Thursday, December 24, 2015

Feeling Invisible

     Growing up, in a "upper-middle" class family, the feeling of being invisible, never struck me.  I always had the latest fashion trends and kept up with myself pretty well.  I never experienced what Nayrrah had experienced, there was little to no diversity in my high school, everyone was pretty much white.  I never had the feeling of being alone or that I wasn't going to fit in, until my junior year of high school.  Junior year is the year I decided to stop hiding who I was and come out as gay.  For a while, I wish I hadn't, because during that time I did feel invisible, I did feel like the only one.  However, that is what made me different than everyone else.  Coming from a small town, it was good to be different and different I was.

     I am so glad that Youth In Action exists!  It gives those students who may feel out of place at school, a place to fit in.  I have never experienced any organization before that is strictly all about youth!  I wish I could have had the opportunity to participate in YIA when I was in high school, because I'm sure I could've benefited from such a great program!  

Context Map

My Context Map

A Context Map is filled with things and people in a person's life and how they are affected by them.

Foreclosed Identity: one in which an individual has committed to a life direction or way of being without exploring it carefully and without experimenting with alternatives...either thrust upon a person...or simply accepted with little reflection.

Diffused Identity: a state in which there has been little exploration or active consideration of a particular identity and no psychological commitment to one...easily influenced by others and often change rapidly from one belief or representation to another to fit into changing contexts.

Identity Moratorium: a developmental state in which one actively explores roles and beliefs, behaviors, and relationships, but refrains from making a commitment...often accompanied by a great deal of anxiety due to the competing demands experienced in the exploration of the authentic ‘me’ and the immediacy with which a lack of identity cohesion is felt.

Achieved Identity: occurs when the identity crisis is resolved and the commitment to the selected identity is high...the individual has successfully integrated his ego-identity needs from the past, within the present, and into the future and can therefore display a certain level of self-acceptance and ego strength across changing contexts.

What is Youth Work?

     Youth Work is an educational practice.  Youth workers are educators who build relationships with youth and keep those strong relationships in order to create the conditions  for learning.  You work is also a social practice.  Youth workers adopt  casework approaches.  They also are able to test their values and behaviors in this field.   Youth workers actively test their values, attitudes and behavior.  Youth workers actively challenge inequality and work for social justice.  This is important in youth work because you're always going to be working with children of all different backgrounds and you just have to recognize that and learn to help them individually.  Where possible  , young people choose to be involved. Young people always choose to be involved, unless its school because then they have no choice.  Youth work seeks to strengthen the voice and influence of young people.  Youth workers have always been people who enable the environment they work in.  Youth always feel empowered and like they can fully participate while a youth worker is present.  Youth work is a welfare practice.  Finally, youth work works with young people holistically.  Youth work may contribute to the reduction of anti social behavior in a community.        

Thursday, December 10, 2015

What is Youth Development?

Youth Development is advocating, supporting and guiding  youth to promote positive and social growth withing their communities.  

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Our Youth

     A few years ago, during my Fundamentals of Education class, we were required to complete a service learning in a diverse school setting.  I always knew I wanted to work with older youth, so I decided to perform my hours at a High School in Providence, RI.  I was placed in a senior history class.

     Before entering the school, everyone in my class was talking about how nervous they were to be placed mostly in Providence, I could not deny this, because I, too was nervous.  The stereotypes that evolve from Providence are not good, so we were all nervous.

     My first day was not as bad as I thought, until lunch came.  My teacher invited me to eat lunch with other teachers in the teachers room.  She introduced me to her colleagues and then the talking began.  "The students here are awful."  "You should probably switch schools, its gonna be tough."  "These kids don't care about anything but themselves, don't take it personal."  These were all told to me by the teachers who taught these students.  A part of me became immensely scared.  Another part of me was aggravated and upset.  How could these teachers say these  things about these students?  I almost did not what to come back, I did not want to hear anymore of this.

     Well, I continued to go, this time, I skipped lunch in the  teacher's room.  I would walk around the school, checking out the art room, chorus room and other classrooms.  I learned myself these were not bad kids, they were misunderstood.  They had been stereotyped for so long that just had the tag of "bad student" labeled to them.  I got to know just about every single student in my class.  I learned that the students had very similar opinions of the teachers, they just did not get along.  The students kept saying they don't understand us, they don't know how to help to name a few things.  It was all just a matter of miscommunication.

    I told the teacher if you just listened to them for five minutes, you might actually understand what they want, or how they need help.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Resilient Kids

Resilient Kids is a Rhode Island based organization promoted to helping youth in grades K-12.  After watching the videos, I can't help but wish this was around for me growing up.   The organization focuses on reducing stress, facilitate learning and to and help with personal growth.  Growing up, we were never taught what stress even was, nevermind how to manage it.  It really wasn't until high school where stressed kicked in.  Junior year was the worst. Looking into colleges, preparing and taking the SAT or the ACT, getting ready of prom, taking drivers tests and still trying to maintain a decent average.  I feel this program would have definitely benefited me in high school.

I love the idea of the workers setting them up with a toolbox on "how to's" rather than just telling them what they're doing is wrong and telling them to stop.  Not everyone learns by being told what to do, so opening up the toolbox is expanding their horizons gives them more tools to use to help them cope in other ways. This is definitely an organization I could see myself working for.

Leading With Values

On November 7, 2015, I had the distinct pleasure of attending the "Leading With Values"conference, hosted at Providence College.   I learned about myself and about values I never knew I had.

The conference, keynote speaker was Constance Howes, J.D., Executive Vice President of Women’s Health, Care New England Health System.  Howes explained her many leadership roles she has held and the values she has learned throughout her career.  As a lawyer of seventeen years, valuing honesty and dignity were no surprise.  She holds everyone to a high level of honesty, and expects her colleagues to do the same with her.  Howes explained that throughout her life, great role models helped write her story.  These were the people she looked up to the most and who's opinions she valued the most.  Hearing her share so much about her life was so inspiring.  Her parting advice was "make and impact and step aside."  This really spoke to me, I thought about this all day and is something I surely will not forget.

The first workshop I attended was facilitated by Kirtley Fisher.  Kirtley is an Experience Designer at the nonprofit Business Innovation Factory in Providence, RI.  Her workshop focused on valuing diversity and its value in building effective teams. She explained ways to develop diverse relationships and teams.  The second workshop, was facilitated by George Nippo, Senior Director of Program and Academics, Year Up Providence. George's workshop looked at how our personal biases and experiences effect our leadership.  We examined cultural understandings and misunderstandings.  Both Kirtley and George opened up my eyes to many different values, I hadn't thought about.      

Leading With Values Schedule