LGBT Youth Scotland is a charity. In fact it is the largest youth and community based organisation in Scotland. My intention is to describe the main features of the charity using information I have gained from case study 4.
LGBT aims to make society a better place to live in through education and inclusion. They aim to challenge homophobic behaviour by educating people. The charity’s mission is to ‘empower lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people and the wider LGBT community so that they are embraced as full members of the Scottish family at home, school and in every community’ ( LGBT introduction). In case study 4 this is achieved by working directly with groups of young people and training them as peer educators so that they can go into schools and educate their peers. LGBT aims to give young people some of the skills they will need to be able to reduce homophobic behaviour and therefore encourage young people to ‘come out’ if they wish. They believe ‘when young people are involved in schools, it has a real impact’ (LGBT clip 1). It provides young people with a greater understanding.
Most of the work done at LGBT is youth led; they encourage personal and social development by providing activities that are intended to be engaging and involve the young people. They are planned based on their needs because it’s something they care about, with the youth workers scaffolding the learning by intervening when they feel it is required. They believe in ‘empowering individuals and empowering groups to take control and action over their own lives in order to redress the balance and ensure that people feel that sense of inclusion’ (LGBT clip 1). LGBT realises the effect that homophobic bullying can have on young people and therefore provides activities that help the young people regain confidence and self esteem. In case study 4 for example the blue sky thinking activity clips encourages the young people to consider any skills they might need and what skills they already have whereas the topic cards got them used to speaking together and helping each other out. The final session however ensured the young people considered any challenging behaviour they may encounter, when they make their presentations, and consider how they would react.
All of this happens within a safe environment where the young people all feel comfortable and accepted. As Scott states it’s something they have ‘ownership over’ (LGBT clip 4). They attend voluntarily because the project is something they want to be involved in because it is personal to them. As David explains ‘if we didn’t like it, we wouldn’t come back’ (LGBT clip 6). In this safe environment the young people are encouraged to discuss their own identities so they then develop confidence and build strong relationships with each other and with the youth workers. They are encouraged to talk about and share their experiences but also to consider how best to deal with any group conflict.
In conclusion it is apparent that the main features of LGBT are encouraging inclusion, through providing activities that develop confidence and self esteem in young people, therefore empowering them so they will then educate their peer groups to try and eliminate homophobic bullying.
Part 2. How do Scott and Jean build relationships with the young people that help them to learn and develop? How might you learn from this in your own work with young people?
Learning is not something that just happens; there are always influencing factors. ‘The extent to which learning occurs is closely related to the place and the circumstances in which it happens’ (Harrison 2013, p59). Learning providers need to be able to engage with the learners and provide activities that support their learning and develop their confidence. To be effective they have to forge good relationships.