For Youth Work Week 2022 we’re celebrating the power of youth work with the National Youth Agency. We simply wouldn’t be Spotlight without our amazing youth workers, this week we’re sharing their stories.
Treaser Jassal is a Support and Evaluation Coordinator at Spotlight and has been with us for an incredible eight years. Here she tells us about her journey in youth work, and the impact it’s had on both her and the young people she works with.
“I first got involved with Spotlight by volunteering at the front desk. I met loads of young people, and immediately enjoyed being able to support them.
I was initially really shy, but my work has made me much more confident. I’ve now been here for 8 years and I love my job. The young people keep me motivated.
The incredible thing about Spotlight is that we’re youth-led. We have a wide range of programmes available, such as sports, music and art, and we always consult the young people about what type of activities they want to get involved in. I usually start my week by supporting young people through Spotlight’s in-house GP service called Health Spot. It offers confidential medical appointments with a doctor who is dedicated to helping with their health needs.
I book young people in, and manage referrals from schools and social services. If the young people are reserved or nervous, I can accompany them to their appointments so they feel more confident and safe. I’m a friendly face that acts as a bridge between the young person and the NHS. I help them to understand their health rights, as well as access to council discounts and sexual health services.
I was nominated for the Tower Hamlets Together Integrated Care Awards 2022, and won the Bullseye Award for Person-Centred Care, in recognition of the work I do for Health Spot. It was a great surprise!
I’ve also been running Girls Club for nearly seven years, which is a group for young people who identify as female to get creative with activities like crafts, baking, and exercise. It’s a great way for them to try something new, build confidence and make friends.
The group talks about lots of different issues from mental health to body image and period poverty. I’m there to listen, engage and have fun with them. I’m really proud of the Club – it gives them a safe place to share their experiences and not feel judged.
Another programme I help with is Breaking the Cycle – an early intervention programme that targets young people at risk of exclusion, anti-social behaviour, and exploitation.
We provide face-to–face support to them and their families and deliver workshops on the various issues they may be facing, such as social media and identity. I have a lot of one-on-ones with the young people. Sometimes they want to tell me good news, bad news or even just sit and have a chat.
I’ve learned a lot about myself through the work I do. It’s enabled me to grow both professionally and personally. I’ve realised I never really stop being a youth worker, even at home. If there’s something going on with my family, I step in and support them.
Working with young people can definitely be challenging, but it’s very rewarding. I’ll go home after a really stressful day and think, ‘wow I actually made a difference to someone.’ A young person I’ve known for almost eight years recently said that I was the only stability in her life. Hearing her say that meant a lot.
It’s conversations like this that remind me why we need more youth workers everywhere. We build trust and relationships with young people and offer them important support with housing, health and lots more. It’s so inspiring to watch the impact it has on their lives – especially when you can see them growing into adults and achieving their full potential.