This report on the work of the Swindon Youth Empowerment Project (SYEP) between 2000 and 2007 explores how personal and social transformations can take place when young people with social, emotional and behaviour difficulties are encouraged to talk through their life choices using visualisation, symbol and metaphor. They are referred to as ‘dispirited’ as they lacked motivation and ambition. All were failing academically.\ud \ud The evaluation took place over three years, 2004-2007 with the external researcher working alongside the project team and interviewing a range of people involved. In doing so the team were trained in evaluation techniques in order to encourage a long-term culture of evaluation, in schools as well as in the project. The research demonstrates a clear long-lasting effect on many of the young people involved. \ud \ud This report discusses a range of factors contributing to this success, primarily relating to trusting and empowering the young people so that they value themselves and their abilities, build positive and caring relationships with others, and work towards creating a better world. It shows that young people can transcend their limited world view, learning to see themselves differently as people with energy, potential, compassion and the ability to affect positive change. In this they can reach out to others and with others, building moral understanding and cascading positive attitudes and energies to those around them. \ud \ud It has had rapid and lasting results with needy and disengaged children aged nine to thirteen. The processes involved should therefore be taken very seriously by government, schools, and youth services as a powerful intervention that has shown it is able to turn youngsters from actual and potential delinquency to becoming committed to contributing to society as good citizens. The report looks forward to ways of enabling whole classes of children to benefit. It shows how SYEP approaches can become a central strand in citizenship, personal, social and moral education, spiritual education, creative thinking skills, and social and emotional aspects of learning
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