13 April 2015

How 15-year-old Andrew found his potential

Posted in At-Risk

It was a Monday night, on the 15th of December.

A crowd of 300 people watched as Andrew walked across the stage, his face beaming with pride.

This was his night to shine.

Andrew has overcome enormous personal difficulties in his life. But he’s realised his worth and risen above tough circumstances through Connect – a program for students who are at-risk of not reaching their potential.

It was on this night that Andrew received his Certificate II in Outdoor Recreation, and hundreds were there to cheer him on.

“Before Connect, I was different. I never saw the world as I do now… I used to see it as a bad place,” Andrew says. “But Connect just lightened me up and made it better. I’ve learnt to be more confident – before tonight, I would never have been able to stand up in front of a crowd. But today, I was able to.”

Connect is a year-long adventure program that involves weekly activities and camps throughout the year. It develops students’ leadership, peer relationship, mentoring, and other essential life skills. To gain a Cert II qualification, students must complete work experience on a farm.

Andrew completed Connect three years ago, when he was in Year 7 at Beaudesert State School.

He completed his Cert II last year and now helps run the Connect program with primary school students.

Over the last three years, Andrew’s primary school chaplain, Richard, has watched him realise his potential. “A lot of these kids suffer from self esteem issues because of what they’ve been through. Connect helps them realise they are worth a lot more than they thought,” Chappy Richard says.

Connect hasn’t just impacted Andrew.

His younger brother, Jason, has also completed the program and his dad, Jim, volunteers as a leader on Connect camps. “I was proud as I watched him collect his Cert II,” Jim says.

“I’ve noticed a big change in Andrew since he started Connect – he’s grown up quickly. His leadership skills have started to really come out.”

Thank you for supporting at-risk programs, like Connect. Andrew says, “Keep up your support because it helps us get through life. We learn things we’ll never learn anywhere else.” Thank you!


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