One of Affinity’s key objectives is to ensure that the children and young people in our care receive the opportunity to prepare themselves for a successful adulthood. Many young people in care find that they lack confidence and the life skills they need to really achieve their true potential. This can be because they’ve lived in dysfunctional households or may have experienced abusive or non-nurturing relationships. The experiences we have as children and adolescents are fundamental in helping us engage in and experience healthy and fulfilling relationships, so we decided to engage Role Models to come and provide some face-to-face workshops with our teenagers and young people.
Role Models is an organisation that delivers courses designed to develop young people’s confidence, leadership skills, resilience, creative problem solving, and leadership skills. This is all done whilst focussing on building growth mindsets. Their mentors work with groups of young people in bespoke workshops, using fun and interactive activities to help them engage with concepts such as “what am I capable of?” and “how can I make a difference?” which are particularly pertinent to children who may lack in confidence.
Our young people gathered with their mentor for two sessions. The first explored the idea of how we can all make a difference and introduced them to the 52 Lives Project. 52 Lives believes that kindness has the power to change lives and that even the smallest act can make a difference. During this part of the session, the young people were also encouraged to explore the other side of kindness and the importance of enforcing boundaries and saying “no”. Being able to say no is such an empowering concept, and learning about healthy boundaries is a fantastic first step toward building confidence.
The second session looked at how we define success and goal setting. The group discussed words that define success to them, including salaries, job titles, happiness, and making a difference in the world, before contemplating that success can be all or none of these things and that everyone has different goals. The young people also learned about how negative thoughts can sometimes hinder us in our journey towards goals and the importance of self-belief, confidence, and learning from mistakes.
In helping the young people in our care begin to recognise their strengths and identify the goals they want to achieve, the sessions have provided an excellent stepping stone toward them achieving a brighter future. With the worrying statistic that 25% of school leavers who were in care were not in any kind of education, training or employment 9 months after leaving school (compared to the national average of 8%) it’s vital that young people in care understand that they truly can reach Affinity and beyond.