One day you will have a lot of things you never dreamt of owning, but never forget that stability and consistency are two of the most valuable things you will ever experience. The youth centres that you visit today on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday, will prove to be central to all of the greatest gifts you receive in life your friendships, your discipline, your respect, and compassion for others.
One day you will have the opportunity to travel to lands you never knew existed, to hear languages so foreign, and experience culture so alien. Don’t ever be overwhelmed. Stand tall, with the Mancunian accent that will become so familiar to many. Your youth centre has taught you to celebrate difference. To celebrate those that don’t look or sound like you. And this is one of the greatest lessons you will learn, so hold on to it, as one day you will be stood alongside ten new allies whose only common language is that round ball that has become so important in your life. We do not point fingers, we never have. We wrap our arms around each other and tug each other up at times we are feeling low. Always remember that kindness is power.
The life lessons you will hold so close as an adult, are being taught right now within the four walls of that youth centre. The freedom and safety you are feeling, will one day be felt on a pitch much greater than you can imagine. Never take for granted this safe space as it plays such a big role in mum’s life. You might not be able to see it now, but her smile grows wide and the weight on her shoulders lessens every time you return home with a full belly. One day those football players you idolize will be trumped by a greater hero. A hero that goes by the name of mum.
There have been many days that you have felt lesser than others, but no more. Your voice, your stance, your family, your community, and friends, all matter. Whenever you feel like you have very little, know that there are always people willing to give. Just look at those doors wide open welcoming you in for a snack or a chat. If I had to ask one thing of you it would be this. Please, never go to bed feeling like you don’t have a role to play in this life because, believe me when I tell you, the possibilities are endless.