Veteran Mentors programs to help help at-risk youth

At Veteran Mentors, we see a lot of kids come through our programs to help at-risk youth. Some are there to improve their behaviours or beat technology addiction. Others are there just to push themselves and see what they can achieve when they try.

We’d like to share a story about a young man who came to us after getting in trouble with the law. His parents were constantly at odds with him and weren’t sure how to bring back the boy he used to be.

This article was written by his mother and we’re so grateful she decided to share it with us.


A parent’s experience with Veteran Mentors

The case manager from Restorative Justice (this is a mediation service that they use for kids facing Juvenile detention) said to us:

“I’ve been doing this a long time and I have never seen a young adult who has genuinely owned up and faced what they have done and be truly remorseful. I have also never seen a person who has participated in Restorative Justice who I will walk away from knowing that I will never see again. James has been brave in participating in the program, learning from it and turning his life around and for that I fully commend him.”


James had to demonstrate to his case manager he was committed to showing both Restorative Justice and the sentencing Judge why he should not be incarcerated into Juvenile Detention. To do this, he said he would do the following:

  • Commit to Veteran Mentors’ camps each holiday until he turned 18 as it was Veteran Mentors who changed the way he looked at life and the road to where his previous behaviour was leading him.
  • Returning to team sport.
  • Helping out at home more and participating more in his family life.

On the day of sentencing, the Judge heard from James and listened to what Veteran Mentors had done for him and how you helped him to understand life and the key fundamentals of respect & resilience. The judge read the letter from Veteran Mentors and said that he hadn’t heard of this program before but felt more kids should be participating in this as James was living proof of a kid that could turn his life around.

Towards a better future

James continues to grow and grow every day. He really wanted to face his past and return to his old school to finish what he started and prove to himself how much he had changed. This was probably one of the most courageous things he has done to date. He had to face the ex-headmaster along with a number of senior members at the school and prove to them as to why they should take him back.

James talked about Veteran Mentors and what you had taught him and believed in him and if it wasn’t for you guys he wouldn’t be standing there in front of them all today. I’m pleased to say they accepted him back and offered him a place for his final year in 2020.

From a home perspective, we cannot believe how much he continues to grow and better himself. He’s cooking, doing chores, not arguing, being unbelievably pleasant and respectful. James is for the first time in his life comfortable in his own skin.

My husband and I never knew if we’d ever get our son back but we have. The best part of all of this is that James has driven all of this change, none of its come from us, it’s 100 per cent from him and the Veteran Mentors program.

Interesting in learning more about our programs to help at-risk youth? Get in touch with our team today.

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