A picture of Monique a female youth officer at YMCA St Paul's Group.

12 May 2020

My name is Monique Westcarr. I am currently the Youth Project Officer at YMCA St Paul’s Group, based at YMCA Walthamstow in East London. Over the next few weeks I will be posting weekly blogs. I will be giving some tips, advice and sharing some of my stories with other youth workers.

Why/how did I get into youth work?

So, it started off with me attending my local youth club at the age of 12. I had a family friend who was the manager of the centre. My parents thought it would be good for me to have somewhere to go to during the summer holidays that year as I was quite bored at home. Over those 6 weeks I met a whole load of new friends and some really amazing youth workers. They were motivating and kind. After that first summer, I ended up attending that youth centre during both holidays and terms time for 3 years. I then decided to start volunteering there which was my first experience of working in the youth work field.

Seeing how my youth workers supported, helped and cared for all of us who attended the youth centre inspired me to do the same for the younger generation and the community at large. Then followed 2 years of volunteering and a 3-year Criminology Youth Justice degree. The day before I finished university, I was offered my first official paid youth work role and as the say, the rest is history.

Being a youth worker has allowed me to meet young people from a range of families and communities, bring them together and provide them with opportunities they benefit from and a safe space to call their own in various boroughs. It has also allowed me to learn new things from the young people that I work with and try and be the positive role model that they need. No two young people are the same. I have had to adapt with each one I come across while teaching them all the same thing. While it is a difficult job at times, it is always worthwhile.

Next time…

I will be sharing a few skill building tips to help during this time but also in general practice.