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.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Youth In Action (YIA)- A World Where Youth Hold the Power

Youth In Action is located in Providence, Rhode Island and is an organization geared towards young people and their pathways to success. This organization has helped youth to feel empowerment within his or her community along within themselves.  Social change is the main focal point of the nonprofit organization, Youth In Action (YIA). In the article, several YIA members share stories of how they fought for their voices to be heard and how being apart of Youth In Action changed to way they voiced their opinions and helped them be heard. Adeola Oredola, the former executive director of YIA and author of A Word Where Youth Hold the Power, discusses how it is up to youth to let their voices be heard in society and that they musty stand up for themselves as well as work together in order to make social change a reality in society. As the article goes on, different former YIA members talk about their experiences in YIA along with problems that they face in society because they are underprivileged in some way, shape, or form.  Reading the stories of those who are currently or formerly involved in this organization is truly inspiring.  In the article, Diana Jacques the community health coordinator, class of 2013, states, "I like that I'm part of a place where there are so many different opinions. The trust, respect, and openness make us stronger".  This statement opened my eyes on how YIA is a place that helps youth to better understand the world.  Jacques began to explain how in the area of Providence there are young teens who are becoming pregnant or are parents.  She began to state how Providence has one of the highest repeat teen birth rates in the country, which is something I definitely did not know or was aware of.  Having teens talk to other teens help for a better understanding especially in this topic.  There are some families who forbid even discussing the topic leaving the teens to learn elsewhere and thankfully YIA is able to provide that knowledge which I really find inspiring.  

     In the next part of the article, social change is still a big factor, however, the LGBTQ youth community is discussed, in particular youth of Southeast Asian dissent. Social change along with advocacy for the Southeast Asian LGBTQ youth is important because as youth workers, it is important to let youth discuss their individual struggles and issues and work with them on how to go about solving these problems and find solutions to help them be comfortable with who they really are. 

SRA Class of 2012
     In the final part of the article, social change continues to be the main focus, however, youth organizations are trying to establish a National Student Bill of Rights that would give a solid education to all youth across the United States, no matter their race, gender, or class.

SRA Eucharistic Ministry
Throughout my teen years, along with younger years, I attended catholic school from prekindergarten until 12th grade.  I am very thankful for both my mom and grandparents for providing this opportunity and supporting me over the years.  Being in a small catholic school setting not many controversial topics were discussed.  But if there is one thing I really appreciated most about my school was how we made going on "retreats" a yearly requirement.  We, as a class, were able to support one another, share life stories and feel the support that some of us did not receive at home. When reading about YIA it reminded me about Saint Rays, how my class made it a priority to tell our teachers how we wanted our retreats because we knew being able to voice how we individually felt was the best way to move forward in our high school career.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Blog #1- Characteristics of a Youth Worker

Youth Workers and their practices

Youth work is an educational practice
Being a youth worker creates an open opportunity to build both an open and trusting relationships with the youth in his or her educational practice.  With being primarily educators, the settings mainly consist of being diverse which establishes an informal education and learning.  Having this informal education helps youth to think creatively, focusing on their personal and social development.  As a youth worker we are able to engage with the youth in his or her personal lives allowing them to think, feel and have a sense of their views in the social world around them.  Over the past few years working in an after school setting I face this almost everyday.  I have not only created a bond with youth but have used the informal practice presented.  Giving youth the opportunity to think creatively and embrace it is truly amazing.

Youth work is a social practice
A youth workers approach when working with youth in a social practice is ‘case work’.  When working with youth in a group setting consisting of his or her peers. Youth feel comfortable with his or her peers because he or she may have something in common which makes its easier for them to engage in conversation.  An experience that I have had with working with the youth is when playing outside.  Each age group has groups of children who are more comfortable with each other, such as having similar interest or a common hobby.

                               Youth workers actively challenge inequality along with working towards social justice
As a youth worker we are to help empower the youth and show them that they do have a voice when it comes to a social setting.  Our society is made of up diversity and unfortunately discrimination is an underlining factor.  Teaching youth how to effectively defend what he or she believes in in our society whether it is in regards to race, beliefs or any other social aspect.  A personal experience that I have is having a speaker come to my high school to discuss bullying and how to not bully one another.  This opened our eyes as youth because we were taught that no matter what that we have a voice in any situation.

Where possible, young people choose to be involved
Youth become involved when and where they feel most comfortable. Engaging is a major key when working with youth. In a youth setting, having a youth worker who is actively involved and engaged with the youth creates a safe and comfortable environment for him or her.  An example from a personal observation is having a youth worker who is not engaging with the youth such as being on his or her phone.  Not having a youth worker who is engaged fully completely changes the setting for the environment.

  Youth work seeks to strengthen the voice and influence of young people
Everyone deserves to have a voice in this world.  Youth deserve to have people, such as youth workers, to guide in the right direction and to listen to their voices.  Not many people in our society fully understand the concept of who has a voice.  Youth workers are to help the youth with evolving his or her beliefs, making them gain power within not only themselves but also in the way they portray themselves as well.  Two years ago I had the pleasure of working in the Central Falls community for Youth Development 250 and cannot be more grateful for that experience.  Being able to watch young kids feel so deeply about the world surrounding them along with being able to voice how they were feeling was truly amazing.  No ones voice is unheard.

Youth work is a welfare practice
When working with youth it is all about ‘testing out the waters’.  As a youth worker we always strive for what is best for the young people we work with, such as making sure his or her voice heard.  Nothing is ever perfect especially our practices, sometimes we are unsure of how something is going to go and it doesn’t go as planned.  Youth in our society is always changing, just as our very own world.  In welfare practice, a youth worker must keep the stability of creating and using new ideas to help youth around us.  Creating different activities for the children in the after school program is definitely either a pass or fail, sometimes the activity isn’t quite for that age range, which has happened on some occasions.  In that instinct as a youth worker you just have to step back and regroup for the next time.

  Youth work works with young people ‘holistically ’

Positive influences and support systems for youth help to influence positive experiences for them.  As a youth work we are not only to teach, engage and support, but to make sure the youth are doing the best that he or she can without any negative consequences.

Who Am I?

Hi my name is Gianna DeMedeiros I am 22 years old and am in my "super senior year" of Rhode Island College. My major is Youth Development and my concentration is "youth within the arts" in which I am very passionate about.  Along with going to school and working three jobs, teaching assistant at HBS after school, lead teacher at a daycare, and cashier at supermarket, family and friends always remain extremely important to me.  

Two family members who I truly admire are my Mimi and Papa.  My Mimi is my go to shopping guru, support system and my best friend.  My Papa was hardworking, lovable and a complete jokester who was a major part of my life growing up.  Both my grandparents will always be an inspiration in my eyes.
 During my spare time I enjoy spending time with my boyfriend, friends, shopping and watching The Office.  My friends and I always randomly decide to take trips to the beach no matter am or pm, hunt for pokemons or even just simply enjoy each others company....until someone thinks of something else spontaneous to do. :-P 

A few highlights of my summer, other than being stuck at work, were definitely receiving a last minute surprise disney trip from my aunt, spontaneous trips with friends and getting to spend relaxing nights at the beach with my boyfriend.

Rhode Island College has definitely provided me with both amazing opportunities and has introduced me to some very amazing people, here is many more to come! :)