Andy has the tools for success: Support for at-risk young people

Life at home wasn’t easy for Andy. Having suffered abuse and family violence throughout his early childhood, he was living in a housing commission flat with his alcoholic father and two younger siblings.

In grade six at school, Andy was witty and quick to grasp concepts but was known for provoking fights, being disruptive in class and getting angry quickly.

When he started attending a new Hotham Mission homework club for disadvantaged kids in his area, the tutors found it difficult to keep him engaged and interested. Something changed, however, when one of the tutors noticed Andy’s interest in how things worked. Hotham Mission’s Beth Stewart-Wright explains:

“One week, a particularly astute tutor – one that Andy had started to develop a real rapport with – brought in a box of old discarded speakers and tools’. Andy and the tutor spent the entire lesson taking devices apart and figuring out how they worked. For the first time since the Club’s inception, Andy was fully and completely engaged and absorbed in what he was learning.”

The following week, the tutor brought in an old computer and the pair did the same.

When Hotham Mission realised how effective this interactive learning experience was for Andy, staff developed a new model to replace the homework club for the following year. Andy became a key architect in planning what this new “Mess Club” could look like, especially how it could work to the strengths and abilities of students like him.

The support that Andy received at his local club – made possible by Share supporters like you – made a big difference during a difficult time in his life.

“Andy now attends a local college and is blossoming into an intelligent and self-possessed young man,” Beth Stewart-Wright said. “He still attends Mess Club and continues to tinker with electronics.”

*At Share we respect everyone who is helped by the programs we fund – and many are working toward a fresh start in life. So while their stories are true, their names and images may have been changed to protect their privacy. Thank you for understanding.