Back of the head of a man in prisonI’m a mentor on Challenge to Change. I would like to share a little of my journey with you.

Eleven months ago I began this course, a different person to the one stood here today. And to be completely honest with you I didn’t expect to gain that much from the course – I seen it as a box ticking exercise.

I had done a few laps of the circuit, crime, drugs, jail, broken relationships, lies, deceit etc… And I didn’t have too much hope about my future.

All I envisaged was more of the same. The strange this was by the time I reached module three it dawned on my that my thinking patterns had began to change. I began to question my beliefs and reactions to certain situations I had stopped looking towards chemical support when I found myself struggling with problems I began seeking human support and the more I did this the easier it became to ask for help.

I started to see officers, staff, mentors and my peers as people with problems, positive and negative aspects to their personalities, I found myself befriending and supporting others who were struggling with the idea of change. It helped me boost my feelings of self worth and I found my confidence in just being myself not the false bravado that we display when we are in the company of our friends on the landings. I truly began to find myself and for the first time I began to see the possibilities of a life and future without crime, drugs and the chaos of disorganised thinking patterns. With a lot of help, time and support I began to believe in myself and with time I have grown stronger in my beliefs.

Since becoming a mentor other inmates have opened up to me and put their trust in me. I am truly grateful to these people, they think I am helping them and they have no idea how much they too have helped me. It’s been a pleasure to help and support my peers, it’s helped me see that I want more from my life than what a life of crime has to offer. The Kainos course helped me deal with that in a mature and adult way, I have taken responsibility and chosen to move forward a wiser and better person.

This is possible for all of us, there is always a better way, a better future all it takes is belief and effort.