Tuesday 31st March was my last day at Allsorts Youth Project. I have been there for 14 months, working with a fantastic team of staff and volunteers and a wonderful community of LGBTU (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Unsure) youth from 16-26 years old.
There was so much I wanted to say to the young people. It felt like there was not enough time, even though there always will be. It felt like I knew exactly what to say, yet I was stumbling over syllables and choking on my words.
I’m finding it so hard to talk about it because I can’t use their names, and it pains me to talk about people who are so special yet so nameless. On the other hand, I feel like these people have made such special secret place in my heart that only I know about, which is a feeling that makes me smile so much. I hope they know that.
It has taken me so long to open all these cards and gifts because I have wanted to be alone, and have time to myself to close this chapter. I look onto my bed and there are over twenty cards and gifts the young people have decorated, designed and drawn for me. I am smiling already.
In true Allsorts fashion, my bed is covered in glitter and my face is covered in tears.
I can honestly say I never expected to feel this way. Working with young people has changed my life. Getting to know this precious young LGBT community has been such a gift. I cannot put into words how remarkable each of these people are, and how proud I am of them. I have never felt pride in such a comfortable and confident way. These people are so interesting, these people are so talented, and these people are so powerful. I want them to know that their strength is beyond what they can see at the moment; their strength is a force to be reckoned with. These people will be speakers, activists, artists, designers, poets, writers, scientists, singers, dancers, and so much more. These people will be themselves and they will be the best at it.
I feel so sad to leave them, I feel so sad that I had to say goodbye. But when I think about why, when I realise that it is how beautiful and incredible each person at Allsorts is that makes me hurt, I feel so happy that I was able to be a small part of their life. I am so proud of them.
I honestly can’t wait for what happens next for them, they are important and they are ambitious. To be so passionate and beautifully sincere at such a young age will only lead to great things. I really can’t wait.