Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Color Brave

This week for our Youth Development class, we were asked to watch a TED talk by Mellody Hobson about being "color blind or color brave". Mellody talks about her life experiences as an African American woman and the importance of promoting diversity and sharing ideas and experiences. What really impacted me was the story she told about being seven years old and being the only African American at a birthday party. When her mom picked her up, she asked, "How did they treat you?" This made me think about my own privileges that come along with being a white female. Talking about race and culture rather than ignoring it is important to see things from a different perspective. I believe that everyone has something to learn from everyone, so I agree with Mellody that getting to know a variety of people can make a huge, positive impact in our communities.

This TED talk also tied into a topic that we discussed in another course I am taking this semester. Our topic this week was about cultural sensitivity and diversity in the work place. I found an article about Marilyn Tam, a former CEO of Aveda, president of Reebok and vice president of Nike, who discussed talking with the importance of diversity in the workplace at a seminar in Vermont. Tam discusses the challenges of being raised in a traditional Chinese family in Hong Kong, and the challenges she faced to overcome cultural expectations and run a company. The article discusses the growing diversity in the world, and the importance of accepting and reflecting that change in companies and businesses. Tam focuses on the importance of women and people of various cultural backgrounds in leadership positions in companies, which tied in nicely to the points that Mellody made about a lack of diversity in the top positions at companies.

In my personal experience, I felt invisible seeing CEOs, leaders, scientists, and other people in prominent, powerful positions. I hardly ever saw women in these positions, and often heard that women weren't as logical, or as good at math and science as men. These statements can get internalized, and prevent women from pursuing "non-traditional" careers. There are some excellent programs here in RI for young women, including GRRL Tech RI and Girl's Rock! RI. Both give youth an opportunity to see women in areas that are predominately held by males.I believe that youth spaces like these and the many others in which the youth get involved in their community and address current issues are essential to combating invisibility to minority populations. These spaces give youth a voice and empower them to identify issues that are important to them in their lives.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

YD Ideology Inventory Horoscope

The area of Youth Development that I identified with through the quiz was Positive Youth Development. I took this quiz last semester in YDEV 250 and got the same result. Positive Youth Development focuses on external and internal assets that youth have. The main idea of Positive YD is to provide positive external assets for youth that will help them develop positive internal assets. This means providing a safe space and support as a youth worker for students to learn and grow. It also highlights the importance of recognizing the individual strengths of youth to facilitate positive growth and learning.

I do identify with Positive YD and was not surprised that I was in this category. All of the Youth Development categories are important in their own ways, but I identify with positive the most because it's very strengths-based, and I believe it is important to help youth learn their strengths and potential.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

What is Youth Work?

Youth work is an educational practice:

What this means is that youth work is non-traditional learning opportunities outside of the classroom. Through different clubs, activities, and programs, youth workers work with youth using different techniques and in a variety of settings to help youth learn and grow.

Youth work is a social practice:

Youth workers often work in group settings to help nurture social interaction and involvement with peers, families, and communities. Since many youth work programs or opportunities have smaller groups,and socialization is encouraged among youth, youth have more opportunities to get to know others through various activities and icebreakers.

Youth workers actively challenge inequality and work towards social justice:

I think what this means is that it is so important as a youth worker to be mindful of inequality among youth and to do everything you can to provide equal opportunities among all youth through various programs.

Where possible, young people choose to be involved:

Unlike traditional school settings, youth have more of a choice to what kind of youth work programs they would like to be involved in. I believe this gives youth more of an opportunity to pursue their passions and have more freedom to express themselves and be creative.

Youth work seeks to strengthen the voice and influence of young people:

I related this point to the work that we did in YDEV 250 with TALL U. Youth were always given an opportunity to express themselves and their feelings through a variety of mediums, such as dance or a play. Social issues that affected the TALL U students were discussed and they got involved in the community to voice their opinions, such as going to the state house to speak out about gun control and police brutality.

Youth work is a welfare practice:

Youth work is often a way to provide services and opportunities that may not be available in a school setting. Giving youth another space to learn, socialize, and have youth workers to talk with or confide in is important to the welfare of youth.

Youth work work with young people holistically:

In many of my social work courses we discuss a "strengths based perspective". It is important as a youth worker to know the youth you work with, and to recognize their strengths and get to know them. Focusing only on the issues they may be dealing with can make them feel alienated and misunderstood, and could have a negative impact on them.

Who Am I

My sister and brother in law, who aren't just my family but also my best friends!

A picture I took on the ferry to Block Island this summer. I love the beach and swimming and I try to go to all of the different beaches around RI.

Another of me hanging around the water. I'm new to kayaking but getting the hang of it! (kind of)

I love going to shows and seeing live music. This is a picture of Father John Misty who I went to see in Portland, Maine last month.

I also really enjoy cooking. This is some eggplant I grew and roasted with linguine, a spicy tomato sauce and fresh parsley.