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Showing posts from February, 2021

Building connections through generosity

By Jeremy Freeman One of the things that the past year of quarantine life and pandemic fatigue has shown us is how much we need to learn to appreciate the mundane. It is the simple things that can carry us forward, such as a card in the mail, a surprise phone call, or a random act of kindness. Facilitating moments of generosity can play a pivotal role in the field of youth development. Cultures around the world uphold the value of generosity and many religious traditions speak of the process of giving as being mutually beneficial. Now there is research to support these ancient instructive words. Research done in the past year found participants who helped others more often reported higher positive emotions, lower negative emotions, and more satisfaction with their relationships. In her book, The How of Happiness , Sonja Lyubomirsky writes, “Being kind and generous leads you to perceive others more positively and more charitably,” and this “fosters a heightened sense of interdependence

Happy New Year?

By Mikayla Frey If I wished you a Happy New Year, would you be confused? It does seem a long ways away from January 1st, but only if we use the solar based Georgian calendar. Traditionally, the Chinese use a lunar calendar, a calendar most of their holidays follow, and one that places their January 1st, on this past Friday (February 12th).  Sere Sal, the Yazidi New Year, begins the second Wednesday after April 14th. Hijri New Year, the Islamic New Year, starts on August 9th. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins September 6th this year. The Hmong New Year follows the end of harvest and is usually in November or December. Each of these holidays comes with unique traditions, ways of celebrating, and specific meaning. If we looked hard enough, we could find a new year celebrated almost all the time. However, often only one of those new years is considered the new year in the United States, causing it to be the de facto "normal" one. The pressure to fit in, be like their pee

Creating space for youth as social innovation changemakers

By Rebecca Meyer One year ago, in a blog post on  program innovation , I suggested a framework for conditions that help us take innovative leaps in our youth programming. Little did I know then that three months later, a global pandemic would take hold and push me to think about how we can help youth take innovative leaps of their own. Joan T.A. Gabel, president of the University of Minnesota, has recently discussed the idea of  MNtersections  between University and community partners to fuel innovations that advance our collective capabilities to tackle grand challenges related to health, sustainability, and food systems. These grand challenges cannot be solved by any individual, single group of people, or one strategy. It is impossible to develop a precise plan or follow a series of steps to tackle them. Instead, they require groups of different kinds of people come together to network, learn, and work together through an unpredictable and messy process called  social innovation . It