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Susan Palmer

Posted 02 Sep 2019 - 2.4 minute read

Kayla’s husband died suddenly leaving her a single Mum of 3 teenage boys. It happened in June – and her eldest boys were in Year 12 and Year 10 at the time.

Kayla’s biggest concern was finding ways to keep the boys lives as ‘normal’ as possible despite the loss of their father and the inevitable impact this would have. Central to this was making sure the boys could finish Year 12 and Year 10 with the marks they deserved so that they still had the same opportunities available to them… 

Both boys were keen to follow in their Dad’s footsteps and become engineers. Both boys were studying maths and chemistry and their father had always been their ‘go to’ person for homework help. He had spent hours with the boys supporting them with their work and answering any questions. Who was going to help them now? Kayla did not have the knowledge to offer homework help – but she knew the boys needed this support to get through the next 6 months.

One of her husband’s work colleagues contacted her a couple of weeks after his death to check on how she was going. During their conversation she mentioned how she was worried about the boys and their schooling…

Can you guess what happened next?

This fabulous man heard Kayla’s concern, identified what would really help her and coordinated a group of four other engineering colleagues to form a ‘homework help’ roster. For 6 months, these brilliant men made sure that twice a week (on Tuesdays and Thursdays) one of them was rostered on to swing by Kayla’s house on the way home from work. They spent an hour with each of the boys answering questions about maths, chemistry and other homework… but also about their Dad and anything else they wanted to chat about.

With this incredible support, both boys achieved wonderful things that year – and both are now studying engineering at university. The family continue to see the men who became their ‘homework helpers’. They have turned into important male role models as the boys continue to grow and develop attending local footy matches together and coming along to school graduations – and now they are helping the youngest boy through his VCE (although he is the first to admit that maths is not his favorite subject and the guys often end up kicking the footy with him in the backyard).

Kayla’s story highlights the incredible impact we can all have when we are bold enough to offer the ‘real’ help a family needs during a time of crisis. These things will often be very personal and specific to each situation. It may initially feel uncomfortable to offer these things – and it may feel awkward to accept – but just look at the impact we can have.

Kayla shared her story to encourage others to think differently about how they support people in need. Thanks Kayla. ❤️