When we met Jay, it was clear that he had encountered many challenges in his life. He had struggled with drug use, and had experienced some traumatic, violent incidents. He was caught in a troubling pattern of offending and he knew things needed to change.
Jay was coming towards the end of his four year prison sentence when we met him, and asked if he would be interested in taking part in the Hero’s Journey programme — our award-winning life coaching programme for young men in prison.
This is Jay’s story:
To be fair, to start off with, the reason I signed up to the Hero’s Journey was because the more that we did in prison the more likely we were to be moved to a Cat D [the least restrictive categorisation where prisoners are trusted in open conditions].
When we first started the workshops, it wasn’t easy to stand there and talk about everything in front of people we didn’t really know. I came out of my shell when we did the ‘possiping’ exercise, where it’s the gossiping but you hear things that people can see in you that you don’t necessarily see in yourself. It makes you think positively about yourself. All the exercises we did were really beneficial to me.
In the workshops you make a promise to yourself to do the things you want and give it all a try, and I did it, I’ve not stopped trying since the programme.
When it came to the one-to-one coaching, I had more time to speak about things and get down to the problems and the ways to solve them. My coach was just amazing. He didn’t judge, he was level-headed, and he understands that people go through difficult times and make wrong choices, but just because they´ve made that wrong choice it doesn’t make them a bad person. People can change, and it was having that one person sat there believing in me that helped me get over it. The coaches help bring out the better person in you.
In the end what I got from the programme I cherished more than what I would have done going to a Cat D.
Since I’ve been out of prison I’ve stuck to everything I said I wanted to do. I donated to a local food bank, so I could do something for others that are struggling.
Since I’ve come out, my mum said that she’s proud of me. She can see that I’m changed; the biggest thing for my mum was she thought I was going to come out and go straight back to [using drugs], but I’ve not touched anything.
If someone came to me two years ago and said I was going to be like this, I would have laughed at them. But I’m stronger willed than I was before. Now, I’m just taking every day as it comes, carrying on the path that I want to be on. I’ve been through quite a lot in my life but I’ve changed everything and I´m living as honest a life as possible.
Jay’s Coach, Jerry, said about his experience: “Coaching Jay was rewarding and challenging. As much as I learned about him, I learned about myself”.
If you would like to know more about our coaching programmes click here, and to find out more about the principles of coaching, visit this page.