March 23rd, 2012


One reason (of the many) why the Canaan Project works, is it’s quality of volunteers and staff (if I might say so myself). If we believe young people are unique as we all are, then surely we need unique ways to engage with each young person, unique responses to their uniqueness. Our volunteers and staff work to engage with young people differently based on individual, unique relationships with each young person. It is therefore important that in Canaan Project sessions there are a number of volunteer youth workers so this approach can be followed through, so we are not policemen, policing a session, rather youth workers, working ‘with’ young people.

Treating young people as unique and not as a pack/gang in my experience commands a different response. This becomes apparent when we do not know young people and they are difficult. For example the other day 3 girls came to the door of the youth club and wanted to start a fight with 3 young women in the youth club, we only knew 1 of the young women outside and the responses of the one that knew us were clearly different from the other 2 that we did not know, with threats and physical aggression. RELATIONSHIP is KEY and a unique approach is essential. Celebrating the unique and working with it breeds trust and trust gives foundation to relationship and relationship is the ground upon which we can challenge, educate, listen and accept young people.