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!