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.