Homework Café – Every Thursday 3pm – 4:30pm from February 2020
What is it?
It is pretty much as it sounds; a place for young people to come along and do their homework, where refreshments will be available.
Since starting as Youth Minister in Chandler’s Ford, I quickly realised that the thing teenagers talked about the most was school. When I asked how their week had been the conversation almost always ended up being about school and most of those times it was about homework. Young people were often turning up to youth group with pieces of unfinished homework, or mentioning how when they get home they will need to do their homework. It also didn’t take very long to notice the amount of pressure the children felt under to constantly be doing well and achieving high grades. This, coupled with the plethora of extra-curricular activities is creating a high amount of stress and a low amount of rest; this is an environment where mental health issues thrive. Chandler’s Ford is a place that is well known for its high achieving schools, with many parents moving into the area so their children can attend these schools; whether said or not, this automatically puts certain expectations upon their children. At a time when young people are also under more pressure now than ever before to look, act, dress and be a certain way, it’s no wonder we are seeing more mental health issues, more breakdowns and more recreational drug use within teenagers than ever before. Therefore, we must do something to help and I believe that this is just one small way we can do so.
I can’t do it alone
Having successfully been awarded a grant from Allchurches Trust to help get this initiative up and running I can look into buying some resources (a few laptops, a printer, refreshments, text books, revision guides etc.) but that is only part of what I need. The biggest area of need is people to help support and guide the youth that will come along. If you are free Thursdays from 2:30pm – 4:30pm and feel able to support the young people of this Parish then please do get in touch with me. Maybe you feel you’re not great at talking to teenagers but are happy to be in the kitchen serving refreshments, or you’ve got a background in teaching or expertise in a certain academic area that could really benefit the young people as they do their work, then you’re exactly who these young people need. Maybe you’ve struggled academically and can be available to encourage the young people that also do and show them that there is more to schooling than just academic “success”. Whether you can commit to every week or just one every now and then, please do get in contact with me. I’m really excited about this initiative but cannot do it alone, so please do think about whether you could be involved in supporting the young people in this Parish, I promise you it’ll be worth it.
Whether you can be there or not, whether you have a lot of interaction with teenagers or very little, please do pray for this initiative. Pray that God’s hand will be on it to guide it and form it. Pray that the young people will find this place to be a place of refuge and that it will go beyond just the practicality of being a space where homework gets done, to also a place where young people are helped to be made whole.
Tom Young (Youth Minister)