Aaron first heard about Ladder when he met one of our Development Coaches from the Step Up Latrobe program. After a brief chat about the program, Aaron was invited to attend an activity at The Gathering Place in Morwell and joined the team in a team building activity that was given back to the local community.

Aaron was reluctant to sign up to the Step Up program initially, but soon realised that the program was something special and quite different to a “traditional” school setting.

 “It was like they were a family; they were all happy to help each other and happy to speak to me and I felt like I wanted to be a part of something like that.”

When Aaron joined the program, he had recently disengaged from school, making the decision to leave during term two of year 11.

Prior to his time with Ladder, Aaron was low in confidence and found it hard to find positive people to surround himself with. Over the course of the 6-week Step Up program, Aaron was able to engage with a range of positive role models and peers who supported him to step outside of what he found familiar and challenge himself.

Throughout his time at Ladder, Aaron was matched with a local mentor who had four boys of her own. This was the first mixed gender match but has resulted in a fantastic relationship being formed. Aaron’s mentor is well connected and respected in the community supported Aaron to enrol in a TAFE course and also supported him to get his driving licence.

Aaron’s mentor commented recently I am happy that I have been able to have a positive impact on Aaron and always look forward to our catch ups.  It's great to hear to him say that I am the "best thing that has ever happened to him", I wasn't aware of that”.

Although this mentoring relationship is soon to formally close, Aaron’s mentor plans to stay in contact with Aaron forever or as long as he wants her to.

Aarons newfound confidence was truly tested when he was asked to speak in front of nearly 200 staff from ANZ at a recent event in Melbourne. Although hesitate at first, Aaron mustered the courage to take to the stage and share his story with the room. “I couldn’t believe there were nearly 200 people in there, if someone had of asked me to do this two years ago there’s no way I would have, but I’m so glad I can finally do this now.”

Aaron has recently enrolled in university to study nursing and hopes to secure full-time work in the future.

Everyone at Ladder is very proud of Aaron and his achievements and we wish him the very best in the future.