Sunday, December 11, 2016

Youth Development? What is that?

Many times people would ask me what am I majoring in? Of course I would tell them in Youth Development, but then I never really knew how to explain what my major was. I use to tell them its like human development or like education but I was not certified to be the head teacher. Through out the years I development a better definition into what I was doing and I am glad I did with the elevator speeches. Many people undermine what youth workers do or they think are major is nothing but easy work. 

What is YDEV? To me Youth Development is where future youth workers are given the tools and resources to help youth become leaders. Help the youth by leading with them and co-write their stories and make sure their voices are heard. Youth are the future generation, so as youth workers it is important to give them a safe space to do so. You want to empower them and make sure they have the resources and guidance to do so as a mentor. 

YDEV give youth workers the opportunity to gain knowledge to help the youth out in many different fields including, Social work, Education, and Non-Profit Studies. Also, they are given the opportunity to go out into the field, which involves the youth in an 180 hour internship. Throughout their years in college they are given professional opportunity to attend conferences and events that deal with the youth. 

I am glad we are given the opportunities to work on our elevator speeches and  basically our definitions of what is youth work. I feel like my pitch of what youth work is will never be as good as my peers, but I think my pitch gives a little idea of what YDEV is. After reading the text that was given, This is Youth Work,  it made me realize YDEV is the experiences that makes us want to do what we do. We want to help the youth and become advocates, by leading with, co-authoring, building relationships, having purposeful play and creating safe spaces. 

Late Post; Rock the Vote (Blog #7)

I found the website Rock The Vote interesting because I think it helps individuals who are not interested in politics like myself get engaged with the government and imperative issues that are currently going on in our society. I believe the information presented on the websites help addresses the concerns that many people are having, especially the one about Donald Trump. 

What questions do you have about the election?
-Who are the majority voters? (Age range etc)
-Who is going to win and by what margin?
-How is Donald Trump being in this election effect future candidates? (Seems like anyone can run now)

What makes you want to vote? What makes you shy away from the voting booth?
-The only reason why I want to vote is because of my peers and co-worker. Many times during the election period I been ask if I was going to vote and I would respond to them no and they would be really mad at me. Also, a little part of me wants to vote because I want to make a difference even though my vote is only one but everybody tell me one vote can make a difference. Also, since I been of the age to vote I did not get to vote because of a miss happening, which leads me to why I shy away from the voting booth. Years ago when I was going to vote for Obama, I went to the voting station right up the street from my house. There was a lot of people there and I was waiting for a while to vote. When it was my turn to vote they told me I could not vote because it was not the station I was suppose to vote at. Little did I know there was two voting location on my street. It really got me upset so I never bother voting. 

Do you feel well informed about the issues and candidates?
-I want to say yes and no because I been watching the news and reading things online, but you cannot believe everything that is being said on social media. Everybody media outlet has their own preference, so they will only put out what they want you to hear. Then at the same time I feel like this election has so much attention, there is non-stop coverage on it and there is always something being said and spoken about. 

Does this election draw you in or alienate you? 
-This election did a little bit of both and I think it is mainly because of Trump. There was always something he would say or do that got so much attention it was hard not to hear about it or avoid it. Then at times it got to the point where it was to much and annoying. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Resilience Kids

I found this web site Center for Resilience; Empowering People to Empower Themselves cool and interesting. When I was looking through the website and I watch the videos it reminded me of the conference I attended, which was Promising Practice. This center goal is "developing strategies to manage academic, emotional and social challenges, the Resilient Kids Curriculum helps students to successfully navigate their path to becoming engaged adults, global citizens and community leaders." Their approach is "We offer an innovative mindfulness program that is seamlessly integrated into the school day to build self-regulation, stress management, perseverance, and empathy – the foundations to academic achievement, college & career readiness, and life-long success." I connected this with Robert Brooks presentation because the program that the center is using is called mindfulness. Brooks spoke about mindset. "The power of mindset is the assumptions and expectations we have for ourselves and others that guide our behavior. Mindsets play a powerful role in impacting on all aspects of our lives of those we work to become more resilient." Brooks also stated, "In the 1990s I began to use the concept resilient mindset that incorporated both social- emotional as well achievement components in the definition."  With the mindfulness program the students using their mindset, which has to do a lot with their social and emotional self. 

Also, when I seen the list of schools that run the mindfulness program I was shocked. I never heard of this program until now and would actually like to see it in person. It was nice to see personal videos from teachers and students from Providence Rhode Island.Seeing their success and rate, makes me wonder would it really work for all schools. Also, if it has been working really well, why not all schools grab on to the model?  

YDEV Event Reflection

Robert Brooks
The YDEV event I decided to attend was the 19th Annual Multicultural Conference Promising Practices. This year the main topic spoken about is Resilience Across the Board. The key speaker was Robert Brooks, who is a Clinical Psychologist, Author and Lecturer. I feel like Brooks has a lot of knowledge in his field and he cover great points. One of the things he spoke about was the power of mindsets, which is "the assumptions and expectations we have for ourselves and others that guided our behavior. Mindsets play a powerful role in impacting on all aspects of our lives and the lives of those we work to become more resilient." I really like what Brooks said here. I feel like you mindset is what you set forward to what you want to achieve. 

Then Brooks leads on to talk about "resilient mindset," which he incorporated both social-emotional as well achievement components as well achievement components in the definition. Another thing I found important is when he said "you can't  change some one mindset if you don't build a relationship with them." Here I found this very important because I do not think people realize how much it can make a difference if you take the time to get to know some one.

One other thing I really connected with was when he talk about being a Charismatic Adult. Some caracteriscs of a charismatic adult is a person reaching out, connect and develop trust with those with whom they are helping. Many of the things he said resonated with me. I thought to myself and said this is who I am and want to be. As a youth worker this is what we inspire to do!

Brooks spoke about nurturing resilience. He said "Daniel Goleman viewed empathy as a significant feature of both emotional and social intelligence. It is a way of effectively connecting and communicating with others." I found it important because he spoke about the difference between empathy and sympathy. A lot of people get the two words mix up. Having empathy is to put yourself in their shoes, and see things through their eyes, vs sympathy, being sorry for them. Here is a great video he show on Empathy by Brene Brown.

Another important thing I took away from Brooks presentation was when he spoke about the "island of competence." He said "it is difficult to nurture resilience  if we focus primarily on deficits rather than on the strengths that reside in each individual-changing the questions we ask others." (Don't only look at the problems, ask about the strengths. Brooks gave great examples. Also, he went on and spoke about the Strength base model and I tied it with one of the themes where is LEADING WITH THE YOUTH. Where to strengthen problem-solving and decision-making skills; resilient individuals knew problems as situation to be solved rather than over-whelmed them.

I register for the workshops late but was able to attend two great work shops. The first workshop I attended was called "How Mentoring Relationships Improves Resiliency of Our Youth and Our Workforce." I pick this one because I felt that as a youth worker I am a mentor. I thought it would be interesting to see what the presenter company offer the youth in Rhode Island. The presenter is from Lifespan Community Health Institute. I am glad I went to this presentation. There was a lot of education majors, and nurse majors in there. I was excited to say I was a YDEV major with Lauren. I ended up speaking to the presenter at the of the workshop and she said her previous job was base out of Boston doing youth work and there was no major called "youth development." She said it was interesting because nobody knew what it was and she wanted me to contact her so we can continuing talking about our work of line.

My second work shop I attended was called "Building Resiliency with Play" I pick this work shop because play has to do with youth work. Also, I knew this workshop would be interesting because the presenter was my previous Physical Education professor. The workshop was very fun. We did play games and speak about the importance of it play. The last game I played in the workshop was jenga. It was very interesting and intense that when the time was up we had to continue because our blocks took a while to fall. The presenter Kristen Pepin is also and instructor at Henry Bernard. After the workshop I spoke with her about my internship. I have not started my internship yet, but from the description the title for me is an Physical Education Enrichment Instructor. It says I will be able to work with the curriculum and work with the students. It says the school has a difficult time engaging students with physical education activities. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to speak to Pepin because she has a lot of knowledge in this field. She said she did not mind if I needed to run ideas by her. She also told me about this program where they gave free training from Reebok.
To be honest, I always hated attending conferences because I thought they were a waste of time. Now I enjoy them and notice it is a great place to network and gain knowledge. Also, I see it as a place where I can find other resources.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Context Mapping

Context mapping is where you can list and illustrate different environments and relationships to an individual's life. In the story Mitch uses this tool to further analyze Julian's relationship with different people in his life. Also, he used it to evaluate the different relationships in how it have affected his identity development.
  1. Foreclosed identity- one in which individual has committed to a life direction or way of being without exploring it carefully and without experimenting with alternatives.
  2. Diffuse identity- state in which there has been little exploration or active consideration of a particular identity and no psychological commitment to one.
  3. Identity moratorium-Developmental state in which one actively explored roles and beliefs, behaviors and relationships, but refrains from making a commitment.
  4. Achieved identity- When identity crisis is resolved and the commitment to the selected identity is high. ( Individual has successfully integrated his ego-identity needs from the past, within the present, and into the future and can therefore display a certain

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Philosophy of Youth Work

After doing the Ideology Inventory my score came out to be 15 for Risk, Resiliency and prevention, 12 for Critical Youth Development, and 9 for Positive Youth Development. According to the ideology inventory, when it comes to youth work my values lies to risk, resilient and prevention.  When I seen the results I was not surprise. I believe it did not surprise me because growing up I felt like I was always in an environment where most youth are not in the best predicament. They need help, are getting help, or seeking help. I felt like this has grown on me and I want to be able to help the youth over come their barriers. Also, I think this ties into the critical part for me. 

According to the YDEV ideology horoscope if you identify with Risk, Resiliency and Prevention the belief is, 
          "Teens’ brains are not fully developed, and so teens do not always make the “best”decisions.                Children and teens need specific coaching in how to make good choices for themselves. Urban            youth lack “cultural capital.”

Honestly, I do not really believe this. I feel like a lot of teens are capable of making their own "best" decisions. Also, when it says best, I am wondering who is speaking. Is it coming from an adult point of view, where they do no think it the best decision because they do not agree upon it. Also, I feel like there is more topics to cover other than teen pregnancy, drug use, and gang activity etc. I feel like many youth are put in predicaments where they could not control. Many times they are stuck fending for themselves. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


The reading this week was on chapter one in Understanding Youth: Adolescent Development for Educators. Chapter one was on The Construction of Adolescence by Nakkula and Toshalis. When I stared at the reading I was like "wow, this is going to be a long read, these words look so small!" I thought I was not going to understand a lot of words or concepts, but surprisingly I did. While reading the chapter there were only five words that I had to look up in the dictionary, which were cordial, impediment, integral, tangential, reticent.

Drawing from Nakkula and Toshalis chapter on the discussion on Authoring Life Stories, I believe the 10 people who have coauthored with me are; My mother, my father, my sister, my brother, Antoinette, Lue, Peter, Randolph, Jose, and Janet. There could be more names up here, but certain moments stood out to me when I thought about the word coauthored. The individual I decided to speak about is my father. I do not want to speak down on him, but some of the things he have done and not done had made me who I am today. He had step out on my mother when I was in the third grade. He financially try to help my mother take care of my sister, my brother and I, but he was not really there physically or emotionally. There were times he would help me, but most of the time he is no where to be found. When people ask me about my father, they think he is far away in another state, but little did they know he lives right in Providence. Once he told me he wanted to see me succeed, but I feel like I do not owe him anything because technically he did not raise me and was not there to help me when I am or was struggling. I feel like my father help me coauthored my story because he makes me want to be a better parent when I become one. I am not saying I will be there perfect one, but I am saying I would want to be there for my child. Also, it made me a very independent person. I can recall talking to my friends and saying "I do not depend on no man, if my own father was not there for me, I can not expect any other man to be there for me either."  I see how this is a good and bad thing, but I usually tell guys I dated do not take it offensively. It is nice to get help from a man, but I cannot fully rely on that help.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Have you ever felt invisible?

Through out my life there were many times I have felt invisible. Most of the time I felt invisible was when I was at school or in a school setting. When I was in high school I use to experience it a lot, where stereotypes made my friends and I invisible. I grew up in the Providence Public School system. I attended Mount Pleasant High School. I felt like the high school I attended was pretty diverse.  The things people use to think of us or where we attended school were "we was the ghetto kids." It seemed like the school I attended did not have the best reputation. I use to play volleyball basketball, and track and field in high school. The schools I played against were usually known as the predominantly "white" schools. I can remember when my team and I walking into the other schools to play, people would look at us differently.  Also, I remember this one moment like it was just yesterday. My team and I walk into the gym and they automatically switch the music that was being played to the music they thought we would like.  There were many times the referees would treat us differently. I use to get really mad and wonder what I was doing wrong. My coach, who was a "white women," said to me, "I see what they are doing, you better keep playing. I will back you up." 

In Hobson's Ted talk, she spoke about Color blind and Color brave and the differences between the two terms. If I am correct color blindness is a learned behavior where people do not notice race, which is where people ignore the problem of racism. Color brave is where you deal with racism head on and deal with diversity. You get into the real conversations about race, even though they can be hard, awkward and uncomfortable. I believe many teachers and coaches I encounter were color brave. They was not afraid to speak to us about how we would be treated outside of our schools. They basically had that conversation with us in how we should "act" or "talk" around "those" people because they think it is the right way to be. When I say those people I mean white people. The teachers never used any terms in a bad way, but they knew how we was getting treated outside of our schools because of how we were perceived. 

I feel like a youth space like YIA can be an antidote to invisibility because they are helping youth find their voices and become leaders. Hobson spoke about how racial discrimination should stop robing another generation of their opportunities. I feel that a program like YIA have youth that can create awareness. Youth are also the future generation and a program like YIA can create another strong younger generation that can fight against this. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Youth voices should be heard !

The article I read this week was In a World Where Youth Hold the Power, by Adeola A. Oredola with members of Youth in Action (YIA). I really enjoyed reading this article. It was an easy read and I like that there were personal experiences shared by members in YIA. I feel like this article really hit close to home because I was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. Also, I grew up in the Providence Public School (PPS) system. Throughout the years in school from Pre-K through 12th grade I had some teachers who made education Robotic. For example, this is what is being taught, here are the materials, and this is what you are supposed to be doing. Also, some teachers like to have it there way and no other way. One thing I can really relate to from the article is from Adeola Oredola’s experience. Oredola’s guidance counselor basically did not believe she could make it into an Ivy League school. I can recall telling a couple of staff I worked with in the Providence Public School system giving me the same reaction. I felt like they downgraded my potential. I understand that they were trying to be realistic, but I still believe it is wrong for teachers and guidance counselor’s to do that to students just because of where they come from and what school they attend. Another part I can relate to in Oredola’s experience is not being prepared for college. I was lucky enough to be so involved in my education in high school and be in extra curriculum programs, like Upward Bound Program at Rhode Island College(RIC) and the Preparatory Program at RIC. These programs and AP classes in high school prepared me for college. From personal experiences I see that a lot of my friends and classmates were not prepared for college. A lot of conversations I had with people who graduated from a high school in Providence they had the similar answers; saying some classes in high school did not prepare them for college.

Growing up in Providence, I have heard the name YIA. I never knew what they were really about, I just knew they were a program for the youth. In the past couple classes the professors spoke about the program and I started to see what they were about, but after reading this article I feel like I really understand what this program means to the youth and the community. Also, what they do, what is there mission and what work they have been doing all these years their program have been running. Something else I take from this article is that YIA really wants the youth voices heard. Not only heard but involved. The video I posted below is a TED talk by Adam Levner. Levner talk about three main points. He said "the first is that when we don't help young people to find and share voices there are consequences for them. The second is that when we don't help young people to find and share their voices there are consequences for all of us, and third is that if we want to address the problems that impact young people we have to do more than just help them share their voices."  I feel like what Levner said here ties back to what YIA is about. They think youth voices are important, but they also find ways and help youth get their voices heard. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

What is Youth Work?

Every time someone asked me what I was majoring in I would respond to them Youth Development. I was one of those students who did not know how to explain what my major was or technically where I can go with it within the field. My simple answer use to be "it is almost like education, but technically I will not be certified to teach in a school." Then most people would understand what I was doing. In one of my Youth Development classes we actually made an elevator speech in how to explain to the people what Youth Development is, honestly I do not remember my elevator pitch. Reading this article, Youth Work by Jason Wood, Sue Westwood, and Gill Thompson turn a light bulb on for me. In the article it stated The English National Occupational Standards define youth work as "Enabling young people to develop holistically, working with them to facilitate their personal, social and educational development, to enable them to develop their voice, influence and place in society and to reach their full potential." I thought to myself wow, that was a simple and cut to the chase answer, but then there is more to youth work than that simple answer. There are many characteristics of Youth Work.

The professor told us to speak about the seven characteristics of youth work. Some of the characteristics the article speaks about is educational practice, social practice, welfare practice, actively challenging inequality and work towards social justice, having them choose to be involved, strengthen their voice and influence other young people, and work with young people holistically . What I take away from this article is as youth worker we have to help our youth be more than book smart. I am not saying our teachers and education is not helping our students out with that, but our job gives us the leeway to explore different options than just papers and numbers. The youth do not have an option than to go to school, but for us we have to try to engage them and get involved and not force them to be there. We have to teach them ways to find their inner voice and to become leaders. Educate them on their welfare and other's welfare. Get them to think deeper about inequality and social justice.

I feel like this article hit the pin point of what a youth worker does. From my experience in the field, working with middle school students after school at Central Falls middle school; we wanted to be their friends, so they can be comfortable around us, but most importantly we were their mentors first. We came up with games and activities every week for everybody to be involved. Had the students and mentor think and reflect on the activities. None of the students were pressure to be there, and surprisingly every week majority of the students showed up. The most important goal for our college class was to work with these youth and try to get them to become better leaders.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Yours truly, Sayavong

Dear who ever cares or whoever is reading my post,

My name is Christina Sayavong. Since I was little people call me Tina, so that became more preferable, but I will not be mad if you called me by my government name. I am currently a senior at Rhode Island College. My major is Youth Development with the concentration of Community Health and Wellness with a minor in Coaching. Also, I am pursuing my certificate in Non-profit studies. Currently I am working as an Instructor at the Evergreen Center in Milford, Massachusetts. This company provides day and residential treatment services for children and adolescents with severe developmental disabilities. Also, I am a student worker at the Rhode Island College Cafe, so if my face looks familiar to you, you might have seen me before. 

This past summer I did not do much but work and take summer classes. I am expected to graduate in May 2017, so not taking summer classes were not an option. I think one of the exciting things I did was get to go on a big boat cruise for a party with my best friends and spend a whole day and night in Boston. Other fun thing I did this summer with my company is went to Six Flags New England. I am a really out going person, and love playing sports when I get the chance. 

Yours truly,