Dion & Leone: Meet our youth workers, they change lives

Dion & Leone: Meet our youth workers, they change lives


Hi, my name is Leone, I’m a Senior Case Manager for Safe Places for Children Hi, my name is Dion Palmer, I’m a Senior Youth Worker for Safe Places for Children So Leone, why did you get into youth work? So I have a little experience working with young people in New Zealand and then when I moved to Australia an opportunity came up to work um full-time as a youth worker for Safe Places and it’s been eight years since I’ve been with this company so I really enjoy it and I continue to learn and continue to see young people grow and thrive I think for me inspiration came from watching some incidents that happened many years ago in Northern Territory involving youth and that just sort of just empowered me into doing a youth worker course, a cert four in youth work and applied for a job at Safe Places and was lucky enough to get the job and I haven’t looked back What does your typical day look like? A typical day can start with getting your chores done getting the house prepped and ready for the young person so that when they get up or when they roll out of bed everything’s ready to go and we try and hit the ground on a positive note you know we start off with a hearty breakfast, nice clean environment, warm environment that’s gonna kick you off to start that day So my typical day as a Case Manager well I have lots of tasks that I need to achieve such as rostering, team meetings What is the hardest part of the job? That’s an interesting question probably more like the frustrating part of the job is often when things are when you have outside interferences, things from the outside that you can’t control Yeah, I think one of the hardest parts of the job is when a young person is in absolute crisis when in absolute crisis and you are pulling all of your tools out of your youth worker toolbox and it doesn’t seem to be working at that time and I think the hardest part is supporting a young person when they’re really offline and when they’re really struggling with the situation What’s your special trick for connecting with a young person when they’re out there? A special trick, well, there’s not really a special trick it’s remaining calm offering reassurance that you’re there and you’re there specifically to care for that young person I think a real trick for me is always validating the young person’s feelings and it may seem like such a small issue to you or everybody else but it’s big to them, so by saying like I can see you’re feeling really upset right now, it must be really tough to feel that way, because validating their feelings and emotions are important Can you remember a moment when you really knew you’d made a difference? Again, I mean, you do have light bulb moments, you do have those defining moments where you do have a breakthrough but sometimes it’s the small wins though, sometimes it’s not even anything that’s major sometimes it’s something so small but you know that it’s a step in the right direction. That’s it. One of my big moments was a young person that came to us and was a two-worker model and an awake shift so that’s a really complex young person to have that amount of staff around her to manage her and as we progress with her as the week’s passed you know, after sort of four, five months she was down to one worker, had her in full-time school, she was sleeping normal times she was respectful, she was building relationships, she was trusting adults Why do you love working for Safe Places for Children? Why do I love working for Safe Places for Children? In all honesty, I enjoy being a youth worker, I enjoy the rewards be it sometimes they’re very small, you don’t seem them for a little bit but the support from Safe Places I’ve shown has been excellent I love working for Safe Places because it’s forever changing, and we do operate basically under crisis all the time, there’s lots of young people coming in, young people going out and it’s forever changing, it’s always different challenges that I’m faced with daily

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