Jan 24 2013
By Janet Rodriguez
As a volunteer supervisor for the Transitioning Youth Program (TYP) team, the two questions I am asked most often are 1.) “How do you handle working with teens?” followed almost immediately by 2.)” Why are you laughing?”
I can answer the second question more easily, so we will start with that one. I’m usually laughing because I think that a sense of humor is vital when working with teens. When you combine a sense of humor with flexibility, versatility, humility and a thick skin, well then my friends you’ve got yourself a TYP volunteer.
As anyone who has worked with a youth in foster care knows, a youth’s time in care is most likely on a pendulum (like most everything else in teen life). When CASA is assigned to a case we actually don’t know where that child is on that pendulum. Enter flexibility! Being able to meet a child where they are and advocate for them through thick and thin is key. Sometimes they don’t want you there, they don’t want to hear your advice, they resent that you are the stable healthy adult for them and not their parent… this is where that thick skin we talked about earlier comes in handy. If you don’t have the previously mentioned humility, you certainly will after sitting outside a kid’s door waiting for them to open it for you. I mean that literally and figuratively.
Sometimes, and more often than not, you find yourself on the upswing of the pendulum. Your CASA kid has been through the fire that living in foster care can be and they have come out on the other side. And there you are guiding them through life decisions. Prepping them for tests that will get them to the next level of their education, taking them on campus tours, fighting for (or with) them over those last few credit hours they need to graduate. You are helping them move successfully into adulthood.
This is what makes TYP volunteers great at what they do. They are able to be what their CASA kids need when they need it!
In my humble opinion, that’s how you “handle” working with teenagers, and most of this I’ve learned by watching CASA of Travis County’s great TYP volunteers in action.
January 2018 December 2017 November 2017 October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017 March 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 November 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 March 2016 February 2016 January 2016 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 April 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 September 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 November 2013 October 2013