“I was with a foster family when I first started attending Life Church. It makes me feel like a part of something. I can definitely see where I was before going to church and where I am now. Since I’ve been going to church I’ve achieved, not just qualifications but a lot more self confidence and more motivation. I’m healthy. I’m hanging out with good guys.
It’s a family. They’ve all got completely different backgrounds to me - growing up in stable homes and lovely environments, but I grew up in something completely different. Having them support me while I’m trying to get on a better path, that’s been really good.
Just having the right influences around can make the biggest difference. I mean, I come from a difficult, rough background and I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I ended up in a church. That’s something you don’t hear too often. Most guys in my case end up becoming gang members. If I didn’t have the guys from church? Honestly I reckon I’d either be locked up or dead.
As a kid I didn't have any consistent roles models so I looked up to the army. And after all the things I’ve gone through I still look up to the army. I’ve never seen myself wearing a patch. All I see is getting to the front line for my country. In a way I feel like I could take everything I’ve gone through and put it to good use. Use that as determination to get to where I want to get. I guess when you’re growing up with very little, on the poverty line, as you get older you have more determination to get out of that situation ‘cause you know you hated it.
Once you’re in the army, you’re in for life. It’s something where you don’t just earn money, you make life long relationships with people. It’s a family, it’s a brotherhood. A bunch of guys you can trust. You know they’ve got your back, and you’ll have their back. You’ll have guys who’ll be there with you from your darkest, to your funniest, to your saddest moments.
Being in foster care is challenging, it’s hard, it’s painful. Mentally, it’s demanding. Don’t give up. You need to keep your head on straight, try not to do anything where you’re going to get yourself involved with the law, stick with school. Whatever you want to do when you get older, pick something you love, something you admire, something that inspires you. Focus on that and just hold onto that. Or find someone who really cares about you and try to make them proud.”
If you’re interested in joining the army - Find a Cadet Unit near you by going to CadetForces. If you’re 13-18 years old you can join Cadets and work towards a career in the Army, Navy or Airforce.
If you want to go to church or practice your religion - Ask for help to find the right place for you, whether that’s a church, a mosque, a temple, or just a quiet, private place. Your caregiver or social worker will be able to help, or call Oranga Tamariki on 0508 FAMILY (326 459)