I once read a quote by Vincent Van Gogh that said, “Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.”
Being a Child and Youth (CYW) worker means no two days are the same. On the surface, what we do might seem easy to define but actually the role of a CYW is multi-faceted with many parts.
At Bonnie’s there are currently only two of us, Marryanne and myself. We work with the Family workers and offer additional support to women and children to make sure their needs and wellbeing goals are met. Our team at Bonnies comes from diverse backgrounds and the mums and kids we work with do too – diverse experiences, languages, culture and ages.
I love to create spaces where children feel safe enough to share what’s going on for them. I enjoy putting the effort in to make families feel special because they are. Every family deserves that feeling. This is especially so for families facing homelessness, who are homeless or are escaping domestic violence.
You never know how much a little thing can make a big difference . Everyday something small but special happens; and as Van Gogh says that’s what great things are made of. I thought I’d share a few glimpses here
One of the most fun parts of the job is running programs for kids during the school holidays, and most recently starting up the ‘After School Fun Club’. When I first started at Bonnie’s we were mid pandemic and face to face programs had to be put on hold. My biggest fear at the time was how to make a COVID-19 safe group but I soon understood that, even with all the restrictions, this group was so successful and so much fun. It feels so special to walk alongside them and see them grow.
The children all call me ‘Miss’ and ask whether I’m a teacher. I tell them “No, I’m not a teacher” – but they still call me ‘Miss’. I do have knowledge though and what is that knowledge worth if it is not shared? 😀
The After School Fun Club
Before every program and group we always ask the Mums of the kids to join us. In these moments I feel so privileged that mothers choose to entrust me to work with them and their child/ren.
During my time creating these programs I’ve learnt that learning is a two way street. I’m learning so much from the women and children at Bonnie’s every day. For example, there was this one time the kids asked for a slime workshop. I had all these instructions and plans but by the end of the day, the kids were telling and showing me how to improve!
There were two children who I realised by the second meeting had added each other on their gaming applications and continued their friendship outside of the group. So many kids struggle to maintain friendships when their home lives have had so much change.
A child said they “only like pepperoni pizza” and wasn’t really interested in making pizza but once they made their own vegetarian pizza, they ate it all up. Suddenly they liked it!
One day a volunteer barber came to Bonnies offering free haircuts. It was so great seeing families feeling great about themselves after a cut and trim.
It was so nice to see children get excited to give their mums their Mothers day gifts including a card with ‘Fun facts about my Mum’ fact sheet made by them.
Fun fact #1 My Mum makes the best toast in Sydney.
“Home is more than just having a roof over our heads. Home means safety and possibilities…” – Bonnie Support Services Limited (BSSL)
Written and photographed by Adelle.
(Pictured: Left Adelle, Right Sandra)