Grounded is one of our most important programs.
It’s a free workshop and it’s for 13 – 17 year olds who aren’t that into school. Who’ve been told that they’re “disengaged”. That they aren’t good enough. That they’re not going to do well. Maybe they’re struggling and need some direction. Maybe they’re taking risks or getting into trouble.
We’ve found, time and time again, these young people are not what they’ve been labelled. All it takes is for them to be seen and heard. To be understood. To feel a sense of belonging and self-worth. With that, it doesn’t take long to see a dramatic shift in their behaviour and outlook.
This is why Grounded exists.
And here we will run through what we do to get young people believing in themselves again.
How We Prep It
- It’s important that we get the right facilitators to run it. We have a lot of great young facilitators at our disposal, but we select the ones with the drive and ability to get on their level.
- We select a theme to base the workshop content around. In 2018 the theme was ‘The cards I’ve been dealt’.
- We design the run sheet to be less talky and emotional – more physical and varied.
- Make sure the participants feel safe in the space so they can open up when they feel comfortable doing so.
How We Run It
- We set expectations straight away. We make the rules and boundaries really clear and won’t continue until everyone has agreed to them.
- We make sure the participants feel safe in the space so they can open up if/when they feel comfortable doing so.
- We then run several activities to get them thinking about themselves, their values, their impact, and each other.
- The facilitators will often take part in the activities themselves. Leading by example and giving the participants permission to buy in.
We run activities like:
Step To The Line
- We get the young people standing shoulder to shoulder in a line and the facilitator calls out a statement. If the young person agrees with it they step forward.
- Statements might include things like “I get picked on at school” or “I’ve been dealt a rough hand.”
- Seeing the other participants are also affected by the same things let’s them realise that they’re not alone in these struggles.
- It also helps bring the group closer together.
- This is designed to raise Self-Awareness, Empathy and Confidence.
- This is a Reach staple.
- We tell participants to get comfortable and close their eyes.
- One facilitator will put on atmospheric music and talk them through a ~10min journey from the known world (waking up, getting ready for school) to the unknown (themselves in the future) and end on a singular focus question: What is the mark you want to make?
- This allows young people to really think about their lives, and gain an appreciation for the fact that the cards they’ve been dealt do not define who they are.
- This is designed to raise Self-Awareness, Hope and Positive Choices.
Set Your Intention
- After a day of introspection and new perspectives, we ask each young person to set an intention.
- It needs to be something tangible that they will do differently, or maybe set a goal.
- This could be anything from “I’m going to be nicer to my mum” or “I’m going to finish that assignment”, but it should be something very achievable in the short-term.
- Setting their intention is the first step to a better outlook in their lives outside of the workshop space. Giving them permission to rise above the cards they’ve been dealt.
- This is designed to raise Focus, Grit, Hope and Positive Choices.
And we end the day with a time for written reflection.
What The Results Are
We get participants to complete a questionnaire at the end of the workshop, and respond to statements indicating whether they agree or disagree.
Every sentence they respond to starts with “This workshop helped me to…”
While this program doesn’t work for every young person that comes
through our doors, we do get positive tracking for the group across every
metric we measure, with Empathy and Focus getting the strongest affirmative responses.
A couple of quotes from participants:
“I liked that it was run by people that I could relate to and not teachers & stuff”
“I got to say how I was feeling and talk about what I liked”
For all the young people that have been ignored or forgotten about in our education system, Grounded works to give them a space to be understood.
Through meaningful connections with themselves and other young people, we let them know they don’t have to fall into the patterns that are expected of them. The outcome we see is these young people moving forward with purpose and agency in their lives.
Grounded was fully funded in 2018 thanks to: