Friday, 28 March 2014

   Thanks for helping us get past 9,000 young people

Well, it has taken some time but todays event at the Egham Sports & Social club has finally enabled us to breach the 9,000 marker. 

I turned up expecting to teach a group of 50 young people alongside one of our life skills coaches John, when I was pleasantly surprised to see the hall that John had hired was full to the rim.

John had been busy roping in members of the local sports community and managed to get 263 kids together at one event. 

To say it was loud was an understatement, but it was great fun and ended in a series of sporting activities that John had arranged with each sports club prior the event.

It was wonderful to see young people all of ages and physical abilities learning and playing together.

John is an inspiring life skills coach who in just one event has demonstrated his passion for making a difference in his community. 

By dedicating just a few hours of his time he has made a huge difference to hundreds of young people and their families. 

By day he works as a call centre manager and twice a week runs a local youth rugby team and yet he still finds time to give back.

The YPAOF charity was set up to make a lasting difference and people like John make it a lot easier to achieve our goals. THANK YOU JOHN.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014


When I woke up this morning, I never thought I would be inspired so much by just one individual.
Several days ago I was roped into running a Life Skills event for some young people attached to a group of military personnel. We have all been there before when you start to regret something you previous agreed to and this was my moment.

I don’t know if it was the thought of travelling in the rain or just complete laziness but I was really not too enthusiastic about running today’s event.

When I arrived at the venue there were many more kids than I was previous told about and this kick started my enthusiasm as it is difficult to run a session on positive mental attitude if your body language is nothing but negative.

I started the session and my attention was soon drawn towards an old friend who had beside him a man with a noticeable injury.

After initially touching base with my old buddy, he introduced me to Robert (Bobby). Bobby was caught in an IED attack in the early days of Afghanistan and sustained some serious injuries including the loss of his left leg, the loss of the bottom part of his left arm and some serious damage to the left side of his head and face.
I have a few friends who unfortunately have sustained injuries over the years, but Bobby looked like he had been through a truly horrendous time.

At the end of my event, when the children had been shuffled off to play elsewhere, my mate who invited me to attend whispered in my ear. “This is why I invited you today – enjoy

To my surprise Bobby was invited to the event to speak to the audience of largely ex-military personnel. He stood up and proceeding to explain to everyone present how he got injured and why he felt the need to attempt to take his own life on 5 separate occasions with success.

The speech was touching and yet he added a huge amount of humour to it to soften the sound of his voice as it entered into the ears of the audience.

He explained that through the nightmare he was living every attempt to end his life failed because he believed he wasn’t his time. “Despite some detailed planning things would go wrong” he said.
Several months ago he was looking in the mirror and comparing his old body to his new, when he realised that against his wishes he was here to stay. He made an assertive decision to stop wasting time being negative and start seeing the positive in what had happened to him.
He gave us some funny examples of positive including being able to get to the bar quickly for a drink as those around him would feel sorry for him, and how when watching his local football team the club treated him like a VIP.

Bobby then started to weep as he told us of his regret at putting his girlfriend through so much pain. He added at the end that she was the reason for him changing his attitude and working with young people.

My ears pricked up as he continued by telling us how he has spent the last few months working with young people who are experiencing a difficult time. He said he runs a POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE course for young people based on his experiences.

Every so often we all meet an individual that makes a profound impact on us. Bobby is a real hero who has now dedicated his time to making those around him realise we can all overcome the biggest hurdles if we have the right mind set.

Thanks Bobby.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Life Skills for Children : Following my parents exampleWhen working with you...

Life Skills for Children :
Following my parents exampleWhen working with you...
: Following my parents example When working with young adults who are unemployed and experiencing various personal difficulties it is oft...

Following my parents example

When working with young adults who are unemployed and experiencing various personal difficulties it is often the case that their story will replicate one or both of their parents when they were at the same age.

It is especially good to see a young person who has every right to follow a negative and very lonely path because of what they have seen and yet find the courage and strength to break free and develop an exciting path for themselves.

On one of our prepare for employment seminars I ran to a group of eighteen young adults, I was introduced to two brothers who both experienced the same childhood, both were inspired by the same pattern of parents who were content with living of the state and who both struggled to identify what they wanted to achieve in life as adults.

The difference between the brothers was clear from the outset as the younger brother displayed through his body language and enthusiasm an ability to want to break free whilst his older brother was clearly settling for a similar life to that of his parents.

Within the seminar we teach attendees to explore their imagination and develop a life plan full of wonderful achievements. We get them to remove the hurdle of money and explore the opportunity for them to travel and live a life full of luxury.

Once this is completed we get the attendees to roughly calculate the cost attached to such a lifestyle so they can then set realistic employment goals in an attempt to achieve this lifestyle.

The brothers like the rest of the group started this exercise very slowly, struggling to explore their imagination to identify what they want, but as the seminar progressed the younger brother kick started his brain and the ideas were falling out one by one.

As often happens in the part of the seminar, some of the group start questioning why they have been asked to dream when the reality is most of what they want will never be achieved. 

Just at the point when I was about to roll out my pre-framed answer, the younger brother interjected and said. "This makes sense, because if we now what we want, we have somewhere to start in order to get it"

The seminar progressed to it's conclusion with an exercise in which the group are asked to develop a work plan detailing the steps they need to take in order to find employment and start the process of earning an income to satisfy their dream of achieving their life's goals.

I remember saying to the brothers that the next few months would define whether they took anything positive from the seminar.

On Monday of this week I attended a youth employment group to mentor a few young people when I bumped into the older of the two brothers. Unfortunately he was still unemployed and was displaying the same lack of enthusiasm he displayed at our first meeting.

I asked him about his brother and he informed me that he had not only got an apprenticeship working for a popular airline but he had managed to get his father a job at the same location.

He continued by saying his brother was in the process of moving into his own flat and was learning to drive.

Impressed by what I had heard, I decided to look up the details of his life plan from the seminar he attended and the whole of his plan was dedicated to travelling.

He had planned to do the following 5 things 

1: Find an apprenticeship where he can travel 
2: Learn to drive so he can travel
3: Move into his own flat
4: Travel to Spain, USA, Africa
5: Spend the summer working in a hot country

I rang him up to congratulate him on his recent success and he informed me that apart of his apprenticeship involved working in Spain for the summer of 2014.

In little over four months, he had managed to initiate all of the five things he had listed down on his life plan. I asked him about his father and unfortunately he felt the need to give up his job.

The brothers are a clear indication that inspiring young people with the ability to create a realistic dream is and will always be the way to achieving great things.

They also teach us that no two people are the same and despite having the same experiences as children, having the ability to plan can and is often the difference between those who want to be successful and those who don't.