“I ran my first group last Thursday. It turned out pretty well. I will be the community activities event planner/therapist. My mission is to help the youth plan activities and see how these events are relative to life and to their community. I want them to experience life and realize their role in society. I have to be honest; I still don’t know how this pertains to _ or how this is going to lead to becoming a therapist and my counseling these youth. I am sure you have me learning these skills for a reason, but to be honest I am feeling like a life coach.”
Rereading this entry I want ask my younger self “How the hell do I think my mission tops the agency mission”. I also wondered what the agency’s mission was. This led me to go digging through my files. I found my old practicum binder; where I learned they did not have a mission statement, but instead a statement of purpose. It read, “_ believes in promoting the safety, shelter, and self-determination of all youth experiencing homelessness, including those who are unstably or unsafely housed– regardless of their ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, sobriety status, engagement in the sex trades, and legal history. We aim to promote confidence and self-sufficiency by providing a continuum of: supportive services and opportunities that include outreach, basic services, emergency shelter, housing, counseling, education, and employment training to youth experiencing homelessness as they pursue self-determined lives of stability and independence.”
That statement made me smile, and once again I wanted to shake my younger self. It was clear I was given a great learning opportunity to connect with these youth and to be a supportive adult who listened to their stories and helped guide them. I missed this this message during my first group, as I was soooo in a hurry to hold the title of therapist. Thank God I worked with young adults. As we all know, they are brutally honest, so it wouldn’t be long before those youth taught me the golden rule of meeting clients where they are at. This is an invaluable skill I still practice today, because it really isn’t about you but about the client’s needs. My advice to you today would be don’t focus on the title, but on the work that needs to be done. Real life moment: I often find myself wearing multiple hats throughout my day.