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Finding Confidence: Martin's Story

Teenagers learning social skills at CARE Clubs through activities Teenagers learning social skills at CARE Clubs through activities

Confidence. It’s a valuable tool to have. It can propel you to a better job or make a new friend. Confidence can also be contagious. Someone with healthy confidence in themselves can lift others up and help them find their own strength. However, in the teenage years, confidence can be in short supply. Especially when you may feel different than some of your classmates at school.

At CARE Clubs, children and young adults impacted by autism have the opportunity to build up that confidence in a safe place through activities, games, and relationship-building. Martin is one of those teenagers who just need a little push.

Martin has a great sense of humor and is generally a very happy young man. Despite this, Martin has had difficulties making connections with his classmates. Sometimes he can get frustrated with his words and that could be very difficult for him.

"Before Martin started coming to CARE Clubs it was like he would walk into a group of kids his age and would just immediately shut down,” Deidre, Martin’s mom, said. “Even within his mixed abilities classroom, he’s kind of just closed in on himself.”

At CARE Clubs, he was able to find a safe place where he could build that confidence. He was in a place where they accept him for who he is. And not only do they accept who he is, they also want to be his friend. At first, Martin was more reserved but as time went on he began to come out of his shell.

“Now he walks into CARE Clubs and he’s like ‘hey guys, how are you all,'” Deidre said. "He’s super excited. He loves going."

His teacher from school also noticed a difference. She’s seen Martin become more outgoing.

“He’s got confidence now, and he’s not afraid to talk to people which is awesome,” Deidre said.

And because of his new-found confidence, Martin now wants to help others. He talks to the new students at clubs to help make them feel more welcomed. He’s also making plans for his future. Once he graduates, he wants to help and work with kids who are like him at Heartspring. Those who just feel like they need a little boost to gain their confidence.

“That is an amazing goal,” Deidre said. “I think he feels like ‘I belong here now.’”

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