MY EXPERIENCE WITH E2M – Intern Felix Gee
I’m Felix and I’m just coming to the end of a university-funded 10-week internship with Escape2Make and I thought I’d share with you what a wonderful experience I’ve had with this charity so far.
*Supporting the Stand-Up Comedy Workshops for the E2M Cabaret Event
Initially, I got the placement with the organisation by applying through the Lancaster University’s Employment & Recruitment Service. As a 19-year-old first-year Philosophy student just come to the city, I wasn’t by any means expecting my first work I could get to be so fulfilling, interesting and valuable an experience at such an exciting time for an organisation. However, I am so glad I applied and incredibly grateful to the E2M team for allowing me such a diverse insight into the charity.
Throughout the internship, I’ve done a whole range of different things- from helping with workshops in Morecambe to sending out SMS reminders to giving pastoral support to young people to organising the table decorations for Cabaret ! Throughout this period, all members of the E2M community consistently reflected what a welcoming, inclusive place E2M is.
*The Cartoon Portrait Workshop with added pizza
So far the experience I’ve had with E2M is that it is clearly doing very necessary work for young people. I can, with complete confidence, say that E2M does help young people make things, make friends and make a difference- ultimately having a significant impact on their wellbeing at a time when young people are deeply struggling- with the proportion of 6 to 16-year-olds with a probable mental health condition increasing from 1/9 to 1/6 between 2017 and 20211.
In terms of making things, I have seen young people over the course of 5 weeks produce impressive, creative work from their own imagination. This could be particularly seen through my help with the Cartoon Portrait workshop series- the group made such progress with the help of such a talented and considerate facilitator with a vast number of years of experience at doing caricatures. I could not imagine someone better suited to facilitate that workshop ! Over the five weeks, with such a detail-orientated focus on cartoon drawings, the group made impressive progress and clearly loved going to the sessions- with several of the young people persistently lingering behind to get in a few extra minutes on their artwork. Moreover, their confidence in themselves undoubtedly increased, with them coming out their shells to ask questions, give constructive feedback to one another and even bring their own pad and pens they’d brought from home. I also found it such a positive thing to see that the young people felt that they could draw whatever they like, and I even noticed some of the young people writing positive messages to themselves as part of their doodles- inspiring confidence, kindness, and self-care. I similarly found that the young people that attended the Beach Art session really appreciated the freedom of creativity to make their own designs and utilise their own imagination, outside of the main activity.
*Supporting the Magic Workshops for the E2M Cabaret Event
Meanwhile, in terms of making friends, I think the Magic and Stand-Up groups I worked with quintessentially illustrated how E2M workshops can really bring people together. In both these workshops, I missed the very start of the first session, but by the time I was able to be there, it felt both groups were already very tight-knit. Despite the differences in age and backgrounds, no one was left out on their own, everyone was included and treated each other as equals. They interacted with one another as if they’d been firm friends for some
time. Moreover, for workshops that were so performance-orientated, they clearly inspired one another and pushed each other to such a level that they, though understandably nervous, performed with great confidence to the Cabaret audience! A couple within these two groups, I spoke to on the day itself and were clearly having to push past a great amount of anxiety to be there and it was so great to see them later perform on stage, or go round to the tables, before they later returned to me to inform me proudly they had done so.
The difference between the start and end of the intensive 5 week workshop series was remarkable, and is only a small snapshot of the difference I imagine E2M could make to a young person’s wellbeing and personal development over a longer period of time and I imagine the ongoing groups have an especially profound and lasting remark on those who regularly attend and I would greatly urge any young people between 11-18 to get involved. Personally, I would have been so grateful and excited to have the opportunities had they been presented to me during my adolescence and I am certain they would have been a great release and escape from the various pressures I was struggling to balance in my own life.
*The Beach Art one-off workshop
Lastly, I would just like to comment on the diversity and inclusion of E2M. Everyone is welcome here and both those on the E2M team and the young people that attend the workshops really reflect that. The E2M team actively consider how to make their activities accessible to all those, and take careful consideration to ensure it Is a universally safe place for all. As a queer person myself, I especially appreciated the encouragement to put one’s pronouns on the sign-up form and have them on their name label as this would really sign-post to young people who are in the LGBTQ+ community that this is a safe space for them to be themselves. However, this is only a small part of the efforts E2M put in to ensure there are no barriers for anyone not feeling safe coming to an E2M club or workshop.
In short, I would like to urge any young person to come try out an E2M activity- there’s such a diverse range it guarantees there’ll be something that’ll appeal to you and it’s such a kind and welcoming space there seems to be little that should hold you back.
Meanwhile, though my internship is coming to an end, I hope to be able to contribute to E2M when I can and be a part of the exciting future that is on its horizons.
Hope to see you soon !
Felix 🙂 🦎