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! :) 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Construction of Adolescence

     In this week's reading, Nakkula and Toshalis discussed The Construction of Adolescence and how it is played out between youth and adults.  Adults become a influence, where it is positive or negative experience, towards the youth.  Education is the example that was used by Nakkula and Toshalis, creating an overview of how an educator can truly affect the youth.  Having adults set an influential pathway for the youth can help them to be a part of coauthoring his or her life.  
     When looking back on my youth and even today, the ten people I would choose as being apart of coauthoring my life would be as followed,
1.     Mom
2.     Mimi
3.     Papa 
4.     Auntie Michelle
5.     T
6.     Mr. Dewolfe
7.     Mrs. Henkel
8.     Ryan
9. Nicole     
10. Dad
    These ten people have all had a major role in my life, some for good while others for not so good.  My life story has definitely defined who I am as a person today.  From a young age I feel that my "coauthors" were very apparent in my story.  My family, although they are not my educators, play a major role in coauthoring my life.  My mom, aunts and grandparents really showed me unconditional love and support throughout the years.  They taught me that family is forever; forever full of love, support, guidance and respect for one another.
SRA Graduation 2012
     The person I chose to talk about is my high school music teacher, Mr. Dewolfe.  Mr. Dewolfe, also known as "Wolfey", was a major role in my educational and musical achievements.  In ninth grade I was introduced to him in my first music class.  Scared and nervous I eventually warmed up to not only the school but the fine arts department.  He was not just a teacher, but he was someone who was respected as an adult along with having that balance of being an equal.  In my tenth grade year I finally gained the courage to fulfill my musical career with the help of Mr. Dewolfe.  During rehearsals his method of teaching was easily compatible with all students.  Never having learned to read music notes prior to choir I was able to fully comprehend learning music by ear.  Each rehearsal would begin with warm ups, which sometimes can be assumed to be boring, but in Dewolfes' case they were the complete opposite.  He made learning music enjoyable along with helping those in choir to have a voice.  My passion for singing truly blossomed by being in this program and having someone who was very passionate about his teaching.  As my senior year rolled around, along with having the pleasure of working and being a student of Mr. Dewolfe I was inspired to write my college entrance essay on him.  I discussed how his methods of both teaching/mentoring inspired not only my passion for music but who I wanted to be in my future career.  One of the best feelings in the world was giving him a copy of my college essay, not only after I was accepted but on his last day teaching at Saints.  It truly was a bittersweet moment that I still hold dear to my heart.
Materials of Music Class
     As my high school years continued on my respect for not only the fine arts department grew but my respect for a teacher who truly cared for his students.  Throughout my years of school I've seen both the good and bad, those who truly care for their students success and those who are not really supportive of the future of his or her students.  Mr. Dewolfe is someone who I still am very thankful for, from supporting me when I doubted myself, to pushing my to do my best and to inspiring me to wanting to have youth find his or her voice within music.  
Award I received at my High School graduation for my excellence in the Arts

List of vocabulary words:
tested knowledge
theoretical thinking
zone of proximal development
construction of adolescence
inter-psychological development
theoretical imagination
multi authored

"If we are skilled enough to witness it, adolescents' theoretical imaginations offer some of the richest, most critical and deeply hopeful worldview we might find"(3).

Monday, September 19, 2016

Color Blindess & Color Brave; Ted Talk

First off, I would like to start off by saying that I really enjoyed this Ted Talk.  Mellody Hobson does an extraordinary job discussing color blindness in today’s society.  Unfortunately in our society, regardless of how the economy has progressed, people still feel he or she is invisible.  Invisibility comes in many different forms.  Some face not having his or her voice not being heard simply because of their race, age or even social class.  The type of invisibility that I had faced growing up was definitely geared towards my home life.  I grew up with a different kind of family function: my mom, grandparents, aunts and my father who came and went as he pleased. I felt invisible in my friend group simple because I was not like them, I didn’t have a similar home life to them.  Although this does not particularly related to Hobson’s discussion to its fullest it does have a view of the same focal points. 
Hobson uses an example of how race particularly plays out in setting such as politics and or business meetings.  She sets the example of how in our society it is ‘normal’ for us to walk into a room and for it to be filled with white people versus if we were to walk into a meeting with a room of people of color it would be found as ‘weird’ to us.  Hobson states the question ‘When will this be normal?’, relating back to having a room filled with not just whites.  I feel that this can be related to my experience in a sense that in society what can be seen as normal is a “mom, dad, child, etc.’ family.  Seeing a family that is not ‘normal’ would be considered as being weird, just as walking into a meeting and seeing a room filled with races other than white people.
Hobson discusses ‘color blindness’ which is the concept of how we pretend to not acknowledge race, pointing out that this can become dangerous simply because it can be us ignoring the problem at hand.
One statement that I truly found eye opening was when Hobson explained how, ‘we need to become uncomfortable with the conversation of race” (Hobson).  This statement is extremely true.  Our society, I feel, tends to portray ‘color blindness’ where we should be portraying ‘color brave’ instead.  Our eyes need to be open to the world around us especially with race.  Society as a whole has come a long way in this subject, but definitely could flourish more.
Youth In Action helps to create a safe space for teens along with helping to make everyone apart of his or her community.  As young teens in this program they are taught that having a voice is important.  Within this group I feel that the idea of invisibility is conquered in several ways in Youth In Action.  As stated in the vision of Youth In Action,
“YIA envisions a world where young people are at the forefront of positive social change and believes that with their natural ability to innovate, capacity to lead, and desire for positive change, that world is possible”
I feel that this statement relates to how the topic of having teens gathering together can create an antidote to invisibility.  Youth In Action gives teens the opportunity to relate to his or her peers in a way that is beyond others.