It is imperative that in order to meet the many and diverse needs of children, young people and families that service providers work in a co-ordinated and seamless manner with an integrated pattern of service delivery. Integrated service delivery is at the heart of the Elevated Aspirations Ltd and Early Intervention Team’s (EIT) partnership.
It is a fact that no service provider alone can meet all the needs of children, young people and families. Whilst some services specialise and are skilled in one area other services and colleagues specialise and are skilled in others.
It is the recognition and potential use of the diverse skills, expertise and knowledge that partners, colleagues and other service providers possess that is the driving force behind the Elevated Aspirations Ltd and EIT partnership.
Establishing the projects
Several meeting were arranged with Elevated Aspirations Ltd and area based EIT teams. The idea behind the meetings was to establish in what ways we could work together based on the presentations, by Elevated Aspirations Ltd. The presentation concerned working with parents, building resilience in young people and addressing health issues.
As a consequence of the meetings 4 projects were proposed:
- Building Resilience in Young People: Elevated Aspirations Ltd led
- Triple P: EIT led
- Healthy Eating: joint led
- Triple P Training: EIT led
The core objectives were to be achieved through a range of positive activities designed to either enhance or develop the necessary skills or ability.
Each core activity was chosen based on criteria from the Building Resilience in Young People framework model. The framework sets out an outline of what is to be achieved and suggests various activities in from which to do so:
Achievement of core objectives
All of the young people by the end of the session had demonstrated increased self-confidence in a range of ways. Some initially stated they would never come to the centre by themselves. However, by the third session some of them were coming without their parents. In terms of engaging with peers not known to them by the fourth session many of them were engaging with other members of the centre. Their approach to written and having to read allowed had taken a remarkable turn for the better. Where as initially none but one was prepared to read allowed by the final session everyone was confident enough to do so and did – especially during the public speaking session.
Development of assertiveness
Seven of the 8 participants were assessed by the youth workers as lacking assertiveness skills. This judgement was based on the young peoples’ inability to ask for resources, support, and to positively challenge other young people within the group during set activities.
After going through the Members’ Committee session and learning how to appropriately question, make requests, and getting their voice and opinions heard all 8 participants by the 4th session were being positively assertive in their requests, challenges and asking for support in how to do the activity.
The participant whom was quite assertive (actually the oldest in the group) surprised the youth workers by volunteering to be a peer educator from the second session.
Improved communication skills
This skill improved as a result of improved assertiveness. Each of the young people were very communicative towards their brothers or sisters. However, when it came to communicating with peers their communications skills were left wanting.
Once the young people had undergone the Members’ Committee session on how to communicate their voice and opinions it became easier for them to communicate amongst themselves and members in the centre.
However, it would be fair to say that this was not a case of improving their communication skills but more so how to effectively use the communication skills already possessed.
Personal awareness and awareness of others
This was not as easy as it first appeared as many of the participants were acutely aware of themselves and what they perceived as their personal faults or things that they did not like about themselves (reading ability, speech, tone of voice, writing & spelling skills, physic, size, skin quality etc).
This was overcome by getting the participants to focus on what they were good at and recognising the good qualities in their peers. This allowed the participants to put their best side forward when engaging with each other.
But more importantly by recognising that they all had some fault or aspect of their person or academic ability that was a weakness (self assessed weaknesses) made them realise how similar they all were. Going through this process of self-awareness (of the positive aspects of themselves) and recognising that their peers also had phobias made the group grow to respect each other more. Being aware of the thoughts and opinions of their peers in relation to their strengths and weakness assisted in the gelling of the group.
The work on this project has impacted on all involved. However, more notably on the participants whom have given positive reviews of the project and its impact on them.
The most striking and consistent comments that came from the young people were that they had learnt to respect their peers more. This was further supported by statements that demonstrated that they had enjoyed socialising with other young people on the project.
When asked if there was anything that they did not like or anything that they would like changed in order to improve the project the young people simultaneously said that they liked it exactly as it was. When further prompted to identify if there was anything that they did not like there was a resounding no. In fact when asked to state one thing they liked and one thing they didn’t they only responded to one thing they liked.
All of the young people stated that they had enjoyed and learnt things from each of the sessions. Furthermore, they were dismayed that the project had come to an end.
Two parents commented on how after the first week’s attendance on the Building Resilience in Young People project that their children were keen to come back each week – without any encouragement from them as parents. The attendance registers supported the parents’ comments concerning their children. There was a 100% attendance from all young people. All 8 young people attended all 7 sessions. All were punctual and all participated.
The parents further commented on how their children were more confident in speaking to other children – especially ones that they did not know.
However, the element of the Building Resilience in Young People project that made both parents most proud was of their children totally engaging in the academic side of the project and attaining a Take up the Challenge Award.
Improved communication between parents and young people
This came about as a consequence of the young people engaging in something academic or a positive activity. Some of the parents had been trying to get their children to better engage with academia or positive activities but to no avail. This led to poor communication between the parents and the young people. However, as a consequence of the young people’s interest in the Building Resilience in Young People project and their insistence on attending it this created a situation where parents found themselves communicating better with their children.
Improved parental support to young people
As the sessions progressed some of the young people began making statements that their parents were being very supportive of them attending the sessions and encouraging them to do the work in order to get the Take up the Challenge Award. One young person commented on how her mother had seen her in the music room and became very supportive of her whenever she sat down at home to write songs.
Please select a project to view
- Raising Aspirations and Achievement (click here)
- Building Resilience (click Here)
- Respect and Values (click here)
- Sing 4 Peace (click here)