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"I Thought Such Things Only Happen On TV"

Dylan’s first encounter with Youth Guidance Outreach Services (YGOS) was when he was 9 years old. Referred to the centre because of behavioural issues, Dylan had to sit through a counselling session with David, his caseworker then. Dylan didn’t like the idea of counselling at all, thinking that it was boring and useless.

Life carried on as per normal: Dylan was still his usual cheerful and outgoing self. Until one day, a curious message composed of hearts surfaced on his father’s phone while he was gaming.

“Did Mom change her phone number?”, Dylan thought to himself. He called the number to confirm, but the unfamiliar female voice pointed him to something he did not expect.

“That was when I knew my father was having an affair. But I thought such things only happen on TV...”

“That was when I knew my father was having an affair. But I thought such things only happen on TV...”

The shock from the discovery was unsettling. Dylan was hesitant to share this piece of news with his mother who has a history of high blood pressure. Lost, helpless and frustrated - all these feelings were bottled up inside the tender chambers of his heart. Gradually, Dylan’s motivation to study started to wear off. The feelings continued to simmer... for 2 years...until the bottle overflowed! No longer able to keep the secret, Dylan spilled the beans to his mother. Expectedly, that led to confrontations and hurls of hurtful words between his parents.

Within the same two years, Dylan saw the school counsellor regularly, but it wasn’t helpful for him. Dylan was referred to YGOS again which he believed, in hindsight, was the work of God.

“I remember my first meeting with my new caseworkers, Shawn and Jonathan. They were very chill, friendly and open. Even though I wasn’t ready to share about my family problems during the first session, I felt at ease with them from the start.”

Then a funny incident happened: Dylan’s caseworkers forgot their appointment with Dylan for his second session at school.

“Forgot!”, Dylan exclaimed in surprise. After all, to err is human. Perhaps it was this imperfect nature of the YGOS staff that allowed connection and rapport to be built easily. Through the sessions together with his caseworkers, Dylan began to realize that adult affairs are beyond his control and that he should, in his own words, “focus his energy on more productive stuff.”

“Everybody can change; no one is stuck like that.”

Yet, Dylan continued to face more challenges. Under the influence of his friends, Dylan picked up smoking and drinking in Secondary One. Nevertheless, Dylan found comfort through confiding in his peers and staff at YGOS. Through the difficult times, Dylan has become more resolved in mending his ways. He now volunteers at YGOS during his school holidays and has cut ties with the friends who had been a “bad influence” on him.

By: Dylan, 15 years-old

Enhanced Step-Up (ESU), Tchoukball Programme

*Names have been changed to protect client's privacy

- Photo by Samuel Austin on Unsplash

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