A short view back on Layla’s history shows her as a young 11 year old girl excited and eager to take part in her communities latest youth club with the YMCA youth worker at the time, Matthew Dellaquaglia.

Layla engaged in unique provisions made available to her through her local youth project resulting in her securing a place on multiple Youth Committees, engaging in various youth events over many years all while having her mind set on wanting to become a youth worker just like the ones she had in her life.

During the national lockdown Layla turned 16 and made the decision to leave school to pursue her dream of becoming a youth worker, specifically with us at the YMCA.

Layla remained engaged in the YMCA and enrolled in various opportunities from our weekly Walk and Talk sessions, Creative Writing sessions and also our Youth Voice group which is the YMCA’s young advocates group working in partnership with Perth & Kinross Council to bring relevant social change for young people. Layla had done so well through these spaces that we were thankfully able to offer her a paid position of which she took immediately.

Layla has since been working with us at the YMCA building on her existing knowledge of youth work. Layla is a clear example for the impact of long-term effective youth work as she has come full circle in now leading the local youth project she was once a young person attending.

Partners working to support Layla alongside the YMCA have commented on how special it is to have a young person journey for so long with the YMCA and reach such success at a young age.

Matthew Dellaquaglia, her original youth worker in 2013 had this to say:

“It is inspirational to see her relentlessly pursue her dreams even amongst a global pandemic. She is a shining light for other young people and we are pleased to have had the opportunity to journey with her for so long.”