Over and over, Evija was called in to the school office; Villjams, her son, was in trouble again. Looking for help in a brand new country, little did she know that hope was just around the corner thanks to her local church.
"I sometimes wonder whether the struggles that Villjams has had began from an early age. We moved to Scotland from Latvia when Villjams was fourteen months old. But when we first arrived, the neighbourhood we lived in wasn’t good. It wasn’t an easy place to live and so when Villjams started school, he really struggled for the first few years. He wasn’t settling.
We managed to move to a new area, which was much better, but I do think that those first couple of years at the other school really affected him.
Villjams’ biggest struggle is interacting with other children. I’d say he’s like a sponge because he can take things very personally. When someone calls him a name or says something he doesn’t like, he absorbs it and it’s hard for him to let it go.
He can get upset and angry if he has to share. He’s very clever and he enjoys lessons but in the playground he would often fall out with the other children. He sometimes became aggressive and time after time we’d be called into the school to hear about what he’d done wrong. It was a difficult time because I was worried and it was hard to know how to support him.
The school warned us that Villjams needed help now because in two years’ time he’d be at high school and things could get a lot worse. They told us that Villjams was going to start meeting with a TLG Early Intervention coach, Sharon, from the local Baptist church. It was such a relief!
I met Sharon for the first time by the school gates and immediately I knew that she was kind and caring and that she would be good for Villjams. She meets with him once a week in school for an hour and it’s really helped him to open up a lot more. He’s learning to share and get on well with other children so school isn’t so scary anymore. I’d say the biggest difference I’ve seen is that he’s happier; he smiles more now.
Sharon has become a great friend to our family. In fact, Villjams is always talking to me about Sharon! We went for a barbecue at her house not long ago and it was so nice to get to know her and her family more. Moving to the UK, most of my friends are actually Latvian but it’s so nice to have a friend in Sharon who’s not from Latvia.
Sharon invited us on a weekend away in the Scottish mountains, organised by TLG. I was excited to go but I was a bit scared as well. Because English isn’t my first language I thought it might be difficult to understand everyone but I haven’t laughed so much in a long time! Villjams loved doing the raft building too.
It definitely helped us to grow closer as a family because my husband normally works at the weekend. But he’d managed to get some time off so it meant a lot to be able to spend time together.
Having Sharon in our lives, well it’s changed my opinion of church. I come from a background where church is very serious. But Sharon’s church is so different from what I’m used to. There’s so much they organise for children and for the community and everybody is just so friendly. They’ve given us hope that Villjams will cope well in school in the years ahead and that makes me so happy.
Since Sharon came into our lives, it’s different now. Something has definitely changed for good.”