Lockdown in a Youth House

Talofa everyone !

O lo’u igoa o Petrina Foaese, I am from the beautiful Hutt Valley but currently live in Kilbirnie. I am one of the youth house leaders supporting our young adults. Living in a youth house has taught me about community and service outside my role as a youth worker in schools.

In a youth house, we try our best to build a safe and comfortable space for rangatahi to learn about themselves and to become more independent and responsible with their decisions. As youth house leaders, we are there to guide and support them.

Living in a youth house, I have experienced both difficult and positive times, which is expected. That is why we value the importance of manaakitanga and communication in the youth house, to build relationships and support positive dynamics in the house. The transition from adolescence to adulthood is difficult. Therefore, supporting our young ones to develop life skills at this stage of their lives is important for their safety and their future. We hope these skills will encourage them to pursue their goals and aspirations.

Some of the ways I contribute to supporting our young adults are cooking, daily chats and check-ins about life, house and living skills, and meeting their whānau.

The support is not just one-way. As a youth house leader, I’ve also learnt a lot from our rangatahi and young adults. It is amazing what they know and what they want to contribute to the community. 

During lockdown, we’ve been able to get a few things done outside and inside the house. We did a big clean-up while the weather was nice. It has also been great to learn more about each other in a different environment. There have been a lot of Zoom sessions for many of us in the house, for both work and study. It’s also been great to see the young ones try new kai.

Before the COVID-19 lockdown, we were able to have dinner with one of the Mercy Sisters who also generously support our community. We were able to connect with one of the young adult’s whānau when they stayed over for a significant event. We hope we can get back to this once lockdown restrictions are lowered.