A Band of Brothers (ABOB), a charity known for its transformative work with young men, has received praise for its role in turning around the life of Jordan Hardy, a 24-year-old from Weston-super-Mare. Hardy, who had experienced a troubled past involving bullying and criminal activity, credits ABOB with saving his life and leading him onto a better path. Without the support and guidance he received from the charity, Hardy believes he would have ended up dead, in prison, or living on the streets. ABOB operates programs in various locations, offering a range of activities and mentorship opportunities to young men in need.
ABOB’s approach starts with a “Quest for community – rites of passage weekend,” a retreat that provides participants and mentors with the chance to engage in outdoor activities and form connections. This weekend sets the foundation for the 12-week mentorship program that follows, during which the young men are paired with older male mentors. The mentorship program serves as a safe space for participants to openly discuss their concerns, seek guidance, and work towards positive change. In addition, weekly group meetings are held to address common issues such as anger and conflict. The mentors, many of whom have experienced similar journeys, offer a supportive environment where the young men can share their stories and receive guidance.
Hardy’s life was profoundly impacted by ABOB, which pairs young men with older male mentors. Having been involved in criminal activities due to the emotional and physical bullying he endured at school, Hardy found solace and guidance through ABOB. He acknowledges his regrets about his past actions and firmly believes that the charity saved him from a bleak future. ABOB provided him with a sense of acceptance and value, regardless of his past mistakes. The support and understanding he received from the mentors allowed him to move forward and live a more fulfilling life.
Dave Bevan, the organizer of the ABOB program in Bristol, emphasizes that the participants are not simply “young offenders,” but rather “traumatized young men.” Providing a safe space for these individuals to share their stories is crucial for their healing and growth. One participant, Alex-Rider Evans, initially had reservations about opening up to an older male mentor but found the experience increasingly comfortable as time went on. Being able to discuss his problems with understanding mentors has been pivotal in his personal journey. Evans appreciates that some of the mentors have gone through similar experiences, fostering a greater sense of connection and relatability.
Mark Penfold, a mentor within the ABOB program, explains that the charity’s main objective is to support young men who are ready to make positive changes in their lives. This support can encompass a variety of areas, such as drug addiction, criminal activity, or involvement in gangs. Penfold highlights that these issues often stem from chaotic childhoods. By providing mentorship and a supportive community, ABOB aims to empower these young men and help them forge a new path for themselves.
ABOB’s impact on the lives of young men like Jordan Hardy and Alex-Rider Evans is undeniable. Through mentorship and a supportive community, ABOB has guided these individuals towards overcoming their troubled pasts. The structured program, which includes a rites of passage weekend and weekly group meetings, addresses various issues and fosters personal growth. The mentors, who have often walked a similar path, play a vital role in creating a safe and understanding environment for the participants. ABOB’s mission is to provide support and guidance to young men who are ready to make positive changes in their lives, often stemming from challenging childhoods.