Devon’s story – one year on

Last September Devon was busy packing for university.

Rewind a few years and life was school, gaming and sleep – on repeat.

DevonThrough your support, Devon was invited to join a Thrive Teams games club in The Leys and start on a life-changing journey. As he grew in confidence, Devon discovered a talent for supporting friends through hard times, and decided to study Counselling and Psychotherapy at university in Lancashire.

A year on, in his own words, Devon shares the latest chapter in his story.

‘I liked my course but halfway through I realised it wasn’t for me. I love talking to people and making suggestions but the counselling training was all about sitting and listening.’

Being far away from his church friends and community, Devon began feeling disconnected, and stopped replying to messages from friends.

‘In the end I decided to come home to the Leys. I still want to learn, so I’m thinking about engineering. I recently mended an old TV. I love fixing things – and I love talking to people about their problems. Maybe I could fix their problems and their appliances!

‘Studying psychology has helped me work out what makes people tick. Often I get a feeling when someone’s struggling.’

‘Recently I just knew that one friend was feeling low, so I messaged her and asked ‘What’s wrong?’ It turned out she was anxious about making friends at her new school. I know what that’s like so I could help her.

‘Over the summer I’ve been wrestling about whether I should go back to uni. But when I went to Soul Survivor I felt God say I need to be in Oxford at the moment.’

Having felt far away from friends and family while he was university, Devon went to a seminar at Soul Survivor on isolation and really connected with it. Straight after it he felt better about being around people.

‘I’ve learned and grown so much and I feel like I’ve got a contribution to make. I don’t know if anyone realises what an impact the Young Leaders training programme had on me. Now I want to do that for someone else.

‘If you want to pray for me, can you ask God for guidance and an opening to study engineering and volunteer in the year ahead.

‘I’ve got a really good feeling about it. God is always there – and he makes me really happy.’

What others are saying about Thrive

“I have known Thrive and the work it does for and with disadvantaged young people in Barton and Blackbird Leys for many years. Its enthusiastic young team, allied to its sound governance and long term approach, have made a significant difference to the lives of many whose prospects and opportunities would otherwise have been very poor. It is excellent that their model and work have now been extended into Abingdon. It is an organisation that richly deserves philanthropic support to both continue and expand its work.”

Tim Stevenson OBE, Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire