From education to employment

Student overcomes mental health challenges to take on US adventure

Alix Brighton

Barnsley College student, Alix Brighton, is set to overcome their personal challenges this summer by venturing to New York to work at a summer camp – something that would have been unthinkable a year ago.

Alix, who also has physical disabilities, joined the College in September 2022 to study Level 2 Health and Social Care after taking some time out of education to address their mental health issues. 

Since September, Alix has passed their GCSE in Maths in the first resit and feels their confidence has significantly improved since joining the College.

Now, they are set to make the 3,000-mile journey to the USA to work at a Camp America, which caters for young people with learning difficulties and physical disabilities.

Alix said: “I wouldn’t have even gone on the trip let alone signed up to work there without College’s support.

“I still can’t quite believe I’ve signed up to it. My mum couldn’t believe it. A year ago there wasn’t even a chance I’d do anything like this.

“To be honest, two years ago I didn’t even think I’d be at College one day. It’s seemed to have worked really well for me, I’ve just come in and gone for everything.”

Alix discovered the opportunity by attending a Camp America information event with the College, where they were pleased to find out that their physical disabilities wouldn’t exclude them from the experience.

“I spoke to one of the Camp America staff because I’m also physically disabled, and a lot of the camps are very sporty, doing loads of activities, so I thought ‘well, I’m not going to be able to do much’.

“But I found out that they have special needs camps so one of those is the camp I’m going to and is catered towards people with learning difficulties and physical disabilities, so the whole camp is wheelchair accessible, which is suitable for me.

“I’m excited but I’m also really nervous, it’ll be my first time flying on my own. However, I have a good support system which is definitely helping me.

“The Additional Learning Support team and the staff from my course at College are one hundred percent supportive, I think the whole reason my confidence has grown so much is purely because of staff. They’ve helped me massively.”

Alix is now planning on studying Level 3 Health and Social Care next year and hopes to go to university to study either mental health nursing, occupational therapy, or psychology.

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