The Support Worker at Wellcroft House, on life at Progress, beverages, and why you should give working with young people a try.
I always wanted to do something meaningful in life. I’ve had different jobs and owned a café too, but it wasn’t fulfilling. When I saw a job come up with Progress I thought, yeah, this works for me. A career and an opportunity to help others? It’s a win-win.
I began life as a night supporter worker. I used to work every other weekend at Oak Cottage and now eleven years later, I’m a support worker at Wellcroft House. My role is to make sure that young people always have the best quality of life. It’s not an easy job, but if you have compassion for others, you really can change lives.
I’ve learnt a lot in my eleven years at Progress. Probably the biggest thing I’ve learnt, is that that you can’t give anything less than 100% each shift. Another human being is dependent upon you, so having a strong work ethic is a biggie.
It’s the young people that inspire me to come to work. When you see them smile because you have taken them out to the park, or they get excited when you read them a story, I feel what I’m doing is having an impact.
Progression is the aim. I have known many of the young people for over ten years and have built a close bond with them. When they move on, you’re sad because you have followed them on their journey. But it means that they’re progressing in life and that’s what we want.
We have had some great times. I remember a non-verbal young person who liked different beverages. I devised a little game so she could become more self-reliant. I brought out a tea bag and a bottle of juice and placed them in front of her. I waited a few moments. I didn’t think anything would happen until she reached and touched the tea bag – she made the choice! I think about those moments a lot.
You should give it a try. If you’re passionate, have the energy and are a resilient person, then what are you waiting for? There are so many children and young people that need your help.
Michelle is currently fundraising for front line NHS staff at Wolverhampton New Cross Hospital. Visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/michelle-rafferty for further information and how to donate.