Zion Sengulay-Thomas, City Year London
“Joining City Year UK, I did not know what to expect. I was a recent graduate, going into the world of work, with little or no clue of what I wanted to do. I hate to admit it but I was scared of what the future and my journey at City Year held. I’d signed up to volunteer for a year in a school – to be a role model, mentor and tutor.
“I remember stepping into my maths class and looking around. I wondered what I’d gotten myself into. I braced myself and gingerly dived in. Since September I’ve been through a lot with these pupils: behaviour management, identity issues, confidence losses, doubt, tears and at times heartbreak. I’ve seen these pupils who believed they had zero chance in life be transformed into confident pupils, able to see a future and visualise where they could be in a few years. I’ve seen the same pupils have the best day and then the worst day, detention after detention. I have also looked at these pupils and seen hope in their eyes, hope that they can and will be who they want to be.
“Recently I was sat at the front of the canteen at a school presentation, watching one of these pupils shaking the hand of the deputy head after being given the role of an anti-bullying ambassador. It was at this moment that I realised, life is not just about money, or clothes. Life is not about who drives the fastest car or has the biggest watch, it’s about making a difference to someone’s life. It’s about those minuscule moments that can change the course of someone’s life for the better. I now know what I am doing making a difference to someone’s life. I am changing lives. I am no longer scared.”