Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Context Mapping

Context Mapping is a way in which we understand the different identities that make up a person. A context map maps the behaviors that one encounters on a weekly, or monthly basis.

My context map looks something like this:

RI Sports Club
Running races
Work friends
Youth Development major
Central Falls HS students/teachers 

For this weeks blogpost, we were asked to answer a few questions on the chapter, Identity in Context in Understanding Youth by Michael J. Nakkula and Eric Toshalis.

 In this chapter, Mitch asked Julian to list, on a piece of paper, all the spaces that come into play in his daily life.  He also asks Julian to name what all those spaces or people expect of him.  Lastly, Mitch asked Julian to pay close attention to how he feels when he is in those different spaces.

Identity statues as opposed to developmental stages, "are not necessarily linear.  They describe the dominant issues, concerns, or developmental experiences during a particular era in one's life". (2006)

The four identities described in this chapter are:

Achieved Identity: When an individual has committed to one identity and is no longer exploring others.

Foreclosed Identity: When an individual has committed to a direction in life but has not fully explored or experimented with other directions

Moratorium: When an individual actively explores different roles and beliefs but does not make a commitment to just one.

Diffuse Identity:  When one has not actively explored, considered or committed psychologically to an identity.

I think that I am somewhere between Moratorium and Achieved Identity.  I have a sense of what I want to do with my life and where I want to end up, but I am also still open to exploring other areas.  Right now I am still not sure where life will lead me or where I will end up.  And sometimes there is something exciting about that.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Getting Youth to Talk Back

Today there are so many issues arising that involve youth.  I think it is important for young people to speak about and get involved in making decisions on the issues that involve them.  We've talked in class about how adults often see youth as lazy, trouble makers.  Many assume that young people are not capable of making their own decisions.  I do not think that this is the case at all.  This negative stereotype may be the reason many young people do not get involved.   I believe that youth should be informed and involved. 

There are many ways in which youth can be heard.  While researching this topic, I came across the website below, which I found interesting.  This website is a UK based site, however, the information is still relevant.

I think that youth can get their voices heard by getting involved.  It could even start in school by getting them involved in projects out in the community.  As youth workers, it is our job to empower youth.  By letting them speak out and listening to their ideas, this can be accomplished.  Social media plays a large role in today's society and is often how young people allow themselves to be heard. Adobe Youth is a program designed to help youth be heard by using the media in a way that is going to make an impact.  This program is all about getting youth involved, starting with their own education.  They believe youth should have an active role in their learning processes.  In my opinion, the first place that youth can be heard is in school. 

This topic reminded me of Malala, the inspiring young girl from Pakistan who was shot in the head for fighting for her own education.  She did not want to be held back and stood up for herself and women around the world.  This is a prime example of youth "talking back" and making their voices heard.  By speaking up, Malala has already started creating change for women's rights and she is only 16.  

Youth can make a difference. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Youth Empowerment 

While reading, “A World Where Youth Hold the Power” by Adeola Oredola, I was reminded of the activities we did in class last week on the different youth development ideologies, Positive Youth Development, Critical Youth Development and Risk, Resiliency and Prevention.  Some programs may focus on one or two, however, Youth In Action made me think of all three of these ideologies.  This program encourages positive youth development because students are encouraged to be themselves.  They are empowered and encouraged to speak their minds and be whoever they want to be.  I think that this can be an approach to risk, resiliency and prevention.  Teaching youth to be themselves and be comfortable with who they are is in a way, prevention to me.  They may be less likely to turn to drugs or violence if they have self-esteem.

Youth in the Youth in Action program are also taught that they can make a difference in the community and the world.  They learn to work with adults as a team to make a change.  Adults and youth are considered equals or partners.  This leans towards the critical youth development ideology. 

I loved reading this article because it gave me a different perspective on the importance of family/community.  I never grew up in a struggling community.  I was always encouraged to try my best in school and my teachers and guidance counselors believed in me.  I also grew up with a very supportive family that helped me along the way.  I can’t imagine where I would be today if I didn’t have that support.  This reading really opened my eyes to how helpful these youth development programs can be for students who did not grow up with a supportive family, or community.  They can literally change lives.  I think that it is so important to have a support system, whether it is family, friends or a program like Youth In Action.  Our society values education. If a student does not have a place where they can go for support, or to grow as a person, it makes it almost impossible for them to reach their full potential.   I think that developing programs like Youth in Action are now more important than ever.