4 Tips for Supporting Underserved Youth After Community Service Worker College

July 09, 2021

Community service workers support the communities they work within in many different ways. If you’re considering entering this field, you may decide to specialize in youth services, where you’ll be working with youth living in group homes, attending school, receiving counselling services, and more. Supporting underserved youth is rewarding work, but it often takes effort to build a beneficial relationship. Many youth receiving community services have experienced trauma, and may struggle with mental health disorders and addiction. They may feel frustrated by a system that has underserved them, and have trouble trusting as a result. However, there are a few strategies that can enhance your success in supporting youth throughout your career as a community service worker. Read on to discover a few tips. 

1. Those with Community Service Worker Training Should Remain Self-Aware

After community service worker training, being self-aware will help you to support youth in a judgment-free manner. Being self-aware involves understanding your values, beliefs and judgments and knowing how they might affect the relationship that you build with youth. Your ego can play a significant role in how you respond to their behaviour, and it’s important to work on engaging with youth with mindfulness while setting healthy boundaries. When you’re able to treat those you’re supporting in an unbiased and understanding manner, you’ll be able to build a more beneficial relationship with them.

Remaining self-aware will help you to remove any biases or judgments when working with young people

2. Be Consistent When Working with Young People

Many underserved youth have been let down throughout their lives–either by their guardians, by the welfare system, or due to other factors. As a community service worker, it’s important to show the youth you work with that you can be relied on for consistent support. Instead of giving up on them due to their behaviour or their potential unwillingness to build a relationship with you, remain persistent in your efforts to support them. Visible actions that demonstrate your commitment will be important in earning their trust and showing them that you are committed to their wellbeing.

3. Go Above and Beyond When Supporting Underserved Youth

For underserved youth, it’s not uncommon to have experienced abandonment, disappointment, and isolation throughout their lives. After community service worker college, you can show the youth you work with that they are valued and cared for by going the extra mile when working with them. It could be as simple as taking the time to learn about something they’re passionate about, or bringing them their favourite snack. Small gestures like these can mean a lot, and can help you to develop a deeper connection with the young people you work with throughout your career.

When working with underserved youth, it’s important to go above and beyond

4. Focus on Their Strengths

In social work, there is often a tendency to focus on problem areas, looking for things that are “wrong” with those that are being supported and trying to “fix” them. When working with underserved youth, it can be more effective to substitute this kind of mindset for a strengths-based one. A strengths-based approach puts the youth’s behaviour into perspective, considering the reasons for their actions or attitudes rather than automatically taking these behaviours as a given. When implementing a strengths-based perspective, it will be easier to appreciate the resilience of the youth you’re working with, helping to build a more understanding relationship with them. 

Implementing these strategies throughout your career as a community service worker will help you to give the youth you work with the support they need. 

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