Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's the youth worker!
17 June 2014
I’ve always wanted to be a super hero.
Ever since I was a kid swooping through the air in an amazing costume and mask, saving people and solving every problem presented to me with a well-choreographed action scene has really appealed to me.
Which is kind of how I ended up in youth work.
I went into youth work with the whole-hearted belief that I would change the world. That young people would meet me and I would rescue them from whatever was making them unhappy and then they’d be transformed into wonderful, well adjusted individuals ready to contribute fully to society.
Just like a superhero without the costume or the explosions!
In the years that I’ve been doing youth work I have discovered that I may have been more than a little naïve to start with.
It turns out that no matter how much I wanted to be the superhero youth worker who runs amazing sessions, and changes lives with a single well timed conversation, sometimes, I can’t fix the problem.
Thankfully through studying and experience, I learnt to hang up my cape, roll up my sleeves, and get on with the business of building community with young people, which has turned out to be a much more effective way of doing youth work.
At Urban Hope we’re coming to the end of what has been quite a hard time, and I have been reminded that no matter how super I like to imagine I am, I can’t fix everything.
It has been really difficult to admit that.
However something amazing happened, and all through the hard times we've had the community that we have committed ourselves to, showed it’s commitment right back to us. Young people, parent’s, volunteers and other organisations have been there to help us out and to offer support.
Admitting that I'm not as super as I’d like to imagine I am, gave someone else the chance to be the hero, and reminded me that youth work isn’t about a group of adults ‘rescuing’ young people, but about a community of people belonging to each other.