Case study Zac's Story

Four teenage boys on a trip

Fourteen-year-old Zac lives in Sunderland with his older siblings and grandparents. When we first met Zac, he suffered from low self-esteem following bullying at school and difficulties with his mother who he often didn't see for long periods of time due to her struggling with serious drug dependencies.

Zac often saw himself and his life in a negative and critical light, meaning he’s found it difficult to deal with challenging situations, often lashing out both verbally and physically to those around him, resulting in difficulty maintaining relationships.

Since joining us as a volunteer, Zac has taken part in a number of social action activities. The youth work team have observed his natural ability in supporting the younger children, often taking the lead in tasks and intervening when disagreements occur or where other children appear to be left out.

Nurturing these skills have supported Zac’s self-esteem to grow and enabled him to feel more positive about himself and life in general. He’s able to deal far better with ups and downs, and build some great relationships with his peers and youth workers.

Zac now recognises that sometimes, life is difficult, but by surrounding himself with positive people that appreciate him and respecting their opinions as well as being more assertive in himself, he’s able to build a network of support that he can tap into when things get tough.

Note: Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.