Ofa’s newfound sense of self - a Helmsman impact story

Ofa is a proud 14 year old Tongan, music lover and footy player. Fifth in a family of six children, she lives with her aunt, uncle and four cousins, who she refers to as her brothers and sisters.

In May 2021, Ofa and her Year 9 classmates of Delany College, located in Granville, took part in The Helmsman Project's wellbeing program.

"My favourite parts of the program were the challenges and the classroom questions and discussions. It was all very relatable and so much fun."

Core to The Helmsman Project's approach is to push young people beyond their comfort zone, stretch their limits, and provide them with the right level of support so that growth can take place. As part of its wellbeing program, The Helmsman Project uses challenges in the form of team activities where it is safe to experiment and fail, and learn from those failures.

“We learnt about teamwork, our strengths, communication, goal setting skills. It has helped me in many ways, including the way I approach situations.”

Ofa confesses that before the program, her attitude was affecting her at home, at school and on the footy field.

“I always got in a bit of trouble for being disrespectful. I didn’t care about what others were saying.”

“I wasn't a great team player either. I loved to keep the ball for myself.”

But The Helmsman Project helped her develop a new perspective.

“I learnt how important it is to have a whole team behind me, how to work as a team and include everybody’s ideas, and the values we need to be considered a leader. I used the lessons I learnt to help me with my footy team and after a few training sessions, they considered me a true leader and a good team player.”

“My attitude towards others and myself has changed so much. I’ve thrown away my old habits. I’m more confident now and I have become a better person.”

This newfound sense of self has not gone unnoticed by her family.

“My aunt and uncle have seen a massive change in me since the program and it makes them so happy. They tell me every day that I’m getting better.”

“It means a lot to me and I thank The Helmsman Project for that. The program is a great chance for students to experience a big change in their life.”

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