What does it take to be an effective streetworker (aka outreach worker)? Most of us would imagine it requires things like having a real commitment to young people; strong communication and interpersonal skills; knowing the local environment where young people congregate and being able to engage them “where they’re at”; along with a good dose of perseverance, flexibility, and adaptability.
For a UTEC streetworker, all of these traits are essential, but there’s more involved. Built into UTEC’s mission is a commitment to work specifically with “proven risk” young people (ages 17 to 25) from Lowell and Lawrence who have been incarcerated or seriously gang-involved and may be considered “too far gone” by some. This means, for a UTEC streetworker, every day being where their target population is usually found – including high-crime neighborhoods, gang hang-outs, and detention and correctional facilities – and engaging with these young people in a genuine way, getting to know them, and, over time, developing their trust, something not quickly or easily acquired.
One way this trust is developed is the UTEC streetworkers’ commitment to chipping away and showing up for a young person no matter what – whether spending the day at a court house, responding to a late-night shooting, or simply picking them up on the day of release from correctional facility. It’s only when this trust, this rapport, begins to develop can a UTEC streetworker suggest an alternative life choice, like giving UTEC a try.
The work of the Streetworker is essential to UTEC’s ability to reach proven-risk young people, so UTEC is currently looking to hire an additional Streetworker. If you, or someone you know, might be interested, please check out this job opening.
2016 New England Streetworker Conference
Late last year the 2016 New England Streetworker Conference was held at Gillette Stadium, designed to advance the profession of Streetwork and to strengthen regional relationships. With more than 150 street outreach workers from all across New England attending, it was thought to be one of the largest such gatherings in the country. For more information, check out the <a href="https://conference video.
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Source: Lowell Sun