Monday, December 5, 2016

Youth Development Elevator Speech

Youth Development at Rhode Island College opens endless doors to opportunities with youth in our society in multiple ways. This program consists of three different majors into one; Teaching, Social Work and Nonprofit Studies.  This major lets you have a little glimpse of everything without giving up something else.  Being able to work in either administrative, face to face or both helps to open opportunities especially for your internship.  In your final year you are required to do 180 hours of internship of your choosing.  It doesn't just start there, in classes prior to this you are presented with the opportunity to work one on one with you with a total of 45 hours between two education classes.  Having opportunities to work with you helps to getting yourself ready and helping you to become mindful of where YOU see YOURSELF as a youth worker.
Rhode Island College is the ONLY college in RI to currently offer a Youth Development Program.  This program is perfect for those who do not want to work with youth in a traditional school setting and guide youth to embrace their dreams.  YDEV helps youth to also understand and create the concept of community with his or her peers along with us youth workers.   As a youth worker we ourselves learn what it means to be apart of a supporting and creative community as well as creating new toolbox activities, implementing safe spaces and finding a passion within your career.  
Youth deserve any chances that we give to them to flourish in programs other than a typical school day, then this is the program for you.

Event #2

On November 30th, 2016 I attended a film for the Gender and Women's Studies Film Society.  The film, Out in the Night, showcased the lives of four women of color and the relation to racial discrimination and sexual orientation.  These four women were convicted of a crime that would completely changed their lives. Patreese, Venice, Renata, and Terrain were the 4 out of 7 to be convicted and found guilty, while the other 3 pled 'not guilty'. In the their defense, the NJ4 (New Jersey 4) pleaded 'not guilty' because of self-defense. The surveillance cameras outside the shop where the incident happened showed the man approach the women first. The cameras did indeed show that the women were fighting in self-defense, however, the judge presiding over the court was a tough judge and ordered the jury to base their judgement on the fact that these women 'ganged up' on one individual and also involved a weapon. With this in mind, the 4 who plead 'not guilty' were convicted and sentenced to prison. Venice was given 5 years, 3.5 for Terrain, 8 years for Renata, and 11 years for Patreese.

When watching this film I felt that this related to our discussion to Color Blindness and Color Brave in Melody Hobson's Ted Talk.  Melody Hobson discusses how in our society race is plays a factor in decisions and outcomes.  In the film the four girls were not only prosecuted for their sexual orientation but their race had done its favor in the case.  These four women were convicted of a crime that was initiated as an act of self defense.  Patreese, one of the women, had a pocket knife on her which she used as a weapon of self defense.  In trial this was not taken into consideration. Society ignored that they were African American but because she had taken the action of stabbing the attacker.  Even though this may be apparent, their race also played a factor into why they did not receive a fair trial.
     This case was truly eye opening.  It was upsetting and frustrating watching these girls who did not receive the justice they deserved.  They were enjoying a night out with friends when a man started attacking them not the other way around.  It was relieving when seeing the footage that they women were not in the wrong and their sentences were decreased.  Their community around them demanded for their justice to be served.  This is important in youth work to not only work with youth and create these safe spaces but the concept of community for everyone no matter race, gender or sexual orientation. (An example being Youth in Action)

Event #1

The first event that I attended was during my orientation for Dr. Daycare Learning Center on September 13th, 2016.  At this orientation I was expecting to learn how the process of starting this daycare was going to go about since I had never really worked with this age group much before.  The first half of the orientation was discussing how to do paper work and the day goes for each different age group ranging from infant to preschool.  After the second half of the orientation we were introduced to the the Therapeutic Child Care Services that were offered with this daycare program.

The Therapeutic Child Care services focus on giving all children the opportunity to succeed which is something I have grown to embrace as a youth worker.  They explained to us how these services are purposely designed to "maximize the inclusion and participation of children who have special health care needs or have been dismissed from typical child care programs".  To be completely honest this was eye opening for me.  In my SPED 300 class I had worked in a bilingual inclusion classroom and that was my first time experiencing that type of classroom.  I was never really sure if they had services such as this in daycare programs for children in this age range.  At the time of this event I was unsure of how this was related to this class but it is very clear this is in relevance to our discussion to the Center for Resilience.  
When learning more about mindfulness and how the Center of Resilience implements that into daycares/schooling and I automatically thought of learning about the therapeutic services at this daycare facility.  During the orientation we learned what a safe zone is and how to/when to use one.  I feel because it was early in the semester that I did not fully understand the concept of the safe zone and how it plays into childcare up until we were introduced to the Center for Resilience.  Having a safe zone for children in any type of setting is very important and many youth workers and educators should be willing to help youth have that space.  It definitely is important, so I feel, in our society.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Center For Resilience

The Center for Resilience focuses one empowering people, such as youth, to empower oneself.  This is practiced through expressing mindfulness whether they are in a classroom as a student, a teacher, a community or even a workplace.  Being mindful is very important especially when working with youth and teaching the ways of mindfulness is also crucial. 
The mission statement for the Center for Resilience is as follows;
Center for Resilience seeks to empower people to empower themselves through the practice of mindfulness which fosters success in the classroom, community and workplace.

Our trained staff, tailored curriculum, interactive workshops, and online resources help children and adults manage stress, overcome obstacles, cultivate compassion and thrive through adversity – outcomes that benefit both the individual and society as a whole.

The video that I watched was the Evolution High School and Center for Resilience.  Students gave his or her testimonials on the program.  I really enjoyed this video simply for the fact of encouraging the youth to take control of how they feel.  Empowering students to focusing on relaxing rather than behaving or reacting negatively.  Students in this school are taught relaxing exercises to help them focus and be calm.  I find this really empowering and amazing that students are being taught this.  Students, although they are not adults with everyday struggles, face stress and anxiety is more ways than one.  Meditation should be implemented into every school day so students do not face stress.
Students are taught resiliency to not only relax but to also help them to achieve more effectively.  As a student, no matter what age, sometimes it is hard to truly focus, we get sidetracked and completely go off the grid of what we were supposed to be doing.  In the Center for Resilience students are taught how to redirect themselves after doing another tasks off track.  This not only teaches empowerment but also teaches leadership as well.  Today as a youth worker it is important and powerful to teach youth that they can be leaders in his or her own way.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Election 2016

         3 questions that I have about the election:
  1. How/why is Donald Trump in this election?
  2. What will happen in terms of healthcare and education for youth in the future?
  3. Can there be someone in congress who can assist the president with the struggling economy?

When it comes to politics it is a foreign language to me.  I know as an American citizen it is my right to vote from the age of eighteen years old and on but I have chosen not to at this time of my life.  I personally do not know much about what is going on between the Clinton vs Trump epidemic.  At a quick glance when watching these debates happening it truly, to me, comes off as a popularity contest.  Whether it be television, social media or even at a public stance more or less is this debate between Trump and Clinton considering as a 'he said she said" which I find ridiculous.  In terms of information about the election it is kind of confusing considering being in a college setting where everyone has a different perspective on how it is being portrayed.  I feel that this election is 50/50 when it comes to drawing me in and alienating me.  I feel that our society is on different levels of confusion and frustration.  Over the past year the youth that I have worked with has learned more about the election than me that I feel.  It makes me proud knowing that even at a young age they want to understand what is going on.  When I was younger the election was never this in depth as this one is which has its perks and downfalls.  Hopefully our society can come together to support one another no matter the final outcome.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Context Mapping

In Chapter 2 of UnderstandingYouth: Adolescent Development for Educators by Nakkula and Toshalis the discussion of both identity and context mapping is discussed.  Context mapping is a how we as human beings define ourselves.  Our identity is different when we are presented with different contexts.  An example of my different experiences definitely shapes to mold these separate identities.  In school I am a student who is learning, taking classes and anticipating graduation whereas in my job and internship I am professional while helping to mold who I want/inspire to be as both a youth worker and an employer.

In this reading following Julian’s bathroom graffiti incident, Mitch asked Julian to make a list that consisted of the various spaces and relationships in his life.  Julian’s list consist was to open his eyes on what the things surrounding him are demanding him.
The four different identities are as followed:

  1. Foreclosed identity is defined without any prior life experiences, not being open-minded to other things/experiences.         
  2. Diffuse identity is defined as changing their identity in regard to their surroundings. Their identity changes due to the context, such as friends, school and other events. 
  3. Identity moratorium is defined as using this period for testing out new ideas. Testing new ideas opens the eyes to see if they work or do not work.
  4. Achieved identity is when an individual gathers their past, present and future experiences to mold together a "leader role".

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Youth Development Ideology Horoscope

For this weeks assignment we were asked to take an "Youth Development Ideology Quiz" to describe our style of being a youth worker.  There were three different types that one could fall under in regards to how he or she works with youth.  They are listed as followed;
Risk, Resiliency and Prevention
Positive Youth Development
Critical Youth Development 
     While answering these questions I reflected on my past and present experiences with youth.  Being able to create a bond with youth between the ages of kindergarten and fifth grade has truly opened my eyes on youth work.  Positivity is key and making their voices be heard as they prepare to move forward in his or her education.  Also not only being a role model for youth but also being a mentor  for them is something that is very important as well.  As a youth worker we are to help shape and guide youth into who he or she wants to become in the future.  
     After adding up my results I was truly surprised to have Risk, Resiliency and Prevention be my top choice.  I kept an open mind when it came to reading more about this specific one.  
This horoscope is explained as "a focus on preventing negative outcomes (through fostering protective factors)".  In regards to being a youth worker,  I am a bit confused as to if this is truly the type of worker that I am.  As a youth worker I feel that being a guide towards a youth for his or her success is definitely crucial but at the same time I do not feel that his or her "brains are not fully developed".  Youth, even at the youngest age to late teens all face different ways of life. Some youth are faced with learning about the world around them by themselves and as a youth worker I feel that is something tremendous.  I do agree that there are certain topics such as teen pregnancy, teen sex and STD's are topics that as a youth worker we think critically on how to approach.
     Overall, before taking the horoscope quiz I really felt, and still do, feel that I am a Positive Youth Development worker, the one that I ended up with is somewhat of how I am as a worker.  I feel that when working with youth I would like to know how to approach certain topics that some youth do not know about but I also want youth to have a voice as well.    
Below are examples of how I interact with youth as a youth worker in the making! :)