Bella was selected by her teachers to join the Rising Futures programme in Year 8, aged 12. At the start of the programme, Bella was a quiet student, hesitant to speak to her classmates.
“Before the Rising Futures programme, my life was a bit quiet… I was very shy, I didn't speak much. I would never ever engage in anything. I didn't want to speak to people.”
Over the course of six months, Bella took part in a series of coaching sessions with volunteer Yes Futures Coach, Annmarie. Bella and Annmarie explored essential skills like confidence and self-awareness, and Annmarie supported Bella to better understand her strengths and how to use them.
With Annmarie’s support, Bella began to set herself longer-term goals, focusing on achieving good grades in her GCSEs and getting into a good college. Session by session, as Bella got used to the goal setting process, her confidence and self-awareness began to improve.
“I loved the coaching sessions because you could be more honest. I feel like, you could be more yourself with another person and you can target yourself and your strengths or your weaknesses and build on them instead of being in a group.”
Bella's trip experiences
Soon enough, Bella was ready to face her first Rising Futures event, the Play Your Part trip. Bella and her fellow students travelled to a public garden, to learn more about local conservation and maintaining green spaces. Through this trip, Bella realised how much of an impact she can have on the environment and brought this knowledge back home, leading her family to all become more environmentally aware.
Bella’s second event was the World of Work trip, where students are invited to tour different workplaces and talk to people from different jobs. Through her trip to Gartner, Bella saw a different way of life.
“I feel like the trip that impacted me the most was the World of Work day because it gave me an insight to a different way of life almost. I went there, had an idea of my options, what I can do, and I feel like I've applied that to my life now. I'm really, really interested in marketing and I feel like that stemmed from [the World of Work day] because I thought this is a community that I really want to be in… I feel like it's a great option for my future.”
Soon it was time for the Into the Wild trip. This was Bella’s biggest challenge yet. Students from all different schools gathered together for a weekend of adventure, challenges, and fun. Bella wasn’t used to being around so many new people and it was hard for her to be outgoing, but she knew she had to challenge herself. By the second day, she was making friends, participating in all the activities that terrified her in the beginning, and having fun.
“Into the Wild was definitely a challenge for me, especially being with people from different schools, because I wasn't a very outgoing person... But by the end of the second day, I was so involved, I was going first for every single activity. I found it crazy to think how quickly [the weekend] can change your confidence. In literally two days, it made such a difference for me mentally”.
Adapting to Covid-19
Shortly after Bella’s Into the Wild weekend, the UK entered the first national lockdown. During this time, Bella used her self-coaching toolbox to continue to practice the goal setting that she had practiced with Annmarie in her coaching sessions.
“Covid for me was very, very intense. I was very much alone. I didn't know what to do with myself. But I feel like Rising Futures kind of did help me through Covid because we were given this final booklet (the self-coaching toolbox). I treasured that little booklet the whole time. I didn't feel like I had anything else.”
How has the Rising Futures programme impacted Bella?
Two years after completing the Rising Futures programme, Bella is working as a waitress at her local restaurant, a job she never thought she could do. Bella also uses her newfound confidence to put herself forward for new opportunities, participate more in lessons, and regularly step outside of her comfort zone.
“I reckon without [the Rising Futures programme], I would just be so quiet, not saying a word, not doing anything. But I feel like because of the programme, I'm the polar opposite… I just love being around people, talking to people, communicating. It really brought out, I think the best in me, which has [not only] benefited me, it's also benefited people around me.”
Bella continues to set goals for herself, short term and long term. She has learned that challenging herself from time to time can take her one step closer to where and who she wants to be.
“Goal setting is definitely something I still practice now. I've still got my future goals in my mind. I've got goals that I want to achieve every morning. It's like a daily activity for me. It really, really helps me see where I'm going to go. And I feel like that's very, very important for someone that never really knew what they were doing in the first place.”
For more information on our programmes and to find out how we could support your students, please visit our Programmes page.