Many thanks to S (16) and D (15) for producing this blog which they put together at Teen Spirit recently, when they were working on their journalism skills… this is all their own words.
“Teen Spirit is a group that brings young people facing a unique challenge together to discuss and help understand living with HIV. It helps you to understand and mix with others who either have HIV or are affected by it. We conducted several interviews with different members for this blog. The responses were very positive, everyone enjoys coming to Body & Soul, and it is a fun and safe space to be open about HIV. It is a place where you can be yourself, you are not alienated and you don’t have to hide who are you or your HIV status.
We asked different groups the following questions:
The young adults really like coming to Body & Soul because “it is a safe space to be transparent”. They commented that they support they received from Teen Spirit “is better than family”, showing that the service received is top class. Young people gain a lot from Body & Soul such as to see friends, to access support as young people feel there “is a relief when the burden is shared”. The young adults especially receive help with child care.
When talking to members taking part in the cooking workshop going on one evening, they were very enthusiastic about the organisation. There was a sense of togetherness and not feeling alone. Overall they “enjoy all workshops, taking part in all of them and meeting new people”. One of the members commented that they feel “refuelled” and there was a recurring theme of a “burden being released”. Body & Soul is a great support network for the people who access the service, which could be a reason why members keep coming back.
When we spoke to a young mentor he said that he “enjoys coming because it’s a place where there are people who know what you are going through”. Body & Soul has opportunities to take an active role within the organisation, such as mentoring and facilitating workshops.
Personally we feel that Body & Soul gives you the opportunity for educating yourself about HIV and other relevant topics. Teen Spirit gives a creative edge to help explore HIV, such an Project Jam and street dancing. Cooking classes encourage you to eat healthily and combined with Boxercise helps you to lead a healthy lifestyle. All of this helps you to better yourself and your life.
Overall we feel that Teen Spirit is amazing. You learn lots of life skills formally and informally. Body & Soul offers bags of support to everyone who comes. It is just a great place to be. There are numerous reasons why everyone comes, but when we are here we are all one, we are all Body & Soul.”