The Home staff of SHELTER are literally the main and primary Nurturers of our children. They are the individuals who put in many hours, are involved with the children, play multiple roles and perform countless tasks just so that each and every child in the Home can receive the best in terms of care, love and benefits. The Home staff do all of the above despite the constraints they face daily.
Following, are some of the challenges our Home staff face in the 3 Homes:
Shelter Home 1 ( house children aged 4 – 12)
The staff in this Home face very heavy and difficult tasks, that is to give their best to build the foundation of early childhood for these children before they become youth and adults. The fact that our children have very difficult pasts to deal with, our Home staff at Shelter 1 need to be able to not only help them work through their feelings and emotions, but to also move forward in life. Since Shelter 1 is the flagship Home of Shelter, the Staff need to juggle between doing the cooking, laundry, ironing, sweeping and moping the place and entertaining visitors who come to the Home. Thankfully, the children also help out with some of the chores and this really helps to reduce the amount of workload our Home staff have to deal with every single day. There is also another important aspect of supervision and that is to keep an eye on the children so that their safety is ensured and that little squabbles do not go ‘overboard’ . Ultimately, a lot of who and what our children turn out to be, will depend on how much our Home staff invest into the lives of these children during the time spent with them.
Shelter Home 2 ( house teenage girls aged 13 – 18)
The Home staff in Shelter 2 face a different set of challenges compared to those in Shelter 1. Teenage girls in this phase of their lives, who are trying to work out their identity, coupled with a difficult past can be a challenging journey. Teenagers will want to explore their identities by mixing and socializing with their friends on the outside. As mentioned in our previous Newsletter, our Shelter Home 2 girls are in a way, more protected and sheltered compared to the boys in our Shelter Home 3. The reason being that our girls are more exposed to danger and bad influence. This is where the Home staff of Shelter 2 will have to be better equipped, that is they will need wisdom, knowledge and ultimately, more patience to deal with the girls who are going through ‘a difficult patch’. The girls in the Home often complain and express dissatisfaction in being “caged” in the Home, having little or no freedom to do ‘their own thing ’. There have been instances where the girls sneaked out of the Home without permission and had all the Home staff panicking and worried.
Shelter Home 3 (house teenage boys aged 13 – 18)
The Home staff in Shelter 3 have to use a different approach in nurturing and bringing up the boys. Teenage boys, like the girls, are also in the stage of discovering their own identity in life and in addition, Home staff will need to learn how to deal with the boys’ ego as well. The Home staff in Shelter 3 need to know how to influence the boys’ lives positively without having to force them to just listen. They also have to earn their respect. This respect can be only earned if the Home staff can show that they are genuinely interested in boys’ well-being and know how to give them the space and time to be on their own. There were times when fights broke out between the boys and the situation was tense. At such times, the Home staff must know how to intervene without making the situation worse. Another area that the Home staff concentrate on is to train the boys to help out with the chores by washing their own clothes, sweeping and mopping the floor as well as doing some cooking.