Thursday, December 10, 2015

This is youth work

Over the course of the semester we have been learning about what youth work is and how to affectively talk to others about the work that we are doing and plan on doing in the future. In this weeks reading, I gained further knowledge and information about youth work and how to talk about it. I read a chapter out of the This is Youth Work text.

Setting the scene: this chapter really solidified a lot of the things that I believe in, and gave me more information about how I feel about youth work.

"We see ourselves, whether paid or
voluntary, as informal educators
contributing to ‘the common good’"
This is the thing that I always try to say but can never find the right words to explain!!! I see myself as an educator in many ways, but I am not a teacher. I think that there is a significant difference between being a teacher and an educator. I think that as a teacher, there are many lines that you are unable to cross and many things that you are not allowed to educate about due to policy and practice issues.

"A commitment to valuing and
attending to the here-and-now
of young people’s experience
rather than just focusing on
This is SO important. So many people focus on the futures and transitions of youth instead of focusing on whatever they are going through now! Things that are happening to youth should not be dismissed as not important enough, because at the time, the issue could be the most important thing in that persons life. I think it is so important to focus on the present and the future, not only what is to come next.
If someone were to ask me about YDEV and what it was, I would be more informed now to reply in an authentic way.
Youth Development is a major for those who want to educate, but do not want to do so in a traditional classroom. With a mixture of education, social work, and nonprofit studies classes YDEV will expose you to educating the way you want to. Being able to pick your own concentration, and choose a mixture of classes that you think make sense for you is also very rewarding. I aspire to make a difference in the lives of youth, and YDEV is making sure that is possible for me. With a concentration in child advocacy, I was able to take classes in Gender Studies, Criminal Justice, Sociology, and Psychology to make me more well rounded and a better advocate for all types of youth who have many different experiences. 

Resilient Kids

This weeks blog about Resilient Kids is really interesting to me because I have never experienced practicing mindfulness in a classroom before. Watching the videos about the things that they do, I think that those practices could have helped me when I was in elementary school and was unable to calm myself down. I think that teachers really expect a lot out of students and do not necessarily give students the tools to achieve what is expected of them.

I think that the glitter jar idea is wonderful. I have made glitter jars before for my nephew and they work wonders! I think that they can be really useful when used the right way. Practicing mindfulness with children is really important. In the school that I did my case study in for SPED 300, there is a teacher who practices mindfulness in her classroom. Her students take turns sitting on yoga balls instead of chairs, they practice deep breathing when they need a break, and I think she modeled her teaching style after Resilient Kids.

That being said, I think that practicing mindfulness as an adult is also really helpful. It is not just for young kids to do. I think a lot of times adults forget to take care of themselves, and it is really important to be mindful for yourself so that you can be mindful for others.

YDEV Open House and Youth In Action's Health Fair

For my events this semester I attended Youth in Action's Health Fair, and the RIC Open House, at the YDEV table.

Youth in Action's Health Fair was a really good time. The youth worked really hard on preparing everything for it including healthy snacks, informational posters, and even a photo booth! I had a really good time interacting with the youth at the health fair. There were numerous organizations that volunteered to come and do various activities and screenings and offered a lot of free information and help that could have been really useful. There were organizations that offered free flu shots, free HIV screenings, free breast cancer information and screenings, and so much more. There were fitness instructors, zumba instructors, kickboxing lessons, and even a mini boot camp. There was not a lot of attendance from the public which some of the staff was disappointed by, but I still think it was a really good experience for the youth to interact with these different organizations. I had a really good time. Check out some of the glamour shots they got of me!

I also went to the Rhode Island College Open House this semester. This was an event that was for prospective students to be able to get information about all the majors that RIC offers. I was at the YDEV table (obviously) with some other students in both our class but also Corrine's 250 class. Our job was to introduce them to the major and try to give the best information that we could so that prospective students would be interested in studying Youth Development. There were some students that came and left right away, and some parents who did not want their children coming to the table at all, BUT there were some students who seemed really interested in YDEV and that is super exciting!! Before I went to the open house, I watched a few of the elevator speeches that are linked on the syllabus, and it really helped me be able to talk about YDEV in an informative and interesting way. I had a really good time at the open house, plus Micah was there!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Dangers of a Single Story

After watching the Ted Talk this week I immediately went back and thought about all of the children's books that I read while I was growing up. I tried to think of an example of there being a story that I read that included a same sex relationship or gay/lesbian character and I came up BLANK. Growing up as a lesbian, I think I struggled with the fact that there was not really a literary role model for me.

I think that this connects to the point made in the Ted Talk that not seeing yourself in literature can lead to the "unintended consequence of not knowing that people like me could exist in literature."

The definition of a single story is showing someone as one thing over and over again, and eventually that is what they will become. The point made about the media portraying Africa as a place of horrible wars and people who cannot speak for themselves and images of extreme poverty has created a single story for Africa.

I think that the idea of a single story is really relevant, especially in today's age of paying extreme attention to social media and what is portrayed in the media. I think that the media shows things that create single stories, whether or not it is intentional.

Something that stood out to me from the Ted Talk was the idea of single stories creating stereotypes. There was a quote that said "the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete." I think that this is very well put! I agree that stereotypes are viewed as the whole story, when in fact they are a single story!

I think that interning at Youth in Action has really given me the opportunity to see the "other side of the story." Due to the fact that YIA is youth led, the youth are put in leadership positions and are able to share their whole stories, rather than a single story being told about them. Youth having the chance to be in a leadership role and being able to take charge and identify their story and then also have the opportunity to share it and tell it how they want it to be told is SO important.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Coauthors of my Story

This blog post was a bit difficult for me this week, because I had never thought about my life being "coauthored". Thinking about that has really opened my eyes to the different people that have helped shape me into becoming the person I am today, whether our interaction be positive or negative.

"Adolescents are in a near constant state of constructing their lives"
This quote from the reading stuck out to me because it is so true! People never really stop to think that adolescents are always developing and creating. It's an every day process. Another point that was really well made in the article was that as adults in their lives, we are impacting the way they think about the world, and it is okay if their ideas do not match or conflict the ideas that we believe in.
For the assignment we were asked to list 10 people who helped coauthor our lives:
  1. My parents
  2. My grandparents
  3. My sister
  4. My nephew
  5. My cousin Jess
  6. Lauren
  7. Danny
  8. My brother
  9. Mrs. Collins
  10. Kaylie 
It is hard for me to just pick one of these examples and tell you all about how s/he shaped my life because they are all such a huge part of what makes me who I am today. Some of the people I no longer speak to, and some of them I talk to every single day. Some have impacted me in negative ways and showed me what kind of person I want to be by negative example, and some have done the same using positive examples. If I have to choose one, my mom has helped me tremendously. She has impacted my way of thinking more than anyone else on the list. She has always been open minded with me (especially when I came out) and has supported me and had my back throughout everything. She has always let me make my own decisions, while offering guidance and suggestions. That being said, she has also let me make my own mistakes, offering comfort and help instead of "I told you so." She has been a significant coauthor of my life, and on a list of many, she stands out the most.

Color Brave vs. Color Blind

Before this, I had previously had a similar discussion about this topic. The idea of being "color blind" never really sat well with me. I think that when some people mention that they are "color blind" they mean it in the best way possible, but the term in itself is insulting and degrading to people of color. Saying that you are color blind is directly ignoring a very big piece of someone's identity. Its pretending a part of them does not exist. To me, that is taking away from the person as a whole. According to Mellody Hobson, who presented the TED talk on being color brave, color blindness is the equivalent to running away from a problem, while being color brave is helping to face the problem head on and create change.

I found another interesting article to back up what Mellody Hobson talked about in her TED talk:

In regards to the tweet that read:

 "never trust anyone
   who says they do not see color
   this means to them,
   you are invisible"

This is extremely important. This has to be understood.
In my opinion, this just solidifies the message from the TED talk. I think the tweet is a simple and short way to convey a very important message that so many people do not seem to understand.
I have definitely felt invisible before, in regards to be sexuality seeming to be invisible to others. I feel like although it may not be as widespread, having a part of you ignored or denied can make you feel invisible, even if that piece of you isn't a physical attribute that you have. I think that youth spaces like  Youth In Action can really help try to end this invisibility because these members of society-regardless of their age are sharing their stories and their experiences with one another. Awareness can be spread at any age.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Inventory Ideology

After going through the Inventory Ideology, and reading through the Ideology Horoscope, I learned a lot about myself as a future youth worker. I identified most with Critical Youth Development. After reading what was on the horoscope I learned that I identify most with how adults and youth can work together to negotiate and find common ground. Essentially, how the youth and adults can find a way to make the world a better place while working as a unit. I found this interesting due to the fact that I would not have chose this for myself, but the way I answered the questions obviously proved me wrong.