Our break-through programme supports adolescents to ‘Rise Up’ and to build positive lives. While the programme begins in schools, post schooling work continues to provide employment opportunities for our graduates with motivated companies and business leaders within the community.
Throughout the programme, Year 9, 10, 11 students are closely guided and mentored by skilled social workers and Year 12 and 13 mentors. The Foundation develops relationships with young people, their families, extended families, schools and referral agencies, and by gaining an understanding of their challenges and dreams. We use outdoor adventure and leadership development programmes to promote insight and understanding of our mission. Students experience real consequences resulting from their behaviours and decisions. The differences between their current behaviours and their goals are highlighted, encouraging them to achieve the goals they chose.
In Year 10 we take our students through TSII’s 16 week ‘Gem Journey’ – we have had a long relationship with the author, Ron Phillips and we are constantly amazed to see the transformation in the lives and attitudes of our students as they follow the young hero through the Land of Confusion. Gem of the First Water and the values, principles and practical themes the story delivers, match perfectly with the programme we run. We often refer back to parts of the story as we continue to reinforce the priceless life lessons throughout our 5-7 year relationship with our students.
We are confident in the preventative impact of The Gem Journey and we have all commented on the clear difference in the attitude of the Students who have experienced the story and those who have yet to be exposed to the therapy. The story gives the students permission to admit their faults and gives them hope that they can overcome them. An honesty and vulnerability develops within the group as the chapters of the story pinpoint more issues to address and more models for addressing them effectively.
The relaxed and entertaining nature of the sessions provides safe space for trust and confidence to grow. Comments and questions from the students grow in depth and sophistication as each week passes. Initially there can be some reluctance to open up in front of peers but gradually this shifts to peers encouraging each other and applauding personal growth and insight.
As a team we are also very excited to have Ron’s support in training up three of our social workers to be storytellers themselves. This will add a greater depth and scope to the impact we can have with more children in more needy communities. Our workers feel enriched and empowered with the clear and effective mental health framework that TSII imparts – this has been a timely and welcome addition to our programme and is already changing lives.
Long term our society as a whole will benefit when more focused, confident young people ‘Rise Up’ from their challenging communities to lead and inspire. The TSII component in our programme is quickly becoming a theme and inspiration throughout our teaching – I hope any agency working with young people will consider allowing The Gem Journey to work it’s magic in their lives and on into your community.