Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Youth Development?

YDEV? Whats that?
Youth Development is a major at Rhode Island College that combines courses in education, social work and nonprofit studies that prepare professionals to work with youth outside classroom settings. Youth Development values purposeful play and encourages students to have voices of their own. Youth Development prepares future youth workers to work in a variety of settings such as after school programs, inside community schools through child centered organizations and many other settings such as hospitals and juvenile prisons.Youth Development majors at Rhode Island College must complete an 180 hour internship in a youth centered site of their choice. This internship will allow students to acquire new skills and prepare for their professional journeys. 

Youth Development is starting to grow in popularity everywhere as need for youth leaders increase. Youth leaders are not babysitters. Trained professionals help motivate students to do better and achieve their goals. According to research, "Youth development programs seek to improve the lives of children and adolescents by meeting their basic physical, developmental, and social needs and by helping them to build the competencies needed to become successful adults."  Research proves the importance of having community youth based settings that allow youth to shape their lives and form short and long term goals.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Resilient Kids

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The Center for Resilience teaches youth about mindfulness and what it means to be mindful in the classroom as well as outside the classroom. Youth are taught how to be resilient and be able to bounce back from mistakes and challenges. Many Rhode Island schools that have partnered with the Center for Resilience have seen positive changes in their classrooms, including academic performance, behaviors and the well-being of their students.

This center has curriculum that includes strategies that manage "academic, emotional, and social challenges." Educators are taught how to apply these strategies into the classroom setting for students of all ages with a variety of coping needs. These strategies benefit students that are unable to cope with uncomfortable and unfamiliar challenges. These strategies help students "re-set" their minds in a positive and healthy way. Results of the Center for Resilience show decreases in behavior referrals, stress rates, and violence within the schools.

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Providence Elementary School teacher, Amy Leclaire, talks of how the center of resilience has benefited in her Kindergarten classroom. Her class settles down quicker and more easily by practicing their mindfulness techniques, such as slowly saying words and phrases such as, "I can do this", while pressing their fingers together gently and slowly. The skills and techniques allow students to focus and settle back down into the learning environment after being outdoors. Other techniques offered on the site include glitter jars. Amy Leclaire is a family friend of mine and often talks about how much she loves her classroom and the challenges she often faces of students coming from so many different environments. These techniques have allowed her to become a great teacher!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Event #2

Totally Kids:
 Haunted Gym with a Secret Asylum

Every year, Totally Kids hosts a Halloween party. This is Totally Kids biggest event and it helps keep Bright Star ratings. This is a volunteer event, but participation is needed in order to be successful. Youth are encouraged to dress up and participate in all games and activities.

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This years event took place on October 21st. Set up began on the 19th. Staff members host this event for the youth in both the after-school program as well as the preschool. The event and set-up are both lengthy processes. The gym set-up is very elaborate; sheets need to be hung and props need to be strategically placed by themes. Apart from the gym, the main school age room needed to be rearranged to host guests as well as decorated. Staff members are given roles as characters in the haunted gym, gym tour guides, socializing with parents, helping with food and games. This is a fun event for the kids of all ages whether they want to go into the haunted gym or not. 

The concept of this event is to allow youth to actively participate in an event that is produced for them. They are able to play hands on and have fun out of their normal elements. 

Event #1

Morris Farm

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On October 14th, I volunteered to be a chaperone (unpaid) for the Totally Kids Preschool field trip to Morris Farm. The concept of this field trip was to lead with the preschoolers in learning about the farm and its hands on activities. This field trip was student centered learning.

At the farm, the preschoolers were guided in learning about greenhouses, different types of vegetables, and the processes of planting seeds. We were able to touch the different types of plants and vegetables and feel the differences in similar produce. The preschoolers were able to talk about their favorite vegetables and ask questions. We were able to explore the farm and see where the animals are kept, as well as a guided tour on hayride. Petting the horses and feeding the cows was definitely a favorite!

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This was a great learning opportunity for me. Although I work at Totally Kids, I do not work in the Preschool. I work in the After School Program which is in a separate building. I was able to lead with and work with a group of children that I was not used to working with. Working with a younger group of youth can be challenging but also rewarding. The pace of working with a younger group was a little slower but had totally different challenges (like making sure children weren't putting farm objects into their mouths). 

Leading with is a great concept to have when working with a group of younger learners. It is fun to hear them share their ideas, feelings and think in different ways! 

Youth and the Elections


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As Election Day nears, Americans host their concerns and opinions on the upcoming presidency and what our future will hold. It is important to speak to youth about politics and how to go about picking a president that is best for our country without biases. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. After exploring resources on Rock the Vote and the NYT Blogs, I still feel very unsure about this years candidates and what will be the best option for our country, never mind the concepts that would helpfully guide youth.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were both well known public figures before candidacy. Many Americans, like myself, worry about the future of the United States from watching the debates and how they often look like a skit off of SNL

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As elections near, we have to ask ourselves questions
-Why do we only have a two-party system?
-Why is this election more personal than about policy?
-Why are we electing one of the two people that have trouble telling the truth?
-Why is a sitting president allowed to campaign for a particular candidate on tax payer money?
-How is someone who is careless with classified information allowed to continue to receive info?
-Why does the media not report on issues?

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Why vote?
-Gives you a voice!
-Love for your country!
-Concern for the future of your country!
-Regardless of personal feelings over either candidate, they are going to be in control and we need representation of how the people feel!

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Do I feel well informed?
I do not feel well informed from this years candidates. Many debates have shown the two candidates true colors and how they would rather "one up" each other than run our country. I am not sure if either one of these candidates has what it takes to be a positive role model and leader. This years candidates have made me shy away from the voting booth because I am totally confused and unsure. It is hard to have a voice when both candidates voices are not what is needed to be heard.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Context Mapping

Context mapping is how we describe ourselves visually. Context mapping can help others depict relationships individuals have, roles in their lives and the ability to gain knowledge about other people. Who are you?

I am........

Achieved Identity: An identity defined and shaped by prior experiences. These experiences include past, present and future roles. 

Foreclosed Identity: An identity described as having a natural need or want without putting much thought or research behind it.

Moratorium: An identity shaped by life decisions, events and experiences. 

Diffuse Identity: An identity that changes often. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Youth Development Ideology Horoscope

Youth Development Ideology Horoscope

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Youth workers guide and work with youth in a variety of ways. While some youth workers assume the role of a positive leader or mentor, others youth workers may allow youth to lead to discussions, ideas, and foster youth empowerment.

According to the Youth Development Ideology Horoscope, there are three main concepts of how youth workers work with youth. These three concepts include:
1. Risk, Resiliency and Prevention
2. Positive Youth Development
3. Critical Youth Development

After taking the Inventory Quiz, I classified myself as a positive youth development worker.

Positive Youth Development workers "focus on fostering strengths and positive growth." I definitely value and agree with these results. As a youth worker, I am constantly pointing out youth strengths and the positive differences they are making within their communities, Positive reinforcement is a part of positive youth development. It is important for youth workers to always speak to youth in a positive way even in difficult situations.  I am a firm believer that pointing out a youths strengths empowers youth to work harder and decreases negative behaviors. Every child has values and "assets" that should be empowered.