Helena’s book Wild Boys: A Parent’s Story of Tough Love is a personal account of her struggles as a parent, particularly with her eldest son, Joey.
In her journey to find solutions for managing Joey’s behaviour at home, Helena stumbles across the work of Bernie Shakeshaft, founder and manager of BackTrack Youth Works, and his shed-based program for at-risk youth: the Iron Man Welders.
Helena volunteers to help out at the BackTrack shed, and over the next few years she learns a great deal about troubled youth and the social and psychological challenges they face.
Wild Boys documents Helena’s journey in a style that is less a parenting manual than a personal account of her time at the shed and how she learnt to have a better relationship with her son.
Bernie, a parent himself, says: “It can be a tough gig raising teenagers, but if you are committed, know what you want and are prepared to make some changes – as Helena demonstrates throughout the book – then relationships can heal and grow into the future.”
Wild Boys is a complement to Helena’s PhD in Creative Research Practice in the UNE School of Arts, which seeks to explore research and writing options available through the genre of creative nonfiction.
Helena’s research focuses on the early years of BackTrack Youth Works in Armidale, particularly the Iron Man Welders program.
“Becoming involved with BackTrack changed my life for the better,” Helena said.
“I’m keen to share the lessons I learnt from Bernie and the boys at the shed, and offer a new perspective on parenting teenagers and the nature of wild boys.”
Vice-Chancellor of UNE, Professor Annabelle Duncan will officially launch the book at the BackTrack Shed, with Bernie Shakeshaft as the MC.
For further information or interview, contact Debbie at DMCPR Media on 02 9550 9207 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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