Deborah's youth work wins praise

A SHEFFIELD youth volunteer has won a national award for her work with teenagers on the Manor estate.

Monday, 15th October 2007, 2:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th October 2007, 8:17 am

Deborah Kerry, who works with the Manor Young People's Health Project, has received the Practitioners' Award from the Young Adult Learners' Project in London.

Deborah is supervised in her voluntary work by Donna Jones, a senior youth worker with Sheffield Futures.

Deborah left school with no qualifications, had children at a young age and experienced a number of setbacks in life.

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But it is these experiences that Deborah believes are crucial to empathising with the young people with whom she works.

Many of her young people have poor literacy and numeracy skills and have experienced drug use, poverty, abuse and homelessness.

Donna said: "Deborah has maintained a commitment to the most vulnerable young people. Despite being through the mill, she is positive and feisty.

"She lives on the estate, knows its culture and family webs. She reaches the parts that others couldn't!"

Deborah's approach is based firmly upon treating all young people as individuals, not as problems.

"I see them as young people who are hurting," she said.

"I battle for them, don't take no for an answer and then get them to do training and learning that will help them to move on."

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