Thank a Youth Worker Day

They are everywhere. You can find them lurking between the bookshelves at a library. Playing basketball in the hot sun on a court on a weekday morning. Shuffling awkwardly outside of a church, waiting for youth group to finish.

We need a thank a youth worker day.

If you are unsure of what a youth worker is, let me explain (blow your mind). 

Youth workers live within residential care settings, where they often spend 24-48 hours+ caring for youth whom are unable to be fostered due to behavioural challenges or special circumstances such as juvenile detention orders. 

They take them to school, appointments, cook them dinner, make sure they have a warm bed to sleep in at night.

Youth workers liaise with police and social services when the youth abscond and attend court hearings as support or witnesses. To be threatened with knives, broken bones or being physically and emotionally assaulted whilst on shift as a youth worker commonly occurs.

A memory that sticks with me from being a youth worker is meeting a young man who hated me from the moment he laid eyes on me. However- it wasn't me he hated. His sharp blue eyes saw through me and instead saw a reminder of someone of his past. Someone who had broken his spirit, trust and filled him with instant rejection. We dealt with broken walls, suicide threats and smashed windows. Shifts with him were hard. I always left exhausted. There was constant emotional abuse on his part and I often wondered what the hell was I doing. I was never greeted by my name, always "Slut, dog, bitch".

But then one day, he gave me a hug. And then another day, he confided in me about one of his friends. Without even realizing it, we had both broken down a small barrier and began to form a trusting friendship. THIS was what being a youth worker was all about. He was 12 years old and needed to learn how to trust again. 

Youth workers are often missed when it comes to celebrating those who shape society. They are often unthanked, unheard and most certainly underpaid. But my god, these people to me are superheroes. They have a drive and passion to help others that surpasses any others I know.

They make connections with youth that have been through such unimaginable horrors. Relationships are the solid foundation for what it is to be human and I've seen youth workers reach into broken souls and impact them in such a way that a child finally learns what it means to be able to trust somebody.

So let me say, THANKYOU! Thank-you to all of the youth workers who are making such a positive impact with the youth today. Thank-you for the late nights, long hours and still manage to show up to work with a smile. I appreciate you- and even though people may not see the work that you do- it has not gone unnoticed. 

We need a thank a youth worker day.

Share this with any youth workers AKA super heroes you may know.