Sharelle named worthy finalist for Prince’s Trust award
Thursday, 10 November 2016
A Limavady woman, Sharelle McDowell, 23, was named a runner up for the HSBC Breakthrough Award during a ceremony held in Titanic Belfast last week. The Prince's Trust and TK Maxx & HomeSense Celebrate Success Awards recognise the achievements of disadvantaged young people who have succeeded against the odds, improved their chances in life and had a positive impact on their local community.
Scared and confused, Sharelle was moved into care and separated from her six siblings when she was just six years-old.
“I didn't know we would all get separated. I wish I'd had the chance to say a proper goodbye," she said. All she ever wanted was to fit in but she was labelled the "foster kid" at school; she was bullied and underachieved academically. Sharelle left school with few friends and little motivation and although she signed up for courses, she often chose to stay out all night drinking instead of studying.
A family member suggested talking to The Prince's Trust where Sharelle was encouraged to sign up for Mark Your Mark - a four-week employability programme run in a partnership between The Prince's Trust and Marks & Spencer.
“I was scared of going to the taster day; being in a group of people I didn't know worried me, but that day changed everything," she explained.
Simply being offered a place on the course was enough for Sharelle's motivation to return. Feeling safe and supported, she overcame many of her social insecurities, including travelling on her own and meeting new people.
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