Young Mentor – George

Breathe Magic Intensive Therapy Programme Case Study

Through Breathe Magic, George discovered not only an incredible talent for performing magic, but developed a new set of social skills which have improved all aspects of his life.

When George attended one of the first Breathe Magic Intensive Therapy camps in 2010 he was very nervous. His self-confidence was low because he didn’t fit in at school and found meeting new people difficult, so he didn’t want to go at first.

Now things are different. In addition to his improved social skills, George has also mastered a whole range of daily living tasks. Back when he attended the 2-week camp back aged just 12 years old, he managed to achieve a record time of 40 seconds to do up his shoelaces. This used to take him more than five minutes before the camps!

George now knows how to maintain eye contact and finds it easier to meet and interact with new people, as he can always fall back on his magic tricks as a way to break the ice. Due to problems at school George was home-schooled for the final two years of secondary school before winning a place at college to study Fisheries Management.

He’s accepted that he’ll never be able to play football but he’s got a new set of friends and a full repertoire of tricks which often gathers an admiring crowd in the common room.

Taking part in the Breathe Magic Mentor Programme in 2013 and 2014 has provided a way for George to give something back to Breathe for helping him make a fresh start. He describes the role as ‘professional friendship’. He helps teach magic tricks and talks to the children about having hemiplegia because, as someone of a similar age, he understands the problems they may be experiencing.

I really enjoy coming here, helping, just making people happy. Doing the camp gave me confidence and now I’m a completely different person. I can stand up in front of people, I can go places on my own or with my friends and meet new people. I was really up for mentoring because it was a chance to give back. You’ve given me this confidence, helped me become who I am now and most probably in the future, so I thought if you could help me, I could help someone else and give them the opportunity I had. I want to help (them) fit in …to become confident …to be comfortable in who they are and not change for anyone. If I show them the skill I’ve learnt, hopefully they can pass it on as they get older.

George's experience

Hear more from George about how Breathe Magic helped him and how he’s using his experience to support others: