Thriving Strategy Two

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Thriving Strategy Two - Boundaries

Hear what youth workers have to say about this Thriving Strategy.

What it means:

Your relationship with young people is both authentic and professional, with appropriate limits on your role in a young person’s life. You stay within healthy and respectful boundaries, and recognize there is a power imbalance because of your role as a youth worker.

Why It Matters:

Youth workers tend to have a great deal of passion for helping young people and compassion for the challenges they face. This emotional connection can serve as a powerful spark for fostering relationships. (In fact, building positive, trusting relationships with young people is an afterschool effective practice!) But we’re still professionals, so we must maintain professional boundaries that protect youths’ physical and psychological safety. Where exactly that line is drawn often varies from one situation to the next, so it’s important to have regular reflections and discussions with your supervisor and coworkers. Then, turn those conversations into opportunities to continuously clarify policies that identify appropriate boundaries.

Manager Action Item:

Do your organization’s policies and training address appropriate boundaries? Do this: Review your policies with staff. Discuss various scenarios and identify any questions about appropriate boundaries that are not addressed in your current policies. See Building Block 6 on page 27 for inspiration.