-Written by Annie, Youth Support & Participation Worker
Youth Work is often overlooked, as something non-essential or minor. For many young people however, youth centres and youth workers can be a lifeline.
I myself didn’t see my future in youth work. I had heard about my local youth centre from friends as a young person but always felt too shy and afraid to go. The first time I saw it working there as an adult it was incredible! Rooms of art tables, materials, games, dance studios, even a skatepark. I was disappointed nobody had told us this was here, I was disappointed about the lack of respect my school and community had for youth work and youth provision.
For young people, so much pressure is put onto their academic achievements, yet life isn’t all about GCSE & A- Level grades. Life is about experience, safety, learning who you are. These are the lessons that youth work helps to teach.
Working for Wish I really love how much we’re focused on youth voice and adapting to meet the needs of both Local Young People and London wide issues. No topic is off limits, which when working with Young People affected by a wide variety of issues is key. No voice is silenced.
Youth Work is important to me because I am able to use my own personal experiences and the voice of Wish Young People to shape the work that we do. You can make any serious topic or learning experience accessible, welcoming, exciting and empowering with creativity.
Youth Workers are educators, creatives, counsellors, careers advisers, activists and role models and much more all wrapped into one. I want people to recognise the impact that good youth work can have on young people, especially those who struggle with Mental Health, those who are LGBTQ+, those who have complex home lives, those who have been bullied, those who have experienced CSE.
Youth Work is important to me because it can be a lifeline for so many young people. Youth Work is important because it helps shape identity, when so many young people feel labelled and defined by their trauma or their past.