A day in the life of South Abingdon youth worker, Rebecca

Thanks to you, Thrive youth workers are out in the streets, schools and community spaces of three Oxfordshire estates – day in, day out.

And they don’t come in for a few hours and then leave. Wherever possible, they live in the communities they serve for the long term. All they do is driven by a passion to show young people growing up in disadvantage just how much they matter.

As trust grows, young people start to believe in themselves and their power to change things – and all kinds of breakthrough can happen.

But what does this work look like in practice?

Rebecca NapierNo day is the same when you work with young people. South Abingdon-based Rebecca Napier invites you to walk with her through a typical day.

‘I start by heading to the prayer room at Christ Church, where youth workers from across town gather every week. Few of us are part of a big team, so time together to share the latest news, plan and pray for each other means a lot.

We publicise each other’s clubs and events to the young people we know, and work together on joint projects like school prayer spaces. It’s a great way to make the most of limited resources – and really encouraging.

Then I catch a lift to the local secondary school, where my Thrive colleagues Matt and Daniel and I spend time hanging out with kids on their lunch break.

A chat or a game of football can mean more to a kid who’s having a hard day than you’d ever think. It shows them they’re not alone, and that someone’s looking out for them.

Kids who are feeling down or upset get listened to, and those who feel lonely get included. When arguments kick off we’re there to defuse tension. Kids who are struggling can have a laugh or get something off their chest. That way, they know they’ve been seen and heard – and understood.

When lunch hour’s over it’s time to grab my own lunch – and a mocha for an energy boost. Matt, Daniel and I check in with each other about any concerns or opportunities we’ve spotted.

Then it’s prep time: a quick trip to the shop for drinks, dips and crisps for Gaming Club. First comes set-up, then an hour and a half of games, chat and fun, with Xboxes, jenga, football, crafts and sometimes a team game to bring everyone together. It’s lively and there’s lots of laughter.

As the last people finally leave, we pack up and then I head home for some much-needed food, chill-time and a debrief with my sister.

It’s a demanding job, but I can’t tell you how much I love seeing young people begin to grow in trust and self-belief.

My dream for young people in South Abingdon is that they get a chance to dream for themselves. I want them to see that they can step up, be an active part of their community, explore faith and find hope for the future.’

Please pray for Rebecca, Matt and Daniel as they work tirelessly to see young people released to live out their God-given potential.

P.S. Since writing this, we have heard exciting news from Matt and Rebecca, that two young people gave their lives to Jesus on Sunday. Here is the email that Matt, South Abingdon Youth Leader shared with us;

‘I have just had the pleasure along with Daniel in seeing two of our young people become Christians today which is so exciting!!!

We met both of these boys this time last year on the streets of South Abingdon during a detached session and now they are supporting and helping at our clubs in small leadership roles.

This is a real testimony – both boys are great and have so much to give to their community.’

What others are saying about Thrive

“Working together, we’ve been able to bring hope to young people with low aspirations, with positive role models and mentoring, to help them develop and grow.”

Andrew Longmore, Pastor, Leys Communty Church