Guiding light: tales of a youth worker

Youth workers play a significant role in supporting and guiding young people as they face mental health challenges as they navigate through adolescence and early adulthood. They help young people develop the skills they need to succeed in life, including communication skills, problem-solving skills, and decision-making skills.

We asked Paige Thurlow-Want, one of MYST’s most talented and interpersonal youth worker to tell us how she sees her role and what it means to be nurturing young people through their journey to adulthood:

“I support young people from the ages of 12 -24 years with early intervention. A young person may need support with a range of necessities around wellbeing, physical and mental health, life skills, schooling or entering the workforce and requiring support to write a resume or how to find employment, financial support whether this be applying for Centrelink, or for setting up a bank account and tax file number.

The role of a youth worker is to support young adolescence that need support while they are struggling with their mental health. I choose to engage and collaborate with the young people who come to MYST. I seek to understand what it is that they need to help them work out how they can achieve this.

When at times we cannot provide a specific service we will collaborate and advocate with / or on the young person’s behalf to external organisations to ensure they get the support they need. As youth workers we provide all young people a respectful and non-judgmental, inclusive space of equity and equality. Another key part of this role is proposing, planning, allocating and managing events, such as Youth Week and Community Events. This also includes personal development workshops and programs that are skill and outcome based, with a strength-based approach, that are run in the local High School setting, within the community, or at our local Centres in Katoomba and Springwood.

At MYST all staff work together as a team, we have clear goals and a strong vision on what we can offer to the Youth in the mountains. This includes -and of course it is not limited to- workshops, programs and fun events all hosted by our wonderfully warm community of MYST giving young people a sense of belonging.

Our MYST events include: the steps program (Sustaining Teen Engagement and peer support), Step Up, Stressless, RAGE ( Renegotiating anger and guilty emotions), Breakfast club, Mentoring, Love bites, Teen mental health first aid, Year 6 Meet and Greet with MYST and our weekly Drop In spaces

I am a strong believer that ultimately, by working together as a community, we can create an engaging and supportive environment where young people feel valued, empowered, and equipped to thrive despite the unique challenges of teen years and beyond.” Paige concluded.