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Showing posts from July, 2018

How to normalize speaking up against bias

By Jessica Pierson Russo

We talked, my 10-year-old son and I, sitting on the floor of our kitchen. Tears pooled at our chins as he told me that a group of his peers had been telling each other racist jokes. “And mama, I didn’t do anything to stop it.” Our talk was deep and meaningful. I told him it was indeed wrong of him not to have said anything. But I didn’t condemn him for it.

“The important thing is, what will you do next time?” It was important to me that he didn't attach his inaction to his sense of being, or to that of the others. That kind of behavior is not native to a child. My message: "That is not who you are."

We talked about our country’s history of racism—something I’d been teaching him since age three. We talked about how differently each of us experience racism every day. We talked until I could see he felt himself again, this time armed with an experience he would learn from.

There’s a lot more to that story. I’m telling it now to drive home the importa…

Why do young people volunteer?

By Karen Beranek

What is the best part of youth work? Seeing the young people grow!

When I said that, did a name or face come to mind? Growth in leadership, character, decision-making, maturity, communicating – any and all - are signs that a young person is prepared for their future.

Recently, I saw a strong team of dynamic high school students reflect on their own growth during a volunteer leadership experience.

Penguins, innovation and youth programs

By Margo Bowerman

I admit it. I am a science nerd. And while I thought history didn’t interest me, I’m geeking out on the history of innovation and technology development. Thank you Steven Johnson! I’m wondering how to apply what I’ve learned about technological innovations to the Minnesota 4-H youth development program.

We have an initiative to expand the reach of the program, while increasing its relevance to society and maintaining high program quality. Our Program Director Dorothy McCargo Freeman has challenged us to be innovative and creative.

Here’s what I’ve come up with.
Be curious, be observant and ask questions Freeman refers to the book and video, Our Iceberg is Melting. In this book, a penguin colony faces the potential demise of the iceberg they call home. The story is a metaphor for how to significantly change an organization. In this story, the first penguin to notice there is something wrong was curious beyond typical penguin activities and investigated things that wer…