to attend Liberty's Character Development program where I learned many skills such as anger management, goal setting, managing finance and others. I was doing very well with the program, then I was rewarded with shoes and an opportunity to play on Liberty's basketball team. I even had the best marks I had ever achieved in High School, maintaining an 80% average. Thanks to Liberty For Youth, I now have hope for the future. My goal is to go to college and I will be the first person if my family to go to college. This program changed my life, and I recommend any youth to come to the program.
I was faced many challenges and pressures early in life and in my teen years. I dropped out of school with some friends and we would drink and smoke up everyday. This caused me to loose interest in life. I tried more and more drugs and alcohol. I knew Frederick from Liberty for a couple of years and I knew he cared about young people. I knew I needed help but I was too scared to ask for it. One day when Frederick asked me how things were going with my future plans I knew it was the chance to get help.

I spent several months in Liberty's character development program, where I learned many skills such as anger management, goal setting, managing finance and others. My goal is to buy a house one day.
I was in the hall of main street court when my friend and I saw this man providing information to some young people for support and telling them many ways they can get help. At first I didn't want to talk to anyone about getting help but my girlfriend encouraged me to talk the man. The man gave me a program brochure and asked me to come out to the programs that help youth in trouble with the law.

About 2 weeks later I decided to visit the program. The first day at the program was great we played board games, hung out, had dinner and they where teaching about self esteem. One of the program coordinators took my personal information and created a resume for me the same day. About 2 weeks after getting my resume done I was called for an interview for a job but I didn't have any money to get to the interview. I called Liberty For Youth and they provided transportation to the interview. That day I went to the interview and I got it.
Because of the help l got during summer school, I received a mark of 92%. I am planning to graduate next year and go to college, and Liberty For Youth will award me with a post-secondary scholarship if I can keep up my marks. I am so encouraged by this support!
My family and I lived in TO. I started getting into problems with the law but I didn't go to jail or court. We ended up moving to Hamilton when I was 14. I made up my mind before leaving to come to Hamilton to get arrested so I would get to go back to Toronto.

But everything started to take a turn for the worst when I came here. I started selling drugs, getting involved with guns and a whole lot of things. I went to a new school and I met a guy who introduced me to Fredrick, and from then everything kept getting better. Fredrick told me about Liberty For Youth and how they help a lot of youth. The thing I liked about Liberty is that they actually really cared. They would go out of their way and help so many young people, and that caught my eye.
The past few years I have been angry and unhappy living a rebellious lifestyle, I had been so mislead by movies, friends, and just about my overall environment. This negative lifestyle led me to be incarcerated. It was then a friend of mine told me about Liberty for Youth. Frederick mentored me through the Liberty for Youth principals of 7 R's of Restoration. My favorite step was #6 Reintegration. Through the Liberty for Youth reintegration program they provided school enrollment assistance, living arrangements, employment advocacy, positive role models, family links, faith connections, recreational activities and others. I am finally completing my high school diploma and I will be starting college in the coming September. I am so excited about what my future has in store now that I actually have a future..
I am a 16 year old high school student. I was introduced to Liberty For Youth (LFY) by my friend after getting into trouble with some older kids at school. I was called to the principal's office and they told me I would be suspended and would have to go to an expulsion school. I realized that I didn't want to live this lifestyle anymore because all I was doing, was destroying my life.

Frederick told me if I was honest to the teachers about what I did and if I really wanted to change he would commit to taking me to school every morning for the rest of the year. So I committed to the LFY program. Every morning Frederick would be at my house at 8 AM to take me to school. He started teaching me life lessons on our morning drives. My mother was shocked because every day Frederick was there regardless how bad the weather was.

LFY helped me stay in school and to reconsider my friendships. Once I graduate high school LFY will provide me with a post-secondary scholarship. I plan to use my scholarship to go to college and become a welder, police officer or NFL football player. In future I want to help out other youth like LFY has helped me. I plan to lead kids on the right path to success instead of the wrong path.

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