Thursday, December 8, 2016

Event #2

My second event for our YDEV requirement was our Nuts About Dance Fundraiser at the Carolyn Dutra Dance Studio. I volunteered to come to the studio on Veteran's Day from 9am-2pm to help separate, pack, and bag nut orders for all of our three studio locations. We were separated among 10 tables and had to weigh, bag, and count how many small bags of nuts we got out of one big box. It was a great way to build team work with not only the staff but some of the senior company members, came and helped out as well before they went into rehearsals. It was a very good group of people who all enjoyed working together as a team while having a fun time doing it! It can be a long tedious day, but with the right attitude it was really a fun experience. 

Since working at the studio has always been a career goal for the future it was cool to be on the business end of things this time and learning how exactly everything worked. I helped take in orders before nut packing day and even got to help unload the truck while I was there. 

Monday, December 5, 2016


On October 1st and 2nd 2016 I received a scholarship from my boss to go to an Acrobatics Arts Module One Training Program for children ages 5-12. The training was in Massachusetts and I had to drive up there on my own. This was my first Dance Education Training experience on my own and I was feeling nervous. I was the youngest one in my session and was feeling like everyone was judging me. It turned out to be one of the best weekends and experiences in my training thus far. I learned new techniques on how to teach, safety regulations, and fun activities to peak the children's interest. The weekend was super fun and informative. Not only did we get the chance to work directly with youth in classes we got to practice skills of our own. We learned creative ways to engage children in classes while letting them be free and having fun. I think being a dance teacher is a lot like being a youth worker because we are seen in more of a "fun and engaging" way as opposed to teachers. We had to take two exams. One written, and one performance on how well we incorporated safety regulations in our spotting and helping youth. 

Youth work and teaching dance have a lot of similar qualities that I haven't realized until now. I have always had the same passion for both and never fully feel like I am "working" when I am doing youth work. This training helped me better my skills in an area I do not always feel is my strong suit. I was fortunate enough to have my boss be supportive enough to push me and pay for me to go to a training like this. I never would have gone if it wasn't for her. 

THIS Is Youth Work

What even is Youth Development? What are you going to do with that degree?

Youth work is so much more than sitting around after school babysitting a bunch of kids until their parents or the bus picks them up. Youth work is so much more than simply "having fun" with kids as opposed to sitting at a desk all day. Youth work is so much more than keeping kids off the streets at night. Youth work is so much more than what it seems. Youth work can be in any setting, after school, church programs, extra curricular activities, community service, and neighborhood youth centers.

I am the person that youth can talk to when they feel alone. I am the person that will mentor youth in the right direction and lead them down good paths. I am the person that will teach youth right from wrong. I am the person that will teach youth how to have their voice heard. I am the person that will make a difference in their lives and they will ALWAYS know that I will be there. I am a Youth worker and I will be there for YOUR child if and when they need me. I will keep them safe and protected while they are in my care. I will do everything I can to make sure they leave me knowing that their voice and opinions are important to this world. 

I am the person that will bring children out of their shells. I will do my best to teach them things that they cannot learn in the classroom. I will teach them about themselves as youth and what they can expect in the future. I will show them how differences bring us all together, rather than tear us apart. I will help youth learn their interests and what makes them who they are. 

I am a Youth Worker. I will make a difference in children's lives. I will teach them BEYOND what the classroom can.

"Ashbury youth club was a big part of me whilst being aged 13-18. It kept me safe and ... from getting myself and my friends into trouble. But it wasn’t all about being kept off the streets. At the age that we didn’t care about anything and found it hard to communicate with parents and teachers. When it felt like the whole world shut you out there was always Jenny that you could just go to talk about anything in the world and she would be most understanding and give you the best advice any could give. A lot of people called her their second mum (she was to me)." Said by a young man as to why young people NEED youth clubs (pg. 32).

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Center For Resilience

After reading Ilana's blog I was so inspired to write my own. Her passion for youth work and getting the children involved has pushed me to new levels in my own youth work and it is always exciting to see how excited she gets about a new project she is working on. As for my own youth work my passion as well is to get children involved in their specific communities that they identify with. In the dance world in Rhode Island everyone knows everyone. Our studio is a very "tight nit" community and we are built on a foundation of family values. We do our best to get our children involved in community service work, outside performances in the community, and trips to spread the word of what exactly it is that we do. In the dance setting we are in a "classroom" but it is more of a leading with youth type of system. We work together as a team to achieve a desired goal that we may be setting for that week. We have a program of assistant teachers and demonstrators within the studio and they work directly under us and learn how to run classes, choreograph dances, teach children of all ages, etc. Though we all work together the children are aware that I am "in charge" of what goes on in the room.

After watching the videos on the Center For Resilience I have learned and watched techniques on how to get children to "re-set" and get back on track in their school day. Techniques that I wish could have been introduced to me at a young age. I have known one of the speakers in the testimonials for my entire life and know how much he has a passion for empowering all children around him. Sending children who are having trouble in the classroom to the office is not solving the problem. It is just pushing it off to the side rather than taking direct action. These techniques have proven to help children stay on task and believe in themselves and what they are doing.

Thursday, November 3, 2016


YOUR VOICE WILL CHANGE THE UNITED STATES. YOUR VOICE MATTERS. YOUR VOICE WILL CHANGE THE WAY THAT THIS ELECTION GOES. These statements have been surrounding my thoughts for the past year. In this election I have not once been able to stand with one side and have a solid thought between the two candidates. First thing I have to say is that this will be my first presidential election I will be voting in. All I can keep thinking about is that these are the two candidates that I am forced to choose from. I want to vote because I want to make a difference but have felt myself saying I would be unable to make a choice of who is the lesser of two evils. Both are liars (though most if not all politicians lie), both have left so many questions unanswered, and both try to cover up wrong doings of their past.

I am not shy from the voting booth and feel informed about both candidates, but mainly have been listening to what my parents have been saying for the past year. Both of my parents stand and complete opposite ends of the spectrum. My mother is very liberal and my father is the most HARDCORE republican I have ever met. My mother, like me keeps her opinions quiet in order to not start any heated debates. My father is so in your face with his beliefs it is actually embarrassing. When I am out in public with my dad and he talks about supporting Donald Trump I am MORTIFIED.  Though on the other hand I am unable to stand and support all that Hillary Clinton stands for. This election has made me feel such stress and is honestly a complete joke. 

Some questions I have about this election:

  1. How will this election outcome effect my life in the future?
  2. After this election what rights as a woman and citizen will I still have?
  3. Will there need to be more social change after this election?
  4. What will be the final outcome for immigrants in this country?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Context Mapping

Context mapping is a visual way that we would describe ourselves to others and what is important to us in our lives. Due to the fact that it is visual it should be able to tell the story of who, what, and activities that we identify as important roles in our every day life. I am a RIC YDEV student who is graduating this year. I am a dance teacher, choreographer, and hard worker. Cranston is my home and I hope one day my children can have the life I had in this town! (It will always be home) Relationships that are important to me are my family, friends, and my boyfriend.

Four Different Types of Identity
  1. ACHIEVED IDENTITY: the individual has successfully integrated his ego-identity needs from the past, wishing the present, and into the future.
  2. FORECLOSED IDENTITY: the identity that is either thrust upon a person (the need, for example, to assume a particular direction due to limited environmental opportunities) or simply accepted with little reflection. (more of a natural need)
  3. MORATORIUM: when one actively explores ones roles and beliefs, behaviors and relationships. But refrains from making a commitment. 
  4. DIFFUSE IDENTITY: an identity with no real commitment and changes more often than not.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Ideology& Identity Inventory

I am always nervous when taking personality tests because I always wonder if I truly am who I think I am inside. This one in particular had me thinking, because it will show me exactly how I will act with youth in the future. When reading all of the questions we were being asked I thought of how I think I am now and how I would want to be in the future. After answering all of the questions truthfully, my scores came out as follows:

  • Risk, Resiliency, and Prevention: 17
  • Positive Youth Development: 8
  • Critical Youth Development: 11
None of which were surprising to me. After reading the "horoscope" I can truly say that I am predominantly B (Positive Youth Development). Half of my answers even had the #1 next to them meaning they were my favorite choices. After I read what it said about my working with youth styles I began to wonder? Am I really always the "positive one"? And is that a bad thing? 

I have always been the one to see the bright side of things. I have always looked at the positives rather than the negatives and though some say that is sheltered I think it makes me more open to others. It states that Positive Youth Workers, would rather focus on the strengths and positive growth (which prevents negative outcomes). Everyone should have the opportunity to show the world all of the good that we as individuals can do. Positive people that helped shape my life were the same way that I am with youth and I hope that I can make an impact on them just like others have done for me in the past. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Construction of Adolescence

10 significant vocabulary words from the text:

  • Co-construct
  • Scaffolding
  • Zone of Proximal Development
  • Inter-Psychological Development 
  • Meeting of the Minds
  • Tested Knowledge
  • Reciprocal Transformation
  • Mental Bridge
  • Implicit Theories
  • Theoretical Thinking

10 People That Have Co-Constructed My Life:
  • My mom (Penny) 
  • My dad (Russell) 
  • My boyfriend (Jim)
  • My grandma (Posie)
  • My boss/dance teacher (Miss Carolyn)
  • My best friend (Gianna)
  • My best friend (Jenna)
  • My best friend "little sister" (Julia)
  • My high school principal (Mr. Barbieri)
  • My coworker/second mom (Miss Chryssa)
There have been so many people in my life that have impacted me in one way or another. The person I chose to write about is my dance teacher Miss Carolyn. She has not only taught me how to stand up straight and pointe my toes, but to be a strong independent woman. The lessons she taught me went far past the ballet barre. She has been there for me in good times and bad... and I know she would always be there to support me. She has taught me how to be a leader and given me countless opportunities to show my true talent. I was never one to be confident and through all of the tears she taught me to be happy with myself and show the world who I really am. I know for a fact that I would never been the woman I am today without being apart of the dance family. She has introduced me to so many of my best friends who luckily for me have the same passions and interest as I do. I never felt left out at dance. Over the years as I have grown up I realized that she is harder on the dancers and young girls that she saw something special in. She was never "picking on me" but only trying to bring out my full potential. I am so grateful for the relationship we have today and I see her as a second mother. I mean she practically raised me and I see her more than my own family most of the time. Dance has changed my life and opened so many doors for me and all of that is because of Miss Carolyn. She is so much more than just a dance teacher to me and I am forever thankful! 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Being Color Brave

Growing up there have been a few times where I could say the words "I felt invisible." Feeling invisible is the most isolating feeling in the world. You feel like no one can hear you even when you are crying out for help. People seem to look right through you and it's almost as if you are nothing. I was never the "skinny girl" and in the dance world that is not always the best option. I would go to extreme lengths to keep my weight down. I was constantly surrounded by tall, thin, and muscular bodies. Being 4'11 most of my teenage and adult life, tall and thin was never really an option. I look back on my life as a high schooler and think to myself, it was never as bad as I thought it was. I always pushed myself away from others, and my entire high school career I thought it was the other way around.

Speaker Mellody Hobson dives into the meaning of the statements, "being color blind" or "being color brave." When watching her TED talk she discusses the subject of race. Mellody herself was the victim of racial discrimination when she showed up at a luncheon in New York with a friend. They had arrived and were asked where their uniforms were as if they were the wait staff. From this day forward she was more aware that racial discrimination was still a huge deal going on in today's society. Being color blind to many people can seem like a positive thing. It says to the world that you choose not to see color. Mellody discusses how that is not always a good thing. She states, "You see, researchers have coined this term "color blindness" to describe a learned behavior where we pretend that we don't notice race. If you happen to be surrounded by a bunch of people who look like you, that's purely accidental. Now, color blindness, in my view, doesn't mean that there's no racial discrimination, and there's fairness. It doesn't mean that at all. It doesn't ensure it. In my view, color blindness is very dangerous because it means we're ignoring the problem." 

On the other hand being color brave is a positive look at the color of ones skin. She states, "We have to be color brave. We have to be willing, as teachers and parents and entrepreneurs and scientists, we have to be willing to have proactive conversations about race with honesty and understanding and courage, not because it's the right thing to do, but because it's the smart thing to do." Being able to actually talk about the situation is the only way racism is going to stop being at the forefront of our society.

Mellody and organizations like Youth In Action(YIA) which our previous blog post is about, are begging to get the ball rolling in taking social injustices and making them everyday discussions around the circle. Today our class got to see first hand what these youth do everyday in order to make a positive impact and change in the communities that they live in. Mellody is an amazing example of why stereotyping and racial discrimination need to be a thing of the past. Due to the fact that she lived her life being color BRAVE as opposed to color BLIND so many doors opened for her and she is living the life that she had always dreamed of. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

In A World Where Youth Hold The Power

YIA is a Providence based nonprofit after school program that gives children the chance to speak their minds in a safe and open community. YIA is an organization that helps children in ways a "classroom" setting cannot. It helps give children a voice in topics that may seem unconventional to others. (Such as sex, gender, teenage pregnancy,  It allows the youth to take charge of the program themselves and lead discussions and debates on topics of their choices.

One of the parts of the article that stuck with me the most was a quote from one of the YIA participants. It read, "I like that I'm part of a place where there are so many different opinions. The trust, respect, and openness make us stronger. If you disagree with a teacher, a police officer, or the mayor, or if you talk about politics, want to read a different book, or believe the rules adults have set up are a mistake, people usually don't want to hear about it. You don't have permission to disagree in other places. Because we do in here, we get a deeper understanding of one another, and then suddenly a new community program is starting or we're finding better ways to support each other."

I have been working with youth for as long as I can remember. I enjoy working with them in a nonconventional setting. I think because I work at a dance studio I get to build a strong relationship with my girls and boys because we share a common interest. We get to build connections just like those of YIA. During my last semester when we got to go to Calcutt Middle School, the two girls I worked with would talk to me about their day at school, problems they were having with friends, teachers, and family. I thought it was a good and safe way to build new relationships with them. They felt like they could come to us with their opinions and we would listen respectfully.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Youth Work Introduction

1. Youth work in an educational practice:
  • Youth workers and educators have a lot in common. Both teach children valuable life lessons that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Youth workers use different settings, conversations, methods, and activities to stimulate a different kind of learning. Youth workers are in place to help them make a better path for themselves to follow for the rest of their lives.

2. Youth work in a social practice:
  • This approach is more of a "case-manager/case-worker" approach. This deals with guidance of youth, personal information/building personal relationships, and advice to those in need. I have been working as a Direct-Support Professional at an Arts Based Day-Program for youth and adults with disabilities and I have had to take on this roll quite often. I believe it is very effective because people are always looking for someone to be the "voice of reason" for them. 

3. Youth workers challenge inequality:
  • As youth workers it is our job to embrace differences in everyone we work with. It is said in the reading that, "most youth work takes place in the context of social injustice, often with young people and others who are on the margins, excluded by a number of personal, cultural, and structural barriers (Thompson 2006)". Even if you are unable to relate in a general way you must be open minded and make yourself understand any possible oppressions that the individual or group may be facing. 

4. Young people choose to be involved:
  • Youth work and after-school activities are the fun part of being a kid. I can remember getting ready for dance after a long day at school and being so excited. Youth participate in activities and groups because they are interested and want to, not necessarily because they have to. Informal education that takes place after the school bell rings, is just as important as sitting at a desk every day.

5. Strengthen and influence voice of youth:
  • Giving youth a voice is the most important part of being a youth worker. It shows that you are there for the children in ways that others haven't been able to. You are working with them on self-empowerment, participation within the community, building relationships with others that they did not know they could have.

6. Youth is a welfare practice:
  • It is said in the reading that youth workers, "often not always, work with young people experiencing greater needs or in higher deprivation". We will work to solve problems while finding a balance of working towards pre-determined goals and the promotion of informal education with youth. 

7. Holistically working with youth:
  • We as youth workers with work and try to find the "underlying issues" that are embedded within the children that we may be working with. Working holistically means treating the person as a whole rather than just fixing the problem at the surface. 

Who Am I?

High School Sweetheart: 3 years later! 
The AMAZING team at The Carolyn Dutra Dance Studio!

Being "Miss Rachel" is the best part about my life!
I have been a dancer for the past 15 years!

I recently graduated from the Dance Teacher's Club of Boston!

My amazing parents: Penny and Russell!
My best friend Jenna Mae
My cousin Kelsey is like a sister to me. 
My best friend for the past 10 years: Gianna!