Quote Of The Day 04/04/2020

SATURDAY, 04/04/2020:

https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/237705686562840545/

‘I raise my voice not so that i can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard.’

– Malala Yousafzai

Quote Of The Day 29/03/2020

SUNDAY, 29/03/2020:

https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/426575395956854782/

‘Only through action do words take meaning.’

– Freechild Institute

Working With Young People: 5 Lessons I’ve Learned.

It’s been about 5 months since I started my journey as a Support Worker, but I really wanted to write about some of the things I’ve learned along the way, and how it has helped me become better at my job.

Mid-way through this year, I decided to change the trajectory of my life by switching into a career supporting young people who are under the Guardianship of the Minister (in State care). This is something I have always wanted to do, and I had the qualifications to do it – but never took the leap into the field – preferring stable, (boring) but reliable full-time employment instead.

Working with young people has always appealed to me, given my own background and experiences, which involved drugs, neglect, homelessness, transience and custody disputes between parents. But even though I have had those experiences in the past, each day is entirely different, and nothing can fully prepare you for the wide range of things you hear, experience and see while on shift.*

Assorted-color Alphabet

It’s been about 5 months since I started my journey as a Support Worker, but I really wanted to write about some of the things I’ve learned along the way, and how it has helped me become better at my job.

* Obviously, client confidentiality is of utmost importance when it comes to working with young people, so there will be no mention of names or specific locations etc. in this post.

Keep An Open Mind.


Top View Of Assorted Colored Stones in Wooden Containers

Sometimes people forget that young people in care are just like everyone else their age.

They have dreams, fears, failures and successes, just like you and me – all of which should be nurtured and celebrated.

One of the most valuable things I learned in my training was this:

Change the word attention to connection.

If a young person is exhibiting ‘attention seeking’ behaviours, try seeing those behaviours as ‘connection seeking’ instead.

Young people don’t always know how to express their feelings and fears, or ask for help and encouragement when they desperately need it – and sometimes this can seem like they’re being ‘attention seeking’ or being ‘naughty’ or ‘disruptive’.

Next time you notice a young person exhibiting some interesting behaviours, ask yourself: ‘is this young person seeking connection?’ rather than writing them off as being annoying or naughty, and chances are, you’ll get a better response.

Educate Your Friends & Family.


One of the saddest and most frustrating things I’ve encountered since becoming a Support Worker is the negative reaction of my peers when I tell them I work with young people in care.

There is an automatic stigma associated with these children, which sticks to them like glue, no matter how hard they try to get it off, and society’s attitude doesn’t help.

It is something worth highlighting, because these children are just that – children. People automatically stick their noses up, have an opinion or see these children as criminals before they consider giving them a chance to prove them wrong.

Young people end up in care for a variety of reasons, and it is never their fault. Some of them have parents who are unfit to care for them due to addiction, neglect or physical, emotional or sexual abuse.

Neon Signage

Some are orphaned and have no other family. Some end up in foster care, but are given back when their behaviour deteriorates due to their trauma. Some have intellectual disabilities that their parents don’t want to deal with. Some are refugees. There are hundreds of reasons children end up in care.

Oftentimes, people look at children in care as lesser than other children. But for me, I look to these children for inspiration. Their resilience is something that shouldn’t be overlooked. These young people have suffered adversity and still try their very best, each day – whatever that may look like. And it’s worth remembering and acknowledging.

Expect The Unexpected.


Photography of Green and Red Fire Works Display

If you think you’ve seen everything, you haven’t.

Each shift I work is entirely different. One day I’ll be looking after a toddler, the next day I might be looking after a teenager, or a house full of siblings. And if I’ve learned anything, it’s to never go into a shift with any expectation about how it’s going to go.

I’ve had to clean walls covered in drawings. I’ve wiped poop from walls and hands. I’ve had to follow a kid around in a mini-van trying to convince them to get back in the car after they ran off. I’ve had to call the police, clean wet bed-sheets and listen to music that has so many swear words my brain ends up hurting.

But even more importantly, there are bright, shining, heart-warming moments that I never expected.

I got to be the person to take a child to their first day of school. I’ve had open and honest conversations with young people that have helped me grow as a person. I got taught how to make cold rolls (I always wanted to learn!), I’ve danced around the room with children and teenagers and high-fived toddlers when they realise they haven’t wet the bed.

I’ve seen milestones, birthdays, sad days and happy days, and I’ve seen firsthand just how wonderful, bright and resilient these young people can be.

Never assume you know it all. We truly know nothing. All we can do is expect the unexpected.

Don’t Underestimate Young People.


Silhouette Photo of Man Throw Paper Plane

Many people underestimate young people – even those not in care. But young people aren’t stupid. They’ll know if you’re talking about them – because it happens every day of their life.

They know when you’re being genuine – because they’ve had so many different carers before you.

Young people are in care for a variety of different reasons, but you can bet your bottom dollar that they can tell who has their best interests at heart and who doesn’t.

The young people that I work with also know all of the things they’re allowed and not allowed to do – and sometimes they use this to their advantage – especially if you’re new.

This isn’t something to worry about, generally – most of the things the young people try to get away with, we’ve all tried as a kid. They’ll try and push their bed-times, get extra dessert or negotiate their curfews – all normal kid-type things to do.

The bottom line is that children and young people, no matter who they are or where they live, will test limits and push boundaries. It’s completely normal and to be expected. This is all part of growing up and seeing who sticks around – even when we make mistake or play up.

Put Yourself In Their Shoes.


Putting yourself in the shoes of a vulnerable young person can sometimes be hard, especially if you were lucky enough to have had a relatively ‘normal’ or ‘safe’ upbringing.

I find that the best way for me to truly empathise with the young people I work with is to ask myself:

‘Given the circumstances, what would I have done at their age?’

Now this might be difficult if you don’t know the full story. In which case, ask yourself:

‘Do I know enough about this young person to be judging their behaviour?’

Either way, it is helpful to remember these questions when dealing with behaviour that might seem risky, aggressive or otherwise upsetting behaviour.

For example:

Person in Blue Jeans And White Sneakers Standing On Metal Railings

If you had been forced to live off of scraps for most of your life and didn’t know when your next meal would be, wouldn’t you, as a young person, hoard food or steal it where you could, so you felt safe and knew you wouldn’t starve?

If you had grown up in a house where drugs and alcohol were normalized, wouldn’t you, as a young person in a new living environment, have trouble understanding what is safe and what isn’t?

If you, as a young person, had been physically beaten or emotionally abused when you had arguments with your family, want to run away every time you have an argument with someone, so you don’t get hurt?

These may be confronting scenarios, but they are incredibly real.

There is almost always a reason behind why someone does something – even as we mature into adults. We need to be able to see some situations from the perspective of the young people in order to connect with them and find ways to help them.

For more content, see below:

Why The Planet Needs People Like Greta Thunberg.

Something worth talking about.

I’m sure you would have recently read or heard about the School Strike for Climate – an international movement of students making a decision not to attend their classes to instead take part in demonstrations surrounding Government inaction to prevent Climate Change.

These demonstrations began largely due to the activism of Greta Thunberg, who stood outside the Swedish Parliament with a sign reading: Skolstrejk för klimatet (‘School Strike for the Climate’) in August 2018. Since Greta’s activism attracted media attention, it is estimated that over 1.4 million students have joined her in demonstrations and protests across the world.

So who is Greta, and why should we care?

Greta Thunberg: Wikipedia Image

Greta Thunberg is a 16 year old climate activist from Sweden.

But don’t let that fool you. Greta is extremely switched on and has a lot to say – and very rightly so.

When she was 8 years old, Greta realised that Climate Change was a real and worrying issue for the planet, and was concerned that there seemed to be next to no real action being taken to prevent it. She has even admitted to insisting her family become vegan and quit flying to reduce their Carbon Footprint.

Greta credits the Parkland School Activists in Florida for giving her the inspiration to begin her School Climate Strike.

Along with her activism outside Parliament, Greta has also spoken to countless groups of people across the world, including at the Houses of Parliament in London, The United Nations at their Climate Change Summit and TEDxStockholm.

Greta concluded her TEDx talk by saying:

‘We can’t change the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed.’

Greta has won countless awards since beginning her activism journey, including being nominated by three members of the Norwegian Parliament as a candidate for this years’ Nobel Peace Prize. Time Magazine named Greta one of the 25 most influential young people in 2018, and has also received the German Goldene Kamera ‘Special Climate Protection’ award.

Greta’s activism has also been widely accepted and endorsed by the United Nations, with General Secretary Anotonio Guterres admitting:

‘My generation has failed to respond properly to the dramatic challenge of climate change. This is deeply felt by young people. No wonder they are angry.’

Climate Change is very real, and has already caused irreparable damage to the planet. Some scientists go as far as to say the planet only has 12 years left before we hit the tipping point in global temperature rises.

Climate Change isn’t some far-fetched theory, but a solid, evidence-based fact. NASA has stated:

‘Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal.’

Regardless, there are still some Global Leaders that prove difficult, with Donald Trump insisting: ‘…the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.’ Trump also backed up his well-publicized skepticism by pulling America out of the Paris Climate Agreement.

However, Greta Thunberg has, with the support of the scientific community, brought the issue of Climate Change into the spotlight, and young people are aware – now more than ever – of the impact of their predecessors, whether those predecessors choose to admit it or not.

Climate Change isn’t going away, and in the words of Science Magazine:

‘The enormous grassroots mobilization of the youth climate movement … shows that young people understand the situation. We approve and support their demand for rapid and forceful action … Only if humanity acts quickly can we limit global warming, halt the ongoing mass extinction of animal and plant species, and preserve the natural basis for the food supply and well-being of present and future generations.’

We need people like Greta Thunberg, now more than ever. The planet only has so much time left to act, and in her words:

‘I want you to act as if the house is on fire.’

The next major climate strike to take place globally is scheduled for the 24th of May 2019.

See what the world is saying about Greta Thunberg:

Watch Greta’s TEDx Talk here.

Find out how you can help the environment without breaking a sweat:

http://theartofoverthinking.com/2019/04/10/5-easy-ways-to-help-the-environment/