Creating Conversation

5 February 2013

Joy writes...

We’ve been trying something a bit different in our Thursday Drop-in sessions.

The week we opened after Christmas we dragged a dead Christmas tree into the halls and propped it up in the corner.

When young people noticed the conversations generally went like this:

‘Why is there a dead tree?’

‘Cos Christmas can sometimes be a bit dead can’t it?’

‘Yeah, mine was because….’

The next week we cooked a bunch of Tesco value burgers and left them next to the apology from Tesco’s, which was in the newspaper that day.

There was screaming, and neighing as a few young people dared each other to eat horse meat, and conversations about how people like to know the truth, and honesty being important, as well as about being a vegetarian and if you’re not, what animals it is ok to eat.

Last week we re-wrote a registration form, inviting young people to invent a new persona for the national day of escape.

I chatted to a girl about escaping sadness, and to another about how she loved being from the Caribbean and wouldn’t change that for anything.

Through the introduction of trees, burgers and forms we have stimulated discussion around sometimes, difficult topics. We’ve helped young people access the news, reflect on themselves and the wider world.

Having discussions, debates and moments of understanding with young people, enables them to have the opportunity to voice their opinions and gain confidence in that voice. It also inspires creativity in young people, reminding them that there are other ways to see the world, and, hopefully, helping them to realise that the way things always have been doesn’t necessarily need to be the way things always will be.

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