Thursday, December 8, 2016

EVENT #2 Governor's walk with PASA at Del Sesto

For my second event, I was inclined to go because it was another opportunity for selling the Youth Development brand to individuals and legislators who are unfamiliar with its scope and impact. On Monday December 5th, RI Governor Gina Raimondo planned a visit to Del Sesto middle school to peek in on PASA (Providence Afterschool Alliance) afterschool programming. In addition to a few a handful of other students in the major, we walked into each room that held a different sort of activity (sewing in the home ec room), (stress balloon making), (dance team) etc. Once the governor toured through the rooms, she sat across the table from us for a chance to deliver a more elaborate elevator speech to enlighten her on what she just saw in terms of examples that resonate as cornerstones in the field like building relationships, creating safe spaces, leading with, and recognizing context and individual strengths/needs. For about 45 minutes prior to our walkthrough, we structured a dialogue that each of us would offer examples around each of four cornerstones to Youth Development that we wanted to convey. When the time came to actually deliver that information, our planned turn taking to speak on got thrown off with the governor diverting to a question of why some of chose to switch from Education into Youth Development. I am quite proud of myself for using that opportunity to insert my point about creating safe spaces and that basically I wouldn't be able to if I hadn't picked this path because a lot of times that isn't as easy or within the methodology of running a strictly academic classroom. It was an honor to represent our program and speak on its behalf with Governor Raimondo and right up my sleeve of wanting to be an advocate for the youth at a higher level.

EVENT #1 RIC Open House

For my first event, I attended the open house at Rhode Island College on November 12th. It was an awesome opportunity to refine my elevator speech for selling the program as a high school graduates intended major or as new information to adults and other young people presenting it as an option for the first time ever. As I am reminded that our BA program is the only one available in the northeast, I thought it interesting to insert in my speech. I wanted to go because I get so many questions from family members and friends like, "so what will you have a degree in when you graduate, again?" or "What can you do with Youth Development?" It almost seems ignorant of them to ask, but in most cases, it hasn't been heard of enough. In relation to course themes, I would say this event allowed me to practice advocating for the youth at a different level. I say that from the perspective of how I want to do work in the field as I've started to develop working with United Way. I acted as an advocate that day to recruit the next cohorts of youth workers and grow the field. Without skilled individuals working with them in their programs and helping them realize their strengths and building on those, they have less of a chance to flourish. That extra support outside of the academic environment and away from home is where youth workers practice. Giving the youth voice and choice, building better relationships, and learning to be an advocate WITH them starts when you get to college and make that decision and in professional development opportunities.  There was a slow turn out by our table at the event, and we got a few names interested in the program so it was a mildly successful platform for getting the major out as a new brand.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

When you say Y, I say....

     When a family member during the upcoming holiday gatherings asks about what I'm majoring in and studying within my academic career, I will feel more than equipped to answer with my content knowledge and reading through Strengthening the Youth Development/After-school Workforce. Youth Development is studied through the lenses of social work practice, special education, and nonprofit studies. As practicing youth workers, our cornerstones for practice are leading with youth, creating safe spaces, tailoring content in recognizing specific skill sets, and building relationships.
     I liked the visual the article gives:
     The pipeline is chronological starting with early childhood on the left running through work and career to the right with the supports of family, peers, and community members. Youth workers are a major part of the insulating material. A student's learning, enrichment, and self expression cannot all take place between the hours of 8a to 2p. Youth Development exists as a field because there's a need for higher quality afterschool programming and support for young people rather than just throwing federal funding at the programs themselves. There's a real demand for high quality youth workers. That's a job title that people need to start accepting as more than babysitting. In the way I envision the kind of work I want to get into, I choose to work more behind the scenes for our youth in policy and advocacy. I want to stand with counselors, mentors, coaches, and librarians and support them as youth professionals and figure out what the youth need and even through the rest of their pipeline.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Fostering Resilience in Youth Right in RI

This week, we were directed to research a RI based nonprofit called the Center for Resilience. They are really about empowering students, still through the Common Core curriculum, to take care of their own stress and really de-escalate themselves when they think they could have some kind of negative behavior. Not only does the center empower students, but the nonprofit empowers the adults working with the students. I enjoyed watching the testimonials on how the students demonstrate their breathing, palm, catching exercises to calm them down, de stress, or even help them quiet their minds to fall asleep at night. The statistics from East Providence, Central Falls, and Providence showing a drop in behavior referrals and less stressed students speaks to the nature of the center's curriculum. I think that even adults can benefit from this program, because I've come across a few that need some de-stressing and calming down before a more charged negative behavior shows itself. The young people we work with day in and day out need to find their own calming rituals and safer spaces within themselves sometimes to be ready to learn and focus. As one teacher explained, the resilient methods may take minutes from learning academic skills, but you will get those minutes back tenfold when successful.
Image result for resilient youth

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Election Buzz 2016

There has been a buzz in my ear since the start of the campaign trail heat between Hillary and Donald. I think it fits to use their first names here since they have both handled this election with a degree of immaturity, one candidate more than the other of course. I truly want to vote to stop one of whom I believe to be the greater of two evils. When I see evil, I mean not as much how many more skeletons, but how much less moral standing and experience this particular candidate has. I don't want to shy away from the booth this election season because every little voice needs to be taken into consideration when picking the next President, now more than ever. I could be more informed about the issues and the backgrounds of the candidates, but I believe that I have seen what I need to see in the debates, the decorum displayed, the detail of plan from Madam Secretary's side, and the true character comes out. Ending the racial elephant in the room within law enforcement world right now, giving immigrant children the spark to ignite their US education pathway fire, and being about debt relief for current students, youth workers have reason to stand behind the former Secretary of State for the future, what education will look like and access to the kinds of opportunities the youth we service have available to them. Image result for clinton vs trump

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Nakkula and Toshalis (2010) Reflection

From Nakkula and Toshalis (2010) Chap 2 which is what we were assigned to read this week, context mapping is used as a tool between the psychologist Mitch and adolescent Julian. Context mapping is used as a tool when dissecting issues within one's world that could be directly or indirectly involved at the core of a presenting problem. Because once Julian opens up, he mentions his mom, home, dad, and other components that sound all over the place, a visual map makes an understanding easier. I linked the all of the result images that come up when searching for a context map on Google because it can look like many different things and is used in different fields for groupings of items for various audiences. I like lists better than I like the jumbled circle venn diagram look so I listed what mine might contain below:

    1. Home Depot                            2. Home                      3. My Aunt's farm
  • supervisor Beth                                     homemaker                horse caretaker (Jasmine, Zoe)
  • customers                                              partner to Jamie           farm hand
  • other associates/my cashier team                                              dog sitter  (Kizmet,Diego)
  • store manager Steve
The four identities described by the authors are foreclosed, diffuse, moratorium, and achieved.
     Foreclosed identity- one that assumed as one's only option given their circumstances or opportunities available to him/her. This individual would be committed to this way of being without exploring carefully or experimenting w/ alternatives.

     Diffuse identity- Individuals who fall under this one category are what I like to call followers, not leaders. They have little exploration or active consideration of a particular identity and no psychological commitment to one. They're easily influenced by others and often change rapidly from one belief or representation to another to fit into changing contexts.

     Identity Moratorium- This is a developmental state that I first came across in my Developmental Psych course required at CCRI, This is when an individual experiences a crisis of identity with no commitment, usually happens during college years or when an individual goes off in the armed forces.

     Achieved Identity- This stage occurs after the identity crisis is resolved and the commitment to the selected identity is high, It's like perfect integration, Needs from the past, within the present, and into the future display self-acceptance and ego strength across the contexts.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Taking Inventory on Myself

Image result for horoscope signsThis week's inventory task made me feel like I changed my own perspective on youth work since the last time I took the quiz as a written sort of thing in the Spring. What I learned in relation with how I am around other people including friends which I believe could have been taken after family members is I feel like I need to be there for the youth that need a tour guide. I was going to go with the word fixing but I didn't find that appropriate. Learning I am aligned with Risk, Resiliency, and Prevention, I would be focused on decreasing rates of teen pregnancy, school failures, and gang violence. Those are just some of the things that youth are at risk for.
                                                          To me, the result of this inventory horoscope activity makes sense because I am the friend that tries to look for ways and words in which I can inspire change in particular friends who might be going through something all the time. They just don't know how to think about their life situation differently. For at risk youth, I think this starts with creating a safe space. Interestingly enough, my Toolbox will be around how to foster a safe space for my youth group that I might be working with. Cutting back on pregnancy rates, violence, and substance abuse amongst teens is not something that is going to happen overnight. I am pretty sure that is why there is a whole core value system and philosophy which youth workers may fall under to practice towards.