Children and young people matter! It’s why SU QLD exists. It’s why faithful supporters like you invest in school chaplaincy, at-risk and camping programs.
Biloela State High student, James, believed he didn’t matter. He was shy, rarely attended class, and family life was tough – often a combination that causes young people to leave school for a bleak future.
Thankfully, James’ story is different. In Year 7, he met Chappy Nigel Krueger.
“School wasn’t his thing,” says Chappy Nigel. “Some of the stuff going on outside of school made things hard for him too.”
Today, James’ self-esteem is soaring. What was the turning point? Last year James participated in Chappy Nigel’s first A2B program for at-risk Year 10 boys.
Designed by SU QLD, the A2B program is a set of strategies and resources for chaplains to help at-risk youth.
“We focused on making right choices and discovering their true potential,” Nigel explains.
The A2B program is also about getting young people to step out of their comfort zone and learning how to support each other.
“Mixed into A2B is a survival element. We teach the guys how to cook in the bush, how to build shelter and how to survive,” Nigel says.
The program included two “heightened experiences”. One was underground caving, where the boys worked in very tight spaces, and the other was a high ropes course.
“These boys soon discovered how much everyone’s comfort zone varies. We had guys who loved the high ropes but struggled in tight spaces, while others were the opposite. [They] learned to work together as a team to help each other get through it,” Nigel says.
Now – one year on – James is amazed at how much he’s changed.
“I learned not to be afraid of talking to other people and being friends with [them]. I also learned that I can help people when they’re down,” James says.
He now also has plans for the future. He wants to become a mechanic and is currently doing work experience.
Transformations like these are thanks to your generous support. It’s a fact we are grateful for – as are James and Nigel.
“Whether someone gives $20 or $100, it’s a massive investment in a young person’s future,” Nigel explains.
“With a young fella like James doing that program, he’s a different person. I see him coming to school now, bright, bubbly, and confident, talking to teachers. He’s at the gym, on the football field. Two years ago I didn’t see any of that. The return on investment is incredible when I think how far he’s come.”
James agrees. “It just helps encourage you to become a better person and show what you can do and what your ability is,” he says.
To learn more about the A2B program, visit suqld.org.au/a2b.