Building self-esteem & confidence
The YES programme is one or our most exciting pieces of work here at Lurgan YMCA. Each week young people with learning and other disabilities meet to play and socialise with friends they have made at YES but also to socialise with young people who don’t have disabilities, this makes the experience more normal and is beneficial for their development.
A true artist at work.
This young woman is one of our longest attending members, she joined on day one, I don’t think she has ever missed one night. The programme is one of the most important events in her week, Wednesday is always a happy day as it is for so many. Parents tell us that on Wednesdays their child gets up easily as they know it is YMCA YES day. This is a life line for both the young person and the parents.
When asked in a recent parental survey, “what do you do when your child is at YES”, one parent said, “I go on a date with my husband as it is the only rest bite we have each week”. Another parent said, “YMCA YES is my life line, it is the only time I get free to go to Tesco on my own, I just walk around looking at things without having to take care of anyone”.
Group activities build relations and social confidence.
This young woman is a regular YES participant and now junior leader who loves to climb.
YES focuses on 3 things:
1. Breaking the isolation that many disabled youth face due to limited opportunity to access mainstream youth provision and meet like minded youth as well as those without a disability.
2. Empowering young people to make the choice to participate in fun and sometimes challenging activities that builds up their self-esteem and to develop meaningful relations giving them social confidence.
3. Providing YES participants opportunity to socialise with young people who have no disabilities and do the normal stuff other youth do here at the centre. Many of our young leaders, we call them Buddies help out on Wednesday nights. This also develops their confidence especially when meeting people who are different from themselves.
Many of the original YES participants are now to old to attend as YES works with 13-18yrs. Once the young person is in their 18th year they are to old to attend. This is a real issue as telling a YES participant they can’t come back means they think they have done something bad; this would upset them for a long time. Thankfully we have not had to do that yet. However, unless we find 10 volunteers by January, we will not be letting about 6 young people return after Christmas. Lurgan YMCA has dedicated a staff member (Jamie Stoddart) to oversee and run this new work called: “YES +”. Plus or + means, “Please Let Us Stay” and is for the 18 – 25yrs and in some cases up to 30yrs. Also we have a local lady call Pat Douglas who has a real passion and vision for this element of the work. That is what makes these programme special, local people wanting to serve local people, that is community at work.
So you want to help!
What age do you need to be? 16 up to 90 yrs or older if you have the energy
Skills you need: Be able to laugh, colour in or draw pictures, paint pictures, shoot pool, listen or dance to music, sit with a young person, able to have fun, if you can do any of these you have the skill to improve a young person’s life.
Your reward: Sense of valuable service and giving something back, knowing your efforts mean a young person can leave the isolation of their bedroom and develop new skills and social confidence, training if required, meet new friends, be part of the YMCA family.
Our YES and YES+ youth needs your support, if you are willing to give us 2 1/2 hour per-week, you have the power to prevent a young disable person from feeling isolated. You will put a big smile on their face and you will be contributing to their personal and social development.
To find out more and how you can help contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 028 3832 1025
In January we will be extending our deliver to include more activities. Thanks to BBC Children in Need we will be starting a new Adventure Youth Development Worker who will take our work with both YES and mainstream youth to a new level. There will be canoeing clubs, climbing clubs, outdoor adventure and much more. There will be a focus on development each individual and preparing them for life and work. If you or someone you know can join these activities or you are an adult with skills to offer, get in touch with our team. Lurgan YMCA is the only youth provider in the areas offering in-house, in the city adventure as part of the mainstream youth work. We have our own canoes, climbing wall, climbing kit and camping kit and mobile to deliver activities anywhere.
So keep tuned in to our website for updates, but better still, call in and chat to us about your needs and interests, maybe we can help you or you can help us.
Lurgan YMCA “inspiring young people to reach their full potential”
We want to thank BBC Children in Need, Big Lottery Fund and SportNI for all their support and investing in our community, without them none of our activities would happen.