I first heard about The Helmsman Project in 2015. I was researching CSR opportunities for my previous company when I came across The Helmsman Project.
I touched based with Kim Larochelle to see if there was any way we could contribute, but not long after I moved to EY. After some time, I re-contacted Kim when I realised that my day-to-day consulting skills and project delivery could be leveraged to help the Year 9s with their community project. Kim was all onboard and soon after I developed and delivered skills workshops for the community programs
In February 2016, I ran my first workshop which focused on the skills young people will need to develop and execute their community projects, and also to navigate themselves through life’s challenges and setbacks. These skills include presentation, storyboarding, teamwork, collaboration, brainstorming and problem solving.
I enjoy volunteering with The Helmsman Project as a break from my normal day-to-day routine. In fact, I enjoy the challenges of working with a different group of people from those I experience at work. Running these skills sessions makes me feel like I’m contributing something important to The Helmsman Project and to the lives of young people.
One of my favourite sessions so far was one that focused on the transition from a group of individuals to a cohesive team. This involved each participant drawing symbols that represented themselves on a piece of paper, which were then combined to make a shield to represent the team. It was extremely powerful to see how the participants chose to represent themselves and the messages behind the symbols and drawings used.
What I like most about The Helmsman Project is the research-based evidence that drives their programs and supports the outcomes of their work. In a world with many charities and organisations, it is refreshing to see a scientific application to the process of helping young people to reach their potential.
My personal history also resonated with their work. Coming from a rough childhood myself, I recognised that the skills that helped me navigate through life’s challenges and turn away from bad choices, were the same skills and outcomes that The Helmsman Project delivers.
If you think about it like a running stream, all it takes is a few building blocks to redirect that stream. Some well-planned and intentional moment-in-time interventions. The coaches and outcomes of the program are like the blocks redirecting the stream of young people towards a better path. If I had had the opportunity to be coached and taught these skills and outcomes when I was younger, I wouldn’t have spent the past 10 years trying to find my own way.
Everyone that I speak to in my life about The Helmsman Project is always blown away by the process and the program and wants to get involved. I am extremely proud to volunteer for The Helmsman Project and be a part of an organisation that is determined to continue to grow and change the lives of young people.