Wednesday, December 9, 2015

What is Youth Development?

What is Youth Development?

Ever since I was little, I always loved taking care of other kids.  Wherever I was I always wanted to take on the mom role.  By the time I reached high school, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher.  Rhode Island College was actually the only college I wanted to go to because of the great reputation it had for its Education Program.  After about a year and a half of classes I realized that becoming a teacher was not the right path for me.  Throughout my classes I was learning about all of the difficulties that youth were facing these days that hindered their ability to receive a good education.  I knew that there had to be something that I could do to help.  As soon as I was introduced to Youth Development, it did not take me long to meet with an adviser and declare my new major!  The Youth Development B.A. Program combines education and social work, while also earning a Certificate in Non-Profit Studies.

While school and the education system is greatly important, sometimes it is just not enough.  Youth work is a way to reach kids in a whole new way.  We need to be able to reach kids on a more personal level.  There are limits to the kinds of things teachers can teach students because of the standards they must meet.  It's  not that they don't want to necessarily, but there's not enough time in the school day.  In schools, youth are getting the education part but they need a lot more than that.  Students need someone to teach them how to be mentally, physically and emotionally fit as well.  That is where Youth Work comes in.  Being available for youth outside of school provides them with an outlet, plus, it is something that they want to do, not forced to do.  It is also our job to give them access to resources that they need to be successful.  Personally, the most important part of Youth Work is putting the youth in control.  Who knows what youth need most then youth themselves.  By working side by side, we will be able to teach and learn from each other.


The above pictures were taken at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C.
They were taken back in 2012, my senior year of high school.
We were told to write our dream on a rock and make a wish as we threw it into the water.

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