Young people’s questions to Helsinki’s outreach youth workers
- What is it that you guys do?
- What kind of young people do you work with?
- Are you kinda like social workers or something?
- Can you really help me, even though I’ve got so many problems?
- Who are you guys?
We help 16-to-28-year-old young people living in Helsinki, so that they can partake in all the useful and cool things that Helsinki has to offer just for them.
Our job is to help every young person who contacts us to find the services, activities or information relevant to their situation and wishes. And if it’s OK with the young person in question, we’ll also accompany and support them in dealing with agencies or familiarising themselves with educational institutions, recreational activities or just about anything that they consider to be important at the time.
In practice, we go around Helsinki and schedule meetings in places where young people are comfortable being and talking with us. Sometimes that place might be a café, at other times maybe a youth centre, a park, the youth’s home or one of our offices (which are located in Helsinki Vocational College in Vallila, at Hattulantie 2). And of course we also talk quite a bit about all kinds of things on WhatsApp.
Contacting us is:
- Free of charge
What we do is always based on the young person’s own wishes.
Things that you can ask us about include:
- What kind of interesting activities are there in Helsinki and how can I participate in them?
- What would be a good place to study and how do I become a student there?
- Where and how can I apply for a job?
- How could I take better care of my finances?
- How do I apply for income/employment/whatever support and what about all those attachments?
- How do I meet new people?
- How do I find a new place to live in Helsinki? (answer = It’s probably gonna be really fu****g difficult!)
- Where can I find help when I’m feeling depressed or need help with my mental or physical health? (answer = Help is really available, from quite a few places, actually.)
We can talk about major and minor life plans, fill out different applications together or calmly prepare for whatever big ordeals you have coming up (such as job interviews, school applications, meetings with social workers, etc.). We know quite a bit about the opportunities available in this city and in Finland, what young people in different situations are entitled to, and the places where you can find help with the tough challenges that anyone might face in their lives. Anything that us outreach youth workers might not know yet won’t stay unknown for long, since we’re gonna find it out for you and even ask all the stupid questions, so you won’t have to.
What kind of young people do you work with?
We meet with all kinds of people. It’s not like we have an exact set of criteria for what a person has to be like to qualify – the main thing for us outreach youth workers is being able to help a young person (meaning anyone between the ages of 16 and 29) with something.
Someone might need just a bit of encouragement once or twice to take care of something they’ve been stuck with, while with someone else we might hold several meetings and do all kinds of things to turn their life around.
One person might have dropped out of school and have no clear plan on what to do next.
Another might be in a tight spot due to losing their flat and running out of money.
A third might know exactly what they want, but not how to get it yet.
A fourth might have suffered some emotional setbacks and now needs to pick themselves up and move on.
And a fifth might be someone who we’ve not met yet, but who is just now thinking about contacting outreach youth work by phone/WhatsApp or e-mail or perhaps via the contact form on the front page.
Are you kinda like social workers or something?
Yes and no: yes in that just like social workers, we try to help people in trouble and aim to change their lives for the better. And no, we’re not like social workers because we don’t make official decisions and we’re not responsible for legal processes in the same way.
That being said, we are happy to collaborate with social workers whenever necessary. After all, it can be of great help in many situations.
Can you really help me, even though I’ve got so many problems?
Absolutely – let’s sit down somewhere peaceful, talk about it and address those problems one at a time. We’ll help you see possibilities, make plans for the future and work towards making those plans a reality. We can meet as many or as few times that you need or feel comfortable with.