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Prince’s Trust Changed My Life

11.11.2011

Sam Stojanvic PT Winner

(Photograph courtesy of The Prince’s Trust)

Samantha Stojanovic, 24, one of Tresham’s Prince’s Trust learners was awarded the L’Oréal Paris Young Achiever of the Year Award at the East Midlands Prince’s Trust Celebrate Success Awards held on Tuesday 8th November and is now a finalist for the national awards in London.

Before joining the Prince’s Trust, delivered in Northamptonshire by Tresham, Sam had been unemployed for over five years. She had been bullied at middle school and as the pressure became too much, had descended into a spiral of alcohol and drug use, attempting suicide several times as a cry for help. She felt worthless and alone and struggled to hold down a job. She gave birth to her son Teigan at the age of 19 and found herself sleeping on a friend’s sofa with nowhere to go, however, her life began to change once she found the Prince’s Trust . Despite her initial reservations, she decided to sign up and joined Northampton South Team 18 in January 2010.

Once part of the Team, Sam was relieved to find she was listened to by both Prince’s Trust staff and other Team Members and not judged on her past.  Sam was encouraged to give her opinions and grew in confidence when she saw that she was not being put down.  Through one-to-one support and constant encouragement to get involved in activities Sam began to rebuild her self-esteem and believe in herself and that she did have the potential to build a better future for herself and Teigan.

Team 18 undertook a community project in putting on a photographic exhibition to explain to the local community the journeys that were taken by young people in the town. Sam was extremely passionate about this, gaining the confidence to speak articulately to external companies to raise funds for the project and developing the interpersonal skills that have become a key strength of hers.  The confidence she displayed was noticeable to other Team Members, who respected Sam as one of the group’s strongest leaders, a role that she had never previously believed herself capable of fulfilling.

As the course progressed, Sam came to support other Team Members in a range of different areas and, through individual support from the Team Leader, she became aware that she had the qualities and skills to effectively support other young people who have had difficult upbringings.

Team Leader, Wayne Taylor, recommended that she looked into progressing into a career in this area, saying:

“Sam’s previous experience of life, interaction with other young people and enthusiasm for supporting young people with an empathetic ear have helped her confidence grow hugely whilst she has been on Team.  She is also extremely organised and responsible.”

After this encouragement Sam took the step from being a student on the Prince’s Trust programme in Northampton to become a volunteer supporting young people for four subsequent teams. Following this Sam was later employed by Tresham Youth Training to work with young people in education. Sam has now settled in her new role and is now proving to be a complete success, with many colleagues singing her praises.

Wayne Taylor, Team Leader for Prince’s Trust said:

“I have taught and worked with Sam through her time with Tresham and find her to be very dedicated to her roles that she has taken while with Tresham and the Prince’s Trust, and only see more success coming her way.

Congratulations to Sam for the distance she has come in a short amount time who is now 100% committed to support learners to achieve.”

Lee Vaughan a Team Member from Northampton Team 19 said:
“Sam was a brilliant support for me, as she helped me to complete my portfolio and she was always patient to explain things when I didn’t understand”

Ruth Espey, a Team Member from Northampton Team 21 said:

“Sam was always there to talk to when I was struggling with personal problems. She didn’t judge me and always took the time to listen”.

Sam now plans to continue working with young people and aspires to becoming a specialist in working with young people with challenging behavior.

Sam doesn’t believe she could have asked for anything more from the last 18 months.  She feels the ongoing support she has received from the Trust has helped turn our life around, get her on the career ladder and has helped her to become happier than she can remember.  Without the Trust’s support, Sam believes she would have continued doing nothing without any confidence or motivation and would have spiraled into a cycle of depression and hopelessness.

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