Friday, December 10, 2010

Guest Post:: Why I Work With Youth


Me and Jessie-Marie
     I believe that the best way to learn to be a youth worker is to be immersed in the day in and day out lives of young people. Many youth culture experts tend to do a lot of research and studies about young people, but it is another thing to know the kids that are giving the answers.
     That is why I see my team as a learning environment for students wanting to become youth workers themselves. I see this less an internship and more of a experience. Every year my team and I partner with Lifeteams which is a school of urban youth outreach. One of these "lifeteamers" as we call them contacted me recently and was filling me in on where life has led her. She is working in a neighboring community as an Aboriginal Support Worker. I am always proud to hear of these friends that have followed in my footsteps so to say. So without further ado - I introduce to you: Jessie-Marie:

"I grew up in a rural community where there weren't many positive role models for the youth. We had no Youth Workers or youth programs. But we DID do things as a community and I grew up and moved away I realized that people don't always have that sense of community in the city. It's hard with so many people from so many different walks of life that if you decide not to be friends with someone you just stop calling them, seeing them, etc.
Where I grew up you don't have a choice. Your community is like your family and no matter how much you don't want to work things out at times you kind of have to because one day you'll need that person. A classic example is your car breaking down. There's no cell reception, the nearest gas station is a 2 hour walk from where you break down and your only chance of getting help is to wait for someone to drive by and give you a hand. That someone just might be the someone who you don't like so much, but you have no choice. You have to overcome certain things about each other to build-if not a friendship-at least an understanding between eachother.

I feel that our culture is so incredibly self-centered and NOT forgiving to our friends or our neighbors. It seems as though people have the mentality that friends are great when you're having fun, but when something doesn't go the way you expect, you move on. This is true for the friendships and romantic relationships I've seen or been in my life. There's no desire to trust the Lord and WORK through what is a great friendship. To FIGHT for your friendship. Where is the LOVE? The understanding?

So the original question is "why do I work with youth?". I work with youth because I believe that kids want that sense of community; that sense that someone has your back and you can work it out. I love helping kids learn the tools for building those healthy friendships and relationships
because healthy boundaries aren't always taught at home. I also love working with youth because I just LOVE them. They have such great energy that's so infectious! The Lord has a special place in his heart for our youth and so do I!"

Why is it that YOU work with youth OR support those who do?
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