YMCA Winter 2020 | Page 17

How Hannah, 24 is supporting her community during COVID-19 Even at the best of times, to a young person, the world can appear confusing and frightening. For many, this is what they found themselves feeling during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a team at the YMCA-managed Jimmy’s Youth Wellbeing Sanctuary, the situation meant we no longer knew what the service would look like on a practical level. All of our work to this point was done face-to-face with our young people. Something that gave us reassurance, was that we knew no matter what happened our intention would remain the same. That the wellbeing, development and encouragement of the young people we work with would remain. Behind this are our four pillars of wellbeing which are: what I eat, moving the body, firing up the brain and stilling the mind. Alongside this, we have our six C’s for a resilient spirit which are: challenge, courage, commitment, control, connection and compassion. These are things we channel on a daily basis with our young people. Jimmy’s is known as a safe space. The young people know that if they have any questions, issues or news we will be there to listen and offer help. Recently we started offering yoga, job workshops, skate clinics alongside the local primary school and a visiting practitioners program. All of these programs benefit young people, the changes we had seen in those attending our programs were both behavioural and mental. So what would happen to both us and the young people during the crisis? Well, the team worked tirelessly and the online content began rolling out. We started a supervised WhatsApp group where young people shared how they were getting on with school work and life in general. We create videos that go up daily with content such as Y-solation tips, recipe tutorials, free yoga and pilates that are live streamed. However, we still Pictured above: Hannah p sought to connect with both our broader community and the young people in it. A care package program had started at my work at a local IGA and the YMCA Peninsula Youth Services jumped on board in being part of this. Families were nominated through the service and I would deliver the care packages. My two worlds had collided and my job at the IGA gave me a way to continue working to help young people as well. The packages that both community members and the YMCA Youth Services had paid for were going to families to local families in need. During every delivery, I was able to check in with our young people (at a distance of course). This pandemic has produced a lot of negatives. However, what it has shown is just how resilient our Y services, community and young people are in a time of crisis. THE CHANGES IN THOSE ATTENDING OUR PROGRAMS WERE BOTH BEHAVIOURAL AND MENTAL FEATURE ARTICLE WINTER 2020 YMCA HEALTHY LIVING MAGAZINE 17