2021 was a real roller coaster. Starting the year in another lockdown was a challenging experience. But it brought me even closer to my family which was amazing for us. As the world started to open up again, I went back to school; it was great getting back to seeing people again! Getting into the swing of Year 11 wasn’t so bad, and although I had to have time off with COVID and we still had restrictions, the lessons were good.
Life has been a lot more stable since all the lockdowns ended and having ‘normal’ summers has been much appreciated. Going back to Engine Room in person (instead of on zoom) has also been really good.
It’s part of The Door’s illuminateStroud project and it’s a youth group based more around the Christian faith. It gives us young people the opportunity to explore our faith whilst meeting others and having fun. We meet every Sunday evening. We start with a fun activity like sport or a quiz and then we spend time discussing a ‘big question’.
We talk and share between us all and bounce off of each other very well. We look at many aspects of faith – we’ve explored Social Justice, poverty and climate and identity. We all get on really nicely and have a good time whilst having those important conversations as well.
illuminate has become a massive part of my life.
When I moved to Stroud 4 years ago my mum found the opportunity for me and my brother to join this youth group to keep growing our connection to our faith as well as social confidence in a new area. At first I was hesitant because I was a very shy person and in that situation I felt I was thrown into the deep end, but as the weeks went by I gained confidence and got more comfortable with the leaders and the other members. Fast forward to now and I love taking part in everything we do.
I have so much fun, learn so much about myself and my faith, and most significantly I have come on leaps and bounds with my confidence. I’ve even started helping lead sessions which is something I’d never have imagined myself doing.
The first session I led actually went really well! I created my idea around music in faith, because music is a big part of my life, and we spoke about what God means to us and how we portray that through music. This was a huge achievement for me because I felt more mature and confident. I also took charge for our Halloween session where we had a campfire with s’mores and hot chocolate and played some games in the graveyard. It was a lot of fun.
Illuminate is so important to me. I literally can’t imagine how much more shy and anxious I’d be if I hadn’t done this. I’m so grateful for everything they’ve given me.