Thursday, November 19, 2015

YDEV Open House


 I truly think everything happens for a reason. Rhode Island College was my last choice for school. Once I accepted, I thought I wanted to be an intended nursing major. After one semester of pre-requisites, I realized this was definitely not the right career path for me. I was so lost and confused about what to do next. I searched through the RIC website to find my next passion. I came across Youth Development and I immediately needed more information.

Since then, I have never regretted becoming a YDEV major. I always tell my friends that I’m so lucky to love every single class and to love what I’m going to do one day. I really feel like over my time in these classes, my passion for the major has grown. And reflecting about how I talked to prospective RIC students and YDEV majors I felt so much pride and love for what we do. I was really nervous about talking to people and possibly messing up the information and not being able to find the right words but once I started talking I found myself not being able to stop (shocking, I know, lol). Becoming a YDEV major, is definitely up there with some of the greatest decisions I’ve made in my life. I’m excited to see where this program goes and how much greatness we can all achieve! I loved meeting the possible RIC freshman and look forward to hopefully seeing some faces before I leave the RIC community. It was definitely an eye-opening experience to talk to 17-18 year olds. I secretly hoped that when I was an incoming freshman I had attended open house before spending a semester thinking I wanted to be a nurse. I could not be happier where I am and being in such a close knit, well-organized major with my cohort!

Resilient Kids

My first thought after hearing so many different recollections of the experiences of those impacted by Resilient Kids was fascination. This program seems to have huge impact, not only on youth but on the adults who interact with them. Teaching youth about how to calm their bodies and come down from their natural highs is something so interesting and powerful. Youth are always so high and do not necessarily have the tools and understanding about how to come down.

When I found out we had to bring a jar to class, I immediately knew what we were doing. I have personally made myself a glitter jar before for my anxiety and looking up DIY methods to calm down. I have had one for about three years and my excitement for the Resilient Kids visit from Vanessa only increased. Glitter jars are a visual representation of the storm in your mind coming to a close and slowly fading away and I truly think it’s a great tool for not only youth but for adults and any age for that matter. Sometimes we need to take a moment and just watch the glitter fall and realize that eventually the chaos can come to a close.

The glitter jars and breathing techniques along with the other techniques taught by Resilient Kids are great tools for all and I can see myself using them for all the times I am stressed. I really like the visual representation of the stress swirling around like it does in your brain inhibiting you from putting your best foot forward.

I think every time we learn about a new organization I get really jealous that I did not get to have these experiences growing up. I’m really happy about the existence of these programs and to hopefully be a part of this growing field. I hope to have an impact like these organizations and help change the lives of youth. 

Dangers of a Single Story

Adichie talks about the problem of a single story. She talks about growing up reading British literature. Growing up reading British literature transferred into her writing. She wrote stories that mainly consisted of white characters with blue eyes that ate apples and talked about the weather because it’s all she knew. She talks about characters drinking “ginger beer” even though she had no idea what it was or what it tasted like because she had read about it.

This portion of TED Talk reminded me when we went to YIA for the first time and we went into the room on the first floor with all the posters. There was one poster with a visual representation of the percentages of books with white, Latino, African American, Native American and Pacific Islander children.Not reading literature that can relate to you can cause “unintended consequence of not knowing that people like me could exist in literature”. I think this can apply to all types of media; arts, movies, social media, magazines, and more. Not seeing figures you relate to causes you to think it is the norm and that people like you do not exist in “that light” of the world. 

A single story is defined as seeing someone repeatedly and only in one form. After stereotyping and individual and confining them to this form, it is what they become. Confining people to stereotypical beliefs is a danger and promotes non accepting attitudes. With the recent attacks on Paris I feel there is a lot of truth to this and people’s attitudes and the harm a single story can do. There have been quite a few people who have stated on record that Muslims are to blame and that the US cannot take refugees because all Muslims wish to harm others. Labeling Muslims in an entirety as terrorists is extremely unfair and uncalled for.
A single story can create being social unaware and socially incompetent. Not knowing more than what you see will create harm in the world. Not being open to different cultures and experiences inhibits one’s personal growth and understanding. When you only know one side or only hear one thing than you have created a single story and have unintentionally done harm to yourself and your community.When given the chance to share your story, you can create another dimension, therefore abolishing the factor of a single story. I think as Youth Workers we need to be able to create an atmosphere that is open and has multiple dimensions and understandings.

Interning at Youth In Action, I see the great work that a youth organization can do. With youth at the forefront, they are given opportunities to break down those stereotypes and learn and develop their stories with the help of each other and the people they come in contact with. I know personally, when I leave Youth In Action, I always feel extremely jealous of the opportunity these youth have been given and the experiences they have gained in such a short time because of this amazing program. The youth at Youth In Action teach me so much more than the lessons they create, they open up the idea that not only can I have an impact on them but that I can learn so much from youth as well. Youth Workers do not always have to be facilitating and at the forefront to create and impact and add a dimension to the story. We are all have a piece to give when creating a story and each piece is individual and unique and contributes to the next series of events to promote understanding and a broader horizon.