If you met V.A. today, you would never imagine that as a young boy he sold gum on the streets to make ends meet.
Each day was a struggle to survive. V.A. and his family were not able to look any further than the next sale. The days on the street were long, and sometimes V.A. was able to go to school, but when he did he was constantly in trouble, or in a fight. With three generations of his family working on the streets, V.A. was determined to break the cycle.
Blue Dragon first met V.A. when he was 12, and after getting to know him and his family, we were able to work together to make a plan to get them off the streets and get V.A. back to school.
V.A. speaks about Blue Dragon’s helping hand like a building block. Each opportunity he has had, or challenge he has overcome, is another block laid: paving the way, building his dreams.
Step by step; block by block, V.A. has worked hard to improve his and his family’s life.
The first building block was going back to school. Then as soon as he as older, V.A. was ready for the next building block: a bartending course run by Blue Dragon aimed at equipping youth with work-ready skills. With V.A.’s newfound artistry he was able to find a job he loved, and could help to support his family. Next, after his involvement in the Blue Dragon circus classes, he had the opportunity to go to Cambodia where he spent four months learning new tricks from some of the region’s best circus performers.
But it was his involvement with the Blue Dragon hip hop crew that really changed him. Being part of the weekly meetups, V.A. developed his teamwork skills, gained confidence and learnt how to be a good leader – especially when leading the direction of his own future. V.A. is now giving back by teaching and mentoring younger kids who come through Blue Dragon’s doors.
Now at the age of 19, V.A. even has his own personal motto: “Never give up.” And he never does. Everything V.A. does is with passion and determination. When he speaks of the future, there are no barriers, just more blocks waiting to be built. One day he hopes to have his own performance school and space to host performances by street children, so they too can achieve their dreams.