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How youth can turn trials into triumphs

November 28, 2014

Dear Sir,

As a result of running away from home at the age of 15, I found myself being sent abroad to Utah, to a vocational boarding school.

Although it's called a boarding school, it can be likened to that of a juvenile detention centre. There were locks and alarms on the doors, you had every second of your day scheduled for you.

I found myself 1,500 miles away from Bermuda. I didn't know anyone and, quite frankly, I was scared.

There I first met Tom, a Brazilian who had lived in England with his adopted parents. We were the only British kids at this facility.

Tom had been there for three years already when I arrived, he felt as if his parents had dropped him into Utah to leave him. This obviously had quite the impact on a 16-year-old.

After being there for three years, he had seemingly lost hope and was just going with the flow.

Tom and I often found ourselves getting into trouble; fights and rebelling from the programme. Looking back on it, we were simply two young men crying out for help.

After two years in Utah with Tom, he became my best friend. We often talked about him not knowing his biological family and the impact on him. He told me one day that I was like his brother, and quite frankly I agreed with him.

You gain control of your life the day you decide you want something that nobody can stop you from getting except yourself. I had decided that I no longer wanted to be in trouble. I did not change, I simply stopped pretending to be what I wasn't.

We supported each other as we worked hard on our behaviour and our school work. I left Utah having graduated high school with a 3.58 GPA with university classes under my belt at the age of 16.

I left Tom in Utah, I can't imagine how painful that must have been for him to have me arrive three years after him and leave before him. We always discussed how we were going to get our lives together and be something great one day.

Last week I was in London when I got a call from Tom. He had seen on Facebook that I was here and he wanted to meet up. I can't explain how excited I was to see my brother again.

We sat and talked for hours about how life has changed and that he's still working on himself.

He looked me in my eyes weeping as we reminisced on our days in Utah. He had seen me at my worst and now seeing me at my best. This was a huge motivation for him.

His words were “If you can do it bruv, I can do it”. He is proud of my life decisions and wished me the best.

It was in that moment that I shed a tear realising that no time, space or circumstances can break a true friendship. Love you Tom, my brother for life.

I share this story because fellow Bermudian young men must know that we have enormous potential.

We can use our downfalls and lessons to help others make it. We can turn our tests into testimonies and our trials into triumphs.

If we only work with each other instead of fighting against each other, we would be a great force to be reckoned with.

We have got to stop tearing each other down like crabs in a bucket and build each other up.

ERON HILL

Sandys

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Published December 02, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated December 01, 2014 at 8:39 pm)

How youth can turn trials into triumphs

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