Homeless Antony's off to Africa after turning life around
VOLUNTEER Antony Doherty is preparing for the trip of a lifetime helping poverty-stricken families in Africa – after getting his own life back on track.
The 21-year-old is one of 10 people who will spend three months in Sierra Leone.
He has decided to give up his time as a way of saying thank you for the help he received after he found himself homeless when he fell out with his parents.
Antony, who has lived at North Staffs YMCA in Hanley for eight months, signed up for VSO, a project which helps to improve living conditions in third world countries.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
He will spend two days training in London before flying out on January 20.
Antony said: "I came to live at the YMCA after arguing with both of my parents. Living at home didn't work out for me so I needed some help.
"I've always set my heart on international work so when this opportunity came up I just couldn't miss it. I really want to make a difference." The project will see Antony live with a local family and carry out their everyday duties until he returns in March.
He will also organise a variety of projects to help raise awareness of HIV.
Antony added: "I hope I can make a difference to people's lives. The YMCA gave me a home so I wanted to give something back."
During his eight months at the Harding Road YMCA, Antony has landed a voluntary role as a youth activity co-ordinator.
He said: "We give people the opportunity to do something in the evenings, like basketball or bingo, because it is better than roaming the streets.
"People have a certain perception about the YMCA but since I have been here I have learned so much. I would never have been given the opportunities I have had if I hadn't have come here. The skills I have learned will definitely help me when I am in Africa.
"I had certain issues in my life but I feel I am going in the right direction now."
Antony needs to raise £800 to help fund his expenses for the trip and has so far raised £500 through bag packing and sponsorship. He needs £300 to reach his target.
YMCA chief executive Danny Flynn said: "Antony has been an inspiration and has grabbed every opportunity available to him since he came to the YMCA. He is a fantastic lad and he will be a blessing in Africa. We are all very proud of him."
To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/antdoherty.