Skip to main content

Posts

Minneapolis youth reflect on George Floyd and racism in their 4-H meeting

Youth programs are designed to be safe spaces that honor young people's identities and are centered around their voices.

In this blog post, I feature (with permission) the voices of seven 4-H youth who identify as Black, Somali, and Muslim and share their reflections after the killing of George Floyd -- a trajedy that occurred just a few miles from their homes. Youth dedicated a virtual 4-H club meeting to this topic. Here is what they said.

What happened to George Floyd was not right I’m confused. Why were there so many police for just a bad check? They could have just booked him and put him in jail. But he had to put his knee on his neck. Even if it’s fake, George Floyd was listening to the police officer and doing everything he was told to do. They told him to sit down, he’d sit down. “Stand up;” he’d stand up. . . Even if you’re guilty, the police are not supposed to treat you like that. But it's not the first time. Now people are realizing.  They recognize racismWhy are t…
Recent posts

Keeping youth programs accessible to all in a virtual learning world

What makes a virtual youth program accessible to people with disabilities? Many of us are good at making physical spaces accessible, but many forget, or don't know, that virtual programs also take special considerations to ensure they are accessible to all.
When planning virtual programs, we must keep those with disabilities at the front of our minds. Having a truly accessible virtual program takes some thought at every stage of planning. What is accessible? According to the ADA Compliance for Online Course Design, accessible means that a learning opportunity is equally available, enjoyable and of the same quality for those with a disability as for those without a disability, without special accomodation.  3 time frames Accessibility isn't "one and done." For youth program planning, there are three important time frames: ·Planning. Share with participants beforehand how you will make the program accessible to them. It makes youth and their families feel welcome and gives…

An open letter to my fellow white folks

By Kathryn Sharpe

Dear fellow white folks,

There are some things that we need to talk about amongst ourselves right now, without leaning on our black, indigenous, or people or color (BIPOC) friends or colleagues. (To my BIPOC colleagues, I honor you and recognize that for too long we have asked you to carry the load not only of racism and oppression, but also of educating us and challenging our organizations to evolve.)

As a white person, I'm wrestling with how to address the deep wounds of racism and structural injustice. They have always existed, but recently have been exposed by George Floyd's killing by police and the resulting protests and uprisings worldwide. I know I'm not alone in asking, “What can I do to be anti-racist? How do I grapple with this as a youth worker? What do I do when I have no idea what to do?”

I believe that one critical thing those of us born into the dominant culture can do now is learn to be uncomfortable. We are accustomed to the world telling us…

We can promote healing and resilience for traumatized youth

By Melissa Persing

Childhood traumas can have serious repercussions. The ground-breaking CDC-Kaiser Adverse Childhood Experiences Study revealed that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in young children harm the structure and function of the brain, change how a person responds to stress and raise the risk for chronic disease as an adult.

This study identified 10 such early traumas:Physical, sexual and verbal abusePhysical and emotional neglectA family members who is:Depressed or diagnosed with other mental illnessAddicted to alcohol or another substanceIn prisonWitnessing a mother being abusedLosing a parent to separation, divorce or other reasons
ACEs are common. Of the 17,000 people in the original study, nearly two-thirds (64%) of adults had had at least one. Subsequent studies measured additional ACEs and took into account protective factors, historical trauma and epigenetics. Comparable results were found in studies conducted at least once in 47 states and Washington, D.C.

Heali…

Readability scoring: Tools for accessible evaluation

By Somongkol Teng

One of the challenges I often face as an evaluator is ensuring that questions in my surveys and other instruments are clear and accessible to diverse audiences. There have been times when youth taking my survey have come back to me looking confused because of the language in my questions. It's easy for adults to forget that what makes sense to us might not necessarily make sense to young people.

While there are different ways to tackle the problem, one of the tools I like to use is readability scoring.

What is readability scoring? Readability scoring is a computer-calculated measure of how easy a piece of text is to read. The score identifies the educational level a reader would need to understand your text. The lower the educational level needed, the easier your text is to understand.

Below are the top three free readability scoring tools you should check out.

Microsoft WordDid you know Microsoft Word can assess reading level for you? It’s super simple! All you …

Working from home -- with youth of our own underfoot

By Samantha Grant

Youth work, like all other fields, has been flipped on its head this year. Many youth workers are facing a reality in which their own children constantly surround them. Morphing from youth worker into classroom teacher, screen time warden and maker of chore charts.

I am right there with many of you - working from home and trying to manage home schooling for three children of my own. Social media, blogs and online articles tell me about fun and creative tasks I can use to stimulate them, but they overwhelmed me. I may or may not have sobbed in my closet with a bag of chocolate chips until I realized that I do not have to do it all myself.

I am not one to create Pinterest-worthy projects, but I can help you to build and evaluate strong programs. If you, like me, lack craftiness, I encourage you to pause, then get back to planning new, exciting youth programs. Intentional programs need intentional planning.

Here are four ideas that can help you jump-start some great plan…

Five tips to keep kids talking during stressful times

By Trisha Sheehan

Stress is a part of everyone's life. It can be as overwhelming for young people as it can be for adults. We as parents and caring adults may not be able to prevent youth from feeling stress, frustration, sadness or anger, but we can help them cope by keeping them talking during stressful times. By listening to young people, we can better understand their concerns and be available to support them.

Here are five tips for how to talk with youth.
Be available The American Psychological Association encourages us to recognize when a child is wanting to or willing to talk. Find out what their interests or passions are and show interest in them. Be willing to start conversations. Don’t always start conversations with a question, instead share what you’ve been thinking about or what you’ve learned.
Stop and listenKids Health advises to not just listen but to actively listen. Stop what you are doing and focus on what they are saying. Let them express their opinion or point …