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Selwyn Times: March 28, 2018

16 Wednesday

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SELWYN TIMES Latest Christchurch news at www.star.kiwi Wednesday March 28 2018 17 Our People Courtney Forrest Helping young people beat adversity Rolleston youth worker Courtney Forrest, 29, works to support and help young people overcome major struggles in their life. He spoke to Georgia O’Connor- Harding What does a normal day look like for you? It changes everyday. Hope Youth Trust is the agency I am part of and that is part of the Hope Presbyterian Church. We have three active sites happening in the south-west side of Christchurch. That is Hope Hornby, Hope Rolleston and Hope West Melton. Specifically in Rolleston I am paid full-time and I work in Rolleston School with year 7 and 8 and I work in Rolleston College. What does your role involve? The biggest role we have is to support the staff and students in the local settings we are in. In the local college and the local school. Day-to-day, we do a lot of in-class support. Getting alongside those students who are struggling. A lot of emotional support, pastoral support or conflict as well. Working through conflict with staff and students to brings them back to that restorative behaviour. It can be quite tricky. We go into the schools and go “where do you see us working well”. We do leadership development and we run leadership programmes for years 7 and 8. We also help out with leadership, like the school leaders at Rolleston College which has been evolving over the last couple of years. I have been in Rolleston School since 2009 for 10 hours a week. It is a three-way local trust relationship. The district council POTENTIAL: Youth worker Courtney Forrest teams up with Rolleston School class leaders Isaac Ritchie (left), Lilly McQueen and Matthew Webster to plan events for their fellow pupils. financially supports the work we do in local schools. We don’t call ourselves counsellors, we don’t call ourselves teacher aids. It is the kind of wrap around support I guess. Have you found the students have embraced the work you are doing? Yes, just the other day there was a boy struggling to fit in. He had a meltdown in the classroom so I was just working alongside him. Quite often it is what is happening around home as well. It is offering that support. Often we do outsideof-school mentoring. We build relationships with the family of those kids who are a little bit on the edge and say ‘hey, how can we support?’ We also work alongside the counsellors to help support what they are doing, and speak the same language if we can. We have got that personal relationship with the young people whereas they have got the more professional relationship. How do you find the right answers to the difficult issues? We follow the youth code of ethics if there are big issues going on. We are connected with counsellors. We have a counselling service based in Hornby we can refer them onto and get advice. That is big benefit for us being part of a youth trust. We have that kind of professional support as well. A couple of boys had depression and my role has been going along to the doctor supporting them and going ‘it is okay we are here to support you and we will work really hard at getting you the help you need’. Is it difficult to get people to open up? It is about positive reinforcement, saying ‘thanks for letting us know, that is really brave of you, we really want to get you help. You’re not weird or stupid’. We have all had struggles we have had to work through and that is the beauty of our work. Why did you decide to become a youth worker? Just to give you a little bit of background: I have done a Bachelor of Business at Massey University. Over the last 12 years, I have been involved in a paid capacity and volunteer capacity of getting alongside young people in youth communities. I guess I have just seen the real value of having strong role models in my life. •Turn to page 18 25 % off Resene Premium Paints, Wood Stains, Wallpaper, Decorating Accessories and Cleaning Products! Come in and see us today at your local Resene ColorShop! 0800 737 363 www.resene.co.nz/colorshops Discounts off the normal retail price of Resene premium paints, wood stains, primers, sealers, wallpaper, decorating accessories and cleaning products until 9 April 2018. Available only at Resene owned ColorShops and participating resellers. Paint offer also available at participating Mitre 10 MEGA and selected Mitre 10 stores. Valid only with cash/credit card/EFTPOS purchases. Not available in conjunction with account sales, promotional vouchers/coupons or other offers. Excludes trade, ECS, WallPrint, wall decals, Crown products and PaintWise levy.