Impact and stories Good news stories Sophie's Story We came to the DARE Project five years after I got out of an abusive relationship. My son was beginning to struggle with life and I could see that whatever I tried to do, it wasn’t helping him. Our relationship was starting to break down and I could see him getting angrier. The week long course didn't start too well. By the end of the second day, I was in floods of tears and vowed not to come back. It hit me that I hadn't actually worked through everything that had happened myself. I wasn't expecting that at all, I had already closed that chapter of my life. It took all my strength to go back after that second day. I knew I had to for my son, he had to know it was going to be ok. That third day made me realise it really was going to be ok. Even though he was young, my son had already learnt that the only way to express his emotions was through violence. He confused upset with anger and lashed out because of that. The course helped him understand the difference in ways that I hadn’t been able to. By the end of the week, he was a completely different boy. I was amazed at the change in him. He was happy, laughing, and talking openly about everything that had gone on in the past. During the course, the workers used emojis to help my son understand his emotions so we set up our own emoji wall. Every day we say how we are feeling and use emojis to help open that dialogue between us. The care and support we received after the course embedded everything we had learnt into our everyday life. It was during one of these conversations that becoming a volunteer was suggested to me. I jumped at the chance, the course had made such a difference to me and my son. I gained my volunteer qualification and went through the DARE training, so I could start making a difference to others. I love being a volunteer on the course. Witnessing how much of a difference it makes to the lives of children is amazing. Being able to show the mums who take part that life does go on, and you really can live it, makes it all worthwhile. Children North East goes out of their way to help people who are referred to them. I was given so much more support here than anywhere I had been before, that made a huge difference. Having someone on the other end of the phone, someone who really cares, that's what makes them different. The staff are always asking how my son is getting on, and I love saying he's doing great thanks to them. Being part of this programme, and seeing how it changes lives, has inspired me to continue to volunteer, and I hope that in the future I can begin working in this field.