Youth Disadvantage: An Alumni’s Perspective.
Over the next week, Student Hubs are going to be covering social issues that we are passionate about. Today, Southampton Hub are thinking about youth disadvantage.
Alice is a Southampton Hub Alumni. She volunteered with Branch Up on 2017/18, Lead Branch Up as a subcommittee member in 2018/19 and now works in a local primary school. We asked Alice a few questions about Youth Disadvantage based on her experience of working with young people in the city. Hear her thoughts below:
What is your understanding of Youth Disadvantage and why do you think it is an important issue to tackle?
I believe youth disadvantage is where some young people do not have the same means/resources available to achieve their full potential and this puts them in a less advantageous position than their peers who have access to these things. It’s so important to help tackle it otherwise there are hundreds of thousands of young people who could achieve so much but who end up wasting their talents-not necessarily of their own fault but due to a disadvantaged background or lack of early intervention to help boost their life chances. Additionally, young people are sometimes not even aware of their potential and have low confidence in their abilities which is such a shame. Furthermore, a lack of help for young people who are disadvantaged can sometimes lead young people to make less desirable choices in life for example committing criminal acts or taking drugs.
What motivates you to get involved in projects that tackle Youth Disadvantage, both with Branch Up, teaching and anything else you have done?
I am motivated by the young people I have worked with and continue to work with. Working in an inner city school with high levels of deprivation has shown me that many young people have huge potential but don’t believe in themselves or they believe they are destined for a set path in life and I love being able to help them think deeply about whether they can achieve more than they think and question what their true potential could be. The young people ,I work with, have just as much talent and skill as their more advantaged peers and trying to find ways to level the playing field and boost confidence is what drives me to work with these children. They teach me just as much as I teach them and they remind me why it’s so important to ensure all children receive the same backing/resources/belief in their abilities.
What are the best things you have experienced when working with young people in this way?
It’s always great when you work with a child and visibly see their behaviour and confidence improve over time. One child I worked with was very restless, had very low self-esteem and would often test boundaries. After we built up a relationship and had worked together for a while, his behaviour improved massively, he was calmer, more articulate about his emotions and walked with his shoulders and head visibly held up. For me, the tangible change in self-esteem and confidence made all the challenging behaviour worth it.
Otherwise, just seeing the children I work with having fun and interacting with each other and the adults around them, makes me very happy.