Celebrating Youth Work: Alisha’s Story #YouthWorkMatters

Celebrating Youth Work: Alisha’s Story #YouthWorkMatters

Sadie White No Comment

As part of our Celebrating Youth Work campaign we’re looking at the diverse ways in which youth workers have a life changing impact on the lives of Sheffield’s most vulnerable children and young people.

Here we hear from Rhonda, a Youth Worker in our Community Youth Team about her experiences working with a young girl at risk of Child Sexual Exploitation who with the intervention and engagement of our youth workers and other specialists was steered into a place of safety.

‘Alisha was a young Lithuanian girl living with her Mother in Sheffield. Alisha was assessed as being at risk of Child Sexual Exploitation and as a result of her mother’s personal issues and concerns for Alisha’s safety we referred the case to social care and Alisha was placed into foster care with supervised visits from her mother.’ Says Rhonda.

‘As part of our referral process we undertook an assessment and intervention plan to ensure that Alisha was capable of making informed and positive choices. As part of this I built up a trusting relationship and worked on topics such as self-esteem, positive choices, consequences and healthy relationships. Other issues were identified and we helped Alisha with issues around theft and smoking. Alisha engaged well with all her one to one sessions and eventually she gained confidence to attend youth provision in her local area where she made positive friendships.’ She continues.

After some time, it was agreed that as part of the child protection plan Alisha was on it was in her interests to be returned to Lithuania to live with her maternal grandparents.

‘As I had built such a strong relationship with Alisha, Alisha’s social worker asked me to accompany Alisha back to Lithuania.’ Rhonda says. 

‘The social worker and I picked up Alisha at 2am and it was a tearful goodbye for her and her foster carer. We arrived at the airport and boarded our flight to Frankfurt and then boarded another flight to Lithuania. Alisha was glad to be going back home but said that she would miss living in the UK and her friends, however she had a loving relationship with her grandparents.’

‘The young girl’s grandparents, social workers, her cousin and her husband and new born baby were all waiting for her arrival and it was an exciting moment for her and her family as there were lots of hugs and we were introduced to the family. We said our good byes and it was emotional for the social worker and I. The Lithuanian social workers were kind enough to call a taxi for us and waited with us for the taxi and we left the young girl with her family at the airport to start a more positive life with her family to support and care for her.’ Rhonda says.

The case with CYT has since been closed following no further concerns and a positive transition for Alisha back to her family in Lithuania.

Sheffield Futures new campaign ‘In Celebration of Youth Work’ celebrates and demonstrates the value of youth work within our communities.

Since 2010, funding to vital youth services has been cut, with 600+ youth centres closed. This is having a devastating effect on disadvantaged young people.

Our young people led campaign over the coming months is all about the celebration of youth work and all of its fantastic achievements. We invite you to show your support by….

  • Sharing the following message on social media: Since 2010, funding to vital youth services has been cut, with 600+ youth centres closed. This is having a devastating effect on disadvantaged young people. At @SheffFutures we want to celebrate youth work and all of its fantastic achievements. See: www.sheffieldfutures.org.uk/in-celebration-of-youth-work
  • …Or write your own message of support for @SheffFutures using the hashtag #YouthWorkMatters
  • Running a fundraiser to help Sheffield Futures to continue delivering quality youth work to young people in Sheffield city region. Every penny you raise will help Sheffield Futures to transform lives and create positive futures.
  • Pledging to be a Sheffield Futures Ambassador and raising awareness of their work by making key introductions, sharing their messages, attending events and more.

Contact us, email: [email protected] or call: 0114 201 8647

How you can help

Our charity is dedicated to helping Sheffield's young people to reach their full potential and achieve the best out of life, whatever their starting point. To help us to do more to support young people and communities we need your help. Just remember, every penny you donate will make a difference.