Child and Youth Work
The Hard Truth of Being a Child and Youth Worker
Do you work in a daycare? I wish I could scream when asked this question. Because no, I do not work in a daycare. I am not qualified to work with newborns or infants. I value the workers who are. You are a valuable asset to this world. But I do not work in a daycare.
But I do care. I care beyond words can explain. And I care day in and day out for the children and youth I work with.
I work with families, but I am not a social service worker. I am not qualified to work one to one with adults, or in a group setting.
But I admire those whom are qualified.
The truth is I get pulled at every angle when working with children and youth. I’ve heard the hard truths of their lives, and sure I’ve cried behind closed doors because I’m rooting for them more than they are rooting for themselves at the moment.
That doesn’t mean I am weak. Or any less of a youth worker. That doesn’t mean I fail at my career, or fail my kids.
It means that I work extremely hard for those kids to feel welcomed, safe, cherished, and wanted.
I work hard to make sure that there is a space for someone to feel comfortable being who they are, for sharing their story, for being brave enough to fight their battles every day at such a young age.
I am not a nurse but I know how to treat a cut, whether it be a self-harm cut, cut from a fight, or falling off of a bike.
I am not qualified to give medication or put in an IV, but I am in awe of those who do.
I am by no means a teacher who can make kids feel inspired to learn math, science, or English.
But I am a leaner. I learn everyday, and I teach every day. I teach the small things that sometimes get overlooked. I ensure children and youth know how to identify emotions, create coping mechanisms. I preach self care because I’ve learnt first hand what it’s like to not practice that tool.
I am not a handyman. Nor can I build a house, a table, or even a piece of Ikea furniture.
But I can provide life skills that can go beyond the adolescent years.
I am not a plumber, I cannot fix a clogged drain.
But I can find the tools to give children and youth that they can use to let the water flow in the driest of days.
I am not therapist, and by no means can provide clinical counselling.
I can however provide therapeutic support.
I am not only a child and youth worker, I am a master of all trades in unique ways. I am helper beyond the norm. I have traits in fields that I’ve never encountered. I stand with a diverse team of professionals that work in various aspects of life. I am a helper, I am not a miracle worker. I am simply just that extra push that some may need.
This job can be exhausting, emotional, and rewarding all in one advanced diploma. But for as long as I continue to breathe I will never stop asking what children and youth need in order to thrive, how I can help, and what I can do to help better them.
Each child and youth is different and needs a requirement of my trades that I offer.