Youth work on the margins can be a lonely place. Everyone wants to hear your story, but not everyone understands it. You find yourself in strange battles with young people that in the cold light of day don’t make sense to anyone else. Who do you turn to when your friends don’t get what you’re on about? I turn to the StreetSpace Community.
A few months ago we moved home. It took a while to settle in and make the place homely. One of the first jobs I did was to install a new doorbell – but within a few weeks it had be taken by a group of teenagers. It was a ‘wireless’ one, so they could sit on the other side of the park and ring it; and when I went out… no one was there. A modern take on ‘knock down ginger’! Unsure what to do we turned to the StreetSpace Community…
“It’s not the most important prayer request…. but one of our group has nicked my doorbell, and they are ringing it from across the park. I’d really like it back. Do you think God cares about that?” I posted on Facebook.
‘Definitely!’ said James
‘They are just re-imagining a parable John: behold I stand across the park and ring’ said Tadz
‘Praying it gets sorted quick and you get some rest’ adds Ed kindly.
And now they’ve changed the tune to Yankey Doodle! So we put out a bounty of a free ice cream for its safe return.
‘This really made me smile!’ says Zoe
‘Find out where they live and give them the chime too!’ posts Dan in a ‘Les-Mis’ kind of way.
In the end I eventually got the young man who took it to own up. He apologised, told us it was a joke, but that he’d lost it. He also told us where to get a replacement though.
Two days later, and another young person comes over to tell us she had been shopping in town to try and find us a one, but they cost £15 and she couldn’t afford to buy it for us.
All in all it’s been quite a story to tell… and the plus side is that there have been fewer interruptions in our evening without a doorbell. The thing is, at the end of your wits, struggling for generosity and patience in the face of ‘unusual’ circumstances, StreetSpace is a great place to call home. And with their encouragement we were able to hold out until kindness and understanding prevailed.
John Wheatley, is StreetSpace’s Community Activist and Project Leader in Weston-Super-Mare.