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How Kristen "surprised" herself

Posted: 7am 16 Apr 2021

If you want to know what a difference a year makes, ask Kristen Roelofsz.

Last year the17-year-old was suffering from “really bad anxiety”. Kristen said she stopped going to school, stayed in her room 24/7 and “wasn’t happy”.

Yet today she is a school captain at the YMCA Vocational School Moreton Bay, in Mango Hill, part of the school’s leadership group and volunteers at RSPCA Dakabin.

Leadership role

“I have surprised myself,” Kristen said, “I never in a million years thought I would apply for the school captain role.

“We had to say why we would be a really good leader. I was really honest with that.

“I’m not a confident person, not as loud as other people, I was scared to go up and talk on stage … and I guess they liked that. It was really personal.

“I definitely think I am a better person now. I have grown out of my shell. I still have a bit of anxiety, but not as bad as before.”

Key decision

Kristen said enrolling at the vocational school in Halpine Dr, Mango Hill, was a key factor.

“At the start it (going to the school) was actually really hard,” she said, “but later on I got really comfortable.

“The classes are really small. We don’t have 30 students, the most is 18 in my class which really helped, because I didn’t like going to the shopping centre - I couldn’t even go without crying.

“The staff here have been really supportive, the way they encourage you and help with everything.”

Volunteer role

Through a school program, Kristen volunteered at RSPCA Dakabin one day a week, but now also goes two or three days-a-week in her own time.

“Once I had done the school program, I decided to keep it going,” she said. “I really enjoy it.”

“(Generally) I think I just needed a little push. Now, I just want to become more confident.”

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