Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Accepted Students Day


During accepted students day, it was a chance for me to accomplish one of my weaknesses, which is being able to be head on in the public eye talking about the things that I love. When first arriving to this event, I was talking to some of my fellow classmates about how nervous I was about just going out and grabbing incoming students to be possible interest for the Youth Development Major. It is not like I did not know what I was talking about when talking about Youth Development, it was just the fact of sharing my personal experience and hoping that it was convincing enough for these students and their families to want to join our family. It was that first family that was the hardest, many of us mentioned, but when Jess went out and spoke to that first family I said that I was going to be next, and I was. As I walked over to the family I began telling myself that I could do it, "this is your life Tiarra, it should be easy." So the closer I began to get to the family the more confident I had become and I introduced myself and the information just flowed. After that it came to me easy, my 60 second elevator speech had become perfected in those very moments and I forgot about everything else and just began to tell my story about how I became involved in Youth Work and why it is such a great and productive program to be in. There were many parents that were very questioning and I loved that because it gave me a chance to further explain the program and my story as well as some of my peers telling their stories and showing how different we all are in our paths but we all have the same goal and objective in mind, which is to help youth. This day one reminded me of how time is flying and all the youth that are out there and they need our help and that there are so many other young adults out there willing to help.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

TED TALK: Next Generation

Listening to this session made me think a lot about my life and the many situations that I am facing now at 20 years old. For a long time in my life I have talked about all of the things that I wanted to do and dreamed of the ways that I would do it and over the years it has changed. One thing that was stated in my session that really stood out to me was how that said for about 17 years of our lives (educational life) we are directed on how to do things and the right and wrong way along with being pulled every which way to different careers paths and what people thinks would fit our personalities. I have over the years gone against many of the decisions and ideas that others had made and set out for me in order to find my true passion and what it was that I really enjoyed doing and even to this day I am still paving that way. It was ironic, just the other day I was talking to my uncle telling him how sad and lonely I felt living here and that I felt like I could not be all that I can living here. I have big goals and I am determined to make a difference, and that is not to say that this community does not need my help and that I do not want to help, but in order for me to get the best resources and learn all that I can and bring my best to the table I have to get out and find what it is that I am really looking for. It is true, being 20 is a difficult stage in life and for me I was forced to grow up much earlier than most, but it has shaped my mind and my determination and made me really focused in life. Often times people look at me and say you are really mature for your age or that it is not common to see young women in my generation doing the things that I am doing, and it is the statements like that, that helps me to remain focus and to prove that our generation is not full of knuckle heads that have no direction and like to party all day long, though going out every once in a while is well needed, but we have great determination, and it just takes a few to make our generation outlive the expectations that the older generations hold against us and expect from us.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


"Cause if you didn't define yourself for yourself you'd be crunched into people's fantasies of you and eaten alive"

-Audre Lorde

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Social Justice Event_ Turkey at the Boys and Girls Club

The day before Thanksgiving at the Boys and Girls club, we gave out Turkeys, canned goods, and other things that typically goes along with a Thanksgiving dinner. Upon arriving to my site, I did not know that we were going to passing out Turkeys, but when I asked, the said that they do it every year and that Stop and Shop donates about 100 Turkeys to be given to the families of the youth that come to the Boys and Girls Club. Though, this may not seem like a big and grand social event and it may even be typical, but what I loved about doing this was that we were helping families without directly asking them to expose their personal and financial life styles. This was a chance to give to a family who may not have been able to buy a Thanksgiving dinner, and it was done in a way so that they did not feel singled out because we gave it to every parent/guardian that walked through the door to pick up their children. Relating this to youth and how it is a Social Justice event to me was very simple.

 This event was teaching the youth at the Boys and Girls Club that they could help people without asking them things that may have seemed touchy or  personal. Things like this happens all the time. We often do things that will affect a large group of people and even those that need help without them feeling like the spotlight is on them. I know  when i was growing up I did not like to singled out and if there was a general event where I could get help I would go. This is not always the best tool but it is often times effective. When reaching out to youth, they are often bashful about certain situations in there lives, so often times they are not going to come forward because they do not want to be judge and also there is pride included. As a future youth worker I have learned that in some instances we have to be direct with youth especially when we feel that they are headed down a very dangerous road and they need help. There are also situations that you cannot be as direct but, we have to work more generally because if not we can cause the youth the run away from help because they feel like they are being singled out rather than getting the help that they really need. 

This event was great and it opened my eyes to some of the things that we been talking about through the course of learning to be youth workers. In this moment I was doing Charity rather than Change, but in this for the moment I was able to help a family who may have never asked for help. I feel that this also helps working parents/guardians in a way that does not put their pride on the front firing line.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Uncovering and managing unconscious ways....Corinne Mckamey_

  • ·         “Thompson (1998) and Rolon Dow (2005) caution that White…assumptions over the experiences and assumptions held by their students of colour. I found this cautionary warning to be true in my own research study.”

When I read this part of the article it really resonated with me. I often fear the exact opposite of what is being claimed here. I now am interning at the Boys and Girls Club of Warwick, though I would say that there is a diverse group of youth, I still at times feel misplaced when dealing with the youth. I often experience this type of anxiety and find myself over thinking my approach with youth because of the physical differences that are faced in front of me. Being that our society is and has been evolving with diversity, it is often times the White educators and youth workers who fear saying the wrong things or not being able to understand their students because of the difference in backgrounds, but I also thinks this works both ways. Though we live in a society that is changing, as a Black educator and youth worker, I still have to be mindful not only of how I approach youth of color, but I also have to realize that I will not be able to completely understand a situation of a youth who is not of color. It is that concern of am I thinking too diversely, will I count this student out, or are they overlooked because they are not part of the minority. 

  • ·         “I could feel my face flush. Was I overstepping my boundary here?... On the other hand, I wondered how many days Nam would have spent in the auditorium before someone had the time to figure out ‘what to do with him’”.

When we are passionate about something, we tend to act on impulse and it is then when we have made a reaction and then questioned about it is when we finally snap back into reality, then asking ourselves, “Was this the right decision?” I am very outspoken and a passion advocate for youth and the disabled. So, I often find myself in a position where I react off of the fairness and my overall morals and concept of systems and society to make changes and get results for those who need it. I work at the James L. Maher Center. I work with a resident 1:1 and she is autistic. Before coming into the house many of the other staff warned me that she fixates on certain things and that you cannot directly tell her “no”. Also, her favorite thing to eat while at the residence is Mac & Cheese along with a variety of fruit. One of the senior staff members had stated that her mother only wanted her to have Mac & Cheese once a week because she wanted to watch her weight, but the resident talks and fixates on it every day. Since I have been working here I proposed to the manager that we talk to her mother about giving it to her on another day of the week along with Friday just to see if it decreases the behavioral problems we have with her when making her wait. Ultimately the mother said yes, she did not mind and actually thought it was a great idea. At first I was nervous to talk to my manager about it because the senior staff had said that the mother already said no. I talked with the overnight staff that I work with and she thought it was a great idea. Though I am very new to the organization, I have taken many steps out for this resident only because of the passion that I have working with the disabled and she is also a youth, and I thus far provided great results for her improvement.

  • ·         “’good teachers’ are really fantasies, just as “good mothers” are: they exist in reputation, not reality and… because most of us are neither perfect teachers nor perfect mother…’”

As it is said in reality none of us are perfect, but we strive to be the best that we can and hope for the best. Within that, we all strive for perfection in some way or part of our life. It kind of goes back to the activity that we did with YIA on last Friday and how MacKenzie noted that, we have to not focus on trying to save the world and taking it completely under our wings, but to just know who we are and be the best that we can be, and with that alone we will change many lives by being true to ourselves.

Additional comments, in your notes I read about how the mediation was really for biological infertility and how once this worked for you on the many levels of your life, it was like a domino effect of production. You sharing that helped me in ways that you could never imagine. We all secretly deal with battles in our lives and often times when one part of our life is held up or bound it affects many other areas. Our ability to give to others is completely affected by who we are as a whole and not just what we want people to see and know. I really enjoyed reading this !!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Paradoxical Pathways By_ Elliot Weininger and Annette Lareau

When I was growing up I was expected to do many things on my own and my parents, especially my mom, depended on me being her little helper around the house and with my brother. Being her oldest child I learned quite a few skills early on because she was a full-time student, worker and mother. In order for her to be able to trust me with the responsibilities that she was giving me, she had to teach me early on how to make “good” judgment and decisions. Not only was I taught to be able to make decisions for myself and not immediately follow behind someone else’s decision, I was also taught how to make decisions for those younger than me (my brother) and be able to stand my ground if he tried to challenge them. Did this teaching help me out for the long run? Yes it did, but I also feel like it took away part of my childhood. Now the example with the Handlon family seems to be different, but again the study only focuses on the steering of decision making, and not necessarily the families living situation. Teaching youth how to make their own decisions and not to wait on the decisions of others is great because it allows them a chance to build confidence and reliability in their selves so that they never have to wait around to see what others are doing in order to fit in. With my mom teaching me these things, I never felt the need to do what others were doing because it did not matter if I was the only one doing it. I may have felt weird and a little displaced, but it did not deter me from the things that I enjoyed doing regardless of who was doing it with me. More than not, if youth are given the chance to have an option or options at an early age, the more independent they tend to be as they get older verses those who do not really have many choices in childhood. A perfect example would be of my younger brother.
He is the youngest grandchild and the youngest sibling, so therefore he has been babied his entire life. Now that he is going 18 years old he wants to have more independence, but has often times proven that he does not make the best judgment calls. This is partly because he was never required to have to think about decisions and actions because it was always done for him. So now, that it is critical he is having a hard time and my mother is having a hard time trusting his judgment. I strongly believe that it is because we never required him to do much on his own and the little that he did was overly supervised. He did not have to deal with repercussion because there was always someone to take blame for his actions. So, there has to be a balance between to two. Each family yields different needs with different youth and parenting.
Over all this reading seemed very statistical and reminds me of my Communication research class, so it was kind of a drag reading it, but it was interesting.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Understanding youth by_ Michael Nakkula and Eric Toshalis

A big part of growing into productive adults is to experience who we are as youth. This Nakkula brings up the many identity crisis that youth have growing up and connects it to Erickson’s model of youth. This reading is focused on a young man by the name of Julian who is dealing with identity crisis and figuring out who he really is. His counselor Mitch asks him to identify the different groups that he belongs to within his life and how they affect him and who he is within each of those individual circles. The different groups that Julian list is similar to the groups those ourselves identify with as we were growing up and even now within our adult lives.

Nakkula gives us four different identity groups and they are as thus:

1.      Forclosed Identity
a.       Choosing a way of direction in life w/o full exploration of it or alternatives
b.      Something that is pushed upon a person or simply accepted
c.       Accepting belief systems because of family, peers or parents
                                                              i.      Sports
                                                            ii.      Religion
                                                          iii.      Education/career
                                                          iv.      Music
                                                            v.      Style
                                                          vi.      Hobbies
2.      Diffused identity
a.       Not stable in any sense of who they are
b.      Easily swayed and likely to rapidly to change opinions and p.o.v’s
c.       Usually impulsive and sensitive
3.      Identity Moratorium
a.       Actively exploring roles, beliefs, and behaviors, but not commiting
b.      The BIG Q ????? “Who am I really?”
c.       Struggle to maintain relationships
d.      Conflict and disappointment often occurs
e.       Tug-a-War
4.      Achieved identity
a.       Commitment is made to some circles of identity
b.      Self acceptance
c.       Decreased anxiety
d.      More accepting of criticism
e.       Sense of purpose and belonging