Meeting for a casual counselling chat at Maccas. Giving a lift to a doctor’s appointment to set up a mental health plan. Finding crisis housing for someone kicked out of home. All in a day’s work for a frontline youth worker.
There is no stock standard schedule for a youth worker, particularly when your work is to support young people facing homelessness, plus those who may already be homeless.
Samaritans has been working with young people in crisis for decades. We believe in providing spaces for young people to feel valued, listened to and respected.
The young people we see are often facing challenges with their mental health and relationships; home life is unstable or unsafe and keeping up with school attendance is almost impossible.
Our frontline youth workers, case managers and practitioners work tirelessly and with such passion and enthusiasm. It’s a privilege to share some of their words here.
Words from the frontline
The resilience of young people
One of the common themes you’ll hear from any youth worker is how highly they speak of the strength and resilience of young people.
Our workers see local youth facing incredible hardship. One such example was a young man who had been homeless for eight months and was still managing to attend TAFE so he could finish his trade and have a chance at stable employment.
Kat, of our Reconnect program, sums it up well.
“When you meet these kids you can’t help but feel proud of their resilience. We have a lot of them say how they feel the government doesn’t care about them because they’re not old enough to vote. They have opinions, they have things to say and they’re extremely articulate and well spoken, but they’re not heard because they’re not members of the voting public. We were all once little children, and that child is still inside an adolescent teen. We need to have compassion and honour who they are and they strength they have. If we nurture the adolescents the way we nurture young children, youth homelessness and youth mental health would look a lot different.”