The Helmsman Project empowers young people to reach out into their local communities and, through this, to fulfil their own potential. Educationally and socially, the real beauty of The Helmsman Project lies in the way that it places students in a guided, but self-directed, project-based learning situation where they draw on each other to refine and perfect an idea.
From the outset, the coach cultivates a sense of confidence and a ‘can-do’ attitude amongst the students by helping them to identify, acknowledge and develop the skills that each team member brings to the project. The guidance that the students receive is structured in a way that enables them to transfer skills they acquire through the program into any situation in life.
As part of the program, students were required to work on a community project of their choice. They were empowered to design educational outreach activities for young people with profound disabilities; a concept they devised themselves, based on their own determination that a need for this existed in society. My pride in their capacity to identify this need, and to follow through with a project to address it, is something I find difficult to find the words to describe.
The support that we received from The Helmsman Project staff was outstanding and their professionalism was characterised by reliability, ease of access, and consistency. The support that they offered to my supporting teacher was specific to his needs and those of our participating students. I was very impressed by the level of communication I received and the encouragement they gave to me to be involved.
For a community like mine, the Helmsman Project provided opportunities for learning and growth that go beyond what we can deliver at school or at home. This wonderful program unearths hidden strengths and talents, which my students will take with them into their adult lives. Any program that encourages individuals to work with others to give back to society is of benefit to all of us; and The Helmsman Project does this in the most amazing ways.