First ever year 9 student to complete Sydney To Surfers bike ride

Counselling is a powerful service, so powerful that it can turn a troubled kid into a record setter. Merrylands RSL helps fund a psychologist at Chapel School Merrylands – an independent school run by Youth Off The Streets.

The psychologist at the school was able to turn a young truant into the youngest ever Sydney To Surfers participant from Youth Off The Streets to complete the 958km bike ride.

Jeremy* was new to Chapel School in 2018 after not attending his previous school. He’d had a tough 2017. His dad passed away and his mum hadn’t coped well with the loss of her husband. The relationship at home was strained and it had been difficult for him to attend school.

The start of his time at Chapel School was similar to the previous year. Jeremy attended the first few days, but then his attendance slipped. A Youth Off The Streets youth worker spoke to Jeremy about coming in to see the school psychologist before deciding not to attend school.

The first meeting with the psychologist was a pivotal moment for Jeremy. He was able to talk through the issues he was facing at home, speak about his depression and express how he feels after losing his dad. He was also able to discuss with the psychologist ways the school could make his life a little easier. The psychologist used a strength based approach and motivational interviewing to help Jeremy become more open about his issues in a safe environment.

Before long, Jeremy was attending school regularly and quickly qualified to participate in the Cycle of Courage – the Youth Off The Streets cycling team. He was a natural and was lucky enough to be selected for the Sydney To Surfers bike ride. A gruelling 958km journey which would see him ride an average of 120km a day.

Jeremy was training hard and still meeting with the psychologist to discuss the problems he was facing. It proved vital to his success. He became the youngest rider to complete the full 958km Sydney To Surfers bike ride. This is an achievement that wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Youth Off The Streets’ psychologist at Chapel School.

Jeremy is now set up for success and knows that he can achieve anything he sets his mind to. Thanks to Merrylands RSL, every young person at Chapel School has access to a potentially life changing service.


*Name changed to protect privacy of the young person

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