I love that at QPASTT I can work with people who have been through a similar journey that I have – to be there for them and be part of their journey.” Kani Kenyi, Team Leader, Youth Enterprise and Innovation Team, pictured left.
QPASTT’s youth workers help young people aged 12-24 to recover from trauma, engage with their community and build on their potential through a range of programs that encourage development and growth in all areas of a young person’s life. Here, Kani Kenyi, QPASTT’s Youth Enterprise and Innovation Team Leader shares her insights into this work.
“QPASTT’s youth work meets young people where they are at. We listen to them about what they need and want and help them to take charge of their life.
A lot of young people from refugee backgrounds haven’t had the chance to be a young person. They’ve had to grow up really quickly – they have been surviving on their own. Other young people have a completely different experience. As a worker, you have to shift and change and really take the time to get to know the person who is in front of you. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.
A very deliberate aspect of QPASTT’s approach is that our work with young people informs ongoing program development. From the 1:1 and group work that we do with young people, we listen to what they say they need and we design programs to meet those needs. I find that a really interesting part of my role. This can be a structured process – especially through the co-design approach we take with programs like Youth Voice or the work we do with young adults – or it can be organic and in response to themes emerging from our work with young people.
The roles of Youth Engagement Advocacy Officers at QPASTT are varied – from case management type of work with individual clients, helping them achieve particular goals or access services, to just being someone to talk to and listen to their stories – to liaising with families, running groups, developing programs and supporting Youth Voice.
Families tend to find QPASTT a really safe place. They are happy for their young people to come here for activities and support. Young people feel safe here – they come here to meet each other. They come here to share their good news and accomplishments – like when they get their first job. They come here when they are struggling and need someone to talk to. They know that at QPASTT they will be welcomed and supported.
I remember when I came to Australia in 2002 as a refugee (to Darwin), there wasn’t much for people to do. There weren’t many Africans in Darwin and I think the whole Sudanese community came to meet us at the airport. The first organisation I was introduced to was the Melaleuca Refugee Centre. They had volunteers and support workers who would come and help my family – take us shopping, teach us English. I thought, ‘oh my goodness, this is so cool, I would love to do that.’ Then in high school, I struggled with fitting in and was just dealing with settling in Australia. Some of my most fun memories are of community parties and activities like camping for young people run by organisations. So I’ve always felt I wanted to do that work one day.
I love that at QPASTT I can work with people who have been through a similar journey that I have – to be there for them and be part of their journey.”
For more information about QPASTT’s Youth Programs, including how to make a referral, click here.