Striking the Perfect Balance

Our youth work provision, a testament to our youth work teams’ dedication and expertise, is currently striking the perfect balance in meeting the developmental, social, and interventional care needs of the young people attending our programmes.

As we move into March 2024, all our structured programme groups are active and engaged in exciting projects that delve into some key challenges young people face. Our drop-in sessions are thriving with healthy attendance, and our Leadership Programme participants have eagerly embarked on their second module. After months of meticulous preparation, our new sound studio is operational, with a series of initiation sessions underway.

Youth & Community students from Liberties College visiting the Bosco

The cornerstone of our current programme provision is our small group work activities, which are a platform that nurtures many of our targeted developmental outcomes. Creativity and imagination are two developmental outcomes that are woven through all our current group work initiatives. Here at the St John Bosco Youth Centre, we place central importance on relationships and the cultivation of the relational values of respect, honesty, empathy, accountability, commitment, and safety. From this foundation of relationship, all developmental outcomes, including creativity and imagination, are refined.

Youth Work operates at its optimal effectiveness when young people feel at one with the process, their voices have authentic influence, and they can grasp the broader benefit of their participation. Our current levels of engagement and participation of young people, along with our youth workers’ role in supporting young people beyond the realm of informal education, is a real advocate for youth work as a vital community contributor. Encouraging active exploration of key areas such as social media, mental health, bullying, and community, all aiming to empower our participants, provides numerous examples of the powerful force of informal education. While also encouraging a journey of self-discovery and growth.

Wellbeing and Fitness at our Gforce facility.

We have a junior women’s group who are currently exploring social media’s impact on body image. These young women hope that their finished project will be an empowering tool to raise awareness among peers within the community. Developing their research and artistic skills brings fun to the process while building awareness around some of the pernicious aspects of the relationship between young people and social media.

Our new sound production studio

A trio of our senior young women are immersed in the equally important topic of mental health. Following several weeks of research and fact-checking, they are now in Bosco’s new Redline Sound Studio, producing voiceovers for their promotional video. Again, this process allows these young people to broaden their topic understanding while also striving to be agents of change as community educators. Copper embossing provides the perfect balance between fun and challenge for our senior young men, who are displaying great creativity. Underway since February, this programme allows our young men to create incredible images on copper canvas. It’s great to see our young men so invested in their projects and proudly sending images of their ongoing designs to family members.

The youngest of our participants, the Droichead group, are also busy with research for their community action programme. This bunch of young marvels are examining different aspects of their local community to develop an action plan that encourages positive change.

Our Young Men Copper Embossing Programme

As young people move into the second half of their adolescent journey, it’s important to recognise that needs change, and so must the approach if a service is to sustain the engagement of those young people who can benefit most from the youth work process. With this in mind, we relaunched our leadership programme in October 2023. Our leadership group consists of nine participants. The majority have been engaged with our centre for many years and are embracing their new challenge. Having just completed the first of three modules, they are now ready for the challenge of module two. As a programme that encourages leadership, we were so proud to see them put their learning into practice as they planned and delivered a Saturday night disco for younger participants at the end of February. Organised as a fundraiser to support our youth worker Emily, who is heading out to Africa at the end of March to volunteer in a children’s project. Funds raised will be used to purchase guitar strings and other music items.

Leadership in the Community

Outside of these planned activities, our staff manage and support the aspects of our work that can’t be planned for. At the heart of what we do here at the St John Bosco Youth Centre is to provide support and advocacy for young people as required. This important engagement can arise at any point and requires extensive time and resources. While it’s a challenge to observe young people navigate difficult issues, it is an honour to accompany them along the journey.

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