Dean's story

When Dean arrived at Thrive in 2009 he missed helping out at a community garden project near his previous home in Newcastle and was suffering from low self-esteem.

Dean has autism and has to rely on pictures and symbols to help him with numeracy and literacy.  His cheerful nature and willingness to please also means he finds it hard to say "no" or to be assertive sometimes in a group situation.

Dean knew he wanted to learn more about gardening and to help others, and heard about Thrive through his school.  On arrival he was invited to join one of our groups that travel out to a local National Trust garden to work as a team to learn about composting, planting flowers and vegetables, weeding, and trimming hedges.  

He really enjoyed himself and as his skills grew, so did his ambition.  He has since successfully achieved his Level 2 Certificate in Horticulture which he hopes will one day lead him into work.

"My dream is to have a job gardening with older people and helping them, as I like being with them most of all."

Dean’s confidence has also really blossomed since he arrived at Thrive and his Mum, Tracy has seen that first hand.  He has got the entire family into gardening at home and has recently asked his Dad to show him how to help mow the lawn.

"At Thrive, Dean has the chance to help other people, less able than himself, which has given him real confidence.  He absolutely loves it and now enjoys being the family supervisor when we all garden together!"

Gardening has become central to Dean’s life and he now volunteers with other horticultural projects in his spare time, using his skills, encouragement and enthusiasm to help others.


 


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