This week’s blog is going to be rather different to my usual ones. I want to tell you about a fantastic charity called ‘A Band of Brothers.’ This charity has its origins in Brighton, but is gradually growing throughout the country due to the excellent success it has achieved in reducing the re-offending rates of young men.
This charity was born out of concern at the continuing escalation of self-destructive and anti-social behaviour among some young men in our society and the realisation that any meaningful and sustainable solution would involve shared local responsibility.
The scheme that is run by A Band of Brothers involves older men in our community volunteering to be mentors for younger men in difficult circumstances. These young men have experienced some incredibly difficult times in their lives, often resulting in drug taking, committing of offences and time spent in prison.
I decided to get involved with A Band of Brothers as a volunteer because I would like to try and make a difference. Last weekend, I went on an induction programme considered to be your ‘right of passage’. There is an agreement in A Band of Brothers that we don’t share the details of what happens during the induction weekend, but I can tell you that it was challenging, exhausting, emotional and exhilarating. Before you can become a mentor, you need to go through this weekend, the same weekend experience that the young men participate in too, as part of the programme.
The mentors are from varied walks of life and include local businessmen, tradesmen and the occasional Chief Executive! They act as role models for the local young men by providing them with acknowledgement, challenge and a whole range of other coaching support, both personal and practical, to help them to turn their lives around.
Since I have been involved with this programme, I have been struck by the huge potential that the young men I met have, if channelled in the right way. It reminds me of what motivates me to be at CMG, which is fundamentally to help the people we support fulfil their potential.
I am really looking forward to my journey with A Band of Brothers and would encourage anyone else to find out more about this organisation. It really is providing a sense of community for all who take part. Given the shockingly high rate of suicide amongst men, who often find it difficult to talk about how they are feeling, I think this is incredibly important project.
“If we attempt to act and do things for others or for the world without deepening our own self-understanding, our own freedom, integrity, and capacity to love, we will not have anything to give to others.” – Thomas Merto