Adika, 26

Adika, 26

When I came to Fairbridge I had a dream of working in television, but with little experience or contacts I was stuck at home on benefits.

From my early teens I dropped out of school and involved myself with some very negative activities. At school it wasn't cool to be clever, I never went and eventually I got thrown out. Hanging out on the streets and being involved with drugs meant I had fast money, but I was in constant danger. I ended up in prison. I saw the emotional effects on me and my loved ones full on. I knew I couldn't go back.

When I came out, some friends had camera equipment which I had a play around with. I found I enjoyed it so I went back to college and got a BTEC in documentary, narrative video and moving image. Now I had a passion, I wanted to make changes in my life, but it was hard. It took me until 2009 to finally put all my negative activities behind me, I just couldn't let go of the benefits crime brought me.

But my dream stalled. I didn't know how to get to where I wanted to be. That's when I found Fairbridge. After the Access course I immediately got placed on a Media Trust film-making course. It was great and I got to try directing, scripting and editing all under the guidance of an industry mentor. Since then Fairbridge have helped point me in the direction of lots of media opportunities.

The way I relate to people has also changed since being here. I could be very difficult if I felt someone was being disrespectful. Fairbridge taught me to turn the other cheek so if I come across situations like that in life I'll be able to handle it sensibly. I've now done work experience at ITV's Daybreak and regularly volunteer in the studio at The Roundhouse. I became the mentor on another Media Trust project and now I'm applying for apprenticeships, internships and entry-level jobs in the media. I've been shortlisted for a couple and I know it won't be long before I get my break. If I hadn't come to Fairbridge I might have been back to my old ways, instead I'm much closer to my dream.

Korina, 20

Korina, 20

Before I came to Fairbridge, I wasn't doing anything with my life, I didn't trust anyone, I was lazy, had no confidence. I'd been in care and moved around a lot and was then living in a hostel. I used to walk the streets until late and always seemed to be either alone or fighting.

When I first came to Fairbridge, I had an induction and everything about Fairbridge was explained to me, all the different courses they offered and I had a look around the centre. I was thinking to myself should I stay and get involved or should I just leave it. It almost seemed too good to be true because nothing like this ever happens to me and it felt like a dream. But hey, turns out, it's real!

I decided that I should give Fairbridge a go. I went on an Access course and that's when I realised there was light at the end of the tunnel. I learnt how to do things on my own but also realised that there are people around who want to support me to reach my goals and who will pick me up if I fall.

I've done loads of courses, like cooking and swimming and I've also done some projects like the employability course Learn to Earn where I learnt what it was like to run my own business and then I even spent a week on Spirit, which is Fairbridge's 90-foot sailing boat. My favourite project has been Art on the Underground where I designed my own costume based on my personality, and the photos were displayed all over the London Underground!

By coming to Fairbridge I've learnt not to give up and to keep trying. If I fail anything, I know it's just a test and I can start again.