Monday, November 30, 2015


As an individual that wants to one day run a school or 
maybe even a nonprofit organization, 
I decided to write my final paper for my Nonprofit Studies course 
on leadership and the importance of teamwork. 
As one of my sources, I used a TED Talk that talked about how thinking positively 
can improve your work performance, so I thought I would share it with you 
as well as one of the images that inspired me to write about leadership 
and the link to my essay on the impact leadership 
can have if we allow everyone to have a role in leading. 
We want to work WITH youth not TO youth.

Monday, November 16, 2015


I continuously talk about how learning at a younger age is always more beneficial, whether it's learning a second language, or learning calming rituals that relieve you from stress. As an individual that is currently learning how to deal with stress for a healthier, better life, I watch this video provided above, and wonder why I was not taught this at a younger age. ResilientKids gives children the opportunity to grow socially, emotionally, and academically all at once. The main office is located in Providence, RI and I think it is a great organization that focuses on the entirety of the student, and not just their learning through the academic curriculum, but learning about themselves and how to take care of their well-being as well.

South Kingstown School Committee Public Meeting

For my Social Work Policy class, I was asked to attend a public meeting and write about my experience. As an individual that is not only a Youth Development major, but a South Kingstown Schools Alum, I am happy to say that this meeting did great things for me. Attending a public meeting that was close to home (literally) gave me a great sense of how together as a community, the school district and its citizens can become stronger, smarter, and more diverse. In my years at Rhode Island College, I have began to learn more about different cultures and different perspectives on education, and most of the topics brought up at the meeting I attended connect with these concepts. 

Image result for south kingstown school committee

One of the topics discussed that excited me was the new Dual Language Immersion Program provided at West Kingston Elementary and Peace Dale Elementary School (the elementary school I attended). This is a K-1 program that teaches students how to speak Spanish and educates them on the different cultures that speak this language. This is a program that I truly believe should be in every elementary school in the country. I have a close friend from Chile that told me she began to learn English at a young age, and ever since then I have felt that the U.S. needs to learn other languages at a young age as well. One of the people that spoke at the meeting mentioned a really cool thought about how children learning a second language now, could help better their fluency in the future and help better communicate with other countries when facing world issues such as global warming. I found this fact to be VERY interesting and a great way to think of what our youth can do to help our future. This program should be provided in ALL elementary schools and should continue all through elementary, middle, and high school.

Another topic that was discussed was the Home-Schooling Policy. Children that are home-schooled having access to curricular and extracurricular activities were the focus of discussion. This policy certainly opened my eyes to how freely people can speak about their thoughts, feelings, and opinions, regardless of what others believe. There were parents that home-school their children that talked about their children potentially participating in class sessions, but there were a couple of parents that did not agree with this statement. This environment led me to believe it was a safe place to talk about matters most important to you that you felt deserved a change.

As I looked around before the meeting started, I noticed that there were mostly parents and one home-schooled student that spoke on the behalf of how well she is doing in her academics and extracurricular activity. There wasn't anyone my age attending this meeting. This made me think about Youth in Action, and how they use the voice of youth to speak on behalf of what they think is best for their communities, and then I wondered, "What would this environment be like if students attended the meetings as well?" I know that when I was attending South Kingstown High school, or even Broad Rock Middle school, I did not think I had a voice the way I do now. (Although I will admit to making a petition with my friends to keep us at the same school. They were going to separate us into two different schools, and we were obviously opposed. The policy was grandfathered, but we were ready for a fight!). I feel like if we showed our youth that they do, indeed, have a voice that can be heard, students would be more involved with the policy-making of their education. There are, however, a wide variety of clubs that South Kingstown High provides, including their annual SKPades hosted by the junior class. It is a funny way to show what they think of their school, classmates, faculty, and other school related shenanigans. Even though there are other clubs such as the Gay Straight Alliance and STAND, if students were aware they could speak for themselves and others and their education, their voices would speak louder than their parents speaking for them, bringing the community even more together and creating even more positive and effective change.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Danger of a Single Story

I have watched this TED Talk, The Danger of a Single Story, in multiple classes now, including in my Social Work class this past Monday. The topics in my class that followed this TED Talk included White Privilege, Male Privilege, and Heterosexual Privilege. We talked about how we felt about these privileges that have been formed in our country, and assumptions that are made based on these formations. The class also shared personal stories on how these privileges affect their every day lives. One class mate talked about how one side of the family encouraged her to do well in school and develop a career where she could be independent and not rely on any significant other, but the other side of her family constantly asks, "Do you have a boyfriend? Are you seeing someone?" 

I openly shared with the class this one particular encounter I was in not more than a year ago. I was wear shorts with tights, and the girls around me kept calling me "White Girl" and telling me I was a "Typical White Girl." I do not believe these individuals identified as white, so the term was quite hurtful since it was always followed by laughter. I shared this story because in the midst of all of this "privilege" I have, I was still feeling excluded and down. Another girl in my class who did not identify as white, raised her hand shortly after I shared my story and said that the girls she went to high school with would most likely tell me to "Get over it" since they have to deal with that kind of "criticism" (for lack of a better word) on a regular basis. 

This instance made me realize that, just because the girls that she grew up with are used to this kind of behavior, does not make me putting up with it any tolerable. Just because other people experience what I experience, does not mean that I should. I say this because I would never make anyone feel the way those girls made me feel, and I do not think anyone should make another feel this way. This all seems like a never-ending, unnecessary circle. I refuse to accept that this happens to anyone, regardless of race. "The Danger of a Single Story" led those girls to believe that all "white girls" are the same, but I refuse to let this experience lead me to the same conclusion. Someone led the group of girls that were laughing at me to feel the need to hurt someone back, but the cycle ends now; the cycle ends with me. As a youth development leader, I not only want to end the cycle in my own experiences, but I want to show youth that they have the power to end it as well. We share this country as our home, and we are all citizens that wake up every morning with responsibilities, problems, and events of our own. There is no need to discriminate or exclude. We have the power to change the world, and showing this power to youth will only make that power stronger.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Tree of Life

I was unable to attend this past Thursday's class for multiple reasons. Our class had guest speaker Ellen Silverman come to our Senior Seminar class to discuss our Tree of Life based on the book, "Retelling the Stories of Our Lives: Everyday Narrative Therapy to Draw Inspiration and Transform Experience" written by David Denborough. In the link you will find the reading that shows you how to make your own tree of life and what Denborough wants you to think about or ask yourself as you create your tree. Enclosed in the link is a tree that you can use to make your own Tree of Life. I honestly had a rough time making my tree; there is a lot going on with friends and family, and deciding what has impacted/is impacting me positively (and unfortunately negatively) was reflection that I found difficult to put on paper. However, I wanted to share it with you because I successfully completed it and wanted to share my tree the way everyone shared their own trees in class. I highlighted my "professional" identity with a green highlighter, and the rest of my tree is my personal identity. The best part about this exercise is like actually trees, no two trees are exactly the same, and I am proud of my own, unique tree that consists of its own personal roots, ground, trunk, branches, leaves, fruits, seeds, and even compost. This exercise, although rough, was important to lay out for myself, and I couldn't be more proud of the person I am "growing" to be.
"If our life is in turmoil, it's like a river, fast flowing and full of hazards and dangers. If we're in the middle of a fast-flowing river, it may not be the time to talk about those hazards or dangers. Instead, all of our efforts may need to go into immediate survival. We need to find a way to step out of the turmoil and the fast-flowing water and up onto the riverbank, where we can look down upon our own life."
--David Denborough.