Shannon’s Story

10 October 2016

In your community, maybe even in your street, there are troubled young people with nobody in their lives to support them except paid professionals: their teachers, social workers, police and the courts. Shannon, whose story is below, is one of them.
Children like 10 year-old Shannon get labeled ‘problem children’. But at YMCA we see the potential,
not just the problem.

Once a child starts growing up, even the most loving parent or guardian can’t be with them every minute of the day. By the time she was 10, Shannon was getting into trouble at school. She lived with her grandparents who loved her dearly but were struggling to control her behaviour. She was easily influenced by some of the older children in her street and started doing risky things with them.

Through YMCA Scotland, Shannon was referred to Angie, a trained, committed Plusone mentor. They didn’t hit it off at first. Shannon wouldn’t make eye contact or say how she was feeling. But they found they had one thing in common: they were both scared of heights. Angie took Shannon to a climbing centre and they tackled the climbing wall together.

Over the next 6 months, as they went on different outings and excursions, Shannon came to trust Angie.

They had good chats about her behaviour and Shannon set some goals: she would stop shouting out in class; she wouldn’t get involved in her schoolmates’ dramas; and she wouldn’t stay out late with the older kids in her street.

“Shannon’s teacher was first to notice the difference. Shannon was calmer and less easily distracted.”

She tried harder and got better marks in most of her projects. Shannon’s grandparents were delighted too. There were no more shouting matches late at night and Shannon went off to school happy every morning. At YMCA, we can’t protect children and teenagers from all the challenges life will throw at them, but with your help, we can give them a one-to-one mentor who will take them under their wing and help them to be the best person they can be.

With a donation from you, we can bring a trained adult volunteer from our Plusone mentoring programme into the life of a young person like Shannon for as long as 12 months.

Somebody who will meet them every week and listen to them without judging; get them into fun activities and out of risky behaviour; and show them there’s usually another way to tackle the situations they find themselves in, so they can be the best person they can be. We know our mentoring programme works.

Last year, young people you’ve helped us to support, gave us an average of 4.6 out of 5 in our mentoring satisfaction survey.

It doesn’t cost much to help give a Scottish child a chance, just 16p a day.

In return, we’ll give you a yearly update on the difference your regular donation is making to vulnerable young people like Shannon.

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