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,