Goodbyes are never easy, but what better way to say
goodbye than with a celebration! One of the main components of CYD is
recognition and celebration, and this week I’ve had the opportunity to both
recognize and honor all of the relationships I have built with so many people
as well as celebrate all of the accomplishments of each group I’ve had the
privilege to support. The young women in the FUSION group completed their job
readiness workshops, and we celebrated by going out for a meal in the city. In
the young mums group we baked an apple pie (my Nonny’s recipe) and decorated
picture frames for family portraits we’d taken the previous week reminiscing about
our time together. I am honored to have been welcomed into the Getaway Girls
“family” and intend to
keep the partnership alive—perhaps I will be a part of their team again in the future! The dedication and talent of the young people in “Beat It” was celebrated by many in a performance, when the young people and myself performed a drum battle followed by a 40-minute set of songs such as “Come Together” by The Beatles and “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King. It was so inspiring and rewarding to see all of the hard work and fun we’ve been having in sessions come full circle and be performed for more than 50 people to recognize; it was also an empowering experience to perform with them, as I never thought I would have the confidence to do such a thing! Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend the Christmas concert the “You Can Rock” program has been working towards as I originally intended, but I was able to be there for their final rehearsal and know they will all be brilliant!
For the first time since I recognized my passion for youth work, I have transitioned from feeling like a student studying youth work to a youth worker. I have gained confidence through my placements in my ability to positively build relationships with diverse groups and cultures of people, as well as taking an active role in program planning. Through my experience abroad I’ve gained a true picture of how diverse and fulfilling youth work is to my life—and how my career can be inclusive of my other passions such as traveling. It is a growing field and I couldn’t have found a better fit as I intend to continue growing as a person while having fun and embracing new experiences.
As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have my future plans all mapped out. I will return to Naz to finish my bachelor’s degree this May, and the world is open to me from there. From my experiences in Leeds, I can envision myself coming back to practice youth work and possibly work on a Youth and Communities M.A., and youth work qualification in England. I look forward to returning to Nazareth and what lies ahead for me in my final semester in CYD, as well as reuniting with the young girls from Girls Coalition and sharing my experiences at Getaway Girls with them. Whatever my future has in store for me, I know it will be one filled with continuing partnerships, new travels and experiences, and a whole lot of empowering and inspiring young people. Cheers!