“I’m only a few years older than the young people I work with, but I can see that life’s tougher for them than it was for me.”

From Omsk to Oxford, Innovista identifies, equips and develops leaders. We love sharing their stories with you, so you can see how our training impacts their lives. Devon is one of those leaders. A couple of years ago, we shared Devon’s story, which you can catch up on here.

It tells of a life which revolved around little more than sleep, school and gaming. But when Devon, then age 14, joined a games club run by Innovista’s Thrive Teams’ on his Oxford estate, we quickly spotted his potential and invited him to join a programme for developing young leaders. Now age 21, here is the latest chapter of Devon’s story – in his own words.

“I’ve grown so much, with Thrive Teams’ help. Now my focus is helping other people in my community to grow too.”

‘Life’s full at the moment. I’m training as a youth worker with Thrive Teams, working in a café, and learning to drive so I can fulfil my dream of becoming a paramedic.

‘There’s one day each week when I start my shift at 5am, finish at 2.30pm, volunteer with a Thrive Teams’ club and then go to discipleship training – that’s a long day!

‘But I feel like I’m developing so much.

‘As part of our leadership training we’ve set three goals – for our faith, youth work and personal life. I’ve learned what my strengths are, and how to build on them. And I know what I’m aiming at.

‘God’s given me a heart for young people and I want to do all I can to see them thrive. One lad has done The Alpha Course (he’s done it three times!) and he’s developed so much in his faith. I messaged him recently to say how proud I was of him.

‘I’m only a few years older than the young people I work with, but I can see that life’s tougher for them than it was for me. There’s more pressure. That’s why one of my goals is to become a mentor.

I’ve grown so much, with Thrive Teams’ help, and now my focus is helping other people in my community to grow too.’

Thrive Teams has been part of my life for seven years now.
What would I say to my 14-year-old self?

‘I’d say don’t do anything differently. All the experiences I’ve had: joining games club, being part of the young leaders programme, getting my A-levels and starting uni, training in youth work – the good stuff and the bad stuff – it’s made me who I am today.’

‘If you’d like to, please pray for me to pass my driving test so I can do my paramedic training, and for God to show himself to the young people I’m working with, just like he did for me.’

Definitely do it!

‘If anyone’s wondering about getting involved with Thrive Teams I’d say definitely do it! I was a young person growing up in a disadvantaged community, and being invested in as a young leader has helped me develop so many skills and so much confidence.’

If you’d like to get involved with Thrive Teams, get in touch with us today! We would love to hear from you.