Some day’s…like today…. I wonder why I do the job I do. I am writing this at 10:30pm. I am exhausted and know that I have a full day ahead of me, let alone the weekend in Manchester coming up. It’s been an emotional week for various reasons and I have hit a lull today. I am sure that many people feel like this often, but I also thinks that people that must listen to other people’s issues and trauma day after day can burn out and feel like this suddenly. Or it feels like all of a sudden.
Life throws some curve balls my way. Sometimes I think that someone somewhere has a little doll of me and is giving it a right kick in. Then I go back to my little book of things to be grateful for and that puts things back in check.
I gave a series of interviews over the past few months, mostly via radio. I have deliberately not done interviews too often because I think that there is a time and a place to speak and people will stop speaking if you speak too much. Or at least that’s how I feel.
The interviews can make me feel quite exposed and vulnerable at times because with the blogs I can think about what I am going to say and do but with live radio…. wow…who knows what I could say or do!!!
I have given some quite blatant interviews about my views on county lines. I have spoken out about the failings of this country in terms of county lines and I have not been shy with calling people out. I do get some feedback but overall…you go on the radio and speak and then you just must work out what people think. And then I can have one of those “Why do I do this” moments.
So, the other day someone I work with, we will call her…Faye…she stopped me and said she had to tell me something. She asked if I had been on radio 4 and I thought…oh dear, who have I offended. She then said that her mum, who is aged 66, had said that she had herd me on the radio and thought that I was amazing. She told Faye that she did not know any thing about County lines but after listening to me she felt she knew loads. She then went on to tell Faye all about county lines.
I spend a lot of my time running as fast as I can to reach as many young people as I can. I bend myself all over to educate as many professionals as I can. I give interviews to get people talking in places of power to get a change started.
And I didn’t give a lot of thought to the…in-between people. The ones that are still learning and understanding what is happening to our young people. Those who hear words such as “County lines” and “CSE” but are still confused as to what they Mean.
Who would have thought that my BBC radio 4 interview would educate Mrs Faye’s Mum (Aged 66)!! I will take that. I can proudly take that I am able to reach people that I didn’t know wanted to be reached. Knowing that Mrs Faye’s mum listened to me…really listened to me…makes me think, yep…. I know why I do the job I do.
Today …Oh I could say a lot about today…. But I will just speak about the last couple of things I did today. I stepped in and walked a year 11 boy around his carers evening at his school. I sat and listened as a parent would as each teacher told us, me, and the boy, how school is going. We went and spoke to the local uni that was in and took away things to read. I made sure he had all the revision books he needed. This young man does not have a parent that can take him to such things, yet he showed up, as others did…with no one. So, I said “Don’t worry mate, let’s do this together”. He left with a big soppy grin on his face and for a second, I guess he felt…normal.
A young man that I have worked with for years also turned up to the event. I have seen this young man go through some awful things and gangs was part of this. Yet here he was…. walking around and trying to absorb all the different things that were being offered. Mum was there. Sometimes its hard when mum is there because you may have had to make referrals or involve agencies and parents can be hostile over such things. But this mum…. she once thanked me for my interventions. She once grabbed my hand when this boy was 12 and whispered in my ear “Keep my boy safe”. So once mum and he sort of got lost in the carers event they made there over to me and asked, “What do we do”. And I guided him, like I had the boy an hour before, around the different areas. Watching him listen as they explained maths revision, him squinting his eyes to concentrate, like I have watched him do since he was 11…it almost got me…there was a moment when I thought…this is it. I am gonna cry like a big baby in front of everyone. I didn’t …buy. It was a narrow escape.
As he left, with his arm full of books and I had called him a “Neek” (A child that likes to study) a few times he said “Kendra, can you check in with me over the next few months”. I looked a bit taken back as I don’t work with him directly anymore. I said, “What do you mean”. He said, “Can you come and check on me in school to make sure that I can do this, pass my GCSE’s, can you make sure that I am ok and stuff”. He nearly bloody got me that time. I just nodded and patted him on the back. If I had of spoken I would have sounded like a teenage boy whose voice is breaking. He knew I was strolling with seeing him like this. All grown up. He came looking for me a few weeks back. Needed his passport signed and his teacher worked out that I was the only professional who had known him longer than two years. 15 years of age and I was the only one who could sign his passport. Anyway, he left the hall with his books, telling his mum his study timetable he had decided to do. Then he stopped… turned and said…
“Thanks Kendra, for everything”
And that my friends…. Is why I do the job I do