Hello, my name is Michaela Traynor. As one of the newest members of the CRJI team, my role as a support worker on the Health and Wellbeing programme is to deliver a long-term participant led mentoring support service to our participants in the hopes of improving their emotional, physical, mental and social health needs. I’m excited to be a part of the team and I’m amazed at the work being completed by this organisation.
My experience in youth and community work began in 2008. I started by volunteering in my local youth club and progressed to paid roles, this included delivering community drug awareness training and sexual health programmes. These programmes involved facilitating in various settings including The Princes Trust, youth clubs and schools. Sourcing the funding for these enabled me to work freelance and develop my own programmes.
I then went on to work with young care leavers in a supported housing setting. The supported housing offered young people leaving care a place to live interdependently and develop their life skills before moving on to independent living. This was an opportunity for me to increase my knowledge of the care system and the transition of leaving care. This was my initial introduction to working with people that had created a community based on a shared experience as opposed to the area in which they lived.
From here it then seemed like a natural progression into the homeless sector. Many of the people accessing homeless services had been excluded and outcast from their communities. Numerous individuals from different walks of life many with varying complex needs make up the homeless community, these are people that cross paths within homeless services due to one common need for housing. When that need has been met support can then be required to settle in a new community and to make a house a home. As the coordinator of a floating support service I was privileged to be involved in this part of people’s lives.
I have also been lucky to take time between jobs to travel. A year spent in Spain and 7 months spent travelling around India, Andaman Islands and Sri Lanka was a big culture shock but helped me realise my ability to adapt to and understand other cultures and ways of life.
Throughout my career I have discovered and nurtured my passion for advocacy, breaking down barriers to accessing services and supporting people to find their voice. I would consider engaging in the homeless sector as a transition from youth work to engaging primarily with adults. I am delighted that this new role with CRJI has combined my passion for working with a broad age range.
I have recently completed a restorative practice introductory course which has only made me that much more eager to expand my knowledge of restorative practices and implement them both professionally and personally. I have supported some of the most marginalised members of our society and the more I learn about restorative practice the more hope I have for these people to be accepted and connected in their communities. My new role on the Health and Wellbeing programme will allow me to be a part of creating those connections for people and getting them involved in their community.