A child’s understanding of relationships begins from the moment they are born. They learn from what they see around them: their parents, their families, their friends and their peers. Yellow Door’s STAR Project works to explore understandings, ideas and attitudes children and young people have around relationships, aiming to ensure that every young person across the region knows what a healthy relationship is, how to recognise signs of abuse, and where to go for help if they need it.
Molly* is The STAR Project’s newest member. Over the last month, Molly has been going out into schools, colleges and other youth settings around Southampton and the vicinity, talking with groups about a range of issues that may be impacting them. We asked her to share her experiences with us…
I have been working with the STAR project for about a month now and it’s been great. I have been warmly welcomed by everyone at Yellow Door and love working with the other project workers and volunteers. We get the privilege of working face to face with young people, talking about things that matter to them and will no doubt be affecting them either now, or will affect them later on in life.
Every day is different; sometimes I start the day either at the office updating my diary with new sessions that have been booked in, or creating new session plans to deliver - anything from body image to sexting. We also use this time to look through feedback form from sessions to find out what the young people have thought of our sessions, which is always really useful to help us know how to improve our work.
Some days are spent in one school working with a whole year group throughout the day on the same topic. These days are always great as you get to hear a wide range of ideas and opinions from the young people. Something I particularly enjoy about working with the STAR project is that we make sure that the sessions are quite laid back which encourages the young people we are working with to feel comfortable sharing their opinions. The activities are usually active - allowing for lots of moving around and lively discussion which means the young people can challenge one another’s ideas.
We deliver sessions on a range of topics including internet safety, consent, pornography and self-esteem. Some of the topics can be quite sensitive and sometimes regarding things that young people have never had the opportunity to talk or ask questions about. We are always really open and honest about the topics we talk about, making sure we clearly explain the serious bits like the laws surrounding certain things but also keeping the sessions fun, relaxed. We make sure every STAR session is a safe space where the young people we are working with can ask questions that they may otherwise never have had the opportunity to ask.
Something that strikes me in almost every session we deliver are the misconceptions that young people have. If we weren’t here to talk to young people about these things, and give them the opportunity to ask questions and discuss with their peers about really important issues such as healthy relationships and consent, then how can they be equipped to deal with relationships in a healthy and informed way now and in later life? Already I can see the massive impact the STAR project has on young people and I feel really proud to be part of something that gets important messages across whilst remaining fun, engaging and relevant.
Yellow Door rely on volunteers to support our services. STAR are always on the lookout for energetic individuals wanting to make a difference to the lives of young people across the Southampton and the wider community.
If you’d like to find out more about opportunities with the STAR Project or are interested in booking sessions with us, get in touch on email@example.com or 023 8063 6312.
N.B. In the interest of privacy, "Molly's" name has been changed, and a stock image used.