Pressley Ridge LIKE Project: Gábor and Dávid Balog

Gábor and Dávid BalogThe world has turned around for Gábor Balog and Dávid Balog. For the past year, they have been involved in the Pressley Ridge Foundation project LIKE. Their mother is ecstatic to see how her sons have changed and help her at home rather than hanging out with the gang all the time.

‘We’re different now, we’ve adopted a new attitude to life’, David Balog, age 15.

’We weren’t exactly good boys last year. We got into some major trouble and that was when we were offered the opportunity to take part in the Pressley Ridge program. It all started with a summer camp, which was at first quite bad, but then our attitude changed. We started to talk to everyone, we became more open towards the others and so gradually things sorted themselves out’, 15-year-old Dávid recalls, who has become a lot more efficient in interacting with others, his mentor states.

‘I used to be shy and introverted, this is not what I was used to. This is what made it so bad at first – seeing the others have the time of their lives, but we just weren’t up to it at that point. But a week later we could already join the fun.’ his brother, Gábor, adds.

He thinks the secret ingredient used by the adults who work with them is talking with them a lot and explaining things several times, with infinite patience if needed. ‘It’s also nice that they also speak to us with respect’, he adds.

Their mum was surprised when they first told her about their plan to go to a summer camp with the foundation because earlier on they had never felt the need for such programs. ‘She was very glad that we do normal things and connect with normal people and learn a lot from them. Since we have been coming here, our mum has had much less trouble dealing with us at home. We help her out with cleaning, cooking and shopping,’ Gábor adds.

The boys think working together has created bonding in the family. The two brothers used to argue a lot but now they keep together and won’t deny being siblings like they did before. They both think their future lies with sports: Dávid wants to become a football player and Gábor a boxer.

‘I want to be a champion, to get good results,’ Dávid points out. Last year, in contrast, he had no idea concerning his future prospects and neither did his brother.

The two Balog boys started their ganging career early on and it even happened that they consumed alcohol and took part in shoplifting. Their mentor says the most important thing was to make them realise that they are able to achieve whatever they want to.

‘The point is not about what kind of trouble they are in, but to make them see that they can act proactively to get themselves out of it. In our LIKE program I could experience that children in trouble, if they have someone to connect to, can realise who they really are, find out about their real feelings and learn to identify them. All this helps them later on to know what they are capable of’, Eszter Csuzdi of the Pressley Ridge Foundation said.

What makes Dávid the most grateful is the fact that they help him plan ahead with his life. Of course his parents are also involved in this process – unusual in that parents are not reprimanded for their shortcomings but included in the foundation’s work after the initial trust building is completed.

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