Jane Scaife, The Mix’s chat expert for under 16s
Hi! I’m Jane Scaife. I’m 35 and live in Bristol. When I’m not working for The Mix, I’m a freelance marketing copywriter.
How did I come to work for The Mix? I used to be a chat moderator for CyberMentors, a service run by BeatBullying. I loved getting to know young people in the chatroom and being a positive influence, helping them to get peer support online. When the project sadly stopped, I searched for other chatrooms for young people. When I found The Mix, I was really impressed by the chat services on offer as well as the discussion boards and self-help materials available on the site. I sent in a ‘contact us’ form to say that I’d love to work for The Mix and the rest, as they say, is history!
I’m the supervisor for the under 16s support chat, which currently runs every other Saturday from 6pm-7:30pm. My role is to facilitate a welcoming, inclusive and supportive space for young people to express anything they would like support with. We let one person explain what’s on their mind and then the other young people (and sometimes myself) will give support and offer insight on the topics being discussed. We can’t give young people magic recipes to feel better but we all chip in with ideas for support. I also get to chat to volunteers before and after the session to support them in facilitating the chat and to answer any questions that they have. We’re so grateful to have the volunteers!
“Keeping an eye out for everyone in the chatroom so that they feel included is key. It’s important to greet everyone, ask if they are new and explain to them how the chat works.”
Likewise, if someone has been quiet for a while, I’ll ask how they are. A good sense of humour helps to cultivate some lighthearted moments. I’m a stand-up comedian in real life so my skills there have proven useful! Young people don’t always feel like offering support, which is fine. To provide further support, we’re currently training ‘listeners’ who come in specifically to listen and give supportive ideas. This is a really exciting development for The Mix’s services and for the young people we help.
“I love seeing that someone feels better following a chat session.”
I remember one chat night, someone who we know well for her ‘cheeky’ sense of humour came into the room and said her cheekiness had gone but that she didn’t want to talk about it. That night, we all helped each other cheer-up a bit. This young person started opening-up through the session, and another young person had some very practical, empathetic words of support for her, he was absolutely amazing. It was beautiful to see this young person perking-up, and by the end of the session she was back to her cheeky self again.
Published on 23-May-2017
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