|School support youth worker is finalist in Public Servant of the Year award|
|News - Community News|
|Friday, 28 September 2012 18:16|
A Carmarthenshire youth worker has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.
Cindy Hunt, aged 55, is a finalist in the Society Guardian Public Servant of the Year award.
She was nominated by her colleagues and the young people she works with for her dedication and inspiration.
Cindy, who has been a youth worker for 14 years, supports young people in two comprehensive schools in the Gwendraeth Valley, helping them to cope with upheaval in their lives.
For some, family problems are disrupting their school work, for others the temptations of drugs or alcohol are threatening to send them off the rails.
She said: “Sadly there are so many issues for young people in society today - there are harder drugs on the street and easier access to alcohol. A lot of young people find it hard to deal with their mum and dad breaking up. They might have so many issues in their head that learning at school is not happening for them.”
Cindy’s approachis to 'start from where the young person is', building a relationship of trust and support.
“I develop a relationship with them and through that help them to learn about themselves, about others and about society.' she said. “It's a totally different relationship from the one with a teacher, social worker or health worker. I want them to know that I am always there for them.”
Colleagues describe her dedication to her work as inspirational. Hers is not a 9 to 5 job. On top of her time in schools, which includes running sexual health workshops as well as the one-to-one support sessions, she visits families out of hours, takes young people on informal learning trips and runs a mobile outreach service to meet young people 'on their own turf'.
She's also a visiting tutor for the University of Wales Trinity St David, passing her knowledge on to the youth workers of the future.
Cindy said she got huge satisfaction from helping young people. “When I'm out and see young people who I used to work with 10 years ago with their own children and doing well, that's wonderful,” she said. “Not everyone is a success story of course. But if I get 10 young people and can help two or three of them I feel I've really achieved something. I'm so passionate about this work. No one day is the same - and I don't know how many can say that.”
The Society Guardian Public Servant of the Year Award is intended to honour the contribution of an individual as a member of any team that makes the critical difference between a good service and an outstanding one.
Service users and other members of the public were asked to nominate the individuals whose contributions shone out and the team of judges drew up a shortlist of five nominees.
The final decision lies with the public vote. Go to www.guardian.co.uk to vote for Cindy, voting closes on Friday, October 26.