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Beyond Rugby Bermuda: a sense of belonging

Beyond Rugby Bermuda is a partnership between the Family Centre and Bermuda Rugby Football Union.

They work with students from CedarBridge Academy, The Berkeley Institute and Dellwood Middle School using core values of rugby to help develop young people. Their mission is to help children graduate and to give them options. They also strive to help with instilling values and good qualities through rugby.

Young Observer had the opportunity to go behind the scenes with the people that make Beyond Rugby happen. Darren Woods, Latoya Bridgewater and Deneca Zuill work at Family Centre. Their role within the programming includes:

Homework support

• Facilitate an hour-long homework support session twice a week prior to rugby practice.

• Support students in reviewing grades and setting goals for themselves.

• Help students develop an improvement plan in subjects they are struggling with.

• Coordinate with school team leaders and heads of departments to maximise student success.

• Create personal development workshops to empower students.

On the field

• Ensure the groups' basic needs are met so they can get the most out of practice (ie food, transportation, safety).

• Support the coach by dynamically assessing participants' needs and teaching the necessary self-regulation and self-motivation skills.

Beyond the field

• Create opportunities that inspire youth to think about their future and reinforce the importance of having long-term educational, personal and professional successes.

• Facilitate connections to additional (social, emotional and academic) supports as needed.

• Build relationships with families so that we can work together to support student success.

Darren Woods

Current position: Senior community support worker. I have worked at Family Centre since January 2011.

What is your role in Beyond Rugby?

I am the programme lead of the Berkeley Homework and Beyond Rugby Programme, I also support the ongoing development of all Beyond Rugby programming.

How does Beyond Rugby work?

The recipe to the programme's success is combining the coaching expertise of the BRFU with the therapeutic skill of Family Centre staff. Through doing this we attract some of the highest-risk youth and are achieving the high levels of commitment and engagement required to help youth make lasting positive changes in their lives.

The programme structure facilitates the broader objectives of Beyond Rugby. All students attend a homework support group from 3.30pm to 5pm followed by rugby practice from 5pm to 7pm. Students are provided with a snack at the beginning of the session, a light meal at the end and the option for transportation home.

In your opinion how is Beyond Rugby impacting the students' lives?

This programme helps give youth a chance to choose positive lifestyles, resist antisocial behaviour and achieve academic progress despite the everyday challenges they face. Students in our programme learn who they are, what they want in life and have plans leaving the programme for their future.

How does a student sign up for Beyond Rugby?

If someone attends one of the three schools where the programme is offered and is interested in signing up, they can contact Darren Woods at Family Centre. Darren@tfc.prevention.bm or 232-1116.

We are looking for young people who are interested in learning more about rugby and/or are interested about in making a positive change in their life.

Please share with us some of the success stories you have personally seen with the Beyond Rugby initiative.

Four years ago a student came into this programme demonstrating uncontrollable anger, was caught up in antisocial behaviours, and on the brink of getting caught up in gang life. Through Beyond Rugby this young man found his sense of self, set and achieved his academic and rugby goals and found positive adults and peers that believed in him. Today I see a different young man. He has travelled extensively with our National Rugby teams and has even travelled to build houses with the Bermuda Overseas missions group.

Tell us about your vision for the future of the programme.

This is a pretty exciting year for us as it's our first year in three schools. Each year we continue to learn from the young people and schools that we are working with. We commit to evolving the Beyond Rugby Bermuda programme so that it not only makes a difference in the lives of individual young men but also helps to create broader positive social change within Bermuda.

Latoya Bridgewater

Current position: Community support worker.

What is your role in Beyond Rugby?

I am currently the lead of the Dellwood Programme and I also support the Berkeley Homework Programme.

In your opinion how is Beyond Rugby impacting the students' lives?

The Beyond Rugby programme gives our players the opportunity to learn a new sport and provides them with life skills that are transferable to the real world.

Please share with us some of the success stories you have personally seen with the Beyond Rugby initiative.

I have seen young people come into our programme that did not enjoy doing their homework or schoolwork.

After being in our Homework Academy and getting help from our volunteers and staff, they were able to experience success in the classroom. Parents are reporting that their children are now enjoying the homework process due to the Beyond Rugby Bermuda programme.

Deneca Zuill

Current position: Community support worker. Returned to Family Centre in March.

What is your role in Beyond Rugby?

I am currently the programme lead for the CedarBridge Academy Beyond Rugby programme.

In your opinion how is Beyond Rugby impacting the students' lives?

The Beyond Rugby programme gives youth a sense of belonging by surrounding them with a community that supports them to reach their full potential.

This programme is so effective because it provides students with the consistent and individualised academic, social and emotional support they need to grow.

Please share with us some of the success stories you have personally seen with the Beyond Rugby initiative.

Success in the Beyond Rugby Bermuda programme looks different for each young person and is dependent on the individual goals they set for themselves.

For example, I know we have achieved success when I see a child find a new-found motivation for his academics, a student achieving honour roll for the first time or a child that has struggled with a subject for the majority of their education receive their first passing grade.

•Rugby making a difference in young lives, page 26

Successful year: Patrick Calow, Darren Woods, Deneca Zuill and Latoya Bridgewater

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Published December 17, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated December 17, 2015 at 12:03 am)

Beyond Rugby Bermuda: a sense of belonging

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