Frankie struggled to make friends and felt very isolated. Her confidence was low and when she first met with her Early Intervention coach, Kate, she wasn't even sure if she could trust her. However, over time Frankie opened up to Kate and her confidence grew and grew.
In this blog Kate tells her side of the story. You can read the full story in our Hope and a Future magazine. Request your copy here.
One of the aspects of TLG I enjoy is seeing how God matches up pupils and coaches so perfectly.
Before I met Frankie, I was told she was a great pupil who had many lovely qualities but her days at school were lonely and sad. Feeling isolated from her peers, she wandered the playground on her own at breaktimes and struggled with her confidence.
At 10 years of age and 5'6" she towered over many of her classmates. At 5'8" I was a good height match for Frankie and I was able to share how I had been as tall as this from a young age too. I also had not had many friends before the age of 12, as I lacked confidence in myself. Over the course of the year we have celebrated our height, looking at all the advantages of being tall; we have explored our strengths and weaknesses and looked at who we are and how we are valued by others for being ourselves.
I was told that Frankie was creative and loved jewellery making so, as a first project, we made something for her mum, Sky. Frankie had great design ideas and made a beautiful dragonfly brooch which Sky was delighted with and has treasured ever since. We spent weeks on creative projects, getting to know each other better and gradually Frankie learned to trust me as someone who would be there for her each week. She learned a lot about herself, her many and varied strengths, her talents and skills and she began to feel more confident.
Along with coaching on resilience building and raising aspirations, we looked at friendship. Sometimes this was really hard for Frankie as she still had no friendships to work on. Whenever I prepare for coaching I like to remind myself of Proverbs 16:9: "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." We are in partnership with God as we step into the room to coach and through the difficult times when there seems to be no progress, He is at work.
We were two thirds of the way through the coaching year when Frankie came to a session looking different. She was beaming. I asked her how she felt and she explained she was really happy as she had a circle of new friends. It had fallen into place naturally as she learned to press through with people and they discovered the lovely person she is. Everything changed for her from this point on. She was genuinely happy through her final term at school and enjoyed all the activities on offer, especially the Year 6 play 'The Pirates of the Curry Bean'.
A highlight of the year was the TLG Family Faith Adventure Weekend away. Frankie, Sky and I drove up on a hot July day to Kidderminster. We were given a very friendly welcome by the staff at the centre and quickly got stuck into all the activites, along with the other coaches and families. It was great to meet other people, but also good for Frankie and Sky to enjoy quality time together making new memories. Frankie was incredibly brave and conquered her fears to take a leap of faith down the high zipwire. She was met with a round of applause from all the other families and coaches who were willing her on from the sidelines. She walked taller than ever for the rest of the weekend after this great achievement.
Both Frankie and Sky were delighted to be given a Bible each on the last afternoon of the weekend. The journey home was quiet as Frankie was reading her Action Bible and Sky was looking up Psalms I had suggested to her.
Coaching pupils is a real privilege and it is always a joy to see a child transformed by an investment of time and attention. Seeing a Year 6 child take off as they transition well to a new school is very rewarding. I am delighted to say that Frankie has made the transition to secondary school successfully; she is very happy and has a good group of new friends to spend time with. I really enjoy still meeting up with Frankie and Sky from time to time, in a local favourite cafe, and hearing their interests such as archery, which Frankie is excelling at. She is a delightful, young person who is enjoying new found confidence and learning to walk tall.
You can read Frankie's full story, as well as other stories, in our latest edition of a Hope and a Future magazine which is available now. Click here to request your copy.
Kate is the TLG Early Intervention Coordinator in Hastings.