An element that attracts many people to Youth Work is providing support for kids who need it the most, and for Brianna in South Australia, this began in her childhood when she saw the care her Mum gave local disadvantaged kids who would drop by her house, seeking the normality they were lacking at home. At a fundamental level, this is exactly what you’ll be doing as a Residential Youth Worker. You’ll teach life skills and care for children aged from 6 up to 18 and support their social and emotional development in real-life settings.
Your day will likely start by checking in with the program planner where you can see the scheduling for the day. Based on this you might be supporting education goals side by side with the child and enjoying a post-school ice cream. You might be taking them from their residential care facility to Saturday morning sport, cooking them lunch and relaxing with a movie in the afternoon. Or maybe you will take the child to visit family and pair it with an activity like a bike ride in the park afterwards. Whatever you do, the goal is to ensure the child is safe and that you strengthen the rapport between you to improve things like self-esteem, empathy and determination so they are well-equipped to thrive in adulthood.
Residential Youth Worker Jack reckons it's the best career choice, and the best job he’s ever had. Yes, both he and Brianna say it is challenging and empathy is important when working with kids who have experienced trauma early on in life, but they both agree the rewards outweigh the challenges.
As Brianna explains, running into someone you supported years later and seeing them doing well, having them thank you for persisting with them despite the setbacks makes it all worth it, which is why a Residential Youth Worker is a special kind of role.
Sure, it will reward you well financially, but the other kinds of rewards you just can’t measure.