Maia was bullied in school, to the point where she struggled to leave the house let alone return to full time education. Her parents tried home schooling without success as Maia’s mental health and wellbeing suffered.
“Some days Maia wouldn’t get out of bed, she wouldn’t speak to anybody, she wouldn’t eat,” says her mother, Ann. “To watch your daughter go from being a really happy person to a recluse and suffer really bad depression was awful and frightening.
She lost her hair, she lost her eyelashes, she lost her eyebrows, everything. She talked about not wanting to be here anymore which was really tough as a mam.
Eventually diagnosed with ME, Maia spent her final year in hospital missing her exams and leaving school without any qualifications.
Meeting with Foundation of Light’s Education team helped Maia take the first small step into a brighter future and she was offered a place on the charity’s Back on Track programme aimed young people aged 16 and 19, with the aim of helping them gain qualifications and skills to go into the world of work.
Ann adds: “I can honestly say that was one of the most positive days in Maia’s life. We had a lovely chat with Mel (Wilson, Skills Officer) and Neil (Jones, Education and Skills Lead) and they put Maia at ease immediately.
“She was literally smiling from ear to ear when we left the Foundation office.”
During her time on Back on Track, Maia’s confidence has soared, and she has grown from someone who was very quiet and withdrawn to working in and leading groups during sessions and activities.
To see a smile, on my daughter’s face for the first time in eighteen months, is an amazing feeling,” Ann says. “People in our family environment have actually noticed a complete change in Maia. My little baby girl has come out of herself.
“If it wasn’t for Foundation of Light Maia and I wouldn’t be able to do mam and daughter things. I was by myself a lot and Maia just had no interest in life at all.
“Now she’s at the Foundation, she talks about what goes on, when she goes to see the girls, and Mel and Neil and everybody. It’s so lovely to see that she has a life of her own.
“If she hadn’t joined the Foundation, I wouldn’t even like to think where she would be now.”
7 June 2019