Free to work towards a life full of promise after being discharged without conviction was one of the many life changing outcomes for Paul while being supported by PARS.
Sitting with a sombre look, hunched down in his seat at his local library, Paul began to unpack what life was like for him. We learnt that as the middle child of nine and raised in a sole-parent household, Paul was disconnected from the world around him, unable to make pro-social connections and lacking the confidence to dream.
At 18 years old, Paul explained how, outside of his immediate family, he lived in solitude, with crowded spaces making him anxious. He described childhood events that left him with deep emotional trauma – his father often showing his dislike for him, his parents separating, and an un-biological aunty who was regularly left to raise him and his siblings.
The abuse that Paul endured left him with deep inner turmoil. Lacking confidence and with unresolved anger, he lashed out at his peers and family, resulting in criminal charges and three years of wading through an unfriendly legal system before he could access the support he needed.
Paul’s lawyer and whānau struggled to connect him with support due to his inability to relate with others – until his referral to PARS. It was with PARS that Paul met a mentor he trusts, and together they started exploring a foreign world that Paul and his whānau describe as being filled with “hope”.
With a new foundation of trust, Paul began to build his self-agency and resilience with clear steps and a daily routine. He ticked off tangible goals such as securing identification, and with the guidance of his PARS mentor, Paul accessed 1-1 counselling to begin addressing his trauma. With the encouragement of his mentor, Paul practiced opening up to his family; something that he has previously struggled to do.
Paul shared with his mentor his lifelong love of history, which he’d never had the opportunity to explore outside of trips to his local library. With his mentor’s support, he was able to embark on an enlightening journey to the Auckland Museum and Auckland Art Gallery, with his mentor noting that “Paul becomes my teacher”. For the first time, Paul was able to see his love of history as not only a hobby but also as a potential career.
At Paul’s sentencing, PARS provided a report that highlighted his journey as well as his passions and dreams for his future. The Judge acknowledged the report and engagement as being Paul’s “Golden Ticket”, discharging him without conviction, and encouraging him to pursue his passion.
Paul is now soaring, with his mum noting that PARS was “the answer to [her] prayers” and his whānau sharing that “it has been life-changing, going out on those sessions to places he’s never really been before really made a big difference for him”… “he is doing really well now, and we are all really happy”.