When Asher and her nan Lydia first met Lorna, a TLG coach from their local church, they could never have imagined the complete transformation that unfolded in their lives. Just one weekend was enough to turn back years of struggle for Lydia.
“Solemn – that’s the word I’d have used to describe Asher. She was always putting herself down and had such low self-esteem. She’d been bullied throughout primary school and it had left her feeling worthless. It wasn’t just once that she’d told me she wished she was dead.
I was going through my own challenges too. I’d faced a number of challenges with my mental health and had gone through a difficult relationship that had broken down. I wanted to help Asher but our relationship was tough. She found my mental ill health difficult to understand and she didn’t want to talk to me about her struggles whilst I battled my own. I was worried about Asher but didn’t know how to help her.
That’s when we met Lorna.
Every week, whilst Asher was in year six, Lorna came in to see Asher as her TLG Early Intervention coach. She was from the local church and her love and care for Asher made a huge impact. She was very patient and she listened to Asher. During their time together, she boosted Asher’s self-confidence and Asher became a completely different person.
Before, Asher wouldn’t talk to anyone but now she’s outgoing and she’s got friends! She meets them on her way to school and they all walk together. It makes me so proud of her.
It was earlier this year that Lorna invited us to go on the TLG Family Adventure Weekend in Staffordshire. I was apprehensive about going. I wasn’t the person I used to be and I didn’t socialise like when I was younger. I locked myself away a lot of the time. But I went for Asher.
Well that weekend changed my life too.
From the moment we stepped over the door of the activity centre the people were so lovely. You couldn’t ask for better people. I did things I never thought I’d do like archery and crafts! It was fantastic. Everybody mixed with each other and I found a new confidence that I didn’t have before.
We prayed a lot on the weekend away and it’s restored my faith. I’d never felt so at peace. You see, I’d lost faith in the church. But, now I would say that whatever situation you’re in there’s always a place for the church in your life. Because of our friendship with Lorna we’ve been along to more church events recently. We went along to a church barbeque the other week, which we loved.
I’m so grateful to Lorna for still being in our lives. She didn’t just drop Asher when the coaching finished; she’s still there for her and she pops in for a coffee from time to time.
Life is so different now. Asher is up in the mornings ready for school. She enjoys her schoolwork and the teachers – well most of them! She wants to work in the medical profession and she’s even decided she’s not going to get married until her late 20s so that she can pursue her career!
And me? I’m a more positive person now. I don’t worry about Asher like I used to. She’s just a typical thirteen year old. I even love that she’s got the confidence to talk back to me now!
I’m very proud of Asher. Very proud indeed."