The moment a social entrepreneur decides to act is the moment when everything changes. But this change is only fully ignited when someone decides to follow. First followers transform an individual with a vision into a leader.
In light of our upcoming Awards Ceremony, we asked our 2015 Awardees to tell us about their first followers and why they were so important. Derek McDonnell, the founder of Mojo shared his first follower story with us.
Daniel Morris, a 54 year old truck driver, had all but given up on life before he came to Mojo.
Daniel was the first man on our first training programme to take a leap of faith and share with the group that he was ‘struggling with life and finding it difficult to cope’. That one sentence had a profound effect on all of us; the other men began to talk and we, the facilitators, breathed a sigh of relief as this was a sign, after a nervous few weeks that we may be on to something.
Two years later, Danny told 100 people during his speech at an event to celebrate the success of our pilot in South Dublin that he had planned to die by suicide on week six of the programme. He explained that the only reason he came on Mojo was to show his family that he had done everything possible to stay alive before he took his life. Fortunately for all of us, connecting with other men on Mojo gave him hope for the future and, four years on, Danny continues to thrive.
The moment I realised Mojo needed to be available to men across Ireland was when Danny shared his story with us.
This story shows that with the right support, it’s never too late to change. Danny was walking through the Square in Tallaght with his 23 year old daughter, chatting about ‘stuff’ when he took the opportunity to tell her about Mojo. He told her that he had just done a session on his role in the family which helped him understand why he had not been the best of dads when she was growing up and wanted to apologise to her. His daughter thanked him for being so honest. It was Christmas time and they were passing by a Santa’s grotto. “I never even took you to Santa when you were a child,” Danny said. His daughter asked, “what’s stopping you now?” Danny and his daughter now have a Santa photo together.
As the programme drew to a close, Danny and the lads told us that they did not want this experience to end and they wanted to keep their connections to each other going. With a little support and encouragement, the lads set up their own Mojo Men’s Shed which brings a variety of men from South Dublin together five times a week. These men are part of the growing Mojo team who are working towards real change for men in Ireland.
Learn more about Mojo Programme.
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