Darren Douglas, Youth Worker

Joined YMCA East London 2009

What do you like best about working for us?

I like the team I work with, it’s very energetic. I also feel that the organisation encourages me to be creative and explore ideas.

Describe a typical day in the life of a Youth Worker.

I have to pre-plan my workload. I make calls to parents and young people, usually to do with arranging individual sessions, case studies, projects and events. In the evening my role is more hands-on, I facilitate sessions with young people.

What do you think about the learning and development opportunities offered in YMCA EL?

We have done a lot for young people, especially the Hear4Youth helpline project we set up last year as well the youth volunteering opportunities we provide.  One of our young people has currently been nominated for a ‘Youth Matters’ award.  All this has been possible through the learning opportunities offered by the organisation and the last 3 or 4 years of sustained work has culminated in this and shows the development and progress made.

Name a couple of things you have on your ‘Things I must do before…. list’

I’d really like to travel to all 7 continents of the world, and I still want to go to the Middle East, Asia and the Southern hemisphere.

If you had the means and resources to invent a gadget that could do anything you choose, what would it be?

It wouldn’t exactly be a gadget because what I would like is actually something that makes us all less dependent on technology and remove this virtual world that we seem to live in. So I would like to take us back to a time when we weren’t so reliant on technology.

What would you say to someone thinking of joining us?

Think of the YMCA as somewhere you can become a better person. If you don’t feel fit enough, come to the gym and improve, participate in our activities. There can be a stigma surrounding the YMCA but you have to ignore that and embrace the positives.