By LACHLAN MOORHEAD
NICK Arena was already waiting for Glenn.
After several years battling drug addiction, 25-year-old Nick knew something had to give.
Nick’s mum had told him about Glenn, a Hallam-based personal trainer who had recently started up the Youth You program to help and guide disenchanted youths in the throes of drug addiction.
Within hours of speaking to his mum, Nick drove to the Hallam warehouse and was waiting for Glenn before the personal trainer got there.
That was just over a year ago.
“I signed up straight away,” Nick told Star News.
“That night I came straight away. I was in a s*** position, I didn’t know what to do and where to go.
“But I got given this opportunity and I just took it.”
Nick admits his life reached close to rock bottom before he could accept the realisation that something had to change.
Since the age of about 18, Nick had been using drugs, including ecstasy, speed, marijuana and ice, and he said he honestly reckoned he be dead if “I didn’t start the program”.
Glenn helped Nick acknowledge how much “stress and hurt” he felt he’d put on his mum and his girlfriend at the time, and as hard as it was to confront his demons, Nick believes it was the only way to save himself.
“When I first met Glenn, he gave me a sheet of paper and I had to write down why I was here, wanting to do the program,” Nick said.
“That was really confronting, it was really hard to read it.”
However, since joining the program more than 12 months ago, Nick has changed his life for the better.
He hasn’t used drugs in over a year, he hasn’t touched a cigarette in almost a year and he’s working hard as a builder while pursuing his passion for jiu-jitsu.
Nick is just one of the success stories to have emerged from Glenn’s program.
Glenn, 28, is a former drug dealer and addict, himself, who started the Youth You program in 2014 while also running his gym.
The Youth You Program currently caters for about 20 kids who participate in a weekly mentoring session with Glenn as well as gym classes three times a week.
Glenn ensures he is constantly contactable for them via his mobile phone and a private Facebook group.
He said the incredible personal development of early members of the group like Nick had now allowed them the capacity to help Glenn in passing on their lessons to others.
“I’m so impressed with how far he’s come, he’ grown mentally and spiritually,” Glenn said of Nick.
“He’s following his passion, doing jiu-jitsu.
“He’s raised the standards of his life.”
Nick looks up to Glenn not only as a mentor but as a brother, and he’s eager to help others in the same way.
“If I can help these guys and they can help other people, it’ll be like a ripple effect,” Nick said.
To contact Glenn, visit www.youthyouprogram.com.
Those in need of immediate assistance can phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.