Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Youth Work

I knew that I wanted to make a difference in this world and it starts with the Youth. The youth truly holds the intellect and power to help create a better world. For me specifically I enjoy learning from the youth and teaching the youth new things. I like getting an idea about each individual I am working with and learn more about who makes them them (Story telling). I am an athletic persona and that is why I a focusing in engaging with the youth in a recreational type setting. From the reading I did, it talked about youth work and engagement with recreational activities can be demonstrating

"Youth work’s conventional wisdom would assert that such activities are to be valued primarily as vehicles for carrying young people on testing personal and emotional journeys. This might include developing a ‘relationship with the youth centre and the staff … For many young people the activity in itself may become increasingly significant."

Activity meaning anything, and as a youth worker it is our job, my job to make the activity significant.

"What is Youth Work?"
Hey, you're just a child, listen to me
You shouldn't speak, unless asked to speak
You have no thoughts or different ideas
You're just a youth, you're not a leader
Imagine a youth worker saying these  things
In reality, it is quite demeaning
For a human being but a youth worker alike
For youth workers and youth together unite
Youth work is revealing leaders from the youth community
Togetherness, collaboration, demonstrating no "I" in team
Life skills - fundraising, sponsorship, non-profit sector
Acting as advocates, coaches, youth protectors
Youth embellishments letting youth know they have a voice
For a job well done youth workers rejoice
We guide the youth, we don't say "do this"
We ask what are your thoughts; dig into their wits
Expressing stories, making youth smile; setting goals they can embark
Educationing with youth - this is youth work


 Open Book Open Minds was an event held at Rhode Island College. This year, the event focused on family history and stories/legends passed on within the family. I knew about it before I attended with my YDEV class because of my Creative Writing class. A few of my classmates actually shared their stories at this event. I should have as well ( I did write something since it was a class assignment.) Anyways, what I truly enjoyed about this event, was how free individuals were able to express themselves. The stories told were so beautiful.

Immediately I thought about what we learned in class about story-telling. The Tedtalk "the danger of a single story by Chimamanda Adichie really demonstrated the importance of story telling and not falling into a single story mindset. I think for these individuals telling the story, especially one that I remember very well, felt at some point in their lives, people thought a single story of them. And this was the importance of them telling their stories. This was the importance of them expressing themselves.
“The single story creates stereotypes,” Adichie says, “and the problem with stereotypes

is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete."

Open books Open Minds  was the perfect event to utilize the idea and belief that story telling is useful to any and all humans. Whether it be youth, adults or elderly, it is never too late to share a story and be expressive.

Next year, we can help choose the next open books open minds book, and soon enough a new writing assignment will be given for students to openly share with fellow faculty members and other students.

Monday, November 16, 2015


The whole concept and idea behind resilient kids was very interesting. The video about "The Focus Game" was very enjoyable. It seemed like the kids have fun playing it and as we learn in class with out different activities, their is a purpose and value to "The Focus Game". Another thing about the ResilientKids video, were the testimonials from the children, and how greatly we were shown of their impact and progress. The method of bringing peace and calmness to these children truly benefits them. The development of children is being understood and the ways to calm children in the classroom is being exposed rather than simply saying, "calm down." It is a really effective way to help the process of learning and youth development and I think it is a great tool for youth workers.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The danger of a single story

One thing that I enjoyed about watching this TedTalk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is how she starts off by saying, “I am a story teller” Luckily for me I was already familiar with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. For one, Beyoncé sampled a speech by her in her song “Flawless”. Her input in that song is perfect. And secondly, in my Creative Writing class, we have actually read a couple of stories written by her. They were all amazing because of the way she conveys a story. In her writings, the same things she discusses in her TedTalk, were revealed. Like she says, she wrote about what was familiar to her. And I think because of her experiences and her ability to share stories, she freed herself from that single story life style.

When I try to connect the idea of having a single story with my life, I think about certain things growing, basically stereotypes that I have learned about. I think the one thing I can think about is like, stereotypes based on me. I think people have single story of not me, but African Americans or black people in general. Just the same, how there are stereotypes about White Americans., etc. I have mentioned before how for the most part I feel as though I didn’t get the typical response of “all black people are loud, ghetto, etc.” For me it was true that people had this mind framed, but they viewed me as the opposite of that stereotype. These people still had that single story mind set.

Honestly growing up, I wasn’t instilled with different stereotypes about people and races or different places that I can say I shaped into a single story. And as I continued to grow, I took the time to understand more about the differences in people so that I wouldn’t be prejudice or as I am learning, a single story mind set. And just like Chimamanda Ngozi says, the stories we hear aren’t necessarily false, they are just incomplete. There is always more than one story to DEFINE someone. And I like how Chimamanda explains this and reveals this with her own experiences. One thing that Chimamanda Ngozi said that stuck out to me however was this:

“All I have heard about them was how poor they were, so that it had come impossible for me see them as anything else but poor…so poverty was my single story of them”

Chimamanda Ngozi says she wishes they were revealed as “poor and hardworking”. Therefore poverty wouldn’t be the single story of them. Now that I think about this, I think, well hmm, did I hear something about someone and think well that is all that they are; that is all that makes them, them. I feel like everyone has something they heard about youth, about different places, about other people, and we use that small piece of information, and map it into its "single story". As humans I believe we unconsciously, all do this. And now we realize…we can’t do this. This is the dangers of a single story.

Below is the link to a prose poem by Chimamanda Ngozi if you want to read it! And it definitely goes along with the theme of "single stories".

My mother, the Crazy African

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Identity/ Context Map

Understanding Youth: Adolescent Development for Education
                                        4 Main Identities

Achieved Identity: An individual is highly committed to an identity identity crisis resolved.
Foreclosed Identity: An individual has committed to a certain way of being without exploring that way of being of trying different alternatives
Moratorium: An individual explores different identities but does not make a commitment too one
Diffused Identity: Little to none exploration of an identity therefore there is no commitment

Throughout this chapter we are introduced to Julian, a Haitian boy who is struggling with his identity. Mitch, the school psychologist first begins this experiment of helping Julian reach "achieved identity" by asking him to make of list of things different relationships that he deals with on a day to day basis. Then Julian has to explain what these relationships are expecting of him. Then he was asked to write his own feelings about these relationships in his life. Mitch had Julian make a context map. A context map is used to help one identify their strongest relationships in their lives. For Julian the context map was used more to help him gather who he is and what is important to him in his life.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Construction of Adolescents

After reading "The Construction of Adolescents" by Nakkula & Toshalis, I can say that I did actually learn useful, and new information. I never really thought about my life being coauthored with educators or even other people in my life. But of course that makes a lot of sense. Specifically referring to the example of Ms. Petersen and Antwon, I felt like I was once in that type of situation And now that I think about it, my teacher, Mrs. Healey, did coauthor my life story. It is because of her, that I love writing so much. And I always say that the reason I developed the love of writing is because of her teaching in 8th grade. She was my 8th grade Writing teacher, but she also taught ESL students and I feel like this is why she was able to understand her students so well. As the article ask, is it the role of teachers to just simply teach us and "go by the book" or is it their jobs to form relationships with students and teach them more than text book material? Mrs. Healey and I developed a relationship that was more useful than text book material. She was the type of teacher that did what she had to do to make students feel appreciated and understood. 100 percent do I feel as though she coauthored my life because I do not see myself as a writer, if it wasn't for her. And yes at times, she acted as a normal teacher when students would talk and give her a hard time, and she'd yell and frighten us, but at the end of the day, she was helping us shape our lives and for me, she truly did help me and I love the art of writing so much because of her. (Thank you Mrs. Healey)

But then to think, did I help coauthor her life? The article would suggest that I have. That somehow her coauthoring my life and  creating the love of writing within me, helped her own "professional growth" and "personal gratification."  The term reciprocal transformation was new to me. Basically it reveals that youth and adults help each other's development. Learning this term is definitely useful because this is what I aim for. I am to help the youth and in term they help me. It shouldn't be a rare occasion where an adult says the youth has helped them in some way. That should be an everyday thing just as youth are required to learn and get something out of life everyday; an adult can and should to through the youth. I genuinely do not know if Mrs. Healey felt a development growth because of our relationship but thinking that she did is rewarding. It is one thing to have that one adult that has helped you throughout your life, and then another to realize that you actually helped them as well.

The article then ends emphasizing the importance of a relationship between students and educators. Something that stuck out to me was that, "distancing between educators and students has less to do with the participants themselves and more to do with the logistical or social demands placed on learning relationships.." Meaning that educators and teachers should influence each other more often and open up to one another about their lives, about their needs, about their goals. This does not mean that educators are shying away from their purpose of teaching, but rather enhancing their teaching experience.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Color blind or Color Brave

"Color blind or Color Brave" a Tedtallk documentary by Mellody Hobson; an inspirational discussion about "race"
When Mellody mentioned that for a moment she felt uncomfortable talking about race during this conference, I knew the feeling. For me, I do not like to necessarily talk about race or point it out. I think there have been a couple of moments in my life where I would go to a place and feel uncomfortable because I didn't see people who "looked" like me. But that did not change the way I interacted or how I felt. I honestly can' recall a time that I have ever felt ignored or unwanted because of my race. HOWEVER, with that being said, people have noticed my race and my personalty. People have seen my color and instead compared it to the attributes of how a "black" woman in our society should act. Many people, have called me an "Oreo" or a "Black White Girl".  They would say that I'm not as aggressive and "ghetto" as most black woman are. Honestly, I did not know how to take this information. In my mind, I am just me. I act how I act. I talk how I talk. No one in one race is exactly the same; talks the same; looks the same, therefore how can I not be black?

It's so funny that I watched this Tedtalk at this time because I even had an issue today at work. My co-worker and I were discussing meats. I do not eat any. She asked me if I have ever ate fried chicken. Back when I ate meat I said yes, but it isn't that serious to me. She responded by saying, "you're not really black" and this is not the first time I have heard someone say this because I do not exhibit the criteria of a "real" black female. So people do see color. I think relating to the tweet below, people believe that if you do not see color, that is a good thing. But it's not. It is just way to avoid race. As Mellody Hobson says in her Tedtalk, "The first step to solving any problem is not to hide from it." I believe by saying you do not see color is ignoring the "problem" of race. It is like someone saying "I do not see you as black, I see you as you" Although they may mean well by this statement, at the end of the day, I am black, that is apart of who I am and that cannot be disowned.

never trust anyone who says they do not see color. this means to them, you are invisible. — is