Thursday, December 8, 2016

Event Blog (2 Events)

Connecticut Campus Compact (CTCC),  Rhode Island Campus Compact (RICC) and Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), in collaboration with their member campuses and community partners, held their third annual student leadership conference on Saturday, November 5th, 2016 the University of Connecticut's student union. This was a one-day conference sought to create a discussion about creating change through activism and what is required in order to achieve this. This 2016 Student Leadership Conference theme also focused on “We the Students: Linking Identity, Community and Social Change”. The event started with guest speaker Kamora Le’Ella Herrington telling her personal story which linked together issues of identity and activism. After the guest speaker finished we broke off into smaller groups and attended two different workshops throughout the afternoon.

My first workshop looked at a nonprofit in Connecticut that worked with students who were not U.S. citizens in order to help them get access to funding for their educational costs in college. This was interesting to me personally because of the work they did with youth and the work the organization did lobbying elected officials. This nonprofit tried for a number of years to get legislation passed in order to provide more equity treatment of students attending college by allowing them access to money they currently pay into but do not qualify to received because of citizenship. This fits in our theme of creating change at the policy level of government in order to assist youth through the challenges they face. The organization’s method of approach mirrored ours very closely and provided a great in practice example of things we have learned in class that we did not get to apply.

My second workshop focused on photography and the connection with youth. While this workshop did focus on photography they really went into great detail about incorporating all kinds of artistic venues such as museums and comics. This workshop to me was the most creative one as it allowed us to explore ourselves and our community through the lens of art. We even got a chance to practice this by creating our own bio of ourselves using Polaroid pictures, crayons, color pencils and markers and explaining what our pictures represent and how others viewed our work thought it represented us. In youth development we often have to look at our students through many different lens and try to find strengths within them that we can help to further develop. I think art is a great place to discuss different perspectives and ideas that youth may have about their community and themselves.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Blog Post 9

This strengthening the Youth Development as a workforce text has helped me to understand why we should fund Youth Development education. There is data to help support this point and it was something that I thought about when I was growing up and participating in youth work prior to enrolling in the Youth Development program. The main thing I got from this text is that this is a profession born out of a need to have more people properly trained and taught to work with youth professionally. I think this is very much needed as it helps with the quality of service that is being provided to youth.

Let me start off by saying Youth Development graduates are not glorified babysitters, but professionals that are dedicated to ensuring every youth’s well-being by empowering them to become independent thinkers. Youth Development graduates are well prepared for the challenges that come with working with youth and have established strong support systems within our communities in order to help us in this endeavor. Our field is grounded in the principles of social work practice which has been thoroughly researched and proven effective, non-profit studies, and the doctrine of Youth Development of leading with youth and creating purposeful play experiences. We are the emerging professionals that are being employed to strengthen a youth’s mind by bridging learning from the classroom to after-school settings and supplemental enrichment programs.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Blog Post 8

Resilient Kids

Investing time in teaching students mindfulness techniques might cost you some class time but as a teacher said you get that time back tenfold. This is a worthwhile investment in my eyes. Not all education has to be academic sometimes you need to develop skills and techniques to deal with everyday life situations like stress and people.  

By teaching kids skills to improve their state of mindfulness these students are able to participate more within their classroom. Where problems of behavior would limit their time from classroom learning these students are able to minimize that time. This is a big deal because discipline issues are one of the reasons kids are not able to learn and cuts time from teachers being able to teach.

Once students learn these mindfulness techniques they don’t just use it once and forget. They own it, and often times end teaching other people they know. This is incredible as students learn and develop these complex skills they are also learning to be teachers and leaders within their communities.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Blog Post 7

what questions do you have about this election?
  1. Who is going to win and by what margin?
  2. What is the voter distribution by age now compared to four years ago, 12 years ago?
  3. Why does the green party/independent party run when they will not likely win?

What makes you want to vote? I would like to say it’s so my voice can be heard but in reality, it's more like am voting for the person who shares most or some of my values. That makes me want to vote so that someone who does not share most of my values is not in charge of making decisions that could go against my values.

What makes you shy away from the voting booth? Going to the actual booth is a time-consuming event where I would prefer to avoid it and cast an early ballot. I understand that most people usually get the day off but there are some that do not so it can be taxing for them to vote on that day.  

Do you feel well informed about the issues and candidates? Yes. I keep up to date with current affairs in Washington and the United States regarding politics. What I like about the United States is that we have the freedom to find and search for mostly everything a candidate has done in while serving the public as well as the freedom to search public information regarding U.S. citizens like Trump.

Does this election draw you in or alienate you? This election draws me in by the sheer amount of craziness that is going on. I love to turn on the news and see what is happening in the elections it is like a soap opera unfolding every day. I like drama I guess, and I love to see the responses the candidates have to them.  

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Week 9 Blog Post

Context mapping is when you list various spaces and relationships that you negotiate each day onto a medium that can be displayed. This is especially helpful when trying to figure out the many different roles and interactions you deal with on a daily basis. Based on Erikson’s model of early human development James Marcia took it upon himself to expand on the content of crisis that one typically overcomes when advancing towards becoming an adult. James Marcia developed four stages that helped people to understand the complexity involved when constructing one’s identity.

Achieved Identity: In this stage of adolescence a youth will have explored and made a strong commitment to a set of beliefs and values that they developed themselves or with others assisting them. An example you finally decide to enroll in Youth Development after exploring all paths at RIC because its sets of values align with who you have become.

Foreclosed Identity: In this stage of adolescence there is a commitment to something without personal exploration of alternatives. An example you enroll in Education at RIC because you want to work with youth but you have not explored any other careers paths at RIC that also work with youth.

Diffuse Identity: In this stage of adolescence youth may not yet fully realized their social identity or have even started to define their own personality traits. An example you are unsure about what you want to do in life and whether you should attend college.

Moratorium: In this stage of adolescence commitments are either nonexistent or vaguely defined but are actively exploring alternatives advancements. An example you have an idea that you want to work with youth and you are also looking into other fields of interest such as computer science, and social work.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Blog 6 Post

My values lie in Critical Youth Development based on the Ideology Inventory. I believe that youth are able to contribute ideas and thoughts on key issues such as social justice. There are social issues in our society that affect many youths lives giving them a rich amount of experience that adults may lack. By giving youth an outlet in which they are able to voice their thoughts and opinions on social problems, allows us to find a more comprehensive solution that takes everyone into account.  

It is because of this that it’s important to lead with youth in order for them to create their own ideas and thoughts regarding these complex issues. Critical Youth Development aims to have youth create a positive impact for themselves and the communities they live in. Critical Youth Development engages youth in challenging their own beliefs and values through group interactions between youth and adults in a safe environment. Creating experiences like this gives youth the opportunity to get to know each other better and in turn get to understand themselves more. Through building communication skills youth get the chance to develop their own voice and gives them the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas to their community.   

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Week 5 Blog Post

Vocabulary Words


While reading chapter one of the construction of adolescence I came across the words Tangential and Conscientious. When I looked up tangential it was defined as hardly touching a subject matter, like keeping it on the peripheral. While conscientious was defined as a person wishing to do what is right, relating to one’s work or duty they have.

Something that I did not understand

“Poor educational outcomes and constructions of self that are forged from negative associations
with formal schooling”

This quote came from page 8 of chapter one. In this paragraph the author talks about how questions are asked to figure out if teachers should hold the traditional idea of working with students to pass standardized tests or if their role as teacher should be different working with youth towards a relational terms. I do not understand if the author is talking about standardized teaching of youth to pass tests or something else. I could see it being used to talk about some of the shortcomings that our current school systems have in which tests are valued more so than creativity which could put some students off.  

Concepts important to reading

Cultural Capital: “The term cultural capital refers to non-financial social assets that promote social mobility beyond economic means. Examples can include education, intellect, style of speech, dress, or physical appearance.”

Multi Authored: This concept challenged my idea that your life story is solely about you. This is concept is critical to understanding that youth adolescence growth is a story that comes from many different interactions with individuals throughout their lives.
Meeting of minds: This was an important concept when I was reading the section of Authoring Life Stories. Creating meaningful interactions and developing mental growth within youth should involve understanding how one thinks. It is talked about in this chapter as relating to how you teach youth about how you think and form ideas. By letting youth in on how you think will create dialogue about how they think and perceive their world versus your own.

Transparency: Throughout this chapter in order to have collaborative and meaningful mental engagement it seems like there needs to be transparency. Transparency at its core means that you do not hide things intentionally and that you seek to show everything that you can to someone. In order to have a positive relationship with youth it is important that they feel they understand who you are and why you are engaging with them in various activities.

Vygotsky and Scaffolding: I think these two concepts are very important in early childhood development and it is a topic was talked about in depth in Educational Psychology. Vygotsky laid down the primary theories on the social influences that shaped early childhood development. The term scaffolding introduced the idea of assisting youth rather than giving them the solution or no assistance at all. Rather using scaffolding you work with youth towards helping understand how they can come to a solution themselves with some assistance provided.  

Authoring Life Stories

Best Friend
Stephen Jenkins
High School Teacher
David Mack

I have chosen to write about my best friend. My best friend has helped me write my story by being there to engage in complex thoughts, ideas and ramblings. Some of my best memories come from us just hanging out and talking about various topics on the news. These exchanges helped me to construct my ideas on certain issues and allow me to see another perspective on the matter. Being there as a friend as well to lend support has given me the resilience to continue during challenging times.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Blog Post 4

Yes, I have felt invisible but I have also been stared at so it sucks both ways. Hobson helped me think about the visibility of the color blind issue that is prevalent in the United States nowadays by defining it. Rather than being color blind Hobson urges us to be color brave which is the harder path to take because we have to confront the issues of race. This is the part where Hobson brings out statistical data about there only being seven minority CEOs out of all the Fortune 250 companies out there. Even more shocking was that while there are thousands of public traded companies within the United States there are only two that are chaired by black women. I can relate to Hobson’s story because as a minority there is a lot of truth to what she is saying. It is hard to change things when people are claiming they are colorblind and everything is okay. The truth is that things are not okay and it just makes it harder to have an honest conversation about race in the United States. This is one of the reasons why sometimes I just don't bother talking in classes like political science because this is something that gets brought up by students when issues of race come up.

“Currently, the most pervasive approach is known as colorblindness. Colorblindness is the racial ideology that posits the best way to end discrimination is by treating individuals as equally as possible, without regard to race, culture, or ethnicity.” (Dec 27, 2011)

With a space like YIA youth have the opportunity to expose themselves to people of different cultures and races due to the amount of diversity that is available in Providence, Rhode Island. Youth get to share their struggles together and see their strengths that they have and the similarities they share rather than the differences of race. This happens not because of coincidence but because YIA youth are exposed to each other on a daily basis and have meaningful interactions. Within YIA, youth are working to create a safe space where they can focus on bringing about meaning change in their communities. This is accomplished by utilizing project-based learning, cooperative learning and service learning with youth rather than traditional methods used in the classrooms. By training the youth of today we ensure that they will become future leaders who are color brave rather than color blind.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

YOUTH WORK IS…. Leading With

The YIA model reminded me of similar experiences that I had in high school. It was in high school where I first began to work with nonprofits like the Rhode Island Children's Crusade and the Providence Public Library. These non-profit programs gave me my first opportunity to work with other youth within a professional setting. These non-profit organizations also gave me and other youth the opportunity to voice our thoughts and ideas in regards to how we worked within the organization to get their goals accomplished. They invested resources into us which created a sense of pride that someone was interested in what we were thinking and contributing. This made me feel personally invested in the work I was doing as I had begun to created a bond with the organization.

YIA models the notion of leading with by incorporating youth into all facets of their organization. No part of the organization that is involved with making any decision is off limits to youth participation. Youth are also allowed to create conversations with themselves and staff. Which can alter the way YIA responds to creating programs and initiatives to address their specific needs that come from these dialogues. The YIA model invests into its youth in order to create an atmosphere where they can build their social skills. These investments pay off dividends when YIA youth achieve active leadership roles within the YIA and their community. This is how in my opinion YIA is modeling the notion of “leading with” within their youth groups.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Blog Post #1

This article describes the first characteristics of Youth Work is as an educational practice between youth workers that engage with youth in order to educate them. Education is an important topic to me but I also believe that informal education has a place within the development of people, especially youth. Not everything has to be learned within a school setting or school hours. These key interactions are valuable as information is passed on but it is often remembered because of the close interactions between youth workers and youth. The second characteristic of youth work is social practice. This entails working with youth as groups or working with existing peer groups. This is important as starting within groups is a good engage point towards getting to know young people. These interactions builds social skills that youth need to become well adjusted within their communities. Sometimes youth do not have a place in which to practice their social skills and these encounters serve to help them improve themselves.
This article describes the first characteristics of Youth Work is as an educational practice between youth workers that engage with youth in order to educate them. Education is an important topic to me but I also believe that informal education has a place within the development of people, especially youth. Not everything has to be learned within a school setting or school hours. These key interactions are valuable as information is passed on but it is often remembered because of the close interactions between youth workers and youth. The second characteristic of youth work is social practice. This entails working with youth as groups or working with existing peer groups. This is important as starting within groups is a good engage point towards getting to know young people. These interactions builds social skills that youth need to become well adjusted within their communities. Sometimes youth do not have a place in which to practice their social skills and these encounters serve to help them improve themselves.
The third characteristic is that youth workers actively challenge inequality and work towards social justice. In order to carry this out youth workers work with youth to figure out the inequalities that surround them and what they can do to overcome them. This joint project helps to establish trust within youth and their mentors as they begin to see what youth see as issues that make them feel vulnerable and what they can do to change that feeling. The fourth characteristic is wherever possible, young people choose to be involved. This is something that is often overlooked but cannot be stressed enough because if youth are not involved with something through its inception then they may not be fully on board.
The fifth characteristic of youth work is that it seeks to strengthen the voice and influence of young people. A belief that most youth workers have is that youth are underrepresented and seek to engage them to become active participants in society. This is important as growing up most teachers I had loved to just teach but rarely did they give us ‘students’ the opportunity to become fully engaged with the material we were learning through anything outside of lecturing. The sixth characteristic of youth work is a welfare practice. This entails promoting the welfare and safety of our young people through the use of education and behavior. In order to achieve this it is key to work with youth in a balanced role of educator and social worker whenever possible.
The last characteristic of youth work is working with youth ‘holistically’. This last characteristic is to take into account the full extent of the difficulties that youth encounter. Focusing on one part of the difficulties could result in limited impact for youth workers when engaging with youth. I remember that while working as a City Year corps member I worked with youth through various scenarios that they may encounter such as the importance of recycling to littering and being a good neighbor. These topics feel scattered but when taken into a community perspective you can see the value of learning these topics in building greater civic engagement of youth within their communities.   


Hello everyone, my name is Gustavo Rodriguez and I am a YDEV cohort four student at RIC.  This summer I decided to become a hermit and read. When I am not in class I like to hang out with my friends. I also enjoy playing video games and watching Netflix shows with my sister. My favorite foods to eat are sushi, pizza and cookies. 

(This was my lunch when I went to visit a friend and walked 10 miles to help them get in shape. While I do enjoy walking and running, my legs were destroyed after this walk. This dish was the bright side of the day.)


(This was taken in Providence duh, around the outskirts of the downtown financial district. I like how the city has a creative outlet for artists and performers.)

(My cat Luna has started to groom me recently I don't know if this is good or bad I have been getting mixed responses online as to why cats do this. What do you think?)

(Took this picture while passing through Boston South Station. I didn't know birds hanged out here and looked for food. The birds looked so adorable but I couldn't help but feel bad that they were inside and not outside.)