Growing up, I really liked helping others and was passionate about giving a voice to those who may be told they don’t have a voice and giving resources to those who may feel like they don’t have the resources to overcome their obstacles. This led me to pursue a career in social work. Before, I came to Ireland I worked with youth in behavioural health services. I would go into schools and homes to help young people manage their behaviours better and overcome their negative behaviours. I would work one on one with the young person and help them manage their aggression or defiance.
Through this experience, I learned the value of showing others that there is always a better choice and they don’t have to copy what they see. If a student is in a community or home where they see that the answer to everything is aggression, then they wouldn’t know there is a better choice than throwing their school book across the room when they gets upset unless someone is there to show them there’s a better choice out there. I believe that there are so many young people out there who struggle behaviourally in school or make unwise decisions because there isn’t someone to show them a better way, to show them their potential and that they can choose differently than what others are showing them.
When I first heard of Innovista’s RISE Leadership and Mentoring Programme, I knew it was something I had to be involved in. I had never heard of anything like it and thought it was brilliant. I like that RISE can be a positive voice in the lives of teenagers who may be only hearing negative things or seeing negative behaviours. I love that as a RISE facilitator and mentor, I get to be one of those positive voices in these teenagers’ lives. I really like being able to help them set goals and help them see that they can achieve their goals and can make a difference in their community. Something I have learned from my time mentoring and facilitating is the reality of what some of these teenagers face. They live in places where stabbings are considered “normal” or ending up on the streets is a legitimate fear that some have when it comes to looking toward the future. I am glad that RISE exists to help them see there are better choices and that they do have potential to achieve their goals. Through my time with RISE, I want teenagers to see that no matter where they have come from that they matter, have something to offer and have the power to make a difference in their lives and the lives around them.
-Amy, RISE team