By David “Pav” Pavish, Developmental Ecologist at Brightways Learning
“Caring for the Carers” is one of the principles that our Kaleidoscope Connect full-color framework teaches, and it is represented by the color Indigo.
In order for the “Carers” (adults who anchor students) to be effective, they must also have strong support systems of their own. When Carers have their own adult Anchors and healthy webs of support, they are in turn able to support students in a healthy way.
Here are just a few examples of ways Carers can be supported by their Anchors in their own webs of support:
- Tangible Gifts. Often, when thinking about how to express gratitude, we buy an impersonal item from a store, wrap it, and give it to the Carer. Although most gifts are appreciated, try to think outside of the box. Through inquiry, discover the Carer’s personal preferences and give gifts that amplify those preferences. For example, if they love to go to movies, buy them tickets to a local theater. If they love sweets, surprise them by leaving a chocolate bar on their desk. Simple, thoughtful gifts often have the most value and meaning.
- Time. There are two ways time can be given to a Carer: The first is spending quality time with a Carer. This shows that you truly enjoy their company and value them as people. Small acts - such as inviting the Carer to coffee on the weekend or grabbing a bite to eat after work - can go a long way toward helping them feel loved and supported. The second is giving quality time to the Carer, like offering to babysit their kids so they use their movie tickets. This enables the Carer to have more time to spend in ways they choose and cherish.
- Public Recognition. For some Carers, being publicly recognized for their service or effort can make them feel amazing! To be acknowledged for a job well done in front of peers, supervisors, or even students, can motivate someone to continue doing great work.
- Private Recognition. Some Carers may be uncomfortable with public recognition. Ask simple questions to discover their preferences. Often, a private conversation that acknowledges your appreciation and admiration can go a long way and make a big impact.
- Opportunities to Anchor. For some Carers, the opportunity to Anchor youth is part of who they are and how they work. However, some Carers may feel they do not have much to offer, or may find it challenging to engage with youth. Affirming the Carer’s talents and connecting them to youth who could benefit from those talents, creates opportunities for growth in both the student and the Carer.
To learn more about the Kaleidoscope Connect Full-color framework, please visit our website.
Pav's combined 20 years of experience working with youth in direct care and administration in both the private and public sector has equipped him with a unique lens through which to see youth in Alaska and beyond. Throughout his career, the training he has received from some of the top youth and experiential education professionals in the U.S. and Canada provides him with a solid understanding of what youth need to succeed. Pav brings a fresh perspective on supporting and guiding youth through their life and career paths; understanding that life is a journey in which growth and learning have no end.