Our work unleashes the power within children and young people so they can build happy and fulfilling lives. But it’s not just about what’s delivered during the programme, it’s also about what happens before and after those sessions.

For some children, our work with them begins at the school gates. This was true for Mia.

Mia, aged 11, found her moving to secondary school quite overwhelming. She said: “High school was a big adjustment from primary school. I didn’t like attending lessons. It was noisy and crazy walking through school corridors at busy periods. Getting from lesson to lesson was tough! On the way to school I always thought negative thoughts about it.”

Negative thoughts about school led to Mia becoming distressed when she would think about attending lessons which resulted in her not coming to school at all.

Mia was referred to our Power2 Thrive programme to improve her wellbeing, build her confidence and help her get back into the classroom. Power2 Thrive is a 16-week programme for children and young people struggling with their mental health and wellbeing. Programme participants become a mentor to a child at a local nursery, spending time every week supporting their learning and development. They also take part in reflective group learning sessions which include therapeutic coaching to support their wellbeing and improve their self-esteem.

During the first few weeks, we met Mia and her dad at her school reception but Mia became too upset to go along to the session. After a couple of weeks of meeting Mia this way and building up trust, Mia went with our programme leads from reception to the Power2 Thrive sessions.

Kerry, Power2 programme lead said: “Mia was quiet during the first few sessions but Power2 Thrive provides a safe and supportive space where children share what’s worrying them and gradually she became quite outspoken.”

The sessions about mental health and safeguarding connected with Mia. She said: “I enjoyed the mental health sessions because it made me more aware of good mental health. I also really enjoyed learning about safeguarding because it’s all about trust and important for everyone within the group and nursery.”

A key turning point for Mia was being able to learn in a safe and trusting environment, and by being a positive role model to a younger child, she began to believe in her own abilities too. Mia said: “Learning about role models was good because that’s what we had to be in nursery. My confidence in the nursery grew with my toddler each week.”

As travelling to her next lesson was particularly challenging for Mia, at the end of Mia’s Power2 Thrive sessions our programme leads would walk Mia to her next lesson to ensure she had the opportunity to learn with her peers. Towards the end of the programme, Mia was coming into school for Power2 Thrive sessions by herself and making her way to the sessions on her own.

“My confidence has grown. Before I would get upset and did not want my dad to leave. I have improved by coming to school sometimes without my dad and walking with my friend. I am not doing as much worrying about school the night before anymore.”

Lyn, inclusion manager at Mia’s high school said: “Our students have enjoyed taking part in Power2 Thrive and prior to the programme most would not have been able to go into a new setting and confidently work with other people. It has supported students who have struggled with attendance issues or had problems fitting in and has allowed them to grow and become more self-aware and positive about themselves.”

Mia said: “I have realised how much I enjoy helping kids and not just babysitting them but helping them learn new things. I would love to work at Power2 when I am older.”