Since lockdown started a month ago, many parents have had to take an active role in schooling their children. Schools are working tirelessly to provide online materials for families to access while keeping their doors open for key worker children and the most vulnerable children. However, we now know many vulnerable young people are staying at home, some of whom do not have access to the internet. As part of my work with Crossway and with the wider church I have been in many Zoom meetings discussing with other youth leaders and educators how we can reach families who may need support in this crisis.
Mental health seems to be the biggest issue facing our youth as they are separated from their usual social networks, as well as anxiety around the virus and the constant amount of overwhelming news coverage. We have put together some self-care packs for young people in low income families who are accessing St. Paul’s foodbank. These contain simple things such as notebooks for mood journaling, mindful colouring, facemasks and affirmation notes to remind the young people of their importance and worth.
It is a challenging time but there is a great deal of potential for speaking into the lives of young people while we have their attention at home. Where church work and RSE teaching have previously felt quite separate in the past, it feels like the two have really merged now. The other night I heard from psychologist Will Taylor from Capital Youth and he was offering advice for youth leaders who may be having conversations around grief with young people. It is something all young people will encounter this season, whether through knowing people who have died or through loss of family contact. Our role is not to avoid difficult conversations about grief but to bring faith and hope, while acknowledging the very real feelings of fear young people may have.
Rachel Burnell. If you’d like to find out more about anything Rachel has mentioned, please be in touch with her (firstname.lastname@example.org) and read on in the newsletter for links to resources.