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.
Thursday, December 10, 2015
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.
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.” (afterschoolri.org)
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.