Why did you choose to become a youthworker?

I left my profession as an electrician to become a youth worker as I felt called into it from a Christian perspective. I spent two years testing this calling, from becoming a student youth worker to then completing a degree to the becoming a full time youth worker.

What is the best thing about your Job?

I love the relational youth work and working with young people who others find difficult to engage with. Throughout the years I have always been able to reach youth people and relate to them where others have found it difficult to engage with.  I also love developing other youth worker and seeing them grow in their profession. As a Christian I enjoy looking at how to communicate Christianity in ways that young people are able to understand.

The most challenging ?

I would have to say that this job is emotionally tough and it requires you to keep in  check with yourself to make sure you have a good balance on a personal professional and spiritual level. At the door we encounter young people who are confused, complex and challenging and it can be draining and overwhelming if appropriate boundaries aren’t put in place as there is always a need.

What is your best memory?

The following story is more of an encounter that left me amazed – Although the story is challenging to read it left me amazed hence why it is my best memory. When I worked in south east London I worked for a Christian youth work charity called XLP and went to a place called Milford Towers which was an estate built upon a shopping complex. This place was notorious and had experienced four deaths of young people over the past four years. One death resulted in a young person being killed and decapitated and his limbs were found on the four corners of the estate which was horrific.  A week after my visit to Milford Towers I found myself in Sydenham estate where I took part in a prayer walk. As I walked around I came across a play park and sat there. On the opposite side were two women who had young children playing in play area. I felt urged to speak to them. As I spoke to them and told them who I was what I was doing in London and some of the places I had visited e.g. Milford towers, one of the women stated that she knew of Milford Towers as it was there that her brother was killed and decapitated. At that moment I was amazed that out of all the people in the world and encounters of youth work I have had I was speaking to this woman during a prayer walk J

Strangest/ Silliest/ funniest thing that has happened to you while doing Youthwork?

When I used to work for Gorsley Baptist Church we held an medieval banquet for young people just before Christmas , this was a really great and at the front of the stage we managed to get a real pigs head to add to the effect of the evening. We managed to give out numerous awards but one in particular was called the “pig’s ear” award where a young person had done something very memorable which was silly during the year. Instead of giving her a normal award we there and then cut off the pigs ear and put in a sealed jar of vinegar as the award!

#YWW15 James