Wednesday, December 7, 2016

YDEV Event 2

Image result for new jersey 4So for my second YDEV event I went to another Woman and Gender Studies film. This one was called "Out In The Night" and was about four Black, Gay, Women from New Jersey whom one day decided to venture to New York for a Gay Pride festival and later that night were verbally and physically assaulted by a male on the street and were put in jail for defending themselves. The women in the video were projected as gang members, bloodthirsty lesbians, and were even compared to viscous animals by the media before the full story even came out in court. All of the women wound  up spending time in prison for "their crime"

This video to me was very hard to watch. It was very interesting to see how in a place so close to home and in this progressive era of humanistic rights that there are still people who are so hateful towards others because of sexual preference. Not only were they not excepted outside of their community because they were gay but they were also black, and also women. They are literally in three minority or less privileged classes here in the United States. These women were also defending themselves and there was video evidence to prove it and they all still got convicted of the charges. The man that attacked them was so an anti-gay supporter which clearly showed motivation on a hate crime and was never charged. The judge in the case was also very biased and the jury that convicted them was not a "jury of their peers". To me this how judicial system we had that was meant to defend people and convict those who truly committed crimes failed these women and now they have to live with the consequence of if they didn't defend themselves they were endangering their lives but by defending themselves they get put into prison. Also the way the media portrayed them was horrible. The media is willing to put whatever spin they choose depending on the audience that is listening and watching which really bugs me.
Image result for new jersey 4
As of this relating to youth work, is really showed how much injustice there still is in the world and to fight for every inch you can get. It also will help me to engage students in these topic of conversation and educate them so that way they don't hate but even if they don't agree are still tolerant and willing to engage with others by seeing them as people first.

What is Youth Work?

To me Youth Work is engagement, its fun, its being creative, and its learning everyday. People ask me all the time what youth development is and I give them the jargon of well its education, social work, and non profit studies. Usually their response is oh so what exactly do you want to do? I usually just tell them I want to be an athletic director and they engage into that conversation. What they don't understand from me saying that I want to be an Athletic Director is that I want to create student leaders through sports. I want to coach and help engage these students. I want to push kids so hard to the very edge of where they can go to see how far than can go and watch them realize how much they have grown and become independent people, learners, and leaders through their experiences. I want them to learn life lessons that they may not get in a classroom but through being a part of something that is bigger than you, me, and even them. I want them to go into the world knowing that they didn't just played a sport in high school but they learned how to be or be a part of something because of that sport no matter how successful or unsuccessful they were. To me, THAT is Youth Work.

PS. The article I read was This is Youth Work: Stories from Practice. I really enjoyed reading it because it gave me a sense of what real world and real life experiences are like for actual in field youth workers and what things I may encounter also and how to help be prepared for them and egage the topic.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


For my first YDEV Event this semester I decided to go watch one of the Gender & Women's Studies films since I have never had the experience of viewing one. I was honestly expecting this movie to be shown in a different room in the library and very surprised that it was in the basement of the library down a weird corridor, in a back space that felt like Harry Potters cupboard under the stairs. Mind you when you first walk into the space, it is initially a space for the advisers for the department and you have to go even further into the depths of the Chamber of Secrets to find the tiny viewing room in the back corner.

Image result for harry potter's cupboardOnce I situated myself into the room I found it very awkward. There was only one other person in the room whom was there before me and being in such a small space we were only about 4 feet from each other and I dared not to engage myself in conversation with this other person since she seemed to be doing things on her laptop and preparing to take notes on the video. Then, 12:30 came and a person just simply came in and turned on the movie. No welcome, explanation of the movie, nada we just hopped right into it.

Image result for forever 21 boycottThe actual movie itself was not what I was expecting. When I initially looked to see what the movie was about, it described the movie as a story about three Latina immigrant workers and their story of immigration and their struggles working in garment sweatshops in Los Angeles. Well, it honestly was more about the lawsuit between Forever 21 and the garment workers. We really didn't get to explore what life was like for these people before the entered the United States and what their life is like now living in the United States. We got to hear about how they illegally entered the United States and willingly ripped themselves apart from their families for what seemed to be just as much as a struggle for them compared to living and working in the countries they were originally from. I think that their promise of a "better life" and the "American Dream" became their false sense of reality once they immigrated here and realized that the United States is not all what it seems to be and what people believe it is due to Manifest Destiny. Overall I don't think it was a bad video, but I do which that there was some room for discussion among peers and the facilitators of the showing about the document.
Image result for unity

As for this event relating to youth, I think that there were a few good messages from this movie. I think that this movie showed to keep fighting no matter how small your voice is, perseverance is key, and it also shows what the harsh reality of what immigration can be for some people and really allows people to appreciate what they have or don't have.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

"The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness."

Image result for resilienceI honestly never knew about The Center for Resilience. I found it really interesting to see that there is an organization out there that helps not just young people but all people manage stress and life obstacles while promoting adversity in both individuals and society. Check here if you want to see the APA road to resilience to get a good understanding of resiliency.

When doing this and exploring this organization I decided to watch the videos recommended and first tired to get an understand of what they do through their videos. Although I did have a hard time figuring out exactly what is was they do through the videos, I understood that they were some type of behavior management support system, they work with young people in all age groups, and not only teachers but other administrative staff fully supported the programs.

After I was done watching the videos I went and explored the website. Some of the key things I looked at were their mission to understand what their goals and vision are, their "About Us" page and also their donation page. I found it awesome that the kids themselves ran workshops themselves after the community asked for these type of services. I also really liked their donation page because it didnt really overload you with pleas for donations or list tons of reason why you should donate and I think thats really important to keep it simple.

Lastly I found it really interesting that they had separate pages for in their community and and workplace. I think its great that they started as just K-12 and quickly expanded to working with the community and private workplaces. I think it goes to show how good the work they do really is. I would be very interested in having a workshop with this organization.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Who's Election is it Anyways?

Image result for whose line is it anyway electionWelcome to the modern election year in America. Its a year consisted of either the first female president or the first non congressman to ever be elected. Me personally, I absolutely hate politics. I firmly believe that just because we have the "right" or "privilege" to vote doesn't necessarily mean that our vote means anything. The people who run for offices and get elected are clearly in positions of power, have tons of money, and a personal agenda in which they use the platform to accomplish it. Our world is vastly larger, more complex, and filled with even more secrets than compared to when this country was first created. Basically what I am saying is sure we can vote, but our vote is more than likely more controlled than you think. In this election, I am not going to vote. I do not like either candidate and honestly wish that I could vote in Obama for a third term instead of the persons running for office this year, but then that would lead a person to potentially wish to never leave the office and always maintain that position of power. I feel very uninformed about the potential candidates for this election and feel that the topics and issues that go along with this election do not show a strong candidate.
Image result for trump vs hillary cartoon
My three questions that I have about this election are:

Why are the candidates who have potentially have criminal or evasive circumstances be allowed to run for office?

How come the government has not released more information about the candidates?

How can I make sure that if I vote that my vote makes the maximum impact?

Heres some food for thought but of course it is what the Media put out there.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Context Clues

Hopefully I was not the only one but I really struggled with the whole "context mapping". I understand that context mapping is essentially a way so show the systems you are involved in, how you interact with them, how they expect you to interact with them but from looking at the examples posted it looks like just major roles that play into your life and the sub systems that come along with that role. As much as mine is not really a map I think it is A) because my skills doing it on a computer are awful, 2) I still struggle with identifying the major systems within my life, and 3) struggle still with finding my role and what I want my role to be vs what others want my role to be. I chose for mine to create a system of colors showing what is positive (green), a struggle (yellow), neutral (blue), and conflict (red) and chose the most influential aspects of my relationship with that larger system. I really hope we do this again in class and have more time to reflect on these.

As for the major identities they are achieved, foreclosed, moratorium, and diffuse.

A foreclosed identity is when someone chooses something without exploring other alternatives which is why I feel there is so much conflict between me and my family because I choose not to be an extension of them.

An achieved identity is someone who is just comfortable where there are with their identity. I feel that that is something that the systems you work within help you to achieve and are also accepting of your other identities.

A diffuse identity is is when you constantly change from one thing to another to suit your identity based upon your environment. Fashion and clothing are great examples of this or even sports.

Lastly, a moratorium identity is when someone is afraid to commit to their identity. I think this is something that is not easy to do because of the environments within the systems they preside in.

Image result for acceptance

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Positive Youth Development

Displaying IMG_0697.JPGWhen doing the Ideology quiz, I first looked at it are thought that my results were definitely going to be Positive Youth Development just based on my life experiences and the work I already do in youth spaces such as coaching. What I never thought was going to happen was that I was going to put a one next to just about every Positive Youth Development statement and made me realize how much that type of work resonates within me. But what defines Positive Youth Development? It is a combination of positive experiences + positive relationships + positive environments = positive youth development. So based on the key questions in my "horoscope" which was "How can we build on the strengths and assets of youth towards helping them develop into healthy adults?" I noticed that it is something I do everyday. Everyday we allow students to choose the things that want to work on and positively encourage them through positive and constructive feedback to build confidence skills in the things they really love to do. We in the end want all of our students to be social and be leaders within their community through the things they like to do. I also did a little reflecting and thought about how well of a job I am doing and maybe what I need to work on out of the three aspects of Positive Youth Development and it is definitively positive experiences. over the summer students were forced to take certain classes each day and really did not have the option of doing what they wanted which was pretty discouraging to begin with. But, as a facilitator I needed to make sure they at least had the best time possible and sometimes with certain groups the day would just go bad because I did not know how to handle the environment in which they were bringing to the classroom such as lack of participation or even discrepancies between students that had happened prior to entering the room. If I noticed that the game plan for the day wasn't working and my backup plan was also not working where would I go from there? At times it became a difficult obstacle to overcome but over time I think i just need to be able to expand my toolbox of skills.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

My Ecosystem

First My Words

Image result for batman vs superman1) Adversary-important-I feel like this is important because we see and adversary as a rival and not always in a positive way when having an adversary can actually be quite healthy.

2) Collaboratively-important-we need to work with not against

3) Relationship-important-we need a foundation to build our house on

4) Identity-important-not only for us but for our youth as well

5) Social-important-humans are social beings and also learn through social interactions Just a waring I love Vygotsky

6) Educators-important-I just feel there is a huge difference between being a "teacher" and being an "educator"

7) Conscientious-important-we should really all be aware and thinking about every possibility

8) Pathologized-no idea, think this like is the right definition....

9) Multiauthorized-important/don't really understand the concept yet. I think it means your life experiences shaped by multiple people which alter/create your perceptions,thoughts, and schema.

10) Coauthoring-important/don't really understand the concept yet. I think it means sharing life experiences which alter/create your perceptions,thoughts, and schema.

Ten People
Mom: caring/antagonistic
Dad: Caring/antagonistic
Grandmother (on moms side): caring
Sister: antagonistic
Jake: indifferent
Zach: indifferent
Aaron: Caring/indifferent
Mr. DiMayo: Caring
Ms. Gosling: Caring

Who I Am Writing About?

My Mom. Is honestly just such a pill. She always had the best intentions but never went about acting on those intentions in the right way. She use to be hard on me when I was in school, argue with me, and honestly just be downright mean sometimes. But, she was usually there when I needed something or she would just tell me to ask grandma. In doing so though I learned a lot. I learned to become more independent, responsible, vocal about my opinions and thought, and how to at least try to stand up for myself. Even if she was a raging bitch to me sometimes she made me into the critical thinker am today.

Monday, September 19, 2016

A competition between runners, horses, vehicles, boats, etc., to see which is the fastest in covering a set course.

Image result for jessica pearson leaving suitsRace has become an increasingly difficult topic of conversation here in the United States. Over the past year we have seen various "movements" to create awareness and change for some of these social issues where Hobson does a great job painting the picture of reality through her stories and discussion. She graciously discusses her experiences of struggle, hope, and realism from childhood where at the age of 7 she is challenged with questions of race and power through the realistic views of her mother and empowering words of telling her she could be what ever she wanted to be. But, the sad truth is she could be whatever she wanted to be but the system we created may not have even given her a chance to become what she imagined as a child.

Image result for population of america by raceI really like that Hobson challenges people to talk and discuss race, evaluate their environments, and engage in conversations with people who are nothing like you. It makes us feel human which people often forget since our culture has been so desensitized to the value of human life and she makes it a point to connect every story back to simple basic humanistic things such as wearing body lotion to help people realize that we are human but then she talks about color blind and color brave.

I know I make this argument all the time and I really hope I am doing so in a way the is conductive to our learning environment on here but the idea of being color blind and being color brave to me is all dependent on your environment. Environment is such an important thing that I feel people always forget about. As much as I love her idea of color brave and challenging others to have the conversation, challenge themselves, and be open minded it all relates back to the environment and sometimes color blind may be a better option and this is where I absolutely love Morgan Freeman. He challenges race and social change by simply not talking about it which works for him. He believes that if race is not talked about there would be no issues. I would know him as Morgan Freeman, an American actor and he would know me as Dennis Poirier, a college student, not Morgan Freeman the Black actor and Dennis Poirier, the white college student.

To address the blog topic I think visibility is dependent on environment. Being a white male living in Rhode Island no I have not felt invisible. But on a trip to the South I very much felt invisible because my skin color was not the social norm or the color of power. But, I was NEVER disrespected or disrespectful towards the people of the community which made me feel welcome and where for me and most of my interactions race was simply not an issue.

I always have lots to say on topics like this and could write a paper so I am going to leave the rest of my thoughts for class. Thanks all.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Tiny Leaders

Life growing up for me certainly was not easy. My parents got divorced when I was very young, my mom became a single mother, I only saw my dad on the weekends, and my sister was a know it all brat. Unfortunately for me I had to live in the shadow of my sister who got the straight A's and always made the honor roll while I got B's and C's and was perfectly okay with that, but my mom wasn't. She really controlled most of my life until sometime around 7th grade where I was so upset that my mom was controlling me that my mom, the school principal and I sat down one day after school to discuss what was going on because I was doing poorly in school. We came to an agreement that my mom would no longer heckle me about homework, grades, and give me more free time. In return my mom would receive a phone call on her phone when report card came out so that way she could see it and know when they came out and I would obey any consequences of bad grades without contest. In the end, I started doing better in school, I became more independent, and my mom started to trust me a lot more.
Image result for teddy roosevelt big stickWe truly do live in a world where adults control our world on both macro and micro scales as you can see from my story. My mom being the adult and person in a position of power controlled most of life until I, being the youth advocated for change. Unfortunately though that change did not come without the help of a caring, trusting, and understanding adult who didn't just brush me off and thought  I was a failure. 

The article about YIA just really reminded me about that story and how important it is to listen to youth, ENGAGE youth, and work along side them; not control them. Even here at RIC the youth (the college students) hold a certain amount of power when it comes teacher evaluations, student organizations and the events they hold such as suicide awareness, and even changes to the physical campus.

Image result for tiny leaders
Someone please ask me about this its actually really fuuny
Youth in action does a good job working along side with you to be those leaders and take on those powerful roles that mostly adults control. Unfortunately it is a two way street though meaning youth within the community have to be willing to engage and the adults have to be willing to give up their power and mostly just be a proctor or ignition that starts the engine. YIA takes something that is difficult to do and does it effectively. I am very conflicted with some of the ideas that the article does present but I guess that just means there is topic of discussion for Thursday.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Seven "Characteristics" of "Youth Work"

"Youth work" or a "youth worker" is a term that has gone undefined and still to many of us seems something ambiguous in our early stages of our career. Some of us may not even know what youth work or a youth worker really is until you have that one moment where it defines you as a person. Until recently youth work was seen as your local camp counselor, DCYF, and the local agencies within the community in which "youth" attend. Youth Development has taken this concept and has built its foundations on what Thompson, Westwood, and Wood describe as the seven characteristics of "youth work" which entail educational,social, and welfare practice, social justice, youth involvement through choice, youth empowerment, and holistically. Many of us in the field we realize the importance of these basic and fundamental concepts and strive for excellence in all of the areas. Being a good youth worker (to me) based upon these characteristics described means we are willing to teach effectively through social involvement while empowering youth to strive for excellence while we effectively provide or engage our youth in the best welfare or social justice matters that surround their eco-systems both macro and micro. While these concepts are crucial in our engagement with youth it is important to understand that these are not the only concepts or fundamentals that youth work is based upon and that the understanding of youth work and engagement is still growing and we as youth works learn from our experiences within these concepts everyday by engaging with the youth of our future. There have been times as a youth worker that I have struggled with these concepts and the ideas that come along with them in how to engage youth. For example youth work does involve in group work to help engage youth in social involvement but sometimes it involves bending these concepts to help our ability to engage youth and skill build individually before engaging in deeper group work among our youth.

Displaying IMG_0697.JPG
My summer students at Mystic

Thanks all hope you enjoy.