YMCA resident elected as student vice-president
2007: David-Marc Pratt
, currently a resident at the YMCA Norfolk hostel in Norwich
, has been elected Vice-President of the Student Union at City College Norwich.
David-Marc (pictured right), who recently completed an access course at City College, stood for SU Vice President in the June elections. David-Marc was elected on July 1 after a lively campaign which included pledges addressing cancelled lectures, college food issue and provision of social space for students.. He will hold the office for a year.
A committed Christian, David-Marc pioneered a new student society at City College, called City College Connect, in 2006. Up to a dozen students per week attended the society, giving Christians and those who wanted to find out more, opportunities to meet together. David-Marc was also the SU Equal Opportunities Officer representing students in areas such as ethnicity, sexuality and disability. David-Marc is hoping to encourage Freshers to get involved in the Christian scene at City College during the next academic year.
David-Marc is an active member at Proclaimers Church which meets at the Ramada Jarvis hotel in Norwich. He said: “I have become increasingly involved at Proclaimers over the last two years. They have been a big support and influence on me”
Now 21 years old, David-Marc was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome as a teenager. Because of this, his schooling suffered and he found life difficult at times. When he became homeless he ended up at the YMCA in Norwich.
Alexis Lloyd, YMCA Faith Development Officer, has given David-Marc on-going pastoral support, alongside the housing support given by YMCA. When attending various events, including Make Poverty History in Edinburgh in 2005 and the Living Waters Christian festival at the Royal Norfolk Showground in 2006, Alexis got to know David-Marc well.
David-Marc said: “The YMCA in Watford and Norwich has supported me since I was 18. I became a Christian through this support and my friendships with other residents. The Christian element of the YMCA has been very positive and encouraging through some very difficult times. I think the ethos of the YMCA really impacts some residents and helps staff support them with strength.”
Despite his difficulties, David-Marc decided to resume his education. Alexis Lloyd said “David-Marc has worked hard to overcome his issues and has arrived at a place where he is established in his Christian faith, definitely not limited by Aspergers and ready to live independently. He is great to have around and a real encouragement to me.”