Last week was Trustee’s Week!
Trustees are an integral part of the running of any charity, their knowledge & expertise are vital in ensuring a charity can continue to function & grow.
It’s particularly valuable to have people on board with lived experience. This offers a unique perspective, that is crucial in making sure the experiences of the people we work with remain at the heart of our ethos, mission and day-to-day work.
A year ago, Yasmin Garcia-Sterling joined our Trustee Board, bringing with her research and analytical skills combined with her own lived experiences. Here is a snippet of Yasmin story and how she got to where she is today.
At aged 15 Yasmin was a care leaver, living in housing run by The Rugby Portobello Road Trust and at aged 19 she became a single mother.
With a newfound responsibility and awareness of the limitations society puts on young single mothers, Yasmin decided to push back and to write her own future.
Motivated to begin to build a foundation for her and her daughter, Yasmin applied to the London College of Beauty Therapy, where she studied for her NVQ 3 and 4.
While completing her qualifications, she took a work-experience position in a clinic on Harley Street and became inspired by the idea of further understanding the human body, leading to her enrolling part-time at The Open University, to study Biochemistry. Yasmin says it was The Open University’s accessibility and flexibility that accommodated her being able to study as a young single mother, giving her the confidence to apply for a full-time business and management degree at a university local to her, Brunel University London.
After completing her NVQ’s and to pay for childcare alongside her studies, Yasmin did cleaning jobs in the morning, bar work at night and saw beauty clients on the side. She says,
“I don’t know how I did it, but I just did.”
It’s clear Yasmin had a long-term, wider vision. Whilst she may not have always known what it was leading to, what she did know was that it was helping her to secure a future for herself and her daughter.
After 3 years of hard work and determination, Yasmin graduated within the top 10% of her class. She was offered a chance to study for directly for her PhD, but instead declined to study a Masters at UCL.
To some, turning down such an opportunity wouldn’t have made sense – but Yasmin shares that it was,
“A gut decision, that was the right thing to do”
Something that she says she has relied on a lot, highlighting the importance of being able to think for yourself and to not always do what you feel you’re ‘supposed’ to do.
In fact, things worked out just the way they were meant to, as after completing her Yasmin went on to study for her PHD in Project Management & Construction at UCL, which she is due to complete this year.
In some ways, it seems Yasmin is just getting started, but 10 years down the line she decided she wanted to find a way she could give back and continue to grow and expand her skillset.
The vacancy for a Trustee role at St Michael’s Fellowship, was the first role she came across and instantly, Yasmin felt an affinity with the charity and its work.
Yasmin says she wants young parents to know,
“Anything really is possible”
“Start with small steps and one by one, they will become big steps”
Too often limitations are put on young parents and vulnerable families. Whilst it is important to acknowledge the difficulties and the realities people are facing, it’s also important to encourage people to dream & have ambitions.
Yasmin talks about how she is grateful for the resilience gained from being a care leaver and a young single mother, saying,
“When you become a young parent, you quickly have to figure out how you’re going to survive & look after your child”
She credits her experiences and story to how she’s managed to maintain her,
“Momentum to keep moving forward”
Yasmin is looking forward to bringing her own experiences to her work as a Trustee and to see how St Michael’s Fellowship can continue to grow, allowing us to help all the families that need our support.
Thank you to all of our brilliant trustees for their time and dedication to St Michael’s Fellowship!
Interested in joining our board? We are currently hiring for the role of Treasurer. Click here for more information and our recruitment pack.