Youthworkers at Roca
Roca staff members are known for being persistent, relentless, assertive, strong-minded, avid learners, and fierce advocates. We cannot wait for high-risk young people to show up at our doors, because they never will. Youth workers build relationships by finding young people where they are at, learning where they hang out, knocking on their doors, and continuously circling the neighborhood in the infamous Roca vans. It is the relentlessness of a youth worker who shows up day after day, no matter what, that awakens hope in a young person. As trust builds and the visits to Roca increase, the youth worker strategically develops a relationship that is a commitment between the youth and youth worker: they are now “in it” together.
But what defines relentless outreach and follow up in the most fundamental sense, is the consistency of youth workers’ efforts in connecting and reconnecting with a young person. Because high-risk young people have had little or no experience with adults who impose consistent expectations of healthy behavior, they are prone to frequent disengagement and rejection of constructive relationships. Therefore, (especially in the early stages of outreach), a youth worker must relentlessly reconnect with a young person who periodically rejects them and refuses to engage in programming. While a young person may show up at Roca three times in one week, they may just as likely refuse to come back the following week. It is the youth worker’s responsibility to track down that young person and reengage them.