At FACE Youth, our aim is to improve outcomes for children and young people with emotional, social and mental health needs by providing a comprehensive service that addresses their educational and emotional wellbeing. Learning is a complex issue. FACE Youth recognises that in order for our students to engage fully in releasing their potential to being successful learners, we have to take into consideration many other facets of their development.
We know from past experience that a young person can overcome significant obstacles when they are given a space and are with people who offer patience, genuine interest, encouragement, and who delight in their efforts to make their situation better. One of our aims is to raise self-esteem and build our students’ confidence.
We continually hear our young people saying how difficult and confusing growing up can be and how ‘no one understands’. We appreciate that for those who have a history of being vulnerable, this is even more frightening. The teachers, mentors and counsellors at FACE Youth, offer each student the opportunity to look closely at their behaviour and then explore with them the reasons behind it. We believe that it is only through developing the young person’s own ability to explore and address their feelings that we can affect any long term change. They need to be an active participant in this process.
When a student is referred to us, their educational and emotional needs are assessed. We create short term and long term goals with the student, taking into account their emotional and learning needs, as well as what strategies and techniques have been used in the past.
In looking at the ‘whole’ young person, we work collaboratively with parents/carers, the Local Authority and any other services that are working with the student to shape our support plan. We have found this to be quite effective in building a relationship with the student, and establishing or creating a support network that will further assist in the young person’s overall development. Feedback from the students and their parents/carers play an integral part in all our work, and their points of view are sought regularly.
The student is allocated a mentor. The mentor acts as a ‘buddy’ and becomes the student’s contact person. The mentor will have weekly one-to-one sessions with the young person to address any issues that the young person might have. Due to our one-to-one set up, a member of staff is always at hand to assist and so we are able to ‘catch’ issues and prevent situations from escalating. If the needs of the young person are such that more specialist input is required, our in-house counsellor will become involved. In this case the student will have ongoing regular input until that service is no longer required.
In everything that we do, we hold the young person at the forefront of our minds. We have found that if we believe in them, they will believe in themselves.