When we set up our project to help orphanage-leavers in St Petersburg prepare for independent life, we wanted to get them out of their children's home or hostel environment at least once a week. The problem with this is that, although the club members are in their late teens, they needed a member of staff to accompany them to the youth centre where the meetings took place. We were finding that although the young people were very motivated to take part it was not always a top priority for the staff. Activities would be planned that clashed with the club meetings. One psychologist who used to bring a group from a technical college was very keen to participate, but then her job description changed and she simply couldn't spare the time any more.
Our solution has been to move the club to the teenagers so they are free to attend on their own. We will be running regular meetings both at the children's home attached to technical college no.113 and "Prometheus", a state social centre. We are hopeful that more teenagers will be able to attend our sessions more regularly.
The theme we are working on at the moment is the world of work. This is a fearful subject for many of our teenagers:
"I don't want to get a job on my own. I'm afraid. I'd rather go with my friend and get the same job as her." Natalia
"I don't think I'll ever be able to fit in with new people that I don't know. They might all be old and they won't understand me." Valerii
We use role play to run through situations they might face in job interviews and at work so that they can work out what how to respond and go into the real life situation with more confidence.
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