Caoimhe Published in International Anthology
‘We Talk Project’ by Caoimhe Deering
First published in WHAT WE SEEK an anthology of 115 contributions from youth delegates at the International Congress of Youth Voices, published by McSweeney’s. Caoimhe is a past Story Factory student who now tutors young students as a volunteer in our workshops.
I seek to give back what was given to me and more.
I have been so carefully nurtured in every stage of my life. I came from a small family and went to a small primary school that was devoted to educating with the highest degree of care and standards.
The pinnacle in my history of places where I have been encouraged and supported is a small writing centre called Story Factory. The centre was, back then, a means to escape reality and enter a fun world free from the formality of normal routine. Walking through that door and shutting out the bustle of inner-city Sydney was like opening a portal into magical wonderland. There was no right or wrong answers, no silly ideas or questions. There was only encouragement and fostering of our young minds. My fondest memories take me back to these workshops, where I anxiously tried to exhaust every creative faucet in my body and mind and enjoy this amazing place where I felt safe to express my views and opinions.
Now, five or six years later, as a high school student pursuing her love for writing, the real effect of these workshops has only just become apparent for me. When I was ten years old, I gravitated towards Story Factory because of how much fun the workshops were. I now realise that it was in fact all about the energy of the space. Having an adult who was there to hear me speak and actually cared about what I was writing week after week filled me with confidence and provided a strong foundation for the person I am today. And it wasn’t just the one-on-one attention I received that made such an impact. It was also the overall security I felt upon entering the centre. I could speak without the fear of being judged and write without worrying.
Now that it has all come full circle and I am privileged enough to have the opportunity to tutor kids just like me the importance of places like these is even more obvious to me. For without all of the blessings I was afforded I wouldn’t be the person I am today writing this. And I most definitely would not be able to give back what was so generously given to me.
Having a place where young kids, regardless of who they are or where they come from ,or what they want to share and where they can access an adult who cares enough to listen to their stories and hear about their day immensely improves their wellbeing. An interested adult may even be a phenomenon unknown to some of the kids who waltz in through the doors of places like Story Factory every week. Not only have I experienced it personally, but I have seen it first-hand. To watch kids who upon beginning of a term are difficult and unhappy but by the end of a term become committed to their writing fills me with upmost joy.
So, what I seek most in this crazy yet beautiful and diverse world that we live in today is to be able to provide even the slightest bit of nourishment to a child just as I was provided at that same age. In the hopes that any kid regardless of their background will feel confident enough to share their own story.
About Caoimhe Deering
Caoimhe Deering has always been an avid reader and writer, using her writing as a way to have her voice heard. She feels very passionately about multiple topics but one in particular is the treatment of Indigenous Peoples and how Indigenous culture and history is taught in school.
Caoimhe volunteers at the Story Factory, a non-for-profit creative writing centre. Story Factory works with many Aboriginal students from disadvantaged backgrounds, nurturing their interests and education. Caoimhe was nominated for the 2018 New South Wales Youth Volunteer of the Year Award. She serves on the Environment Executive Council at her high school and leads initiatives such as Earth Hour and Clean Up Australia Day. She feels that young people weighing in is essential in today’s society as it is these younger generations that are the future leaders of the world. She hopes to use her knowledge, passion and speaking skills to make a difference in the world.