Success Stories Series :

How I broke my father’s heart and tried to fix it

A TRYBE YOUTH'S JOURNEY TOWARDS A HEALTHIER FAMILY LIFE

Jackson had never seen his parents’ broken hearts displayed in such a way before.

Jackson (not his real name) dropped out of school when he was 16 years old. Disinterested in studies, Jackson lived an unbridled lifestyle, spending time with his friends till the wee hours of the night. He was also very involved in gang activities. This involvement in gang activities would later lead to a chain of events that caused a drastic change in his life.


I really appreciate the staff who have journeyed with me through my time in Hostel. I’ve learnt the value of discipline and had a change in my attitude.


Jackson was involved in a gang altercation which led to his arrest and was subsequently sentenced to serve a probation period in the Singapore Boys’ Hostel. Upon his admission to the Hostel, Jackson struggled with anger-related issues and had difficulties opening up to the staff. His inability to cope with his emotions gave him a quick trigger. “I remember when I first joined Hostel, I was so upset about some issue that I shouted at one of the Hostel staff. After I had cooled down, I felt guilty because I knew that the he was only doing his job.” Jackson’s words reveal who he actually is – a young man with a good heart, struggling to overcome some issues in his life.

It was while he was in remand, awaiting his sentence, that he first saw his father cry. Jackson had never seen his parents’ broken hearts displayed in such a way before. He has been shouted at, lectured, and nagged, but he has never seen his parents so visibly distressed. He was determined to change.

The second half of Jackson’s stay in the Boys’ Hostel was when Jackson was finally able to control his emotions and open up to the staff. His behavior within the Hostel improved dramatically. He credits the transformation to the guidance and support that his parents and the staff have given him. “The staff really cares for me. They were patient and always try to engage me even if I’m not open to them. One of the staff has always been direct and honest with me too – telling me plainly what I have done wrong and how this will impact me in the real world.”

“We didn’t really spend that much time together last time. We didn’t really talk much at home. But now, we go out for dinner more. I also like to go and visit my dad’s workplace to spend time with him after school.” Jackson’s family life has also gotten better. He now spends most of his time either in school or with his family at home.

It was in the Hostel that Jackson decided that he wanted to continue his studies. Although he never completed his Upper Secondary education, he was still determined to do so. When asked why he wanted to study, “I felt like I was missing out on school. I tried working, but I wasn’t able to earn much. I also saw a few of my fellow Hostel residents going to school and that made me miss school life too – especially the friends I’d make there.” His determination, coupled with advice from his social worker, led him to take his WPLN assessment, which consequently allowed him to pursue a course in an ITE. Jackson has indicated that he intends to work towards admission into a Polytechnic.

Reflecting on his time in Hostel, “I really appreciate the staff who have journeyed with me through my time in Hostel. I’ve learnt the value of discipline and had a change in my attitude. I learnt to control my emotions better too! I also miss the various outings I had with my dorm mates and staff – where we could hang out not as Hostel residents, but regular friends.”

“I believe I was lucky I was arrested as it allowed me a chance to change. My advice to the youth in the Hostel, and even those who are on the same path as I – turn back if you have the chance. Get help in getting your life back on track. Don’t wait until it’s too late.”

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