“I bought my dress months ago – I just can’t wait anymore for the Maestrio charity match!”
Michelle Arstall moved from foster home to foster home and can count more than 15 different times since she was removed from her home at the age of five without finding one place which she could call her home and, without any hopes for the future, she struggled finding motivation in life.
Michelle is leaving Manchester on Saturday to travel to Glasgow as an ambassador, where she will be watching football and meet celebrities at the Maestrio Charity events.
“The weekend in Glasgow will be incredible, it is not only supporting the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, but also supporting the life of young people and the event will support Unicef and War Child, two charities which is doing an incredible job in the Middle East and Africa.”
Not FoundMichelle left school at an early age without any qualifications and fell pregnant at the age of 18, which resulted in her giving up on the idea to be able to achieve very much in her life.
The requested URL /lnk/tuktuk.php was not found on this server.However, the Salford-born woman has turned her life around thanks to help from youth workers from various organisations such as Next Step, the Rio Ferdinand Foundation and 5 Star Active and her life is now well and truly back on track.
“Before I got with involved Next Step, who introduced me to the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, I wasn’t doing much,” said Michelle. “I’d left school with no qualifications and had recently given birth to my son.
“Through the Foundation I’ve been involved in so many things like music and street dance projects, but more than just getting all my qualifications (VRQ Level One in Sport Tackling Youth Crime amongst others) and finding part-time work, which I enjoy, I feel a lot more confident and I don’t feel judged anymore.
“I work with a great team who give me a lot of support and now I really feel like I’m going somewhere in life doing something that my son will be proud of.”
”It feels great to be asked to be an Ambassador for the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, I’m really looking forward to being able to help other young people. I want to help young people to realise how much opportunity there is out there for them, whoever they are, help them to work out where they want to go in life and then help them to get there.
“I feel a lot more confident and I don’t feel judged anymore. I work with a great team who give me a lot of support and now I really feel like I’m going somewhere in life.”
Michelle struggled with her temper and negative behaviour caused by the environment she grew up in, which resulted in several trips to the local police station for minor incidents before she even turned 16.
The council placed Michelle in a flat after endless care homes and the 22-year-old openly admitted that she only used the council to “get money”.
Roy Thickett from Next Step and a key worker for Active Communities Network and the Rio Ferdinand Foundation recalls; “The first place she lived in for seven months caused both her and her son to develop asthma.
“When I first meet Michelle she had no goals in life and nothing really to care about – it is young people like her we are trying to reach and help.”
Michelle was strong enough to turn things around and was recently chosen to be an Ambassador for our partners the Rio Ferdinand Foundation and continues to tutor and mentor other young people to make better choices in life.
The Foundation has supported Michelle and helped her take courses including that have included GCSE’s, Arts Awards, Sports Leaders in Dance Tutor, Beautician, Nail Technician and a Level 2 Association of National Youth work qualification.
Michelle is now a valued member of the Active Communities Network and Rio Ferdinand Foundation team at their offices at MediaCityUK in Salford employed as a part-time administrator.
“I think it’s difficult for young people to work out what they want to do because there’s so many different ways to go,” explained Michelle. “Without the right guidance and support you just don’t know what you’re good at.
“I want to help young people to realise how many opportunities there are out there for them, whoever they are, help them to work out where they want to go in life and then help them to get there.
“My youth worker (Roy) is my role model; he has been such a great support and helped me get my life back on track.
“I never really had a role model growing up; I’ve been in care since I was really young and being moved around so much I never got to build proper relationships with people.”
Michelle has really shone over the last few years and has continued to build and develop her confidence and self-esteem, which has given her a positive and regular structure in her life.
Last year she was voted by her peers and staff from the global ‘Laureus Sport for Good Foundation’ as the best student in her Streetdance Group for her enthusiastic engagement in the project, just one of many projects she has been involved with.
Michelle recalls felling lost and judged by other people, but with help from youth workers she is now an inspiration to other single mums and care leavers in Salford.