Story collected by Akena Dickens, Communications Support
We are proud of all of our term 1 graduates. But when we sat down as a team to reflect on the story that best captured impact from this past term, we all agreed that Chris stood out. Chris and some friends run a car washing bay in Lacor, the trading center where our forest is located. He was identified by one of our local stakeholders as an individual who would greatly benefit from Climbing Club. Chris’ transformation has been remarkable—and since he graduated, he has been instrumental in helping to recruit our next cohort of climbers. Here is Chris’ story in his own words:
I got to know about Climbing Club from a lady in our neighborhood who we call ‘Mama’ because she looks out for us. She told me about the program and that if I am willing to join then that would be great, and that I should also invite some of my friends to join as well. When I told some of my friends about joining Climbing Club, some of them thought I was joking, but five of my friends took a step to join.
I think Climbing Club is very powerful. It made easier for me to express myself. Climbing Club makes you gain hope in yourself when hope is lost, and makes you realize the changes in your life and how to keep up with those changes.
I have 5 friends that started Climbing Club with me and we all finished together. I have noticed a lot of great changes in them that nobody in the community could easily believe. We use to be vulgar and chaotic, violent, and drinking was our thing but during the training everyone’s life began to change and we got love and trust back from the community. There are various things keeping all of our Climbing Club team (37 students) together even after the training. One of them is that we started an association called “Team Right People” where we monitor each other, we do things as a team, we made sure we are keeping communication through sharing ideas or giving help to the ones in need.
The parent sessions, which my mom attended, helped me fix my relationship with my parents. Now I feel like my mom respects me and she includes me in family meetings where everyone respect everyone’s opinions, it has made me feel valued.
In Climbing Club, I learned to trust people, I started believing in myself and started making good decisions both for myself and people around me. And now after the training, I have been evaluating myself and realized that I am not the same as before. I am now a great problem solver, I learnt how to speak to people which has made my relationship with the people in my community became stronger, learnt to share ideas with others in order to make a proper decisions. Goal setting has become easy for me. In fact, right now I have set a goal of planting more beans this season because people are mostly home during lockdown and food is selling a lot. I believe beans and sweet potatoes will help me increase my income a little bit though some are for home consumption. All the energy I have been exercising during the training has made me become a hardworking person.
You can invest in students like Chris by becoming a monthly donor. At $100 per month, you can sponsor one child or youth to graduate from our program each month. Go to the donate page of our website to set up your monthly donation.