Building Connections: Sofia’s Story

Many of the children that we work with at Chance UK are facing a real mix of issues, such as domestic abuse at home, grief due to losing a family member and mental health and anxiety. A lot of the time we see children who are really struggling to express their emotions as well as dealing with anger or anxiety.  

My days are so different depending on which child I am seeing because I will plan an activity that they enjoy so that they feel relaxed and we can start to build a relationship. With some of the youngest children we might do some art and that way I can use their drawings to start to talk about how they are feeling and what’s going on for them. I always try and plan something that’s fun and I’ll usually pick them up from school or home and take them out. For example, one girl I see loves making jewellery so I have a kit that I take and we sit and chat while doing that. With another one, we do a lot of reading together. They have to feel comfortable with you and that might take a few weeks or even months but it’s always a big moment once you see them visibly relax and open up.  

I think we have seen a lot more children struggling with emotions and building relationships since the pandemic and lockdown. So many children only had contact with others online and I think that has had a real impact on how they communicate and develop friendships. Many of the children are also now feeling the impact of the cost of living crisis and the worries at home about money. One young boy I see loves playing with Lego, so last time I saw him I bought a new set and after we’d finished I gave it to him. He was so shocked as he doesn’t normally get new toys. 

I’ve always believed that just one positive relationship with an adult can change a child’s life, and at Chance UK I think that’s what we offer. You can tell when a child is pleased to see you and that’s when you know that you are making a difference and you’ve become an important person in their life. It’s incredibly rewarding and it’s made me want to continue my training so that one day I can become a child psychotherapist. 

Sofia, a Chance UK Youth Worker


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