As well as being autistic and having various other learning disabilities, Santo (aged 17), had the most awful start in life and was taken into care at the age of five. His prospects looked dismal, but in 2015, he took part in his first Tall Ships Youth Trust voyage, and things began to change.
He has sailed with Trust several times since, with each experience empowering him further – he even received an award for showing outstanding promise against all odds. Santo has been adopted by his foster parents, and his mother, Lin, explains how his life has taken a much more positive turn:
Tall Ships Youth Trust’s experiences, the crews and skippers and even the ladies in the office have all taken part in giving Santo the social family he has never had! For that I am hugely grateful.
Tall Ships Youth Trust has changed Santo so much. Since his first voyage he has grown in maturity, confidence and self-esteem. He has learnt that although, he is autistic, this won’t stop him achieving, he just has to work a little harder. He used to dream of being a racing driver or working with computers when he is older.
Now he lives and breathes for the next voyage and is eager to learn how to one day skipper his own boat! His dream now is to sail around the world! Thank you for giving my son a dream, for helping to provide the support and nurture my son needed and giving him a positive future with a career in sailing.
Lin – a very proud mum!