“Give a Gift to a Friend”
I don’t know if you’ve worked with children or youth, but in order to gain their trust you have to spend time with them, and genuinely show interest. I play cars and make the “brrrmm brrrmmm” sound with the occasional “Beep! Beep!”. I build castles out of LEGO and drink pretend coffee from little pink cups. I’ve made a total mess of the kitchen while making non-cook playdough and edible cookies, yum!
Working as child and youth support is different than working in a childcare facility because it requires so much more. I assist with school, extra-curricular activities, counselling, and referrals to more long-term counselling for grief, trauma, and abuse. I think the hardest part is giving parenting advice. Telling women who are older than me how to work with their children through their crisis. Each child is going to do and say things that you would never expect. I mean, can you imagine living with your family…going through life and then suddenly you are living with a bunch of strangers. Sharing a room with your family (minus one). Typically women bring their passports and bare basics with them. They are fleeing abuse. The children don’t have much either.
So… it is in my job description to help make the children feel at ease. It is important, actually vital, that children have a good and “fun” childhood. It is the foundation for the rest of their lives.
One of the activities that I did with the youth was to make friendship bracelets. While I was making a green one for myself (cause Green is my favourite colour), one of the younger children wanted to make one. I pulled out a pipe cleaner and some beads. That was more age appropriate and would provide the youngster with a feeling of success.
After I made my bracelet, I had enough string left over to make another small one. I gave it to my new little friend.