When Mathew from Playford was offered the chance to take part in our Personal Leadership Program last year, his self-esteem was at rock bottom. Mathew had a history of being bullied, and his confidence, resilience and mental health had drastically suffered as a result. Mathew was totally disengaged from school and his studies, and his mother, Lee, spoke of her son being a ‘nervous wreck’. Understandably, she had major concerns about Mathew’s wellbeing and what his future held.
And then Youth Opportunities came along.
After working with his trainers, fellow students and taking on the tools and principles of our core program, Mathew made huge progress – he worked hard to turn his negative mindset to a positive one, and he gradually overcame the devastating self-doubt triggered by the bullying. Using the skills and habits he developed during training, Mathew improved his confidence and his social skills, which in turn led him to make vast progress in his attitude to school and his studies. In fact, with his new-found confidence, Mathew was able to limit distractions in class, goal set for his future and actively work towards it. Our evidence-based measures showed Mathew started the program at extremely high-risk of developing a mental health disorder, but after training, his risk was considered low.
As Mathew told us “I now walk with my head up, happy and no longer put myself down. The future for me is more bright and happy.” And his mother, Lee, confirmed, “He has been bullied most of his school life, and felt down-trodden, but now he walks with his head held high, with a smile on his face”. And Lee has a great understanding of the key tools which are supporting Mathew in his personal growth, as she has taken part in Project 360.
You may have heard of Project 360. We launched the initiative last year as an all-inclusive wrap-around support service, where we educate and engage with parents and teachers on the key concepts from the Personal Leadership Program. Project 360, which reaches out to parents and teachers through workshops, phone calls and regular emails, was specifically created to address the area of connectedness we measure – which is essentially relationships – and it’s been producing some outstanding outcomes across the State. The involvement of parents and teachers in supporting their young people delivers such a positive impact on the quality of their relationships and overall wellbeing, and we’re looking forward to rolling out Project 360 in more schools in 2020.
As Lee utilises some of the program’s central strategies, she can continue to be a fantastic support to Mathew as he works to sustain the positive habits and personal changes. We are thrilled Lee has kept in touch with Youth Opportunities, and in one email, Lee told us how Mathew is doing now – confident, happy and growing, socially and academically. Here’s what Lee wrote:
“We recently went to Queensland to my daughter’s wedding, in which Mathew was one of the groomsmen. Mathew handled the day, and the reception, with such confidence and maturity – I was so proud of him. He even got up on the dance floor and danced with one of the bridesmaids, which is something he would never have done before Youth Opportunities.
Also Mathew’s OT (therapist) spoke to me today, and explained to me how impressed she was of Mathew’s progress lately, she felt he no longer needed OT. She told me how Mathew had been discussing things in therapy with far more maturity, and confidence, and she had noticed a change in Mathew in the past few months.
I know I have said it before, but I have to say it again. Thank you so much for giving Mathew the tools and the confidence to change his life. He has been bullied most of his school life, and felt down-trodden, but now he walks with his head held high, with a smile on his face. Mathew and I can talk now and home life is also much happier for the both of us.”
And that is why, here at Youth Opportunities, we do what we do.
You can watch Mathew’s graduation speech here.