Tuesday, September 29, 2015

TED Talk- Color Blind or Color Brave

             Have you ever felt invisible? Ignored or    unwanted?  
        Invisibility is not just a word. It encompasses emotions. Everything from sadness to frustration to anger. It leaves you or at least it leaves me with the following question,"What did I do wrong to be overlooked"? 
      During the summer, my best friend told me he was going to propose to his girlfriend. He then asked me to accompany him to a jewelry store to look at engagement rings. We went to a store located in Fall River, Massachusetts. From the moment we entered the store, we were under surveillance. Every time I turned around, I felt "eyes" watching my every move. After the ring was chosen, we approached the cashier. She had her back towards us and asked who was next in line. Instead of cashing us out, the only people standing  in line, she decides to take someone out of line. I was angry and I wanted to say something but I chose not to. 

   Melody Hobson's TED Talk entitled, "Color Blind or Color Brave?" talks about how being open about race can bring our society to greater places. Towards the end, Melody says, "The first step to every problem, is awareness". We can not progress in our society, if we continue to tip toe around important topics in America. One of those being race. The key word tied around race is fear. Fear of admitting that we have not come as far as some people like to think we have. Yes we have an African American president but that does not mean racial discrimination is over. If that was the case, Trevyon Martin and Micheal Brown would still be alive today. Barack Obama's election was a historical moment in history but it does not change that people are still walking around colorblind in regards to race.  Melody Hobson makes an excellent viewpoint towards the end of her talk. She defines color blindness as, Dangerous, and Ignoring the Problem.  We need to discuss race. The more we ignore the subject and pretend everything in our world is fine, the more our next generation will suffer in regards to: equal opportunities and privilege.

When youth have a a space of their own where they can talk about their experiences, have a voice, and have confidence not only in themselves but their abilities, they are given opportunities. Opportunities to be anything they want to be. Youth in Action does this. YIA gives youth the chance to lead, gain a voice within their communities and excel. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Youth Development Horoscope

After taking the YD Inventory Horoscope, I found that I fit into the Risk, Resiliency and Prevention category. The focus within RRP (Risk, Resiliency and Prevention) is to "prevent negative outcomes" (through fostering protective factors). The orientation focus makes me turn my attention to high school and health class. I went to Central High School in Providence. We had five health teachers, and out of the five, only one talked about the ramifications of sex. If you were lucky, you got him as a health teacher. If you did not, you were at a lost. Which was sad because in  the year of 2012, 12 girls who I had known since my freshman year became pregnant. The gym teachers were angry at these girls for not using protection but ultimately, the fault was theirs. If they focused more on sex education and less on sports maybe the number of girls who had babies would have been low. Informal education should have been utilized in this situation. I believe the earlier you talk to youth about the risks of a situation, the better chance you have at  prevention.

The second category I scored high in was, Positive Youth Development. Every teenager and/or child has strengths. If they are given opportunities to showcase their strengths, positive outcomes will arise. We can use Youth in Action ( YIA) as an illustration. Teenagers sit on the board of directors . They make decisions. They are given multiple opportunities to make their communities, schools and society better. Adults within YIA, work with the teens. Not for and not against but with. This is Positive Youth Development. Having faith in the next generation establishing a positive relationship. Adults have to be willing to give youth a voice. A voice that is not dictated.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Youth In Action: A World Where Youth Hold the Power


 What I take away from this article is, Youth have the capacity, knowledge and skills to lead but are continually marginalized by authority figures. They are not allowed a voice in their schools even though their opinions are valid and are needed. At YIA, they are free to voice whatever opinions, thoughts and reactions they have. Youth have been oppressed for a long time. They are ignored in areas that concern them such as: Politics, School, and their Community.  Growing up I was told,"Whatever opinions you have, keep them to yourself. If you don't, your teachers and principal will think you are being rude". I was eight at the time. Needless to say, I listened to my parents. I went to school, did my work and believed everything adults told me. Even when teachers would say,"I welcome different opinions, debates, and critical thinking", I never believed them.When I felt the urge to raise my hand and ask questions or challenge their ideologies, I always thought of my parents. Nwando Ofokansi, a YIA Alumni(class of 2008), said something that made up my primary and secondary years of school. 
"Outside[YIA] you're just a kid, you're parents pay the rent, buy the food, and make the decisions-so it's like you're not even a person yet. you're basically somebody else's person, somebody else's property"(p.51). Which then leads some adults to make assumptions like; Teenagers do not care about their education, politics or their community. 

Within Youth in Action 5 Key Concepts are being produced:
1. A New Definition of Youth- Teenagers want to alter the  negative labels they are given within their communities, schools, and global arena. 

2. Youth and Adults are growing together- Within YIA adults and youth are doing something not that many adults want to do with youth today, working together. If you work collectively with kids you will not regret it. You can learn from one another. This is what's happening at YIA.  I truly believe some adult figures are threatened by the Milena generation. We are, according to the Farleigh Dickerson University Online Magazine   technologically savvy, multi-taskers and future leaders. We possess the necessary KSAOC's( Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, and Other Characteristics) to lead organizations and businesses to the next level. 

3. A practice of Disagreement- When I was in high school, disagreement would get you a one way trip to detention. If you disagreed with a teacher, they made it seem as though you were being disrespectful and attacking their views. The teachers held the power and more often than not, they let it go over their heads. Youth in Action welcomes disagreement. Disagreement within YIA leads to discussion. When people are able to discuss their views people they are more likely to become open-minded and welcoming to new perspectives. Or they might say, "Oh, I never thought about so and so in that way". Learning stems from disagreement. 

4.  Learning and Speaking Truth-  Last semester my friend quoted a quote from Aldous Huxley's Proper Studies. She said, "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored". It seems self explanatory but I did not see it that way when she recited it. It took me 10 minutes to understand that the word Truth was the main concept. We can try to ignore the reality of a situation or try to cover it up so that we look good but it does not change the fact that the facts still exist. As long as we keep doing this we will never grow as a society. We will never be equal. At YIA facts are told ". Once they are told the truth emerges. 

5. That Better World- Adeola Oredola's experience as a high school student made me think about my college journey. Looking back three or four years ago, I can only think of  two or three people outside of my family that supported me with college . My guidance counselor did little to support me.  Simmons College in Boston Massachusetts was one of my top five choices for school. Some of my teachers actually said, "Essence don't waste your time applying for Simmons. They don't accept students that attend school within the Providence School Department. I was angry, and disgusted that someone who was suppose to support me would actually spit on my dream. A guidance counselor told my sister there was no way she would ever become a doctor because she didn't excel in math.She did not listen to her but that does not change the fact that she in my opinion belittled her dream. One of Adeola's goals is to show others how to create an environment where youth and adults can work together toward social justice and education for liberation"(pg. 54).


Youth In Action, where youth share their stories, practice leadership, and create change in their communities.
A world where young people are at the forefront of creating positive social change.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

What are the characteristics of a Youth Worker?

                                           Seven Characteristics of Youth Work 

1.  Youth Workers are educators. Unlike teachers, workers engage with youth in different ways. This may be through a love of music, dance, photography, sports and etc.... Like teachers and administrators, youth workers want kids to confide in them. They want to aid them in whatever problems they may be having. Sometimes the only way to do that is to step away from the formal or prepared curriculum and become creative.
  I for one, have a hard time confiding in adults. Mainly teachers, principals and counselors. I feel that could never understand them. In ninth grade, I attended PASA ( Providence After School Alliance ) with a friend. Initially, I was not excited and felt the environment would be no different than high school. One youth worker in particular made my visit not only enjoyable but meaningful. His name was Jeff. He came across more like a friend than a principal or a teacher. When I spoke, I felt as though he actually cared about what I was saying. He was creative. When he planned activities they were not only fun but they also had purpose,

2. Youth Work is a social practice.Youth Workers want their kids to interact with one another. This strategy not only strengthens the relationship between the worker and the youth, but it also helps kids/teens develop and assess their attitudes and behaviors being around people their own age.

3. Youth Workers are also known as advocates. Some youth are cast aside and are not given a voice. We live in a world that has given certain people privilege. In my FNED 346 class, we conducted an activity known as SWAMP. We found that privilege centers around the following people;
S- Straight
W- White
A- Able- Bodied
M- Men

As future youth workers, it is our duty to ensure that all of our "students" are given a voice and are heard by society. How are we going to help our youth/children function educationally and socially if we do not speak about the inequalities within education and employment. Actions speak louder than words. We can't just say, "There are inequalities within our society" and leave it at that. We have to be willing to; go all the way to Congress, try to write new legislation and assemble with other agencies to make a change. 

4.  Youth Work is a welfare practice. The goal is to promote the safety of young people. Before I took Crime and Criminal Justice my freshman year of college, I never believed the following saying,
     "The more time a child has on his or her hands, the more likely they will experiment in negative
  My initial way of thinking was wrong. My professor at the time, JoAnn Niksa, a probation officer with DCYF felt it was necessary for us to know that the more time a child or teenager has that is not being used productively, the more chances that he or she will engage in negative behavior.

5. Youth Workers engage with youth in a variety in different settings. Some youth workers may work in a juvenile training school, a school or a recreation center. In these  different environments, youth are learning in an innovative, non-traditional manner. Connections are made between the youth and the youth worker.
6. Youth Workers seek to strengthen the voice and influence of young people. Without the help of my Youth Worker within the Providence After School Alliance, I would have never known of my rights as a student. I was always told you never question an authority figure. Even if you disagree with them you keep your comments to yourself. Jeff made me realize the more I remained silent, the less power I would have. My voice would never be heard unless I took the initiative to speak my mind freely.

7. Youth Workers works with young people holistically. Youth Workers work with kids because they know these kids are dealing with a lot. They are in need of something. Something that must be addressed early. We as youth workers are not only the voice(s) of our kids, we are their confidants. We are able to do what their principal or teacher might not be willing or able to do, establish a relationship with them

Monday, September 7, 2015

Who am I?


This is me. So excited about my new hairstyle.

   Two of my favorite people. My sister-in-law Nikki and my brother Ryan.Can't wait for their I do's.

My sister Dominique. Loves to take photos of herself.

My niece Lanyia and my nephew Jarell on their first day of school. They attend school in New Bedford Massachusetts. One of my favorite places to visit whenever I can.

My older sister Alexandria. A recent Alumni from RIC.

                                             My beautiful and eccentric niece. Not only is she beautiful like her little brother and sister. She is also a thoughtful, honest person with a big heart to match.