I sat in Thursday’s class, not knowing whether to cry or just sit there. I was amazed by the relationship the young man and the youth worker had. I applaud him for sharing his story with us, of how he made some bad choices in life and turned his life around. What was most intriguing to me was hearing how he was instantly moved by the way his mentor spoke to him the first time.
As youth workers we often times overlook the simplicity of the whole work before us. In a lot of ways we put too much focus on putting together programs for young people, applying for grants. It seems as though we focus on things we have little to no control over. We forget to concentrate on what we do have control over, such as how we interact with these young people.
That’s a reoccurring theme I have noticed, in which we tend to concentrate on what we have no power over. It has made me realized as a young youth worker, to put my time and energy in establishing relationships with these youth. I know that I might come across challenges along he way, but the most important thing I can do as a youth worker is to be myself and work to create opportunities for these youth. I can’t change people, but I know that one is able to pick up on those who have potential. Youth programs attract many young people, but sometimes you can tell those who have potential. That’s not to say that we have to give up on people, but the truth is sometimes we can’t save everyone.
I loved the idea of creating a neighborhood save house, where kids can go to if they are having any troubles with family, or if their parents are working. This will create a safe space whether these kids can nurture healthy relationships. Sometimes kids have single parent households, where the parent is always working, thus giving the youth a lot of room to either be productive or get into trouble. As we know most times kids chose the latter, and media portrayals doesn’t do them justice. The reason is because the media way too often concentrates on the negative portrayal of young people, especially of that of inner city youth of color. It creates misconceptions that these kid’s parents are the primary reason for their delinquency. It never once mentions how their parents are away not because they are high on over dosage of drugs, but the fact that they simply are trying to make a living to provide a roof for their children.
I loved your idea of creating a safe house for the youth, in case they want to spend the night. As we all know many young people end up getting into trouble because they don’t have parental supervision. They don’t have anyone to look after them, and something that we are all aware of is that if young people don’t have anything to do they will most probably get themselves into trouble. With that said, I find it quite interesting that there aren’t already safe houses. As you mentioned, this will be a space where young people will interact with other children and have an adult present. But some problems we can probably run into is what if young people feel as though they can run into this house anytime they want to escape their parents? Even in situations where they are disrespectful. That is why it is very important that we involved the parents of the neighborhood in helping sustain this house. We want to create a space where kids are allowed to come and feel save, but not in the expense of disrespecting their parents, or to use as a hide-out.