Our alum, Alan Cooper, shares his inspiring journey with us. It is so heartwarming to hear and we are proud to have been on this path with Alan:
"Before UpRising, to some, I would have been considered a lost cause. After being kicked out of high school, I was made homeless and began my journey in supported accommodation. I was enrolled on a Craft Catering course at my local college, which inevitably came to a close just after 9 months. Riddled with mental-ill health and self medicating with illicit substances, my life was slowly taking a nose dive and I had no ambition of making credible change. At 19 I became a young father, which began to change the course of my direction. After becoming homeless for a second time, change was the only option left for me. After having two college courses cancelled, my support worker introduced me to the Leadership Programme. The interview alone filled me with confidence and after attending the nine month programme, I had finally found my voice.
UpRising showed me that no matter your circumstances or your start in life, you can make credible change - to your life and others. Without the support from my programme co-ordinator, I don't feel as if I would have got as far as I did. She allowed me to gain work experience supporting at local recruitment events and delivering speeches to potential stakeholders.
After UpRising, I finally had a sense of self. I was empowered to take action to change my own life and support others whilst on their journey. I began working in youth work and education: supporting young people from primary age up to college. After being made redundant, I decided to upskill and enrolled onto an Access to Higher Education in Biology and Chemistry, with the hopes of progressing onto university. This year, I will be starting my new journey at Cardiff University - studying Sport Conditioning, Rehabilitation and Massage - but before that begins I will be completing a 62 mile ultramarathon which I have so far raised £900 for Pakinsons UK (donate here).
If you find your voice, you will find your power. When you find your power then you can empower and inspire others to achieve their maximum potential. It starts with you".