Daniel’s* Story: A Nudge in the Right Direction is All it Takes

Many of our young people have incredible talent and the ability to do whatever they put their minds to, but just need nudged in the right direction. One such young person was Daniel* of King’s Park Secondary in Glasgow, whose potential was obvious to others but his attitude affected his school life.

Daniel lived with his gran who was regularly contacted by the school for his disruptive behaviour and reluctance to engage in class. Everyone could see how bright and capable he was but his view towards school was frustrating, with regular lateness and referrals to pastoral care.

When challenged about his behaviour on reaching 5th year, Daniel told the school team he did not want to leave and agreed to meet the Pathways Coordinator of the Young Scottish Talent programme. His coordinator felt he needed a mentor that was approachable, down to earth and easy to get along with and she knew just who to turn to.

Having previously mentored a young girl who had moved on to college, Debby was the perfect fit. She was funny, relaxed and shared Daniel’s interest in live music. She was ready for a new match and the pair hit it off quickly. Their meetings were relaxed and it was apparent to Denise the respect Daniel held for his new mentor, often popping by the office to remind himself when their next meeting was. During their weekly meetings, they took time to get to know each other and in time discussed career choices, applying for college, homework and the future.

The school noticed a huge transformation in Daniel since meeting his mentor. With almost no referrals being made, his pastoral care teacher told Daniel how impressed he was that he no longer heard his name mentioned for the wrong reasons.

At home however, things weren’t always easy. Daniel’s gran took unwell and was in hospital for a spell, leaving him to balance school with daily hospital visits. He handled this time with amazing maturity and even approached the pastoral care team for support. Debby helped do whatever she could to help him feel that he wasn’t on his own, always showing empathy and care.

Daniel took part in various work experience opportunities suggested by the MCR team and his mentor, which helped to both inspire him and also rule out certain pathways he’d previously considered. When lockdown began in March of 2020, he was grateful to keep in contact with Debby virtually through penpal messages and the occasional call. Debby and his coordinator even helped to secure a laptop for Daniel through MCR’s Get Online programme to help prepare him for college. In the summer, everyone was delighted when his college place to study an HNC in Business was confirmed.

Since their first meeting back in 2018, the transformation in Daniel is outstanding. Now a confident and responsible young man, he accepts that not everything will go the way we want, but it’s how we deal with it that’s important. His mentor Debby told us:

“I saw a huge change in his confidence over our relationship. He was much more able to deal with setbacks positively, rather than giving up or blaming himself. Sometimes, if things went wrong, it was because he could have done something differently but over time he really took responsibility for himself and he’s a really confident, happy young man.”

Have you felt inspired after reading Daniel and Debby’s story? Sign up today and #BeTheBridge between a young person’s talent and opportunities in life. All it takes is one hour a week!

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