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Achieving Things

By Catherine Downs
September 2006, Merthyr Vale
A digital story from Capture Wales

Finding Her Way

Hope and optimism abound for young Catherine, but not so long ago she didn't know what to do with her life.

"I was 12 years old at the time, nothing to do... watching the cars passing and even playing knock knock ginger. My family kept on, 'do something with yourself', which I also thought myself.

I got up one day and believed that I could do it, and I became part of a community project. There were great opportunities and the words 'ACHIEVING THINGS' sounded exciting.

I started in a youth club where lots of young people who I never knew before attended. I took up dance and still love doing this. I've won many awards and have taken part in community shows. I'm in a youth forum where as a team we have a say on what we'd like to see in the community.

I've gone on loads of trips and have really enjoyed the experiences. I also take up courses that are available to me. To be honest, there's so much that the project has given me the opportunity to do, that I've decided to give this all back by achieving things for myself.

So now I enjoy teaching 45 children dance twice a week and also work as a full time nursery nurse in the day care centre. You might think, 'Oh my God', but let me tell you what a life time experience it is especially as I'm only 18. I love being with children, around children and even having fun with them.

Everything that I've achieved wouldn't have happened to me if I didn't listen to my family and myself. To be honest it's the best thing ever, and I hope that in the future the community and especially the children I work with, will achieve all the things I have, because being part of the project and having so much support off everyone has really changed my life.

My family are proud, the project are proud and most of all, I am proud."

Catherine Downs

Please tell us about yourself.
I'm 18 years old and live in south Wales. I enjoy socialising and enjoy nights out. I'm a number one fan of Eastenders and don't miss an episode. I enjoy going on day trips in my car and enjoy taking part in dance. I do this within my community and enjoy every second of it. I also like to help my family when needed.

What's your story about?
It's about being a young person, bored doing nothing to becoming a happy person and achieving things for myself after being part of a community project, and by them helping me and giving me so much support.

What did you find the most rewarding about the workshop?
Meeting so much lovely people I never knew before and having so much welcome. I really enjoyed the experience and would give anyone advice to take on this wonderful opportunity if it comes to you. It's fantastic!

Your comments

"I think my sister has done really well for her community and the project which she has been part of. She has done really well and has made the family proud. I love her to bits." Kate Downs, South Wales

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