How Hannah, 24, is supporting her community during COVID-19

Hannah talking to Michaela   Feb 2020

Image: Hannah (left) with chatting with another young person (right)

Even at the best of times the world can appear to a young person to be confusing and frightening.

For many, this is what they found themselves feeling amongst the COVID-19 pandemic. As a team at 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 had started offering yoga, job workshops, skate clinics alongside the local primary school and a visiting practitioners program.

All of these programs were benefiting young people, the changes we had seen in those attending our programs were both behavioural and mental.

So after all of this where were we and the young people meant to go in this crisis? Well, the team worked tirelessly and the online content began rolling out.

Our supervised WhatsApp group was started and young people share on it how they are going with school or 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 livestreamed.

However, we still sought to connect with both our broader community and the young people in it.

The opportunity arose as a care package program had started at my work at a local IGA and the YMCA Peninsula Youth Services jumped on board in being a 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 forward were going to families locally in need. On every delivery I was able to check in with our young people (at a distance of course).

I have even met new people who may come and connect with our service when this is over.

This pandemic has produced a lot of negatives. However, what it has shown is just how resilient our Y service, community and young people are in a time of crisis.

Written by Hannah O'brien, 24

Y-Solation is a series of Facebook livestreams by young people for young people during COVID-19. Join us every Friday for sessions on cooking, fitness, arts and crafts, music, trivia and more!

Be sure to check out our Keeping well during COVID-19 article a range of resources on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing, stay social, and keep fit and active during this period.