We’ve just spent two weeks having time out with students from Emmbrook School and the Holt school.
PAUSE transformed classrooms into creative, interactive zones for reflection, thinking or prayer. The spaces invited young people to explore their own lives and feelings, and to think about the world around them – locally and further afield. Most of all it was a chance to leave the pressure behind and simply be themselves.
What they thought
“It was the first time I thought about what’s troubling me and I wrote it down.”
“It took my mind off school stress.”
“This is a safe space; you know you are not alone.”
“I liked the remembering zone. When someone dies, a part of you dies, and when I had a chance to remember them it was like that part coming to life again.”
“I liked the post box because it was anonymous so you could express and post away your feelings.”
“You were able to forgive yourself.”
“We would like a space like this all the time to chill; a chance to stop and think about things. If you’re stressed at home it’s a space to think and be calm.”
“Can we just lock the door and stay in here?!”
We asked, how did the space make you feel – in one word? They said:
Unlocked, free, safe, open, thoughtful, imaginative, peaceful.
One of the zones was a space to ask ‘big questions’. Here are a few that the young people pegged up:
“Why am I here?” “Why is there suffering?” “What can I do to be accepted?” “What is life?” “Is God real?” “What is death like?” “How can I be happy again?”
Friendship is gold
Although the top worries expressed were to do with friendships, the support of friends and family were also the top things mentioned in the thankfulness zone. Honest friendships are a huge source of help for young people navigating life’s pressures.
We think PAUSE helped a lot of the students to be more open with each other. During one session, two Year 8 students sat together in the ‘Be Still’ tent. At the end, one came out crying and said they had sat and talked together about things they never had before – like what they really worry about. They said they would love to do it again.
We owe a huge thank you to our PAUSE volunteers who worked so hard to set up, pack down and guide the young people around this special space.