The Arsenal Foundation has helped fund Chance UK, a charity that offers mentoring programmes to primary school children with behavioural difficulties. Here, Aielsha, aged 11 and from Islington, reveals how the programme helped her.
“My primary school felt I’d benefit from some additional support from Chance UK’s mentoring programme, which my teachers knew about because of work that the school and Chance UK had done together in the past.
“My teacher talked to me and my mum about support to help build my confidence and deal with issues that were holding me back. My school could see my potential and that I wasn’t doing as well as I could.
“I was having difficulties with teachers and other children, and with my mum. My issues included not trusting people and not being able to deal with disappointments and setbacks in life. I was getting angry and I’d use bad language and refuse to do as I was asked. I was often late for school and I was disruptive in class.
“My mentor is a lady called Phyllis – she’s funny and makes me laugh. We meet every week and each session lasts between two and four hours. Mentoring lasts for a year. I’ve had lots of fun and learned a lot, too.
“I went to the Natural History Museum, British Library, carnival, Winter Wonderland and the local fire station. I joined the library, did art sessions and learned to ice skate. I also was part of a filming session for a video to tell people about Chance UK.
“I set some goals that I wanted to work towards with the help of my mentor, and these included projects like working on a photo book about my feelings, “expression through fashion” – which included taking photos to explore how people express themselves through what they wear, to help me with my own sense of how I’m changing and what that means for me and others – and a drama workshop to explore relationships and feelings that I find difficult to manage.
“Phyllis has been a massive help. She let me know that if I wanted to talk about things, I could. The sessions have helped me to be more reflective and confident in dealing with challenges by exploring how I would like things to be and what I could do to get there. They’ve helped me improve my behaviour as I am able to express feelings in a good way. I listen more and I am nicer to people and help them.
“Chance UK has helped me to improve my behaviour, change my attitude, learn new things and helped me to understand that bad times don’t last. You can learn from ”bad times so they are important.”
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