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Success StoriesEmail from former tenant Ana Maria Neacsu, who left the YMCA in 2012:
"I just wanted to let you know that I am doing well. I apologize for not contacting you sooner but I wanted to settle down first so I could have good news. I have finished the first half of my university foundation year and so far it is going very well; my grades are in their 90s (a first), my confidence keeps going up. In autumn I'll be starting the first year of my Chemistry degree (I have thought very hard at the choice between Chemistry and Biochemistry, but in the end Chemistry won as this is what I enjoy the most and I'm good at it).
Thank you for helping me throughout last year, as without everyone's help I probably wouldn't be where I am today. You have also helped me with my confidence, giving it a push towards the better."
Nick came to live at Colchester YMCA in November 2010. He had been through a tough time with his family and their relationship had broken down at that time. Nick was very shy when he first lived at the YMCA and he found it hard to make friends and interact with people.
Nick attended his first YMCA England National Residents' Forum at the start of 2011. He really enjoyed it, and on the way home he talked to his support worker about the experience, who suggested that one day he could be the Chairperson of the group. Nick just laughed and said that would never be possible, as he found it hard to talk in front of groups of people.
Nick then attended each National Residents' Forum from then on, and it was amazing to watch his confidence grow and to see him develop into a person who could put his point across in a mature way and get his voice heard. He has encouraged other tenants from Colchester YMCA to attend the National Residents' Forums, and we now have to limit the amount of people we take so other YMCAs have a chance to attend too!
Nick has also become an active member of our Local Housing Review Panel, and also sits on our Board of trustees as the tenant representative. Nick is now the Chairman of the National Residents' Forum , and as part of this role he has travelled to Birmingham to deliver a speech to housing partners about the Forum so they can encourage their residents to take part. This went so well that housing managers wanted Nick to visit their projects to talk to the tenants directly.
Nick has recently moved on from Colchester YMCA, but he continues to be involved in our work. It has been a pleasure to watch him grow and develop into such a confident young person.