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Ruby’s youth work celebrated

Ruby’s youth work celebrated

For Ashburton’s Ruby Bowman, the students she works alongside are like family.

And now the important work she does as a 24-7 youth worker has been recognised at a national level.

Bowman was named New Zealand Youth Worker of the Year, beating out 160 workers across the country.

She attended the awards ceremony in Auckland last Tuesday.

“It’s very, very special.”

Bowman works across Ashburton Intermediate and Ashburton College, and works alongside students as a mentor, with two other staff.

“It’s not an office job. We’re out at morning tea and lunchtime, we’re in their classrooms.

“Through the relationships we build with kids, they might disclose stuff to us and we can help them through that.”

Twenty-four-seven youth workers are the in-between of counsellors and teachers - they resolve fights about birthday parties, and look after kids who sit alone, she said.

Bowman said her line of work has become a lifestyle.

“Everything that I do for young people in Ashburton is because I love them and I see value in them.

“They become like family to me.”

The organisation connects local schools to churches who provide youth workers. Workers are trained to care for students regardless of religion.

Principals and teachers will sometimes chat to Bowman about students who need that extra boost.

She said most kids who open up about their struggles “just want to be accepted".

“And teenagers just want someone to listen to them, to see them, to acknowledge their feelings.”

Bowman works 10 hours a week at intermediate, and five at the college.

Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor.

If a young person needs help, contact Youthline on 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email [email protected].

By Anisha Satya