Rewarding yet awkward

R

Part of my new job that I really don’t like is just how much some of the learners come and sit on my desk. They are all teenage girls and are usually 17 or 18 years old, and wearing extremely revealing clothes. It’s so very awkward because they do it so deliberately. I’m one of the youngest staff here, and so they always seem to come ask me for things. They are lovely, but it’s a daily occurrence at the moment that I have to ask them to leave, I go all red and flustered and its so uncomfortable as some of them are quite touchy-feely. They all come over to our side of the building from where they are meant to be on a completely different programme. I’ve already been propositioned several times, and got asked by 3 different girls to help them have a baby so that they can move out of home and get a council house. I did not oblige obviously!

On the completely rewarding side, one of the 17 year old girls (S) had moved out of home and was now living in a B&B whilst waiting for a council house to become available and S mentioned that she had never known her Dad. Her Mum had taken her and left when she was little and she had almost no memory of him. Her Mum was a complete alcoholic and showed up several times looking really drunk to collect her, and it was awful. I asked her to find out everything she could about where she lived when she was little, the address, and any detail however small and then I set about using the internet to find out everyone I could. I managed to narrow it down to a list of 3 men that potentially could be her father, and sat with her and helped her compose a letter to each of them. I paid for some stamps for her and we sent off the letters from the post office down the road. S got one reply, from a man who was her father, and who invited her to come and visit him! I rented a car for a day, and drove S and her friend to his house (only about 20 miles away outside Slough) and went and explored Slough shops whilst they got acquainted and bought them both an Indian Take-Away on the way home that they ate at the B&B. When her programme ended, she moved to live with him and his new family. I got so many hugs from her, and it was a huge success story that everyone knew about, both the Sue’s (staff who also worked in Hayes) were super happy for her too, and it even got mentioned at the staff meeting!

Update – December 2004, S came back to visit the centre and was so very happy and settled with new new family. She is at college now and is planning to go to University next year!

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