Children’s work & stories
We are extremely proud of our children and the work they do. Here are some examples of this work.
Let’s meet…Danny and Rob
Danny, 9 years old, doesn’t live with his parents and rarely sees them. He is cared for by an older relative who has health difficulties herself, needing frequent hospital visits and medication which has side-effects. The unsettling situation and concerns about his main carer was taking its toll on Danny. His behaviour at school was reported to be erratic and disruptive, often resulting in conflicts with other children. Once upset, he found it very difficult to manage his emotions and might cry inconsolably, lash out and shout. It was also difficult for Danny to follow instructions, or even to sit still – especially when upset.
We matched Danny with mentor Rob, who supported Danny throughout his mentoring sessions to name, express and manage his feelings in calm ways. Rob also fed Danny’s sense of adventure and his creativity, taking him on trips to London museums and to crafts workshops where he could make something with his own hands for family members. For a boy who, at the start of mentoring, told us “I’m not good at anything”, each of these achievements were significant, and fuelled a quiet but growing sense of self-confidence.
The mentoring journey can be a rocky one but, the bond with Rob was a strong and trusting one.
By the end of the mentoring year, Danny had made real progress in identifying and managing his emotions. The feedback from his school reflects this wonderful change in Danny:
“Danny now removes himself from situations and children who may have a negative influence on him. He now demonstrates empathy towards other children and is able to hold back making the sort of hurtful remarks he would have made before mentoring began. Danny is also better able to follow his teacher’s instructions, will apologise and rein himself in should his behaviour go a bit too far.
He now plays fairly and respectfully at play times and doesn’t stand out for misbehaving like he used to.”
[Names and images have been changed for confidentiality reasons.]
Let’s meet Adam and Alice
Adam was one of the most challenging boys in his year at school, frequently getting into trouble for fights and arguments with other children.
This highly energetic boy was matched with Alice, a sporty and energetic mentor who helped Adam channel his energy into sports and other new, positive activities. During the mentoring year, for example, Adam learned how to ride a bicycle; he used music to practice maths skills; and took on new challenges like map reading and navigating in unfamiliar places. At the same time, the Chance UK team liaised closely with other agencies that were also supporting Adam, and shared information about what approaches were working and what was going well.
Outside of the mentoring, we also supported Adam’s carer throughout her disclosure of domestic violence and her subsequent move out of the family home and into her own accommodation.
The change in Adam at the end of his mentoring year has been clear to everyone.
His carer told us: “He’s changed with mentoring – he is more sociable, his concentration is better, he is more caring. He is taking more responsibility for his actions. I can’t tell you how much the mentoring has helped!”
At school, his teacher reported improvements in Adam’s behaviour, his concentration and educational achievements. What’s more, Adam is not coming home with red slips any more!
And perhaps the most moving testimony comes from Adam himself, who has discovered more about his own qualities from our solution-focused mentoring approach. He told us that mentoring helped him see that he is fundamentally a kind boy. “I realised I am good.”
Story of the month
Let’s meet…Max and Kelly
Max was having extreme mood swings. His persistent mood drops in the afternoon meant he simply wasn’t engaging in those lessons at school. At home he showed extremes of both sadness – he might wake up crying and not stop for hours – and anger, which often involved violence towards his younger brother.
We matched Max with mentor Kelly, who helped him channel his energy into positive activities like running. Perhaps more significantly, Kelly also helped Max to see a new world of potential by opening his eyes to possible future careers (they interviewed 5 different professionals), and his taste buds to new foods, including sushi and goji berries!
As the mentoring year progressed, Max began to speak more openly about his feelings, thought more deeply about questions, and became more willing to try new things. The focus on food was important, as the mentor observed that hunger could be a trigger for his low-moods.
Trying new things went beyond food. After showing some interest, Max was encouraged to submit a poster for a competition in Islington. Kelly helped Max work on this during mentoring sessions, and to his delight, Max’s phone safety poster came second in the competition and appeared at bus stops around Islington! He was incredibly proud of his achievement.
Max’s winning phone safety poster
Outside of the mentoring sessions we worked closely with the school and helped to ensure Max was eating at lunchtimes. Sharing the positive developments from mentoring sessions with the school, with Child and Adolescent Health Services (CAMHS) and Max’s parents was really valuable in reframing people’s understanding of Max’s behaviour. This helped his family to make positive changes at home as well.
So how did things change for Max? By the end of the mentoring year he was eating lunch every day at school and engaging in all afternoon lessons. He no longer had noticeable mood swings, and his mother told us that he was much calmer, happier and less violent at home.
“He is acting more grown-up and mature when talking about his sessions, and will have a conversation. He is talking freely, being enthusiastic about it, and is enjoying himself”.
Max: “I don’t hit [my brother] now – instead of hitting I talk to him, walk away to play separately, and cool off when I feel angry”.
T the artist
Helping a child identify their strengths
S’s Superhero board