In an increasingly evolving world, teenagers are at a stage in their life where their identity, and their coping abilities are constantly challenged. How they address what they experience has a huge bearing on their journey forward in life and this is what we endeavour to address for young men through our Strength personal development program. The program is centred around the core principles of identity, how to grow in emotional resilience to overcome personal challenges and the courage to live a life of purpose.
We are currently running Strength classes in a number of Brisbane high schools for boys around the ages of 12 -15 years and it’s proving to be a highlight of their school week! The schools we go into tell us that Monday school attendance has increased since we have been running the program at the start of the week. The students are engaging well with the content and loving the interactive elements of the class. A particular favourite has been the take home elements, such as the pot plants in Week 7. This week is built around the topic of ‘Purpose’, where we share on the potential of each young person and the importance of investing into their future. In this class, we use the analogy of a seed being planted, and full of potential, but often patiently unseen prior to sprouting. The boys get to plant seeds in miniature pots which they get to keep as a metaphorical reminder of how they can see long-term fruit if they continually apply themselves towards achieving their goals.
As Youth Workers our biggest encouragement is the positive transformation we see in the lives of our students. The way they conduct themselves, their attitude and confidence and how their outlook on life changes across the nine weeks. It really is rewarding to see how students who began the first lesson shy and reserved, become confident and engaged by the final week. They enjoy the program so much that we often get requests from students who want to do the course again the following term! I am very grateful for our solid group of youth volunteers who consistently come out each week to make it possible for us to facilitate our Strength classes. They find it incredibly rewarding to invest in young people by helping them to grow and work towards a better future.
One of the more memorable moments I have experienced as a Strength Facilitator was a session where we encouraged the students to write a letter to a person, they wanted to honour for the part they have played in their development. During the class I noticed this particular boy being distracted and after checking on him, he shared that he was struggling to do the activity as his parents had kicked him out of home, and his friends were often hard on him. I then asked him to think of the one person who had made the most positive impact on his life, pausing to reflect, he chose his grandma, saying she was the only one who took him in when no one else would and then proceeded to write a beautiful honouring letter to her.
We have also received positive feedback from teachers and school principals about our program and were recently thanked by one of them for launching Shine & Strength in her school this past term. She said it is now their flagship extra curriculum activity producing the best outcomes for their students. As a team, we are expectant for more opportunities and look forward to welcoming a new cohort of students next term.
Nick Win Law
CityCare Youth Worker