Thursday, December 10, 2015

Elevator Speech

Image result for youth

Youth Development is helping youth grow and learn outside of the classroom, through mentorship and advocacy. As a successful youth worker is one that focuses on youth’s strengths and helps them in areas of improvement.  They use positive or strengths-based approach to prevention. With my Youth Development degree I can run various youth programs and I could work varies nonprofits that serves youth. One of the most important aspects of a youth worker is helping youth discover their identity, and help co-author their life in the most significant way. Youth workers help youth develop a voice.

Event #2

As a class we attended the Open Books Open Minds at Rhode Island College. “Open Books – Open Minds has been reimagining the role of the common book at Rhode Island College. Common reading programs seek to generate intellectual and social engagement throughout the campus and help to create a sense of community, increase the vitality of academic discourse, and overall improve participants' feelings about their school” The chosen book was The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz.

The theme of this event was telling your own story. What I liked most was that all the readers were very different and all had different stories. The readers ranged in age, are of different ethnic backgrounds, there were both males and females, and everyone expressed their stories differently. Some people decided to show their emotional struggles, their happiness, and someone else’s story. There was a point where I almost cried. There was a reader talking about her father passing and it was devastating. One of the stories I really enjoyed was a daughter retelling an insane story her mother had before she was born. She had so much pride and admiration for her mother.  

This event ties into story telling. Telling one’s story and as a youth worker, helping youth write their own is imperative. The TED Talk with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Danger of a Single Story explains how “Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken.”

As I stated in a previous blog, I feel as though in the past youth had a single story. That they were just viewed as “kids”, however I believe their stories are becoming more multi-dimensional. There is now an understanding that every child is different. Youth have different needs and beliefs and we as Youth Workers need to recognize this and take into consideration the many stories youth have. There have been instances when I had the opportunity to hear the “other” stories for youth at my job. The kids are always growing and developing their identities and they are not tied down to one story.


Event #1

I attended the 13th annual Lights On Afterschool! Breakfast of Champions, on Wednesday October 21, 2015. A quick recap of the breakfast “This event called attention to the critical need for and importance of afterschool and summer programs to children, youth, families, and communities; and increased awareness and support for afterschool and summer programs among policymakers, funders, and other decision makers.” (

The breakfast was a great way to talk to some of my YDEV classmates that I never spoke to before. I was glad for the opportunity to connect, learn, and eat at this event. Throughout the breakfast there was multiple speakers. One thing that I really liked was that every speaker was very different. There was a principal, a high school student, and a technology professional who all somehow were or are affected positively from afterschool programs.

I had to leave a bit earlier than everyone else because I had class at 11:00, however I was able to stay for some of Jonathan Kozol’s speech. I did not know who he was before this breakfast, but I soon learned that he was a world-renowned author and advocate. I honestly did not want to leave until he was done speaking. His speech was memorizing and inspirational.

I think one of the most important aspects of an afterschool program is understanding “Who are the youth in my community.“ As we learned from readings and the TED Talk with Mellody Hobson on the topic of Color Blind or Color Brave, it’s important to be color brave. To embrace the youths cultures and race. As I stated in a previous blog, she stated that we cannot afford to be color blind, but have to be color brave. I agree with this because being color blind can lead to ignorance, and not being aware that there is still racial discrimination in our society. She raises this issue of racial discrimination because she believes it threatens to rob another generation of all the opportunities that all of us want for all of our children, no matter what their color or where they come from.

Overall the breakfast was very educational and I’m so thankful for the opportunity.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Resilient Kids

Image result for mindfulnessWhen looking for an internship, I came across resilient kids and thought it was a great program. Now for this week’s assignment I looked at it in more detail and think what they are doing is making a huge difference. Resilient kids is a program that trains students to practice mindfulness. It improves working memory, attention, academic skills, emotional regulation, and self-esteem. It also reported improvements in mood, and decreases in anxiety, stress,  fatigue. I believe schools should become familiar with this organization, or at least mindfulness in general. This is something also us as youth workers can take into account. No matter where our career paths take us, we all want to work with youth of all ages and this is a great practice to familiar ourselves with.

Mindfulness- a state of active, open attention on the present. When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Danger of a Single Story

I want to start off by saying how much I enjoyed this TED talk. Everything Adichie said was insightful and knowledgeable. I found myself wanting to hear more from her. Before watching the video I was not sure what the “danger of a single story” actually meant, and what the ‘danger” would be. However I know understand how it can be harmful. Incomplete stories become one story, which becomes the only story, and this can lead to stereotypes. Stereotypes create single stories because stereotypes are the idea that a group of people have one specific identity.  
I feel as though in the past youth had a single story. That they were just viewed as “kids”, however I believe their stories are becoming more multi-dimensional. There is now an understanding that every child is different. Youth have different needs and beliefs and we as Youth Workers need to recognize this and take into consideration the many stories youth have. There have been instances when I had the opportunity to hear the “other” stories for youth at my job. The kids are always growing and developing their identities and they are not tied down to one story.

          I have volunteered in classrooms where the teachers do not think certain students are capable and they believe they simply refuse to do the work because they just want to, but not realizing there may be more to it. It is very sad to see people who are supposed to be advocates for our youth, view them as single storied, and not as a never ending book. This is definitely something that I will keep in mind when I work with youth, and anyone for that matter.
Image result for youth identity

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Self in Context

Context mapping is a technique to gain deep insights into a person’s identity. Mitch asks Julian to list he various spaces and relationships he must negotiate each day. Through this Mitch learned about people who play a major role in Julian’s life, his “co-authors”. Youth are still figuring themselves out, and they need to experiment. Through experimentation they learn what they like and don’t like. They see what makes sense for them in life. In the reading the author lists four identities. 

Foreclosed Identity- An identity that is simply accepted as is, "with little reflection". The person stays committed to their identity without thinking or fighting about it. This can be someone who lives in poverty and believes that they will always live in poverty, unable to get out because they just accept that.

Diffuse Identity- This identity is easily influenced. There has been little exploration in this identity, and one does not commit to one. They change constantly.

Moratorium- In the identity moratorium, one actively explores different parts that make up their identity. However there can be a lot of anxiety in this identity because  of the pressure of finding who you are, and not choosing the "right" one.

Achieved Identity- This is where the identity crisis is resolved and there is a commitment to a selected identity. There was a lot of experimentation to come to this conclusion. A person becomes more comfortable with who they are.
   “Idealizing these figures is a way of trying on what it would be like to emulate them and chart a life path that might reach similar heights…The emotional and intellectual investments these figures represent are as hopeful as they are fleeting.” I agree that having big dreams and forming what you want your identity to be is great, and it’s important for youth to have hope, however there has to be an understanding or a realistic outlook that sometimes things do not work out.  

My Context Map
What contexts and relationships do you encounter on a weekly basis?

·         Rhode island College
o   YDEV, Management
·         Library
·         Explorations After School Program
·         Pawtucket, RI
·         Daughter, big sister, cousin, friend and co-worker
·         Professors/Previous teachers

Thursday, October 15, 2015

My multi-authored life

First off, there were many concepts in this week's reading The Construction of Adolescents that I felt that were essential to the major concepts of the text.

  • Just as children require near-constant support from others to access the material from which they will start building their lives, adolescents and adults likewise depend on ongoing support to construct their realities and the internalized stories of those realities.
  • All stories are multi-authored
  • Theme of education is critical
  •  Being disappointed by his teachers [Antwon]
  • No meeting of the minds [Antwon & Teacher]
  • Just as educators play critical roles in the construction of their students’ life texts, so too are students critical to the life texts of their teachers, principals, and counselors.
  • Trained to promote youth development via range of teaching, counseling, mentoring and prevention programs.
There was a few concepts that I did not know previous to reading this chapter.
            - Zone of proximal development
            - Scaffolding
            - Reciprocal transformation

 One of the most important concepts in my opinion from the list I gathered was that there was no meeting of the minds between Antwon and his teacher Ms. Petersen. They both did not know where the other one was coming from, and if their was open communication, things might have been different.

Now about my own life story. It was hard to come up with 10 people who have co-authored with me. I tried to pick people from all different parts of my life.
  1.   Mom
  2.  Dad
  3. Grandmother
  4. Alex
  5. Mrs. A
  6.  Mark
  7.  Patricia
  8.  Ethan
  9.  Angel
  10. Student from volunteering
We were told to pick and talk about one person who helped co-author our lives and I decided to pick my mom. There is no other person in this world that I can say shaped me more than she has. I mean how can there be, she’s been there for me every single day of my life. If anyone would ask, I would deny that I’m anything like my mother, however the truth is I’m just like her and I'm proud of that. She is the toughest person I know, the hardest worker, and I work every day to be like her. From the moment she arrived in the United States she worked from the bottom up to get where she is now. I can honestly say I am a strong independent women, and this is because of my mom.