James began causing anti-social behaviour in his local neighbourhood and was often in trouble with the police. He had been excluded from school and was at risk of entering the criminal justice system. Enthusiasm became aware of James and assigned a mentor to visit James to help support him and challenge his negative behaviour. As part of the programme James was encouraged to volunteer and help during activities and youth clubs. This had a profound effect on him, giving him direction in his life and helping him to take responsibility, he also returned to school. James volunteered for Enthusiasm for the next 5 years and became a positive role model for other young people. After leaving school and having taken his exams, James enrolled on an Entry to Employment programme with Enthusiasm to train as a Youth Worker. James passed the course and became a full time Youth Worker. James is now integral to the Enthusiasm Youth Team and is himself mentoring young people. His passion and commitment is helping them to steer away from crime and showing them that they have other choices and opportunities in life. James was recently the subject of the BBC documentary, Saints & Scroungers (Series 4, episode 18).
Reason for Referral to the programme
Zoe is a 16 year old girl who was referred to Enthusiasm by the police because she had been placed on an Acceptable Behaviour Contract (ABC) in March 2011, having assaulted another young girl.
Zoe was known to have negative peers and hang around with known local offenders. She was permanently excluded from School and attended a PRU (Pupil Referral Unit). She has no father figure in her life and her mum was working 2 jobs and was out of the house a lot. Zoe has some positive female peers but it appeared that some of her male peers were taking advantage of her. Zoe was also hanging around with substance abusers and her attitude towards the staff at the PRU was very negative.
What we have done with the young person
Zoe was assigned a mentor who worked with Zoe on a 1-2-1 basis to challenge her behaviour, get her to think about negative peer groups, the choices she was making and the consequences of her actions. This includes 1-2-1 sessions, workshops, youth clubs and bus sessions addressing issues around family & personal relationships, living arrangements, education and training, lifestyle, physical health, emotional and mental health, perception of self and others, thinking & behaviour, actions and consequences and attitude to offending. We also attended police sessions with her regarding the ABC and attended the PRU to help her deal with the issues she was facing there.
The progress they are making
A turning point for Zoe was the National Citizenship Scheme Programme that we delivered last summer where she participated positively in all the activities on offer. We have seen a real change in her attitude, increased confidence, she is no longer angry. Zoe is now a volunteer with Enthusiasm which is a great opportunity to engage positively with other young people and give back to the community. She is interested in helping other young people and has been involved in our Community Space Challenge project which involves work on allotments, clean ups and litter picks, a magazine workshop, making bird boxes. Zoe also helps out at our Youth club and helps run the tuck shop. She puts in around 20 volunteering hours per month.
When Zoe joined the programme, she had no ambitions for her future. She is now at College studying childcare. Zoe says “Before I got put on the Enthusiasm program I used to get into trouble on the streets with the police very regularly. I had a youth worker who visited me at my house to keep me out of trouble, also to help me stay on track. Once I was off my behaviour contract I stayed out of trouble and proved to people I was a changed person. I want to work with children and have a good future”.