My name’s Katie, I’m 18 and live on the Isle of Wight.
When I was nine my mum and dad split up. My family were violent and my mum was into drugs. So, from about 10, I had to bring myself up.
At 14, I was homeless and sleeping on the beach or sofa surfing with people I didn’t really know. At 15, I got my first conviction for burglary. I was given community service and 12 months with the youth offending team.
It was then, I decided to ask for help. The youth offending team put me forward to join a Tall Ships Youth Trust voyage.
My first voyage opened my eyes and showed me I can do better. It completely changed my life. Every day onboard is different and you’re always learning something new. You’re with different people from different backgrounds, but no-one judges you. I got on really well with people I didn’t think I would. And you have to work together, regardless. It’s really helped me to manage my emotions and get on better with people.
A week after my first voyage I was invited to come back as a young leader and I’ve been involved ever since. Today, I have a painting and decorating qualification and a modelling contract.
Volunteer Watch Assistant and youth ambassador