It’s easy for us facilitators to get lost in what we think we are achieving at New Leaf, just the same as it is for members of the community to form their own personal idea of what we do within our green walls. However, this week, while sifting through piles of old files and notes, we came across a list of goals our clients had said they had hoped to achieve by coming to our program from 2007.
It is always interesting and helpful for us to get feedback from our clients, especially when given the opportunity to see what they want to get from us and what they feel they do get from us at the end of their time here. Finding this list gave us insight into what we should be doing and an opportunity to reflect on what we are doing well today.
As a summer student intern, I have no idea what was going on in the program in 2007, however looking at this list today, I can identify aspects of each of the goals our guys set out on that warm September night 10 years ago in the work we have done in the past six weeks. While I cannot attest to what the guys felt they were learning with us 10 years ago, I do know that these goals are playing out every night in group today.
I think the goals they guys set out reflect the values New Leaf has always dedicated itself to, but serve as a good reminder of the work we are doing and where our focus should lie during group. They guys identified;
Every day we walk into group somewhat blind; we have an idea of what our guys were struggling with the last time we saw them or major events they had coming up, but we are never certain of who will walk through the door or what will be on their mind. I personally feel like the goals the guys shared with us 10 years ago give us a guiding light with which to lead our sessions, regardless of the individual struggle each guy is going through on that particular night. Finding this reminder of what the guys want to get from us helps us guide discussion and create links between what each guy is going through on their own and provides us with the opportunity to address the bigger picture and give the guys something they can take home, think about, and work with.
This list of goals also goes beyond our meeting room; the things the guys identified that they would like to learn and work on in their lives and with us are relevant to every individual and every relationship. We hope looking at these goals also serves as a good reminder to everyone that we need to constantly be working on ourselves and developing our relationships in positive ways.
Sarah Toole – Admin Assistant, Summer Student Position
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