When Sam first came to A Taste of paradise he was swamped with emotional and social problems resulting from neglect and abuse. He had lived most of his life in and out of his family home and at one stage had twenty different foster carers over a six month period. As a result, Sam’s self- worth and sense of belonging was incredibly fractured and he struggled to interact with other people or trust anyone, particularly adults.
Sam’s learning difficulties and poor behaviour led to a constant round of school explusions and petty crimes ,which further added to his feelings of isolation and worthlessness. With nowhere else to turn social services recommended that Sam be sent to A Taste of Paradise for help.
Under the watchful eye of Tim Francis (the farm’s founder) our mentors worked with Sam, teaching him basic farming skills. Sam had never tasted fresh produce when he arrived at the farm. He loved collecting free range eggs and taking them home to cook. His first strawberry was a taste sensation. He learnt how to groom the horses and hold a baby goat. Gradually Sam started to develop trust as the mentors reached out to him and engaged him in healing and grounding activities. He learnt how to be part of a team.
Sam continues to attend the farm on a weekly basis to participate in our horticulture activities and mentoring programs. Although he still has a lot of adversity in his life, he has learnt to trust Tim and the team. He says coming to the farm is the highlight of his week and the best thing that has ever happened in his life. His behaviour at school has improved and by seeking additional help for his learning difficulties, his literacy has improved.
Sam’s self esteem and confidence has improved dramatically. He now wants to attend TAFE and learn more about horticulture. His ultimate goal is a job on a farm as a mechanic.
This is just one example of the power of ATOP’s programs. Sam is just one of hundreds of kids that Tim and his team have helped over a period of 20 years.
Our programs are proven to work. But we need your help to continue to provide aid to young people like Sam.