Les Twentyman has written a memoir about his amazing career as a youth worker. The Les Twentyman Fund is a Victorian based organisation that helps youth who are at risk of engagement with the youth justice system to re-engage with community, education and family. They do amazing work with many youth from different backgrounds and issues.
As a social worker who works with the very youth that Les Twentyman talks about throughout the book (just in South Australia), I found the book to be calming and normalising of my own feelings and experiences working with youth. The way he describes them each as individuals with something to offer the world and just needing the opportunity to find it is beautiful. Les talks about the disadvantaged, persecuted and disenfranchised clients respectfully and kindly, which is often not how they are portrayed even by workers.
Les Twentyman sounds like a funny bloke, who isn’t afraid to speak up and be unpopular and who always has the clients’ needs at the centre of his own heart and work. Reading about how he engages with the upper class in order to fund his service is funny but also shows him to be someone who knows how to balance passion and injustice.
I would like to thank Les Twentyman for this book, because for me personally it made perfect sense and reiterated that although you don’t see much result, the door just keeps on spinning, and generation after generation feel the same disadvantage – these young people are worth every bit of blood sweat and tears that I can give them.