L02S - A Parent's Perspective

Sheila Parkin

My son, Shaun, took part in LIFT OFF to Success 2011 and is currently a 4th year pupil at Braeview Academy, Dundee. I left school at 15 and went straight into work. None of Shaun’s family has attended college or university before, however Shaun has aspirations of staying on at school and progressing onto college and then university to study a sports related subject. These aspirations were present before attending LO2S, but I believe that his goals have now been cemented and he is putting the ball into motion since taking part in the residential. Shaun has been looking into appropriate subjects to take at school and was inspired by the sports facilities available at Stirling University – an institute he visited during LO2S.

LIFT OFF asked…..

In your opinion, did LO2S have a big impact on Shaun?

Shaun’s confidence has greatly increased since participating in LO2S. He is a very quiet person and has a tendency to lack confidence in his own ability. LO2S gave Shaun the chance to come out of his comfort zone and socialise with people outside of his immediate group of friends. The residential was Shaun’s first experience of staying away from us without other family members. As a result, I feel that Shaun is now a more outgoing person, tries a lot more things, and is better at seizing opportunities presented to him.

What did you think of the LIFT OFF Student volunteers?

Shaun helps younger children at Kick Boxing and Sunday school. I think that speaking with the LIFT OFF Student Volunteers, both during LO2S and at school, Shaun has been embracing this responsibility more. I feel that he now has an understanding that people have given up their time to help him and he realises that it doesn’t take much to give something back. He has also become better at speaking in front of the other kids he helps and has a great manner with people.

I myself felt meeting the student volunteers was beneficial as their enthusiasm for college and university has a tendency to rub off on you. They also gave Shaun and me valuable insights into student life and it’s work/fun balance. 

How did you find the LO2S Graduation?

My husband and I attended the LO2S graduation for Shaun. We found the financial information very beneficial. It was something that initially went over my head, but it was broken down well during the presentation. I now feel that we are better prepared for supporting Shaun in his decision to continue with his education.

Do you have any advice for other parents whose children may be interested in LIFT OFF activities?

I would advise all parents to give their children the chance to take part in LIFT OFF. It gives children independence and allows them to socialise.  It’s a great opportunity for kids and doesn’t cost the parents anything. Its’ not something that was ever offered to me when I was at school.

If kids are getting the opportunity to get help with their education, it’s definitely worth doing.

Closing Note

It’s a year since Shaun took part in LO2S, yet Shelia can tell that every time Shaun speaks about he still has so much enthusiasm for it.

 “I cannot praise LIFT OFF enough!”

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