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Case Study 2

AJ, male aged 11.

AJ referred for mentoring because of low self-esteem and lacking confidence. Has witnessed domestic violence at home (perpetrator no longer living there); older brothers can be aggressive and bullying; close relationship with mum. A is overweight and so hates school sports and avoids them. His behaviour at school is disruptive and rude, particularly towards female teachers, and his behaviour appears to be attempts to get his peers’ attention.

A was matched with a young male mentor who is fit and sporty. During the mentoring relationship they discussed A’s lack of confidence and also looked at healthy eating, taking him into shops to look at fat content and calories on labels. The mentor took A on lots of activities, most of which cost nothing (and so could be sustained after the mentoring), such as going for bike rides together, taking the mentor’s dog to walk on the hill (A loves dogs and doesn’t have one), and practicing sports on the playing fields. The mentoring supported A through his transition to senior school, which he had been anxious about. As A’s confidence and fitness grew, his mentor was able to give him individual coaching in rugby which led to A playing rugby at school instead of avoiding it.

By the end of the mentoring, A’s mother and teachers commented on the difference in him and how his behaviour improved as his confidence grew. A is much fitter and became (and still remains) an active member of the rugby club at school. As little had been spent from the activity budget, A was rewarded for progress with a pair of rugby boots that his mother otherwise couldn’t afford (and thus helped further in his confidence for school sports through having the correct equipment).