Hello there, my name is Joshua and I have been working at Yes We Can Youth Clinics since the beginning. When I started as a youth coach, I had much to learn myself and I always believed in combining sports with mental health problems.

When I was younger, I struggled setting boundaries towards others and I felt alone most of the time. I got bullied at school and sometimes at home. My way of dealing with this was to hide and run away from confrontation. This resulted in unhealthy eating habits and breaking things in the house. Eventually my grandma confronted me with being overweight and I started looking for sports to do that I could focus on. After a long search, I found a rugby club in the city where I lived and joined the team. I felt accepted, not alone and I was part of a team: it was a place where I could lose my energy and anger, I had been building up over the years.

Because of my interest in rugby, I started looking for an education where I could learn, but also teach others in sports and the benefits they bring. I was never really interested in football, tennis or other common sports, so I looked for an education in outdoor sports. Mountain biking, skiing, windsurfing, abseiling, rafting, climbing, were some of the things which I specialised in. After a couple of internships, I got in touch with health care for youngsters. The organisation needed someone that could organise the outdoor activities. There I learned how outdoor sports can help youngsters face their fears and see their potential if they have the correct guidance. With that in mind, Yes We Can Youth Clinics reached out to me if I wanted to join their team as a youth coach.

Because we work in a close team, I know my colleagues well and I can rely on them: they will always support me and the fellows. I have never been is such a close team where trust, openness, honesty and willingness are the main aspects on the work floor.

Working as a coach is incredibly satisfying. By using my own life experiences and sharing them with the fellows, I build a very strong connection with the fellows. It is a connection that you build with the fellow as that of an older brother or a sister. From here we guide them to conquer fears and further help them with their process. For example, at Yes We Can Youth Clinics we work with 10 actions and one of these actions is how to overcome the feeling of powerlessness. I have experienced ‘feeling powerless’ while working as a security guard at airport Zaventem. During a terror attack (22 March 2016) I felt truly powerless and was unable to help anyone. Now I use this experience to help the fellows.