Joshua Schofield (20 years) is a proud graduate of the Youth Community Living Support Service (YCLSS) at Flourish Australia, formerly known as YPOP (Young People’s Outreach Program). Today Joshua works part time, manages his health independently, mentors at Youth Program events and sits on the Flourish Australia Youth Advisory Committee. But life hasn’t always been this way for him.
In 2015, Joshua was referred to YPOP. “I wasn’t living a happy life,” remembers Joshua. “Socially I was withdrawn and had no friends.” In fact, Joshua rarely left home and was very isolated. “I was at a really dark place in my life.” The first step is often the hardest, and for Joshua, summonsing the courage to step inside the door at YPOP was a pivotal stage on his recovery journey. “I was totally against YPOP. I thought I wouldn’t enjoy the social interaction and felt really uncomfortable at the thought of it. But when I met the workers, they seemed really nice.” “At first I didn’t go to any youth group nights,” remembers Joshua. “One day they asked me to go along and when I went, there was another guy called Sam who was going for the first time too. Knowing I wasn’t alone made the experience easier.” “I actually enjoyed it and continued to go along. I ended up becoming friends with Sam and another YPOP member, Sarah!”
“Before starting with YPOP I had no goals or dreams. I thought I couldn’t do anything,” says Joshua. ”I was depressed and at times, suicidal.” Making friends at YPOP showed Joshua he could relate to others and his life changed from being lonely and isolated to being social. “I feel proud of myself for taking the step. I made friends and became happier in myself.” “Joshua always made the effort to step out of his comfort zone,” says Ruby Golding, Joshua’s support worker. “I think he became comfortable with being uncomfortable.” With the support of Flourish Australia, Joshua established goals including studying or finding work, making friends and developing a healthier lifestyle. Within 12 months, he’s made a great start in achieving his goals. Joshua has also started helping others, providing mentoring and guidance to other young people. “I started to take new members of the young people’s programs under my wing during social groups,” says Joshua. ”I know how nerve wracking it is starting out.”
Today Joshua is a member of Flourish Australia’s Youth Advisory Committee and attends Youth nights in a mentoring role, which he’s enjoying so much; he’s now considering a career in community work. Since stepping through the doors of YPOP only 12 months ago, Joshua’s life has transformed from a withdrawn person, to someone who manages his health, enjoys friendships, and has a part time job and realistic, achievable goals. He’s transformed from someone who needed support, to someone who now offers it to others.
“I’m so much happier now because I’m achieving goals, I have friends and I have purpose and feel as if my true personality has come out. Flourish Australia has helped me to grow into a confident, independent person and my life has improved because of it. I’m so proud that I’m helping others and doing something with my life.