Seven questions with Windsor House Manager Eli Brooker
What do you do here at Brisbane Youth Service?
I manage Windsor House and am responsible for ensuring the smooth operation of the 24/7 immediate housing service for young people aged between 16 and 18. An important part of my role is providing case support to young people and coordinating the team of youth workers to help young people move out of crisis, develop independent living skills and transition to housing which they can sustain into the future.
The best part of your job?
The best part of my job is getting to know the aspirations and perspectives of the young people who access our service.
How does the work you do assist vulnerable young people experiencing homelessness and disadvantage?
Informed by values of respect, optimism, accountability and resilience the Windsor House program aims to get young people engaged in a whole range of meaningful activities such as cooking, exercising and bike riding and to re-engage in education, employment or training. By providing a safe supportive environment and mentoring we aim to help young people redefine their identities, build their self-esteem and confidence and help them to make positive choices and transition to independence.
What’s the one thing everyone should know about young people and homelessness?
I believe the biggest misconception is that young people ‘don’t care’, but I find the opposite to be true. In most cases young people care so much they have become overwhelmed by making decisions especially if guidance on these issues has been limited.
What’s the best part of working with young people?
Young people are willing to be vulnerable, open and direct which allows for genuine connection if you’re willing to sit with them in their honesty.
What are some of the main reasons young people seek support?
It appears the underlying reasons young people seek our support is ‘hopelessness’ and lack of knowledge of how to make positive changes.
Tell us three words that best describe the young people you work with?
Funny, caring and honest.