Our New Worker; Meet Jen Anderson!
I'm Jen and I've just recently started working with BYP as their Schools and Community Worker. It's really exciting to come on board as the project expands it's focus to include more prevention and early work in regards to the mental and emotional well-being of young people - something I am really passionate about!
A little bit more about me...
I have been involved in youth work in some capacity for over 10 years. As an older teenager I got involved leading and helping with young(er) people in lots of different ways. whether that was leading performing arts camps, helping at church, volunteering with youth projects or internships. Perhaps surprisingly, I never wanted to turn it into a career, it was just something I did that came quite naturally. It wasn't until I turned 23 that I felt God clearly call me to pursue youth work and to take it further. From here I enrolled in Uni where I studied Youth Work and Theology and worked at a small Christian schools charity for my placement. Getting to work in secondary schools opened my eyes to a whole new experience of school. I had a fine time at school and quickly realised I had no idea what some people's experience of school could be like, what could be going on behind the scenes and the sorts of struggles they were facing daily. It was through this that I became passionate about schools work and being part of pastoral provision.
After my degree ended I worked for a Methodist Circuit in rural Yorkshire - a very different post! It was a pioneering role that looked to created and establish youth work from (almost) scratch. It was a tough job but gave me a lot of tools I now know I would later need in setting new things up, recruiting volunteers and trusting in God for His direction. I left that job when I got married and moved over to Warrington where my husband was based (we had met at Uni). As I moved over I started a new role in Stockport with the Christians in Schools Trust - I was back in secondary schools!! This charity was a bit more established than my uni placement and I absolutely loved getting into schools and the variety of ways we were providing a service. Some of the things I got up to were assemblies, RE lessons, lunch clubs, mental health clubs, group mentoring, 1-2-1 mentoring, off-timetable days looking at resilience, or exam stress and just working with the different schools in the ways they needed. In short, for a number of reason the commute was no longer viable and it didn't work not being local. I just happened to ask John if he new of any jobs local to Warrington in youth work and we can all see how that ended up!
I am so excited to be able to continue the schools work and I'm really looking forward to seeing what I can do in Bridgewater High School, bringing things from my previous experience and learning new ideas and resources that will be effective in the projects aim to support as well as signpost.