Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Construction of Adolescence

In this week's reading, I found about 10 or 11 vocabulary words that I found important to the main focus of the article. These words include: theoretical thinking; tested knowledge; theoretical imagination; construction of adolescence; co-constructive perspective; meeting of the minds; interpsychological development; scaffolding; zone of proximal development; reciprocal transformation; and applied developmentalists. I believe that most of, if not all these words are essential to know in order to understand the construction of adolescence. Even though most of these terms are and can be used in a school setting, they can also be used in any setting of youth in society, whether it be their home life, extracurricular activities, and much more. In the article, Nakkula and Toshalis primarily focus on the aspect of authoring life stories. They say "... contributions to this constructive process are anything but random. The order and magnitude of coauthorship are critically important, even if the particular authors and their evolving roles cannot always be determined in a convenient manner" (Nakkula and Toshalis, 7). This means that it takes several different people to create an individual and shape them during adolescence, whether it be for the better or for the worse.

When coming up with my list of 10 people, I feel like I had a lot to think about. Even though I'm only 22 years old, I've been through a lot of things, one huge thing being my two open heart surgeries at two weeks old and seven years old. I also factored in things that I am most passionate about in my life, the biggest thing being my love for theater. With both of those being said my list is as follows: my mother Betty, my father John, my sister Rachel, my grandmother Ann, my great aunt Mary, my girlfriend Gianna, my fourth grade teacher Mrs. Campbell, my child care teacher Mrs. DiSano, my theater director Andrea, and my theater executive director Ann.

I have chosen to focus on my great aunt, Mary. My Aunt Mary is one of the most generous people that I have ever met in my life. She has always been generous towards my entire family as long as I can remember. My Aunt Mary has been one of my greatest supporters ever since my grandmother, her sister Ann passed away in 2006.  She has supported me throughout all three big aspects of my life (health, school, and theater) as well as many more aspects. She has been a watchful protector and silent guardian as I've gone through my life, making my own decisions, whether or not they were good ones. She has not only been one of the greatest coauthors of my life, but also an inspiration that I hope to become like one day. Here's to the best second grandmother anyone could ask for!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Color Bind, Color Brave, and Invisibility

I thought that this TED Talk was very powerful. In the talk, Mellody Hobson discusses the negative effects of race that takes place in society. Especially in this day and age, race is a huge topic in our country. Granted she presents facts in the TEDTalk, but she is absolutely right in saying that being a minority race can definitely affect how other people look at their lives. I thought that it was very interesting when she said that going into a board room and having the board room consist of all African American people was weird. I'm not quite sure if "weird" is the word to use, but it definitely would be different because we don't normally think that would be something that would happen because in America, people believe that whites are the more privileged race.

In her TED Talk, Mellody Hobson brings up two interrelated terms: color blindness and color brave. Color Blindness is when Americans ignore the fact that racism exists in America. Color Brave is when America acgknowledges that there is racism present in our society and then do something to help people's way of thinking when it comes to racism. Hobson stresses the importance of being color brave, rather than color blind. As youth workers, it is our job to work with youth of color so that they have a place in society and that they grow up in a community that acknowledges African Americans and whites as equals, rather than one race being more powerful than the other. It is also important to educate the white community about being color brave so that it will also strengthen the equality between race in America. When applying Hobson's views to Youth In Action, the mentors of YIA can work with and inspire the youth to make change in their community in the way of defying race in society. YIA can create ways to advocate for color bravery and create ways to destroy color blindness in society. When changes are created by the YIA members, society will be influenced and be instilled to advocate for color brave changes as well. 

Have I ever felt invisible? Of course I have, in a sense, who hasn't? In elementary, middle, and high school, I never seemed to be noticed by anyone. I didn't have a lot of friends and mostly kept to myself because I was very shy and not so outgoing. I mostly felt like an outcast in school, that is until I went to college. Second semester of my freshmen year, I got more aquatinted with my classmates, made friends, and even joined an on-campus club. Nevertheless, sometimes I still feel like an outsider, depending on what settings I happen to be in. However, I know that I can beat that invisible with my inner strength along with the help of my friends.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Youth in Action: A World Where Youth Hold the Power

The overall main idea of this article is that social change must take place in order to have youth voices to be heard. In the first half of the article, Adeola Oredola the former executive director of Youth In Action (YIA) , has worked with several YIA youth to share their views between the world they live in among society versus the world they live in among YIA. The youths participation in YIA has made them more confident and more aware of the surrounding problems that underprivilidged youth face in society. In the second half of the article, social change is further discussed, however in a slightly different manner: among the LGBTQ society and the establishment of the National Student Bill of Rights. In Providence, youth workers are trying to create organizations in which can help youth in the LGBTQ community, specifically Southeast Asian youth, become comfortable with their gender identity and sexuality and how to go about living with it in their own lives, specifically in their homes and schools. Also, across the country, youth workers are trying to create a National Student Bill of Rights that is able to provide education to all youth in the United States. This document will be a huge step towards the direction of social change. The National Student Bill of Rights will make sure that every student has the same fair chance at a good education whether they are privileged or underprivilidged, white or black, male or female. the National Student Bill of Rights will give youth a chance to stand up for themselves by being able to be taught in ways that are meaningful and engaging to them.

When discussing social change and where it comes into play with my own youth involvement, for both my Foundations of Education and Special Education classes, I was required to go to a Providence Public School and tutor/mentor children who needed help in their classrooms. When working in these classrooms, I was glad that I was able to help children who were struggling in their education. Spending time tutoring the students gave them confidence that they were able to learn just as well as the other students in their class.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Youth Work: Preparation for Practice

Seven Characteristics of a Youth Worker:

1. Role Model/Mentor- When working with youth, it is good to behave appropriately and set examples for youth. Not only will the youth worker be influenced by the youth, but the youth will also be influenced by the youth worker. Depending on the situation, the youth worker can teach the youth, whether it be in certain skills or problem solving ways; the youth can also teach the youth worker, by exploring their own views on the world, as well as displaying values that each of the youth may have. The youth worker and youth can both be mentors towards each other, but in these own special and different ways.

2. Ethically Respectful- When working with youth, it is important to be aware of ethical boundaries, since youth workers can and will work with a variety of different youth groups from several different backgrounds. Youth work may take place in many underprivileged communities; it is important for youth workers to research and investigate these communities in order to understand the conditions of how these communities work and possibly figure out ways how to best work with the youth in these communities.

3. Learner and Listener- When working with youth, youth workers will not only influence and mentor the youth, but the youth will also mentor/teach the youth worker. In the youth/worker relationship, both act as the student as well as the teacher. Even though the youth worker is there to mentor the youth, the youth in several ways can mentor the youth worker about certain things that the youth worker might not have know before. It is important for a youth worker to learn from the youth in order to get a full understanding on why they work with youth as well as how to influence other youths in the same or different ways.

4. Self Aware/Self Acknowledgment- As mentioned in the article, when working with youth, it is important to be self aware and acknowledge oneself before and while working with youth so that the youth worker can help the youth discover who they are and who they want to be. When working with youth, it is very important for youth to be comfortable with themselves as well as being comfortable with the youth workers that they are working with. Being able to open up and be able to share their experiences with youth workers, and vice versa, will give a better experience to both the youth as well as the youth worker.

5. Prepared- As mentioned above, it is important for youth workers to know background about the youth that they are going to work with. It is important to research specific areas that youth workers will be introduced to and possibly what to expect of these areas. Youth workers can and will work in several different communities of youth and not one will be the same. It is important for youth workers to devise some plan as to how they plan on going about helping, supporting and encouraging youth in their communities. Research and preparation is extremely important because it will make the youth worker aware and ready for their work to come.

6. Well Maintained/Disciplined- It is important when working with youth where to draw the line between friend and teacher/mentor. There may be times at which are appropriate to have fun and enjoy time with youth, however there may be other times in which professional behavior is necessary.

7. Educationally Persuasive- It is important for youth workers to take part in not only the social aspects of youth but also their academic behaviors as well. It is important for youth workers to be involved in youth's education and it is important for youth workers to encourage education. Since youth workers do work in schools a lot of the time, it is easy for youth workers to be involved in the youth's academic schedules and studies. Youth workers can also be used in schools to help youth cope with school or assist youth in school whether it be academically or socially.

I've worked for five years at the Henry Barnard School Explorations Program and have had several different interactions with several types of youth. I have most certainly came across these seven traits one way or another. I do my best to be the best role model/ mentor that I can be to the students. There are times at which I can have fun and kid around with the students; however i know that there are times at which I must be professional with the students. When the students first come to the program I ask them how they school day was and if there is anything going on that might make them feel uncomfortable; I also help when it is necessary in the homework room when I am assigned to it. I do my best to get to know every student individually rather than knowing them as a whole group; since there are some teachers and much more kids, it is easy for them to know me better. Not only do I influence the students, but the students also influence me and the way I do things while working with them. Overall, these seven traits are traits that I do believe I have and use within my "youth worker" job and will continue to develop these traits as I go on to continue in my future youth worker career.

Who Am I? Batman or 24601?

My name is Ryan Ross. My birthday is April 25. I am currently attending Rhode Island College going for a degree in Youth Development with a concentration in Arts/Performing Arts, as I have a passion for theater and have a background of 7 years of musical theater under my belt. Outside of school, I currently have two jobs: one being at the Henry Barnard School on the RIC campus and the other being at Chester's Restaurant in Glocester, RI. I enjoy spending time with my girlfriend, going to dinner and hanging out with my friends, and also being around my family. I have an endless obsession with Batman and the TV Show Gotham. Batman is my all time favorite superhero and I am a huge fan of the movies, comics, as well as the pre-Batman show, Gotham. All of these things is what makes me who I am and I am very excited to share more about myself on this blog.

My girlfriend, Gianna and I 

Dinner with Friends

Christmas with Great Friends

My friend Dan and I at Fenway 

My Family 
Christmas presents adding to my Batman/Gotham Obsession!!