Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Blog #1- Characteristics of a Youth Worker

Youth Workers and their practices

Youth work is an educational practice
Being a youth worker creates an open opportunity to build both an open and trusting relationships with the youth in his or her educational practice.  With being primarily educators, the settings mainly consist of being diverse which establishes an informal education and learning.  Having this informal education helps youth to think creatively, focusing on their personal and social development.  As a youth worker we are able to engage with the youth in his or her personal lives allowing them to think, feel and have a sense of their views in the social world around them.  Over the past few years working in an after school setting I face this almost everyday.  I have not only created a bond with youth but have used the informal practice presented.  Giving youth the opportunity to think creatively and embrace it is truly amazing.

Youth work is a social practice
A youth workers approach when working with youth in a social practice is ‘case work’.  When working with youth in a group setting consisting of his or her peers. Youth feel comfortable with his or her peers because he or she may have something in common which makes its easier for them to engage in conversation.  An experience that I have had with working with the youth is when playing outside.  Each age group has groups of children who are more comfortable with each other, such as having similar interest or a common hobby.

                               Youth workers actively challenge inequality along with working towards social justice
As a youth worker we are to help empower the youth and show them that they do have a voice when it comes to a social setting.  Our society is made of up diversity and unfortunately discrimination is an underlining factor.  Teaching youth how to effectively defend what he or she believes in in our society whether it is in regards to race, beliefs or any other social aspect.  A personal experience that I have is having a speaker come to my high school to discuss bullying and how to not bully one another.  This opened our eyes as youth because we were taught that no matter what that we have a voice in any situation.

Where possible, young people choose to be involved
Youth become involved when and where they feel most comfortable. Engaging is a major key when working with youth. In a youth setting, having a youth worker who is actively involved and engaged with the youth creates a safe and comfortable environment for him or her.  An example from a personal observation is having a youth worker who is not engaging with the youth such as being on his or her phone.  Not having a youth worker who is engaged fully completely changes the setting for the environment.

  Youth work seeks to strengthen the voice and influence of young people
Everyone deserves to have a voice in this world.  Youth deserve to have people, such as youth workers, to guide in the right direction and to listen to their voices.  Not many people in our society fully understand the concept of who has a voice.  Youth workers are to help the youth with evolving his or her beliefs, making them gain power within not only themselves but also in the way they portray themselves as well.  Two years ago I had the pleasure of working in the Central Falls community for Youth Development 250 and cannot be more grateful for that experience.  Being able to watch young kids feel so deeply about the world surrounding them along with being able to voice how they were feeling was truly amazing.  No ones voice is unheard.

Youth work is a welfare practice
When working with youth it is all about ‘testing out the waters’.  As a youth worker we always strive for what is best for the young people we work with, such as making sure his or her voice heard.  Nothing is ever perfect especially our practices, sometimes we are unsure of how something is going to go and it doesn’t go as planned.  Youth in our society is always changing, just as our very own world.  In welfare practice, a youth worker must keep the stability of creating and using new ideas to help youth around us.  Creating different activities for the children in the after school program is definitely either a pass or fail, sometimes the activity isn’t quite for that age range, which has happened on some occasions.  In that instinct as a youth worker you just have to step back and regroup for the next time.

  Youth work works with young people ‘holistically ’

Positive influences and support systems for youth help to influence positive experiences for them.  As a youth work we are not only to teach, engage and support, but to make sure the youth are doing the best that he or she can without any negative consequences.

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