The work of The Cork Life Centre is all about journeys; not just journey’s through education but through life. Here a therapist at the centre talks about the brave journey young people make to her door.
When the students come to therapy they have already travelled through the whole of The Life Centre -both literally, the therapy room is the last room in the building at the end of the corridor on the second floor, and figuratively… let me give you an abbreviated version of a typical journey.
The Life Centre door is red, it stands out a mile, and most importantly, it is open. As the young person walks in they are inevitably greeted by Thomas or Rachel or another member of staff in the hall who is keeping an eye out for everyone, making sure that everyone is there or ringing to check on those that aren’t. They will be met with a smile and engaged about something that is happening with them. How did this go? Did you see that person yesterday? And crucially, how are you? They then enter the kitchen, which is the heart of the centre where staff and students meet in the morning, at tea-time and lunch time. It is warm, friendly and nourishing and the view from there is unlike any other in the city I have seen. Standing looking out of the window you can see almost the whole city right to the far reaches of the city limits and the hills behind. This in itself provides a change of vision, a new prospect for these young people, standing in warmth looking out at a multitude of possibilities. Then they go to classrooms all about the building; the art room, the woodwork room, to math class and computers where they are taught individually by dedicated people, teachers in every sense of the word. To get to the therapy room they pass the office where they often call in and where there is always someone keeping everything running as smoothly as possible. All this happens before they knock on the door of the therapy room.
The reason I come to work here is because I promised myself at their age that I would give what I was given. The reason it is so enjoyable and possible for me to do this is because that is my journey to the therapy room also. I am incredibly privileged to work as part of an organization like the Life Centre that provides a space that supports these journeys and their accompanying stories.
By the time the young people come to my door they know they have support and have been provided with a vision of possibility, which is the spur for change. The reason they trust me enough to tell me their stories is because of the people they have met and the support they have received on their way through the Life Centre. There is no question that this support is literally a life support.