Opinion: As an LGBT+ young person I believe youth workers should be celebrated

As part of GCN's annual Youth Issue we welcome LGBT+ young people from across the country to write an opinion piece. Here, Aaron talks about celebrating our youth workers.

A group of five youth workers posing together smiling with their arms around each other

As an LGBT+ young person, I believe that the work done by youth workers is integral, especially in the LGBT+ community. However it often goes unnoticed.

I believe that one of the reasons that youth workers are so important is that they introduce people to our community and educate many people on it. They educate young people in youth groups all over the country, including myself, and they educate parents, teachers, students and others.

When I first joined my local LGBT+ youth group, I thought that I knew everything about the community. In reality I knew virtually nothing and with the help of Elaine, our youth worker, I now understand that there is always more to learn.

Our group leaders have also helped school become a more tolerant place by facilitating workshops to help educate teachers. Five of my own teachers attended these workshops. This helps to build a relationship between schools and groups like ours and seeing many of my teachers attend these talks made school much more comfortable for me due to the fact I can see that our staff are accepting and open minded.

Our youth workers are absolutely amazing and since joining Luck Out (LGBT+ Youth Group) they have become some of the most important people in my life, due to the fact they are much more than youth workers. They are team-makers, our lift home on a rainy day, a shoulder to cry on after a tough week and much more. I have spent many evenings after a group, in groups just talking. Many weeks when our food budget was gone, we received dinners out of their own pockets.

I have had a lot of opportunities given to me by being a member of Luck Out. I have attended four pride parades, attended countless workshops, organised a ball for LGBT+ young people and even written this article all because we have excellent youth workers who were willing to put in the extra effort to let us do these things.

I believe that youth workers often go under appreciated due to the fact that a lot of the work they do often goes unnoticed and a lot of it is also just seen as “part of the job” but in reality a lot of it is done because these people are passionate about their jobs and want to see us succeed.

I honestly believe that the job saves lives and that many young people will go on to achieve excellent things because they were told that no matter who they were or where they were from should never be an issue and that they should always be themselves.

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