Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Events, events, events...

We've been away at festivals over the summer promoting A Way Out and selling our brand new merchandise (details about this coming soon!) but we're back now doing what we love and running events around Teesside. 

The first of these is coming up this Friday at The Basement in Middlesbrough:

This will be open to anyone above the age of 14 and there'll be mocktails and cocktails on offer as well delicious cupcakes provided by The American Cake Company. Great music, great food, great company- we'll see you there!

Next up is Rags and Muffins Yarm. This is a slightly smaller event than our usual Middlesbrough one but it is well worth a visit. Supported by the Soroptimists International there'll be rails of clothes for you to browse as well as an open bar, cupcakes and featured local businesses present. And all that with free entry!

And of course, we promised that Rags and Muffins would be returning to Middlesbrough and here it is:

 This time around we are expanding to include menswear and children's clothes so this certainly won't be a girls only event. We're also keeping all our favourite features: fashion show, DJ, cupcakes, vintage corner, Bucks Fizz reception and charity cocktails. An event not to be missed!

Hopefully one of these takes your fancy, maybe more than one. If you coming along, why not pop over and say hi at the A Way Out stand? We love to meet friends new and old.

Love from A Way Out x

Monday, 22 August 2011

Total Warrior Photos!

As promised, here are the photos of Jessie, Sarah Jane, Chris and Dave who competed in Total Warrior a couple of weeks ago...

Chris, Dave, Sarah Jane and Jessie: feeling bright and energetic before the race got started...

The beginning of the 10k gruelling challenge

Getting towards the end now- I think arms must be very tired

Check out the landscape- it even looks quite good in the rain

Getting the electric shock treatment!

Still smiling at the end

A well deserved drink
For the low-down on Total Warrior and why these crazy people were taking part in it, have a look at our previous blog 'Running For Love. Could You Do This?' Well done to Dave, Chris, Jessie and Sarah Jane- what an amazing thing to do to make a difference to the lives of at risk women and youth in Teesside.

Love from A Way Out x

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Something a little different...

Hi, my name is Niomi and I have been volunteering at A WAY OUT since October and  I honestly cannot describe how amazing it is. The staff are amazing, the clients are amazing and the work we all do together is amazing! Anyway, Whilst Jenny is off on her jollies, she has left me in charge of updating the blog and keeping all you readers up to date with the day to day happenings of A WAY OUT. So, let’s see how this goes…

Last week A WAY OUT was action packed as per, if not more so with preparations under way for the Total Warrior challenge! We were even lucky enough to be given the opportunity to take the girls from the community drop-in bowling thanks to 'Cash for Kids'. The community drop-in is a group which takes place every Wednesday for girls ages 16-21 as part of the recovery work we do here at AWO. This drop-in is a chance for our service users to integrate themselves back into the community within a safe and secure environment, where they are made to feel welcome and at home. 

Bowling is a brilliant activity to get the girls involved with. They have always thoroughly enjoyed it in the past and being away from the centre gives the girls a change of scenery, as well as the chance to have a go at something they may not have tried before.

The girls split up into 3 teams and wanted to add a bit of competition to the mix and see who could score the highest. Spirits were high throughout the day and there was plenty of laughter, smiles and team work! The joy element is an essential part to our work as much as the structured group sessions we put on. It helps those who are sometimes less fortunate or have never had the chance to JUST HAVE FUN! There is no better feeling than seeing our clients laughing, smiling and just enjoying themselves!

Love from A Way Out x

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Our first guest blogger: Lizzie!

My name’s Lizzie and I’m the education worker at A Way Out. My official title is ‘Vulnerable Young Persons Education Development Worker’ (very long, I know)!

I’ve worked for A Way Out for 3 years now and my main role is to co-ordinate accredited and informal learning amongst our service users. I believe that everyone has the right to an education and can be educated regardless of their background, ability, situation or age. Often our service users may have had bad experiences in the past but A Way Out eases them gently back into education and in many cases a learner may achieve their first ever certificate. This can often be the start of a learning journey they would otherwise not have embarked upon!

Education at A Way Out can mean working with young people who have been permanently excluded from school, going into a secondary schools to deliver self esteem workshops and healthy lifestyle sessions, running employment courses with our adult service users or running a creative arts project with local professional artists. With me being the only girl on this team I often will do some youth outreach type work too, whether its running a girls group or helping out at a youth club roadshow!

Some proud girls with their certificates

When we run ‘education’ projects, the education side is only a small part of it. There may be other issues that need to be dealt with and I often refer people on to colleagues or outside agencies. There may be worrying stuff that is happening at home that we need to tackle or maybe on that particular day they just need a listening ear. Although we are looking to improve their education, it’s really about improving their life as a whole. So sometimes I’m a youth worker, sometimes a befriender, often it feels like I am a counsellor and sometimes I'm a teacher. You never know what each day will bring!

Improving fitness

Raising self-esteem and aspirations through recreational activities

With it being the holidays at the moment, not a lot of education happens as the schools are shut, so I've been getting up to some different things...

  • We are going to start providing accreditation for our volunteer program in September! This means our volunteers will not only receive excellent, relevant training but also a Level 1 accreditation too! So in the next couple of weeks I'm going to be busy writing unit plans and workbooks. Watch this space volunteers!
  • Matty (our outreach worker) and I are busy recruiting young people for our Summer Trips to Lightwater Valley, Redcar beach, Beamish Museum, a picnic in the park and some other places too! These give young people the opportunity to do something fun in the holidays and also provide time for us to build relationships with them. It gives them an experience they may not otherwise have and more importantly it takes them off dangerous estates and can give them a break from distressing home lives.
  • Whilst I'm not out on trips and writing units I will have time to prepare for the next school term. We’re working in three schools in September delivering workshops on drugs and alcohol awareness, self esteem and healthy lifestyles. I’ll be coming up with schemes of work, lesson plans and material for those. One of the schools is new to A Way Out so we hope to make a good impression!

Learning about drug categories

I'm looking forward to September as lots of things happening. Hopefully we'll increase our work with young people who are at risk of been excluded and we are going to be developing our one to one sessions. I'm wanting to create a weekly education afternoon where A Way Out service users can access education in basic skills, for example in maths, independent living etc.. And chatting to a young person yesterday about healthy eating has give me the idea to run healthy cooking classes! So all very exciting stuff!

Love from A Way Out x

Monday, 1 August 2011

Running for love. Could you do this?

The route Jessie (our CEO) and SJ (our community fundraiser), will be running on Saturday, together with some very loyal supporters of A Way Out!

This Saturday, staff at A Way Out and other volunteers will be taking part in the Total Warrior Challenge in the beautiful but unforgiving Lake District terrain. They are competing in a 10km race which includes an 8ft wall, swamps, fire and tunnels to raise money for A Way Out. Some would say that this is an exciting and exhilarating way to spend a Saturday afternoon, others may say it's fairly foolish! Whatever your opinion though, it is an impressive feat and next week, we will be writing a blog letting you know how they got on!

(If you're impressed by this and feel it's worth sponsoring then here is the link to Jessie's sponsorship page.)

But if Total warrior isn't your cup of tea, then maybe a slightly calmer 10k run would be more down your street:

You can now register for the Middlebrough 10k event which is taking place on Sunday 4th September. You can run it, walk it or jog it and the route is all on flat roads (no surprise 8ft walls to get over I promise)! This is ideal for people of any level as you can go completely at your own pace, taking it as seriously as you like and there is also a 3k fun run which is great for families to take part in.

If you would like to raise money for A Way Out by taking part in the Middlesbrough run then it is really easy! All you have to do is register yourself online at http://www.middlesbrough10krun.com/ccm/portal/ and then drop us a line to let us know you've entered. We can then send you a sponsor form and a t-shirt to run in. And there is no minimum amount to raise, every penny is so important!

This promises to be a really fun event and who knows, maybe you'll fancy trying the Total Warrior Challenge next year?!

Love from A Way Out x
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