Friday, September 25, 2015

Assignment #4 -Have you ever felt invisible?

This past winter I went to a tax place in Providence, RI to file my taxes. This was a place where one of my friends referred me because they had a great experience and the service pricing was attractive. Upon arriving I noticed that it was Hispanic oriented, which made sense because my friend was Dominican. I knew that they served a large Spanish population by the music they had playing and the clientele. Being here didn’t bother me as my son is also of Hispanic descent and I enjoy the culture.
Upon arrival, the woman at the front desk began speaking to me in Spanish. Although I could understand what she was saying to me, I responded in English so she knew I was not Spanish. As I was sitting in the waiting area I noticed many people coming into the office and going right in to be seen. At the time, I figured maybe they had appointments or they were there for different reasons. I waited almost an hour to be seen. This was the longest hour of my life and I contemplated getting up and leaving because it was becoming very awkward for me. Not one person spoke to me; however, they all spoke amongst themselves. It was as if I were invisible to all of these people.
When I finally got called into the office, the man behind the desk seemed very kind. Finally, there was someone in this place that smiled back at me! I provided all my information to him and answered many of his questions. He then asked me where I was from. I thought this was weird since my address was on my pay stubs and he already had all my information, but then I realized he meant ethnicity wise. Thinking I was contributing to the small talk, I explained I was half Cape Verdean and half White. At this point, I felt like the man’s personality did a 360. He made rude comments about how I probably thought I was better than everyone because of where I lived and then started inappropriately questioning me. By the end of this awkward encounter, I paid more than my Hispanic friend did for the same services and left the office basically in tears.
            After watching Hobson’s TED talk, in/visibility had a new meaning for me. It means more than what you can physically see or not see. It is being able to see someone and acknowledge them for who they are, entirely, beyond skin color/race- because skin color is something everyone can see, despite what they say. However, color should not define who someone is believed to be. I believe the people I encountered when I filed my taxes placed judgements on me because I was different than they were. I agree with Hobson in that being “color blind” is ineffective. To be color brave speaks volumes and is much more courageous. This way of thinking is positive and uplifting. It also supports all different kinds of people and who they aspire to be.
Youth in Action is a safe place where young people, many of which are minorities, can gather together and express themselves with proper guidance. They are encouraged to follow their dreams and taught to be who they desire to be. I believe this is an antidote for invisibility because they are being taught how to be color brave rather than color blind. They believe in themselves and each other rather than falling into the traps of a biased belief.  

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Ideology Inventory

According to the Ideology Inventory, I identify most with Risk, Resilience, and Prevention. When it comes to dealing with children I believe in being someone they can look up to, trust, and learn with. Many children do not have the supports they need at home and desperately need someone to help guide them in the right direction.

I truly believe this is my opportunity to equip them with knowledge and skills they will need to become successful and self-sufficient. As a youth worker I also know the importance of understanding the differences between each child and their social/cultural norms. It is more effective when you are speaking the same language and presenting information appropriate for that audience. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Assignment 2

This article made me appreciate Youth in Action and all the great opportunities these youth workers have to offer. Youth in Action is a great program, started in 1997, that believes “it’s critical for young people to be at the center of change in every community”. This particular organization is geared toward underprivileged teens in urban cities that desire to be the positive change in their communities.

Youth in Action provides a safe place for these teens to come together and be more than “just a teenager”, but become a voice that matters. This is a place where they can gather and be productive. The teenagers that attend, make up most of the board which goes to show how dedicated they are to this program.

What resonated with me most was the importance of building a relationship. I believe that in order to be able to help or guide the youth it is crucial that there is trust and openness. Once the teen feels they can open up and not be judged, they are more adapt to listen to advice or whatever the youth workers have to offer. Growing up I never responded well to someone I didn’t trust. It took me a while to become comfortable enough to share my ideas and ask for help when needed. However, when I began to trust someone, it became much easier for me to advocate for myself and get my needs met.

One of the Youth in Action’s traditions is Plus Delta Hot Seat. Plus Delta Hot Seat gives the teens and youth workers the opportunity to come together and figure out where they are succeeding and which areas are in need for improvement. This includes the youth workers so no one feels threatened or targeted. YIA team truly makes an effort to learn and grow with their group rather than teaching their groups, “nobody is speaking at you”. This is a great example of how the YIA workers work with, not to.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Assignment 1

The seven characteristics of Youth Work are:
1.      Educational Practice: Youth workers use informal education to get the youth feeling motivated and on the right track
2.      Social Practice
3.      Challenge inequality and work towards social justice
4.      Where possible, young people choose to be involved
5.      Seeks to strengthen the voice and influence of young people
6.      Youth work is a welfare practice
7.      Youth work works with young people ‘holistically’
A youth worker first focuses on the interests of the group they are collaborating with. Once they figure out what will grab this group’s attention, it is important for them to create an environment of trust and security. Creating this type of environment ensures that the child will grow and get more out of what the youth worker has to offer. Youth workers know the importance of teaching and guiding a child outside of formal academic work.
A youth worker should empower and challenge these children to their full potential. In doing this, it is crucial that the youth worker understands that the group’s environment, family life, and socioeconomic status are an important factor. These factors contribute in many ways to how the child learns, behaves, and what is important to them. Understanding their background and helping the child learn more about their surrounding environment will help the child become more successful.  
Once these considerations are taken place, it is the youth worker’s job to advocate for their group while teaching each child how to advocate for themselves. As a child it is intimidating to voice your opinions or needs and these are not skills that you learn during your regular school day. Youth workers are here to listen to what you need and teach skills that will help the children become self-sufficient.
A good program that covers all seven characteristics of Youth Work is Co-z. Co-z is a public afterschool program that provides child care in a safe space. Co-z supports many families that work full time and don’t have someone at home to watch their children. Co-z program starts directly after school and ends at 6:00 pm. During this program, each child completes their homework (with or without the help from the youth workers), has a snack that is provided by the program, and participates in various classes and extracurricular activities set up by the program.  Some of these classes include internet safety, bullying and stranger danger, and Girl Scouts. Some activities are arts and crafts, healthy foods, crochet, and sports- like yoga, soccer, and dodgeball.

There are many opportunities for parent involvement where the children get to showcase their work and achievements. This program has three sessions which covers majority of the school year. The program has many benefits while allowing the children to socialize and learn in a less formal environment. 
In conclusion, a youth worker should be someone who can relate, support, and be a role model for whichever group they service. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Who Am I?

This is me
I am a Christian woman 
I have a healthy and happy 3 year old son 
I LOVE flowers