Date published: Tuesday 18 December 2018
Brothers James and Tim were referred to the Youth COACH program because they were struggling at school, and while their mum dealt with her own mental health challenges she was not able to attend to their needs as well as she would like. She felt they would benefit from an older male role-model.
The chaplain at James’ school said that "James couldn’t keep eye contact with you, couldn’t hold a conversation with you". James says he felt directionless and uncertain about his future. His younger brother Tim was at risk of falling out of the education system. He says "all I did was sit at home, I didn’t have any friends I could go to".
Will became the brothers’ mentor and started spending time with them doing activities, talking with them and encouraging them. Will discovered that Tim enjoys playing football, so they would do that together. This helped to increase Tim’s confidence. With Will’s encouragement and networking with education professionals, Tim has engaged in a community-based education program tailored to his specific needs.
Their mum says, “Youth COACH is really good because it gives the boys someone else to teach them what to do, steering them in the right direction. They haven't got a father figure in their life and Will is like a big brother to them."
Will learned that James would like to learn how to play the guitar and taught James some basic skills. Will says "within a week he had progressed past me in his guitar skills." James discovered a passion for playing the guitar. With Will’s encouragement, James was able to finish school and is now studying music at TAFE and doing a placement at a music store in his area, which he loves.
The school chaplain now says "James has had a phenomenal change… With Will’s input into him he’s now confident, he lights up a room, he’s found a couple of passions, he’s a lot happier within himself. His attendance at school has gone through the roof."
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