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Family Support – What does it mean in Youth Work…

I was a Youth Worker with Youth Work Ireland Tipperary for about 8 years before I became a Family Support Worker within the organisation. Although the work is quite different, I think Family Support and Youth Work nicely compliment each other in many ways.

In Youth Work, a lot of my work was primarily engaging with just the young person. That is, meeting them at where they were at, looking at what their needs were as individuals and trying to meet those needs. However, in Family Support I now work with that young person within their family unit. I work to support the family as a whole through whatever difficult situations they are facing at that time. I now also work with the parent to further develop their parenting skills, home management skills or whatever area they require the support with.

Opening of the Family Support Building in Templemore

Opening of the Family Support Building

Similar characteristics are needed for both positions. Being non-judgmental, empathetic, friendly, a good listener and supportive are just some of the qualities required to do either role effectively.

Again, similar to Youth Work, there is a huge diversity in Family Support. A large portion of my work now is engaging with adults. I work with adults one to one. I also, run groups specifically for parents or individuals including the organising of community classes. This is where participants can learn new skills i.e. wood turning, jewellery making, basic computer skills etc. Regarding young people, the work is more specific and targeted. I work with the young person on an individual basis or in small groups. I have extended my work to the classroom setting recently where I delivered a mental health programme to a class of 5th years in a local secondary school. This is ran over six weeks which was really enjoyable.

I firmly believe my experience in Youth Work has given me a very strong foothold in which to do Family Support work. It has taught me many necessary skills required to do the work I am currently engaged in and there’s no better place to do either role than in the supportive environment of Youth Work Ireland Tipperary!

Contact us

Contact us

Sara Leahy – Templemore Family Support

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