Mitchell’s Specialness Project: Mum’s Journey

When we received the details, I knew this project could be an amazing learning opportunity for Mitch. What I couldn’t predict was the extent of that learning – or that I myself would learn so much.

Mitch has an incredible imagination and is very creative, something usually expressed through drama, technology or writing. He decided he’d like to make something old into something that once again has purpose by using hand tools. As our family enjoys cycling, Mitch thought it would be fun to restore an old bike. For the act of service component he chose mental health as the focus as cycling promotes positive mental health in a number of ways. He would give the bike to someone who experiences mental health challenges and for whom owning a bike would make a positive difference.

A friend of ours, Grant Warren, restores bikes as a hobby and was happy to mentor Mitch. Under his guidance I watched my son transform a rusty, 40 year old bike into a work of art. Throughout the hours of hard work and the late nights, he did not complain once.

Through my work in mental health we were able to connect with a refugee who has experienced trauma. Hadi had been hoping to get a bike which would allow him to connect with others socially and potentially access employment or study. Mitch is thrilled he can help Hadi with this.

Besides the obvious learning such as practical skills and knowledge of tools and bikes, I saw Mitch’s confidence skyrocket. He was forced to step outside his comfort zone and sit with discomfort rather than run away from it. He developed better listening and communication skills, and organisational skills (I am hoping this is a permanent thing).

As his proud Mum, I’ve had my own learning journey. Two things stand out: Steve and I can be assured we are raising a young man with a kind and compassionate heart. And when allowed the dignity of risk to try new things, make mistakes and try again, Mitch’s potential is limitless.

Belinda Brown

Tatachilla Lutheran College
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