When Jack first came to Berkeley outreach he was flooded with issues. He had lived most of his life in and out of his family home and staying with relatives and friends from time to time. As a result, his sense of belonging was incredibly fractured and he struggled to interact with other people.

Jack’s overwhelming behaviour in school got him excluded from social activities such as school excursions, camps, and sporting events which left him feeling isolated and unwanted. His constant acting out also got him suspended several times from school and he was facing expulsion.

Our youth workers engaged in restorative practices training and a plan was made that focused on including Jack and working with him on how to be part of the group. As a result, Jack was invited to his first school holiday camp. It was a challenge for everyone but Jack was able to participate in team activities and was made to feel an important part of the group.

The next two milestones took place at your services. First Jack attended our annual Bankstown presentation night where he was able to go on stage and receive recognition for his efforts throughout the year. This was followed by attendance at our end of year presentation at Cordeaux Heights. By this point, Jack had developed a trusting relationship with the team and this gave him the courage to comfortably step up and accept formal recognition for his improvements once again.

Although this was a turning point for Jack, he continued to struggle throughout the year. He was expelled from school and could not find a way to re-engage with his new school or any other educational options. Our youth workers facilitated and were involved in meetings between his previous and new school, the DEC district support officer, and his mother to help him transition into his new school. Jack was prepared to engage in these meetings and was able to talk about his needs and wants, a huge step forward for a young person who had struggled to interact with and voice his opinions in the past.

Jack continues to participate in our outreach programs and activities. Although he still has a long way to go, he feels a greater sense of belonging and is more willing to let other people help and support him. This is a wonderful example of the power of inclusion and restoration. By giving Jack a chance to be part of a community, he is now on his way to living a happy and fulfilling life.

*Name changed for privacy reasons

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