Creating a bond between youth and youth worker

It was a regular Saturday evening, and I had recently published my first graphic novel which I had brought in to work to show some co-workers. About thirty minutes before bed time, I was sitting down with some of the youth, and we had started talking about each other’s day.  During the course of the conversation I mentioned to the youth that I had recently finished a graphic novel. The youth excitedly asked if they could see it. “Josh” picked up the book and flipped through the pages, his youth’s eyes lit up, and he began to smile as he read some of the panels out loud. Unfortunately, it was time for bed; but Josh did not want to stop reading.  I suggested that the book could be read tomorrow, but Josh asked if he could bring it into his room.  I gave him permission to do so, as long as he promised to take good care of it!

Today, when I came into work, Josh approached me and proudly stated that he finished reading the entire book. It came as a surprise to me because the graphic novel was over 200 pages!  Josh continued to talk about how much he enjoyed the book, quickly adding that he didn’t even like reading and that this was the first book that he finished in a few years. 

It was a regular Saturday evening, and I had recently published my first graphic novel which I had brought in to work to show some co-workers. About thirty minutes before bed time, I was sitting down with some of the youth, and we had started talking about each other’s day.  During the course of the conversation I mentioned to the youth that I had recently finished a graphic novel. The youth excitedly asked if they could see it. “Josh” picked up the book and flipped through the pages, his youth’s eyes lit up, and he began to smile as he read some of the panels out loud. Unfortunately, it was time for bed; but Josh did not want to stop reading.  I suggested that the book could be read tomorrow, but Josh asked if he could bring it into his room.  I gave him permission to do so, as long as he promised to take good care of it!

Today, when I came into work, Josh approached me and proudly stated that he finished reading the entire book. It came as a surprise to me because the graphic novel was over 200 pages!  Josh continued to talk about how much he enjoyed the book, quickly adding that he didn’t even like reading and that this was the first book that he finished in a few years. 

Since then, the relationship between this youth and I has become more involved, which I am grateful for. Having a strong passion and willingness to share little pieces our own experiences can go a long way in improving some of our relationships with the youth here at Covenant House. The building of trusting relationships with our youth can be difficult at times. Our youth are watching closely to see how we react to them.  As support workers, we are often times their role models, while they are at Covenant House.  It was nice to be able to share a bit about myself in a way that can benefit our relationship. That being said, I’m feeling a bit of pressure, as now I often hear, “When’s your next book coming out?”