Monday, December 14, 2015

What is YDEV?

Youth Development is many things...

At Rhode Island College it's a collaboration of Non Profit Studies, Education, and Social Work. We work together towards a familiar goal and learn how to advocate for ourselves and the youth we will and have been working with. It involves a 180 hour internship and many service learning opportunities to gain experience with working with youth. For advising we have a digital plan of study where we work with our advisers to plan each semester out carefully to make sure we are all where we need to be and on track. This program is a unique program where instead of acting as a major we are more like a family.

Youth development helps youth develop social skills, advocate for themselves and other youth and also teaches them life skills that they can not always learn in a classroom. It gives youth a voice when it is hard for them to speak up because of where they come from or their socio- economic status. It is a comforting person for a child to talk to. It is someone a child or adolescent can look up to. Youth workers act as a role model to help mold young minds.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

YDEV Advising

For one of my Youth Development Events, I helped Corinne and Lesley with advising students and picking schedules for the Spring 2016 semester.

This event was kind of surreal to me. This is my sixth and final year at Rhode Island College and there I was helping freshman who knew nothing about the Youth Development program sign up for their second semester of classes. Being at this event helped give me a "full circle" feeling. Six years prior, I was being helped with advising as a theater major and now here I am in my sixth year, helping other students gain knowledge and sign up for classes for a major that gave me a whole new outlook on school. Being in a classroom has never been easy for me but being in Youth Development classes and taking classes that have useful content for my end career goal (Expressive Therapist) has made me so much more confident as a student and as an individual. Helping these students pick out their classes gave me so much hope, not just for myself but for them. I want them to feel the same way I do about the Youth Development program and I want them to feel confident in themselves.

I loved helping students pick their classes and I am so glad I had the opportunity and knowledge to do so. I hope the students I helped succeed in the program!!

Single Story

I am a person of empathy. I have always thought of it as a gift but also a curse. A gift because I feel for people and what they have been through. A curse because I find myself feeling bad for horrible people.

When it comes to the topic of a "single story", I believe my empathy is in the form of a gift. I can see past someone's exterior and feel for them.

As I've mentioned before, at my work we deal with a lot of children and adolescents who have had some sort of trauma in their lives. When we get a new client we read what we call a "snapshot" which gives us a brief history of what landed the child in our facility. At times a person could walk into our facility and label our youth as "depressed", "suicidal", or even "crazy" but all of those words are an example of a single story. Yes, we have depressed youth but what caused it? Yes, we have suicidal youth, but why do they feel the need to end their lives at such a young age? Yes, we have youth who have some issues, but where did they come from? The snapshots we are given on these children and adolescents help us understand why they are doing what they are doing or why they are feeling a particular way. Everyone has a story, and no one deserves to be labeled for their outer appearance to be judged.  The problem with "single stories" is that sometimes I feel as if people don't care to further understand why are person do what they do, other people just see one side of it and don't care enough or are too ignorant to look into it.

I believe my gift can help me see all aspects of a person, and I am so grateful for that.

Power is the ability not just to tell the story of another 
person, but to make it the definitive story of that person.

                                             - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Context Mapping

Based on what I got from the readings, a context map is thinking about (mapping out) different area in a person's life. The map shows who is in the persons life; how they are impacting their lives. The map shows what is expected in the person in that current time of their life, and how the individual is feeling.

My context map shows aspects of my life, and how the aspect makes me feel whether it is good or bad.

The four types of identities based on the chapter

Foreclosed Identity: one in which an individual has committed to a life direction or way of being without exploring it carefully and without experimenting with alternatives...either thrust upon a person...or simply accepted with little reflection.

Diffused Identity: a state in which there has been little exploration or active consideration of a particular identity and no psychological commitment to one...easily influenced by others and often change rapidly from one belief or representation to another to fit into changing contexts.

Identity Moratorium: a developmental state in which one actively explores roles and beliefs, behaviors, and relationships, but refrains from making a commitment...often accompanied by a great deal of anxiety due to the competing demands experienced in the exploration of the authentic ‘me’ and the immediacy with which a lack of identity cohesion is felt.

Achieved Identity: occurs when the identity crisis is resolved and the commitment to the selected identity is high...the individual has successfully integrated his ego-identity needs from the past, within the present, and into the future and can therefore display a certain level of self-acceptance and ego strength across changing contexts. 

Co- authoring

I am a people person and tend to talk to and become friends with people easily. It was hard to narrow down a list, but here is a list of people in my life who have influenced me the most:

1. My mom
2. My biological mom
3. My sister
4. My biological siblings
5. My Auntie Joyce and Uncle Ray
6. My Auntie Pat
7. My Papa
8. My nieces
9. My boyfriend
10. My friends

All of the people above have in some way co- authored my life but one stands out to me the most and I believe was the start of everything else. That person is my biological mother.

For most of my life, I hated her. I hated her name. I hated what I remembered of her. I hated what she put me through. I hated everything about her. Now, I have come to realize that I don't hate her. At this time in my life I would truly like to thank her.

Thank you for...
Making me the person I am today
Making me a stronger person
Helping realize what I want to do in my life
Giving me a positive outlook on my life even though it came from something negative
Helping me empathize with others
Showing me the type of life I don't want to live
Helping me find a career

You are what drives me to do everything in my life. You have truly been a co- author in my life and I truly do thank you. I would't be the person I am today and I wouldn't have met the people in my life without you.

Image result for thank you

Characteristics of a Youth Worker

1. Youth workers are educators: When I think of a youth worker, teacher is not a word I like to associate it with. Youth workers educate youth in settings other than a classroom, which gives youth the opportunity to see things in diverse settings. Youth workers base learning on where youth is rather than where they are told they should be which I believe is an important aspect of youth work. Youth workers give their youth the opportunity to think outside of the box instead of thinking within the four walls of a classroom. In my personal life, I have always been the type to learn by doing. I have a hard time sitting in a classroom and listening to a teacher or professor speak, sometimes I get lost in the words that are being said to me. I am the type of person that needs to look a things, explore, ask a million questions. In a classroom that is hard to do but in a setting such as summer camp, a youth theater group, or an after school program, I can learn the way that works for me.

2. Youth work is a social practice: Youth work is something that can be done one-on-one but it is much more effective in a group setting. Youth not only thrive off of you as a role model but they also thrive off of the peers they are constantly surrounded by. As youth workers and role models it is our obligation to help build strong social skills among peers. It is important to build on a youths social skills because youth are constantly surrounded by other peers whether it is in a school setting, a camp setting, or even among their siblings. As a camp counselor, working with groups of youth reminded me how important it is for children and adolescents to work together because (although they may not have seen it) youth are always learning from one another and building off of each other in positive ways. For example, I am the drama specialist at my camp which really gives me a great insight of youth working together to accomplish a goal. One of my campers was having a hard time with her role but the other children helped her and gave her positive ideas and feedback to give her the self- confidence she needed.

3. Youth workers actively challenge inequality and work towards social justice: Youth work is highly based off of (but are not limited to) youth who are considered minorities, underprivileged youth, and youth who are on the lower socio- economic scale. Youth workers serve to help these young people over come whatever situation they are in and build up their confidence and embrace where they come from. I currently work as a Behavioral Counselor for a Community Based Acute Treatment where we get many children who are minorities, and come from low socio- economic area. Part of my work is to help the youth that I serve to become motivated to change how they look at themselves and see themselves as individuals, not be defined by where they come from.

4. Where possible, young people choose to be involved: When a child feels as if they are being forced to do something, they usually don't want to do it. When youth are given the choice to do something, especially something that interests them, most of the time they are going to do it. When I was in middle school my mother forced me to go to camp and she made it very obvious that it was because she did not like the people I was hanging around with at school. I hated the idea of having to go to camp every day and not being able to see my friends. I felt as if I was being punished. In that case, I was being forced. I soon came to realize that I loved summer camp and couldn't wait to go every day and chose to return back (little did I know at the time I'd become a camp counselor at that camp in the future). Youth will become involved if they like what they are doing.

5. Youth work seeks to strengthen the voice and influence of youth people: Youth workers not only want to help youth who are in poor situations such as being low on the socio- economic scale, youth who are considered minorities, and underprivileged youth but we also want to strengthen them so they can stand up for themselves and their communities. Our goal is to give youth a voice of their own. Perfect example of this is Youth In Action because it is a program that gives youth the opportunities to learn and teach from others to strengthen themselves and fight for their own self justice.

6. Youth work is a welfare practice: Youth workers provide a safe place for youth. We all know that some youth do not come  from the safest of neighborhood or the most ideal living situation but as youth workers we provide a safe place for youth to be able to run around in a safe area or talk to us. My job en-tales working with children and adolescents who have some sort of trauma history. We provided a safe space through the staff we have built up and the proper skills to help them.

7. Youth work works with young people 'holistically': Youth workers are not working on only one aspect of youth, we are working with all of it. We don't just pick and choose what we are going to work on or what kind of kids we are going to work with, we work with everything all together. It may be harder that way, but youth need support in all aspects not just one. At work, I work with children and adolescents from all sorts of backgrounds with all types of issue that have been through a lot in their short lived lives, but we don't just target one specific area of treatment, we try to help them in every possible area that we can. It benefits them in the end.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Resilient Kids

My first reaction: WOW!!!

I can honestly say I have never seen a program such as this one before. To do the assignment, I did it in the order that it was provided and watching the first two videos I was a little confused about what the program actually did. Once I started watching all of the videos and looking over the website I got a better understanding of the whole program and I think it is WONDERFUL!! 

Something that really stuck out to me in the YouTube video was one of the little boys talking about how this program not only helped him control his anger in school but also at him. This is an important factor because it is proving just how well this program is working not only in a school setting but at home as well . This just goes to show what kind of effect this program is having on students. 


To foster the social, emotional and academic growth of children and young people through mindfulness curricula seamlessly integrated into the school culture. 

Our professionally- trained, dedicated instructors work in partnership with school administrators and classroom teachers to reduce stress and behaviors that interfere with learning, to accelerate positive student outcomes. 

It may not seem like a big deal, but I loved how on the website it was so easy to find the mission because I believe a mission is one of the most important aspects of an organization. Missions truly intrigue me because I believe it shows what an organization stands for and how they plan on carrying it through. The mission for "Resilient Kids" gives clear cut plans for what the programs objectives are, and according to the videos, website, and statistics of the program, it is clear that the program is a success to all the schools it services along with a majority of the students.

I don’t think I can say it enough but this program is amazing and I wish there was something like this when I was in school!!