The Other Side

At our new, after school, Pokemon Club

Grade 8/9: lots of games and fun, building trust, meeting parents.
Grade 10: life isn’t as simple as they thought, things are harder, friends are hurting
Grade 11: mental health, family, life/death, drugs, sex and sexuality
Grade 12: next steps, graduation, they’re alive, we celebrate that.

After going through a full high school rotation with some teens, it has been interesting to see where they come out on the other side. Some don’t need me at all anymore, and that is a very good thing. It means that they are starting to experience a healthy life; emotionally, socially, spiritually, intellectually, and physically. Not everyone gets to this point though. There are three young men in particular that I have continued to walk with beyond high school.

One has grown a lot and is exploring faith with us each week, unknowingly becoming the “religious” person he spoke so harshly against 4 years ago. Now he is attending a weekly faith gathering (Spiritual Life), watching sermons, and talking about Jesus. I love it and smile at the irony.

Another is someone I have definitely written about over the years and now that he’s finished with high school and moved out, he is experiencing life for the first time…and is starting to act like a “teenager”. He never had the chance to be a kid at home and now that he has some safety and stability, he’s finally starting to experience the things a normal teenager would. His environment closed him off emotionally and I don’t blame him. I noticed a few years ago that he was able to connect and feel things through film. So now we are learning how to interact with emotions together by watching movies. Since he is in a safer part of life, this seemed like a great next step for him to start reconnecting with himself and others.  We go twice a month and dig into the how and why these different thoughts and feelings come up while watching different things. It is fun and I’m so glad that he made it to this point and gets to see the other side of things after school.

Another looked like he was doing well but after two years of schooling and jobs falling through, life seems to be getting hard again. Mental health that was thought to be under control comes sneaking back.

It is a privilege to still be in these young men’s lives and I look forward to discovering what being a youth worker looks like on the other side of this stage of as well.

Thanks for journeying with me,

Jon Pue


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