Joe’s story is told by his volunteer mentor Dean

Joe is a fairly typical 16-year-old – a bit grumpy, passionate, always hungry and trying to find his way in the world.

When we first met he was angry, frustrated and often lashing out at those around him.

He’d withdrawn from family life, fallen out with his brother, and his mum was starting to worry about him.

As I spent time with Joe I started to realise that he was blaming himself for his parents’ divorce a few years ago. Joe was holding himself responsible for all the pain, anger and upset that had happened when they split up. He blamed himself for his dad leaving and hadn’t been able to face talking to him since the day he left.

So we spent some time talking about what had happened and why Joe felt it was his fault. It turns out Joe had
tried with all his heart to keep his parents together but sadly it didn’t work out that way. As we explored the actual reasons behind why his parents separated Joe began to see that it wasn’t his fault. He was more relaxed in our sessions and more open to trying new things. Over time we built up more of a rapport and Joe’s confidence came back. He’s more at peace with himself and has started getting back to being a typical teenager again.

Joe’s joined the local football club and some other after-school activities where he’s making new friends.

The biggest challenge for Joe has been working towards meeting with his dad but after a lot of encouragement he has managed a couple of kick abouts and a trip or two to the chippy, with more planned.

It’s been a privilege to walk this journey with Joe and once he feels confident to go off on his own I look forward to being there for another young person in need of that encouragement and listening ear.

If you want to be like Dean and volunteer as a mentor for a young person or parent we would love to hear from you. Find out more at


Joe’s Story

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