Summer has turned her turbulent school life around with the support of Community Champion Caitlin, who has opened up new pathways for the 14 year old.
When she first arrived at Redbridge Community School aged 11, Summer's transition to secondary education wasn't easy. She often skipped lessons and when she was in the classroom, she struggled to apply herself in lessons. She was far from reaching her full potential.
With her relationship with school spiralling, Summer was paired with one of our Community Champions, Caitlin, who is based full-time in Redbridge Community School to provide support for its pupils. They began one-to-one mentoring sessions, working together to boost Summer's confidence in her abilities – boosting her self-esteem and learning to be comfortable in being herself.
Since she's started her work with Caitlin, Summer's teachers and family have seen a big change in her attitude to school life. Now in Year 10, she's increased her attendance and is applying herself much better in lessons.
And Summer's engagement with Saints Foundation isn't just limited to school – with Caitlin's encouragement, she's enrolled on the new cohort of Premier League Changemakers, our female leadership programme for girls aged 11 to 16.
Summer's mum, Michelle, has reflected on how Caitlin has been a welcome stabilising presence in her daughter's education. "Summer always says how much she enjoys her sessions with Caitlin. She's said she is an important person to her in school, someone she can go and talk to when she's had a bad day, when she has an issue to talk about, or when she wants to share something positive.
"Caitlin has made a big impact on Summer's school life as a whole. Summer has also been really positive about starting the Premier League Changemakers course and is excited about the upcoming sessions."
Summer is just one of many students working with Community Champions in secondary schools across Southampton. From Redbridge to Harefield, Lord's Hill to Sholing, we're working with the young people of our city to help them value themselves and their education.
And the programme is expanding for this school year – more schools, more pupils, more lives changed. We need more passionate, driven people to deliver this important work. Could it be your calling?