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Blackburn teenager turned his life around at Youth Zone
A TEENAGER went from being a thug to a positive role model after completing the Young Leaders programme at Blackburn Youth Zone.
Sam Ali, from Revidge, arrived at the £6 million Youth Zone in Jubilee Street a self-confessed mess in June 2012.
But the 19-year-old has turned his life around, and plans to go to university and become a youth worker.
He said: “I had a difficult childhood. This affected my behaviour at school and in my social circle. I hung around with the wrong people. I was in gangs, fighting, committing burglaries and taking drugs.”
Sam hit rock bottom when he was arrested for his part in a series of burglaries.
He faced a nine-month sentence but was ‘lucky’ and was given 12 hours’ community service, he said.
“I was kicked out of my house by my family. I moved into a friend’s house and they helped me see clearly and turn around my behaviour.”
Sam was introduced to the Youth Zone by his friend and, after a difficult start, began to feel at home after making friends with sports co-ordinator, Ishmail Issat.
Sam added: “Before, there was nobody I felt could help me or inspire me, but in Ishy I found a role model. I got back into football and coaching at found that I liked to write so I worked in the media suite writing raps about my life.”
Sam was accepted on the Young Leaders programme, which trains positive role models and to help in their local community.
The Lancashire Telegraph is raising £60,000 to create 100 more ‘teen leaders’.
Sam went on to lead a multi-cultural event and several sporting events. He is a Young Leader, captain of the football team, and has been on a Prince’s Trust course.
He said: “I want to inspire other young people who may be going through what I did. If I hadn’t come to be part of the Youth Zone, I would probably be in prison, homeless or dead.
“I walked in this place as a thug and walked out a leader.”
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