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News and views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
Issue 4 Winter 2007

Counting on Just42

Just42 volunteers George and Wayne with graffiti produced in a project this summer

This year the Woodbridge-based Just42 youth project has produced numerous positive results, contrary to the negative reports about young people that appear each week in the national press.

We can count ourselves lucky that this area does not encounter the dreadful violence and behaviour that goes with the drug culture of some inner city areas we hear of and which surely concerns us all. Life in Woodbridge and its surrounding villages is somewhat different; some funders actually question the need to support our work, because we arent experiencing the deprivation they aim to address.

But we live in the same society a consumer-led, money-oriented, competitive and highly industrialised world, where success is measured by what we have and what we can do, even though most dont have the time to enjoy it. I was recently talking with an African tribesman, who said, "Ah yes, you have the watches, but we have the time!"

This, in a nutshell, is what we have to consider in our work here; the young people living alongside us have all kinds of special needs, which can be hard to recognise. We can only offer them the unconditional love of our Christ-like approach; but that is all they seek. Our workers are dedicated to helping them achieve their dreams, learn from new experiences and have fun. They are canny consumers; we need to fit in with them, not the other way round but the rewards of seeing their needs being met are great.

This year we ran our first full summer holiday programme, despite our past experience that young people had better things to do. We were delighted with the response in Woodbridge, Hasketon and Grundisburgh to our three-week projects. Some of those who had joined our clubs in 2002, now in their late teens, are becoming volunteer helpers; at our Showcase/AGM on 29th November, three of them will receive special certificates for over 100 hours volunteering. This is what youth work is all about. Where would we be without our volunteer helpers? We are extremely grateful to them all.