With BC Youth Week 2019 coming up May 1-7, we’re gearing up to celebrate all things youth, including our fantastic Youth Leaders: Sheroan Anthonypillai, Stratos Charalambides, James Hickson, and Silvia Rubino. With experience ranging up to a decade at the Roundhouse, this dedicated team ensures that youth have a welcoming, fun, and safe space to play, learn, and build community. We took a bit of time to connect with the team and learn more about why youth support is so important at the Roundhouse.
What drew you to working with youth?
SC: When I was a youth coming to Roundhouse we had a great roster of staff to supervise my childish behavior. They and the youth worker at the time were awesome and I wanted to be able to mirror the experience I had in my own way.
SA: Studying Communications/Education in university, I was looking for different opportunities to volunteer and work in the communities I frequented at the time. I was fortunate enough to land a volunteer position at the Roundhouse Community Centre working the summer daycamps program. The amount of fun I had that summer connecting with youth and establishing relationships with everyone at the Centre is ultimately what drew me to work with youth.
JH: I grew up coming to the Roundhouse and have always liked working with kids and youth. I like being apart of the community I grew up in.
SR: I always knew I wanted to work with children and youth, especially in a community based setting. I love listening to their stories, seeing them giggle as you walk by telling their inside jokes, but most of all watching them gain valuable lessons and unforgettable memories.
How do you see your role improving youth experience at the Roundhouse?
SC: I’m always looking out for the kids, playing games, getting involved, and giving feedback. You can count on me I am most likely on your side!
SA: Most youth have to endure a full day of meeting the demands of school and family obligations. I hope to improve youth experience at the Roundhouse by always being approachable and someone to lean on. One of my favourite things about working with youth are our conversations. We are able to share our experiences and unique perspectives on the world. It’s truly amazing to hear the stories and gain insight on the current youth landscape.
JH: I would like to make youth feel safe and comfortable.
SR: I just try to maintain positive, relatable, healthy relationships with the youth. I’m always open for a chat, a laugh, a fun game of super smash bros or a friendly–yet slightly competitive–game of Uno.
What programs at the Roundhouse have you seen as the most beneficial to youth?
SC: Youth open gym has always been a Roundhouse staple. We have a lot of space and time for our youth to meet up and do what they want. I’ve been blessed to be able to supervise the gym after all these years, where I’ve met great kids and formed countless relationships.
SA: Youth open gym. I may have some bias, since I regularly work the open gym, but I’ve seen this program as extremely beneficial to youth. It’s a great way for them to avoid dangerous places. In the safety of the Centre, youth can grab snacks, play board or video games, play sports such as basketball and hockey, and listen to fun music. Additionally, they have a great youth staff team to talk to and share fun experiences with!
JH: Youth open gym is the most beneficial because it brings kids from all over to a safe place on a Friday nights to play, which is awesome for youth.
SR: The youth open gym has been a very valuable asset. Living in a concrete jungle without a backyard in a time with limitless technology and screen time, youth open gym provides and promotes face-to-face socialization, physical activity, positive mood and self-image, mental and physical strength, healthy competition, and overall comradery. I also love that we support the arts and encourage individuality and creativity in youth programming.
What would you like to work towards in improving youth experience at the Roundhouse?
SC: Bring the dances back!! Pretty sure I attended the last school dance.
SA: As a youth team, I hope that we can offer programming tailored to youth wants and needs. If they want more open gym time, or a workshop of some sort, I would love to try and create that for them.
JH: More programs and opportunities for the youth ages 12-18.
SR: A lot of great improvements have happened in the last year like our Youth Lounge, Youth Council, and more youth programming. It would be nice to have more social youth functions like pizza parties, game nights, basketball tournaments, youth dances, karaoke nights, and DJ jams. It’s a great way to get to know the kids in a fun and social setting.
If you could give your 13-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be?
SC: Spend more time on homework. Rough it out!
SA: It takes time to learn how to learn. Everyone is different – what works for someone on an individual level varies from person to person. Always remember to take a deep breath, and REEEEELAAAAAXXXXX. Do what makes you happy and don’t worry about what others think!
JH: Listen to your parents/elders. Play as many sports as you can, while you can!
SR: It doesn’t matter what others think about you, it’s what you think about yourself. Stop criticizing yourself for your failures and start appreciating yourself for your achievements. Don’t get stuck in the drama, take risks, and never stop dreaming.
BC Youth Week takes places from May 1-7, 2019. Learn more about events in Vancouver.