Community Organisers Blog
A day in the life of a Young Listener.
I’m arriving at school on the day that I’m due to do Young Listeners at lunch. Although we have a designated slot at lunchtime for people to come see us we have people talking to us throughout the day if they see us in the corridor. This time is no different as someone comes running up to me in floods of tears because their friend was being mean to them. Obviously, I can’t just ignore them, so we sit down and talk for a good 15 minutes until the bell goes. By then, she feels a lot better and I’m glad that I managed to help.
It’s break time now this is normally a quiet time because people know that they can come see me in an hour and a half, so they don’t come to find me to talk to me now. This is a time when I normally get the last little bits ready for lunch – little ice breaker games if there’s a group of people that come to see us that don’t necessarily know each other, some questions that I can ask to start a conversation going, etc.
It’s lunchtime now and I’m off to the Young Listeners area. When I get there, no one is in there, so it is a perfect opportunity to get everything out ready and make sure we have the bean bags near some chairs, so people can choose where they want to sit. 5 minutes later and someone comes in and sits in a corner quietly by themselves. In this kind of situation our community organisers training that we got from Social Action Hub comes in handy because we can then start up a conversation and get some important opinions that we can feed back to school and to Healthwatch. By then another group have been sent down from pastoral so we can do an ice breaker game so we all can have a laugh and have fun. Then, as it’s nearly the end of lunch, we sit down and ask if anyone has any suggestions about things that we can improve for next time to make more people feel like they can talk to us.
It’s afternoon break now and a time that I like to use to reflect on the lunchtime session and make some notes of things that were said that I thought were good to remember or pass on. That’s cut short this time though by a group of friends coming to see me because they are worried about one of their friends. After they’ve finished explaining, I tell them that I must pass the information on because it flares up some of our safeguarding training. They are fine with that and say they feel a lot better know they’ve told me that. Being that person that people feel they can come to and disclose things to feels amazing. I’m so glad that I had the opportunity because it has opened so many other opportunities for me – I’ve been able to do Young Leaders training and I can now volunteer on some of the Splash holiday courses are some of them. The thought of have those qualifications and having that experience makes me feel a bit more secure about being able to get a job when I’m older because it shows that I have a lot of skills that not everyone necessarily has. I don’t feel that volunteering is keeping me back from doing all my school work because I know that no matter how important I think volunteering is to me, schoolwork always must come first. I can choose not to take on as many volunteering tasks, but I can’t choose how much homework the teachers give me. I’m quite glad that I’ve found my way of giving back to the community and I recommend that anyone who gets the opportunity to volunteer takes it.