Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Youth Work

Youth work is so much more than people expect.  Yes, it may be a simple term but there are so many branches of a career that it could be applied to.  Youth work is the base of many things that apply to youth but there really is no one definition.  According to the reading that I completed whether it is volunteer or paid work, the quality of the work depends on the dynamic of the youth worker.  It also depends on the quality of the relationship that is being built between the youth and the worker.  There are so many different factors that are built into youth work.  A major factor that plays a part in this is the field that one may go into when working with youth.  There are many different areas that one may specialize in.  In order to be successful one has to change methods according to their specialization.
Although youth work may not be the traditional way of teaching, it is still a method of learning simultaneously off of each other.  It is something that requires more listening than speaking.  If we take time to actually listen to the young ones that will fill our future then we will be better off at understanding and helping them form a better one.  In youth work, the youth can take the lead and form leadership skills that they may not otherwise form by listening to hours of lecture in a regular classroom.  They learn to follow what they find to be interesting rather than what they are taught in the main 4 subjects.  In youth work, differences are positive things that should be reinforced.  Youth development is not only educational but also something that develops their personal skills and wellbeing according to their needs.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

There is always more than one Viewpoint

After watching this Ted talk, I realized that this issue is a rather common one.  Gossip seems to be the most common form of this in modern day America.  Once somebody tells you their side of the story it is difficult to see it any other way.  If you become stuck with a one-sided viewpoint then it is very easy to create a stereotype of someone.  I have been guilty of doing this, it is a skill to remove yourself and see it from a neutral viewpoint. 
There have been a multitude of times that I have been told certain things about someone.  They stretch anywhere from "He is crazy" to "She is stupid".  Fortunately, a person is made up of more than one trait/characteristic. Unfortunately, it may be difficult to see them as anything different until proven otherwise even if there is no "proof" that these people do not even possess these traits that you have been told.  As I have seen on many of these other blog posts, I feel as if the best plan of action is to witness things for yourself.  Everyone has a different definition of different people and there is more to everyone than just the surface things.  Even if there are any negative qualities this person may possess, there is most likely a reason for it.  It is up to us to change our viewpoints!

Thursday, October 22, 2015


Context mapping is a rather simple concept when your life is in a place that allows you to separate all of the different working parts.  When you are younger, it may be a bit more difficult to find yourself and to be able to label all of the parts in it.  One may be trying to decipher who they even are in their younger years, to be able to define everything in your life at that point would be a difficult task.  When I attended middle and high school, it was difficult for me to even figure out what I wanted to do in the future.  I could tell you what was immediately important to me but I could not list what was essential in my life.  Ironically, Mitch asks Julian what he thinks other people think, or see of him.  When I was in middle school and high school I had little to no clue about some parts of my identity.

There are four different identities and ways that a person may perceive themselves.  There are many different personalities and traits a person may hold, therefore, youth may have had different influences in their life that may have enforced these identities.  Foreclosed Identity is an identity that an individual has committed to a life direction or way of being without exploring it carefully and without experimenting with alternatives.  Diffuse Identity is a state in which there has been little exploration or active consideration of a particular identity and no psychological commitment to one.  Identity Moratorium one actively explores roles and beliefs, behaviors and relationships, but refrains from making a commitment.  Achieved Identity when the identity crisis is resolved and the commitment to the selected identity is high.

Here is an example and picture of my context map, in other words, my identity!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Most Important Co-author

Every one of us has had different people that come into our lives who come and go.  Some are more permanent members of your life while others choose to be a temporary addition.  Although some people are only temporary in your life they can still play a huge part and influence certain things about you.  For me, there are a multitude of different people that have had affect on me, small or large, the affect is still there.  I notice that I act differently around different people but the most important ones leave something with me.  The most important co-author in my life is my Mother.

My Mother is not only a part of my biological side, she is also an expert at speaking to people and calming them.  I noticed that I have developed a knack for this my self and I try to copy her calm personality.  I feel like I really started to try to form a personality for myself in my adolescence, which seems to be the area that most teenagers try to find themselves according to Nakkula and Toshalis.  My Mother has certainly influenced my personality but also made me feel at peace with all of the choices that I have made and ones that I will make in the future.  She made me know that no matter what I chose, she would stand behind me.  So while I was allowed to write some parts in my own story she had a gentle touch in guiding me in the right direction.  She made me feel as if I was in control while making sure that I was making the right choice all at once.

Overall, she has had a very big impact on my life.  I have inherited many of her views on multiple different things, as well as many of her personality traits.  I have also continued on the same path that she set me on years ago.  There were many things that I thought were a waste of time when I was younger but she gently pushed me through it.  Now that I look back I realize that my Mother had a huge role in helping to form who I am today.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Color blind or color brave?

Although racial diversity has become a little bit less of an issue in the present, it still seems to be a topic that we avoid.  Many of us may not be considered "racist" and in order to not be considered this so called word, many will avoid the topic altogether.  I am also very guilty of this.  I have fallen into the trap of not acknowledging race because as young ones we are usually brought up to accept differences and not to publicly acknowledge them.  I am sure many of us have heard the words "DON'T POINT" in our lifetimes, especially when we were children.  During many of these occasions we were probably wrong to point out the differences but the fact still remains, we are born to naturally notice things such as this.  The question is, why not acknowledge it and move on to other issues?

I have been guilty of using mindsets to avoid the difference in race and color altogether.  I convince myself that color does not matter, only character does.  While this may be true, it ignores the true matter at hand.  We should not be ashamed to say who we are out loud in public.  Who can honestly say that they would be comfortable discussing their race publicly, if they are considered a minority?  Maybe some would be, but there would be many that would not feel comfortable.  This is the issue, there should be pride in pronouncing who you are in every aspect.  Mellody Hobson hits the nail right on the head with many of these dilemmas.  She states that we must be comfortable leaving our comfort zones in order to change things.  We must face these issues head on and become familiar without our comfort zones before we are able to feel comfortable again.  If we deny this way of thinking, there will never be any leaps in positive ways of thinking or any changes.
Youth In Action seems to be a place that would show this type of thinking perfectly.  Since it is located in an urban area, it is bound to have a wide array of race.  Although I have never been to YIA, I would like to think that they address race openly.  Since the youth there are focused on change, this should be an issue that is spoken about quickly to ensure bonding between the youth and leaders.  If this is spoken about, it would make teamwork that much easier!

Ideology Horoscope

Everyone has a different style of teaching and participating with youth in different areas.  In youth work, it is possible to visit areas such as purpose, teaching, learning, knowledge, childhood, and evaluation.  In each area of this field there are different approaches that one may take.  One may form protective barriers to prevent youth from ever venturing into dangerous areas of life that will lead to a negative outcome.  Another may take a step to involve youth as if they are adults to form negotiations that will take place between youth and adult; rather than speaking at the youth and telling them what would be a better solution.  This method gives the student an option to change things for the better according to what they think is best.
The Ideology Horoscope will be able to tell you what kind of youth worker you might be when it comes time to be in the field.  There are 3 outcomes that you will be placed in considering the answers that you put for each of the categories.  There are 3 answers under each category that you must label as 1, 2, or 3.  One would place 3 next to the statement that is disliked the most and 1 is placed next to the answer that is liked the most.  After the quiz, you will add up the numbers based off of the answer key at the bottom.  Once the numbers are added up they will be placed in 3 categories listed as risk, resiliency, and prevention/positive youth development/critical youth development.  I scored highest in critical youth development and lowest in positive youth development.  Since this was the lowest score, this may be the style that I use when in the field with youth.  This area attempts to foster a positive circle around the youth whether it is through family, friends, or school that the youth may attend.  It also focuses itself on having the youth create a positive identity for themselves while focusing on learning and maintaining a positive attitude.  This would help the youth achieve what they focus on.
All of these outcomes are certainly positive ones.  There are many methods of working with youth but this ideology test may help a youth worker narrow down their focus.  If you are interested in taking the ideology horoscope you can take it via the link below!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Main Idea of YIA

YIA in my opinion is a genius idea, youth are often not given the chance to actually do things on their own.  A majority of the time, as a youth, one is given strict guidelines to follow while attending K through 12.  Instead, of being encouraged to create their own learning guidelines they are forced to tend to something that may or may not work for them.  This is an issue that I feel many of us have faced at one point or another and has followed us all of the way into higher education.
Throughout High School many of us were forced to take courses that did not interest us which is no large issue.  The complications occur when the teacher only conveys information in one way, there are many students in a class and not one of them will learn the same way as another.  Some may be enjoying the subject, some may dislike the subject, and some may just be struggling with memorizing or grasping the concept.  Some teachers may realize this and change their methods while some may be stubborn and allow their students to fail.  I believe that YIA is playing a huge role in changing the way education is being used!  Although there are some amazing teachers, a lot must change in order to increase graduation rates in urban places such as Providence. 
I did not attend High School in an urban area but if I did YIA would have been a great option for me.  Schooling was very dull for me and the little that they offered for extracurricular activities was quite sad.  There really was no wiggle room to create your own after school programs and the encouragement to do so was very poor.  I appreciate all that YIA is doing because they are expanding from there own turf into schools!  Not only is it a place that helps you learn about growing as a person but it inspires confidence in students and allows them to think that whatever they set their minds to is very possible.  It takes away the fear of entering new places and thinking that they are insignificant compared to others or their school.  YIA encourages change and inspiration for new ways of thinking compared to the diversity around us.