Thursday, October 24, 2013

Identity In Context


Upon reading the chapter Identity in Context by Nakkula, we were asked to answer a few questions regarding the text for this week. Listed below are the questions accompanied by the answers.

What is context mapping? Context mapping is a diagram used to show our different identities within our environment(s). It shines light onto whom and what we are. Additionally, it tells us what environments we are immersed in and things we are involved in.

What did Mitch ask Julian to do? In the chapter Mitch first asks Julian to list, then write down the spaces and relationships he navigates each day. Furthermore, he asks him to write down what each of those spaces and people expect of him. Lastly, Mitch asks him to pay attention to how he feels in those spaces.

What are the four identities described in the chapterForeclosed Identity, Moratorium, Diffuse Identity, and Achieved Identity.

Foreclosed Identity: One in which an individual has committed to a life direction, or way of being, without exploring it carefully and without experimenting with alternatives.

Moratorium: When one actively explores roles and beliefs, behaviors and relationships, but refrains from making a commitment.

Diffuse Identity: State in which there has been little exploration or active consideration of a particular identity and no psychological commitment to one.

Achieved Identity: Occurs when the identity crisis is resolved and the commitment to the selected identity is high. Other identities are no longer explored. 

In my opinion, we have situations in our lives that force us to undergo several of the identity types. However, in regards to my major and life goals, I feel as if I am between both Moratorium and Achieved Identity. I know that I want to work with children and help them with their development, however, there are certain aspects that I am unsure of. This coincides with the fact that I am unsure of where I want to be location wise when I begin my youth work. I don't know where I'll be or what I will be doing years from now, however, I am always open to exploring new avenues and learning from others.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Talking It Out, Peacefully


     In today’s society, youth are rarely seen as the forefront of positive change. And how could they be? So many negative stereotypes and prejudice attitudes circle around them, making it impossible for people to see what they’re truly capable of. This makes me upset knowing that their ideas, opinions, and most importantly, their voices, are being silenced. A connection between youth, adults, and community are essential in trying to create positive social change, and it’s about time people realize this.

     A great example of how youth use their voices to help others stems from a restorative justice program in a Chicago High School. This school once made headlines after an honor student was beat to death on his way home by gang members. Now, the school has been looked at once again, this time in a much more positive light. They have come up with a program that allows youth to discuss their issues in a peaceful way in a “peace room”. It is comprised of a peer jury, peace circles, and supportive listening. Students can talk about problems they are having (in school, at home, etc) and find ways in which they could solve these problems in a constructive way. Also, it is a place where youth can feel comfortable in and be heard by others.

     I think that this is a great outlet for the students in this zero tolerance school. This “room” makes me think about the Youth Development Ideologies that were discussed in class. This idea connects with positive youth development and how important it is to create environments that provide positive external assets (school climate, empowerment, etc)  to foster positive internal assets (positive attitudes, commitment to learning, etc). Additionally, this restorative justice program brings to mind the article written by Adeola Oredola called In a World Where Youth Hold the Power. Her main idea from the article corresponds with the idea that young people have the ability to make positive changes in their communities. With “talking peacefully”, they are able to do just that.  Not only are they helping to build their communities, but they are also building trust between one another—a relationship that helps both parties.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A World Where Youth Hold the Power: Argument

     The Youth in Action documentary along with the article written by Adeola Oredola called In a World Where Youth Hold the Power both contain similar themes. Their main argument corresponds with the idea that young people have the ability to make positive changes in their communities. They can become influential leaders with the proper supports. However, sometimes they are overlooked by adults and are stereotyped as unknowledgeable due to their age. This stigma makes it impossible for people to see the abilities and strengths that youth possess. If given the opportunity, you will be amazed to find out how much of a difference youth can really make.

     Both the video and article bring a refreshing perspective into our future. I think it’s important that we utilize our youth in ways that will help to strengthen the community. When you think about it, the youth are our future. We should consider them an asset in creating change, rather than push them aside until society thinks they are “old enough” to participate. These social constructions only divide us as a nation, when partnerships like YIA work to bring us together.

     I hope to see more organizations like YIA in our future. Though schools do their best in trying to mold students to become well-rounded individuals and productive members of society, I believe that there are better ways that schools can try to reach this goal. They should utilize some of the techniques that YIA uses such as more leadership opportunities. What better way to learn how to become a productive member of society than actually being one.

Adeola Oredola:

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Youth Development Ideology: What's Your Sign? (Reflection)

Last week, we were given the option to talk about which approach to Youth Development we identify with most. Upon completing a youth development “quiz”, I most identified with Positive Youth Development. Included in the choices were Critical Youth Development and Risk, Resiliency, and Prevention. In the Positive Youth Development model, their focus relies on fostering strengths and positive growth. Positive experiences, relationships, and environments are crucial in the cultivation of positive youth development. These three factors make the perfect formula in working towards positive change. I can only hope that one day I will be able to work in an organization that fosters these same ideas. I stand by the belief that learning best takes place when youth are motivated to actively engage in experiences that allow them to create their own knowledge and understanding of the world in which they live. Additionally, I believe that youth should work towards a positive identity in order to help support them in both academic and social success for the future.