Youth Work in a Global Sphere Part 2

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Part 2: The qualities developed for greater impact

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Throughout my time working in youth serving organizations, specifically when I began working for the child welfare system in NYC, the power dynamics that surrounded me contributed massively to the level in which I was able to effectively engage the youth that I worked with. I had a burning desire to make greater impact, however due to limitations and regulations, programming had been reduced and highly favored towards certain individuals within the cohort of youth who were experiencing certain challenges. I observed that there were also many younger youth going through a great deal of family related and personal traumas and often put on the back burner.

Working in foster care gave me a reason to become more conscious of myself, not only of my environment. To develop my inside life: the qualities of my personality that would help me create the impact that I spoke of in my outer life. So, I worked on myself. Awareness and sensitization to my surroundings developed a deep inner connection with who I wanted to be, and easily gained the attention of my clients. I let me serious guard down, and acclimated myself to their level, where it became a conversation about what they want and how we can work together to help them get there, rather than choice words about how to best solve a problem considering the situation they put themselves in.

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It was an entangled job between juggling my role of getting my college bound youth enrolled into college/university that they can stay in without immense struggle and attend to their social/emotional needs. My attitude confirmed that I had a job to do, even more so than a paying job in a sector that offers opportunities few and far between, I had a vision to carry out; ensuring that my youth were getting what they were so desperately in need of.

Acquiring the stable belief that they are worthy of time and personal growth vicariously through us as their guides, mentors, and supporters is essential towards gaining their trust; seeing them go out into the world and assume the responsibility of “pro action” in order to make smarter and more constructive choices. As youth work professionals, it is necessary to exercise your vigilance, craft your own developed skill sets to ask the important questions, and most importantly stay connected.

Please note the views, opinions and ideas that have been shared is solely from me and is no way linked with youthworknews.com

By: Lindsey Sherwin

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