66. Liz Wyndham

15 Jun

DSC_0206Liz Wyndam is the community engagement practitioner at headspace Greensborough. As I chat with her in one of the light, airy rooms of the headspace HQ, I discover that her passion for her job of “providing young people with real, practical, relevant information” concerning well being is absolutely infectious. She explains how young people “energise” her so much in the social work field, as they provide a “beautiful mix of challenges, resilience, hope and energy.”

She illuminates me as to how the strength and dedication of young people is sometimes “understated” or perhaps not considered enough by people. She loves being able to change this in her job by helping to bring “resources together in the community (and) taking people’s creativity and helping make (their projects) work.”

Liz has undoubtedly had quite the journey to reach the buzzing career she has now. There is an air about her as she delves into her past as a younger social worker and juvenile justice worker.

A significant moment in her life is when she moved to Perth to help facilitate local as a family support worker. This is where she developed her niche, her passion for community development work and assisting young people with “complex support needs.”

Some of the young people that helped Liz nurture her creative side were the young custodians of the Parkville Youth Justice Centre. “Working in that structured environment can be a challenge…it makes you explore your options in terms of creativity.”

Sometime later, she began to add her spin to the Banyule Youth Services, where she was drawn to since “young people inform the heart and direction of the programs,” and everyone “uses their skills in the best way.” Liz proves to be no exception!!

In terms of what she has learnt in the field, she iterates to me that “humans can do horrendous things to each other,” so that’s why it’s important all young people have “a safe space…unconditional positive regard, (and to be) aware of the support around them.”

When I ask, tentatively, what Liz does when faced with some of the serious and difficult aspects of her youth work, her smile does not falter as she declares “keep perspective, check in with yourself, and then journey on.”

For young aspiring youth workers in university and high school, Liz advises: “find a mentor, there’s no need to have all the answers, practise self-awareness and compassion to challenges in the workplace.”

When I ask her for any final sentiments, she says “young people are brilliant. They explain stuff to me- help me stay relevant. It’s the best job in the world.”

Words: Taylor Carre-Riddell

Picture: Jason Rohmursanto



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