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While taking this 8000 course on the Foundations of Youth Development

Leadership my mind has become a lot broader about problems that are all around
the world. Ive noticed that youth development is involved in everything I do each
and every day. However, the things that have stuck with me the most when
considering positive youth development are: caring/empowerment, resiliency,
recreational programs, mentoring, and family influences.
During the third week of class I read a reading called Youth Voices thrive in
Facilitating Leadership in Youth. Mindy Larson Detzler expressed how youth tend to
improve and participate more in activities when they feel as though their voices are
heard and someone care and are willing to empower them. In Washington, D.C.,
theres an out-of-school-time programming of Facilitating Leadership in Youth (FLY).
This particular program provides youth with comprehensive support and services,
caring and trusting relationships, and gradually increasing leadership opportunities.
Through consistent participation these youth grow up to become leaders of their
communities. One thing that stuck out to me was the interviews that these people
had with these young children that were involved in this particular program. One of
the key things that was consistently stated is that, the kids appreciated having a
voice and having people that cared about them enough to listen to them and
empower them. Some of these adolescence are coming from broken homes and
parents that work numerous jobs to provide for their family. In order to provide
positive youth development we need to encourage our kids to and let them know
that they can be anything they put their mind to. Adults must understand that
building these relationships with our youth is very important because they begin to
trust us. We must continue to encourage these youth and advise them to put their
best foot forth in whatever they do and to always follow their dreams. Also when

mentors and tutors make an environment like a family environment that makes it
easier for the youth to stay positive and open up about different challenges and
situations that they may be facing. When we empower our youth that makes their
mind set change and everything changes from a negative outlook to a positive
outlook. Empowerment refers to increasing the spiritual, political, social, educational, gender, or
economic strength of individuals and communities. If this impact can take place from every adult to our
youth then our world would be a much better place. Following empowerment come self-esteem and
confidence; for example, when a person consistently have someone in their life that continues to tell them
they can be successful, they can make all their dreams come true, they can be a doctor, lawyer, etc. they
begin to take pride in that and strive for those accomplishments.
Secondly, I feel as though resiliency is another huge factor when contributing to positive youth
development leadership. A lot of youth go through so much more than Ive had to deal with growing up
and teaching them how to bounce back and still be successful is a huge deal. For instance, Daniel
Perkins and Linda Caldwell spoke highly on resiliency in Chapter 7 seven of our class reading from,
Resiliency, Protective Processes, Promotion, and Community Youth Development. This particular
reading stands out to me because a lot of times its not where you start, but where you finish. Jacinda was
a 15 year old female who was facing life challenges. Shes raised on a farm in a rural area and her
parents make less than $20,000 per year and she has two younger brothers. Her mom smokes heavily
and is obese and her dad drinks and gets violent at time when drinking too much. Lately her younger
brothers have been participating in experimenting drugs. While Jacinda is considered to be at high risk
she shows resilience by setting life goals for herself which are: finishing high school, and going to college.
She has teachers and other adults that are helping her facilitate her goals. Jacinda could easily fall into
life devastations and began drinking like her dad or smoking like her mom, but she choose to make the
decision to plan goals and go through with them. Although she has other distractions in her life she can
still be successful and accomplish her goals. This is the message that we as leaders need to convey to
our youth. A lot of youth grow up in poverty and have parents that dont act as parents and have that
nurturing and caring love parents should have. As leaders we must continue to empower and instill in

these children that they can still have goals and reach their goals, aspirations, and dreams. Furthermore,
when our youth graduate from high school and college thats a sign of resiliency, especially when theyre
growing up in poverty. When promoting and implementing positive youth development resiliency is a
requirement. Our youth go through different situations everyday such as: peer pressure, bullying, selfesteem, etc. Anytime our youth can transfer from being a child to becoming and being a teenager thats a
sign of resiliency. Our youth prosper every day when transitioning in life and thats things that we must
acknowledge. As leaders, staff members, and coaches we must develop an atmosphere of hope and
resiliency.
When considering positive youth development our youth must be involved in recreational
programs. As adults and leaders of different youth development programs we must remember to get our
youth involved in recreational programs. As young women who grew up playing basketball I learned
several life skills and principles through playing a sport. Nevertheless, when our youth get involved in
activities they begin to develop new relationships with other adults that could possibly become lifelong
mentors. For example, while growing up I played at the YWCA and the relationship I built with my coach
was so strong that she would call and check on me throughout the week to make sure my grades were
above average, we would go out on trips together, and I would actually have conversations with her that I
wouldnt have with my parents at the time. Nonetheless, the thing that stuck out to me is that she cared.
When an individual call and check on you, that says a lot and through these interactions build trust and an
unbreakable bond. However, when the youth become involve in recreational activities that makes positive
behavior a little easier to manage because parents have the right to take away something the child loves
when theyre not cooperating. By being a coach Ive discovered that when children are physically active in
activities theyre less likely to be in gangs, illegal activities, etc. . . . Recreational programs can be
implemented through signing a child up for a basketball, football, cheerleading, gymnastic and/or ballet.
We must continue to push for these activities because they can lead to long term success. For instance, I
started off with recreational activities, played all throughout elementary, middle and high school. Then I
further my physical activity and receive a full athletic scholarship and played on the collegiate level and
now Im able to get my Masters degree on a full scholarship through the connection I made with my

coaches while playing basketball. Recreational programs are important and they play a major role in our
youth success. This keeps our youth active and out of the juvenile system and jails.
Next to last, mentoring is something that must be implemented when developing positive youth
development. This particular point sticks out to me because I was once a child that had a mentor that truly
cared and inspired me to make all my dreams come true. Also when having a mentor this inspires our
youth that theres hope and the future is bright. For instance, I personally believe that with this LGBQ
situation if these children had personal mentors then their self-esteem issues wouldnt be as low as they
are. However, Im a firm believer that if they did have someone to talk to that maybe that wouldnt be an
experience that they would want to try. Most of these children that call themselves lesbians, bisexual,
and gay tend to turn to individuals of the same sex because of previous incidents and traumas that has
happen in early childhood and they havent had the opportunity to vent or talk with anyone about the
situations thats occurred in early childhood. Another example is like the young lady thats a part of the
FLY program located in Washington, D.C. This particular young lady was a part of this program for 8
years and she became a leader within the program and began to take part in the hiring process for their
summer programs. All this became possible through her having a mentor and tutor that continuously
encouraged her. The key role of a positive mentor is to draw out of the mentee their best

natural qualities. When partnering our youth with mentors we must consider the
common ground that they share. Also our mentors must be impactful and serious about
their work. We need mentors with high qualities. William Pollack wrote an article on
Real Boys. Pollack gave an example of a young man name Adam that was a 14 year

old boy that made outstanding grades and had the opportunity to transfer to a
prestigious school to join a special program for talented students. Nevertheless,
while attending this new school there were young boys that teased him and fought
him every day. His mother noticed that he was beginning to act different and his
grades were beginning to suffer and he was close to failing Algebra. His mother
would ask him if he was ok and he would state, Im fine, everythings just fine. It
wasnt until he came home with a black eye and his mother told him that whatever

the issue was they could get through it together. Once his mother made that
comment he began to weep and finally opened up and expressed what was taking
place in his life. I personally believe that if there was a mentor in Adams life then
this neither situation nor issue wouldve gone this far. Sometimes parents dont find
out about things until its too late. For instance, in this situation his mother didnt
know anything about this bullying that was taking place until he had a black eye.
Lets get mentors and counselors in the school system that can help prevent these
types of problems, because what Adam wouldve responded by killing someone or
himself. These are things that can be channeled and stop through mentoring.
Finally, when expressing the need of positive youth development and things
that can contribute mostly to this type of behavior, family influence plays a major
role. During this course our class was required to read a text by Edna Olive entitled
The African American Child and Positive Youth Development. During this reading
Mrs. Olive made it very clear that family influences play a major role in the
development of our child especially African American children. So many times we
face children growing up in poverty and single parent households, and nevertheless
we face parents having babies when theyre still children themselves. Once things
like this begin a term called generational curse come to past. Nevertheless,
according to Olive African Americans roles and responsibilities are ambiguous. So
many of the African American youths are helping their mother raised their younger
brothers and sisters while being kids themselves. Theyre growing up too fast and
having responsibilities that they shouldnt have to worry about at these young ages.
As a result, it is not uncommon, particularly for the older African American youth to
be relatively isolated and overly responsible for the upbringing of self and siblings.
Also Edna Olive made a great point when stating that the destruction of the African

American family has been linked to many variables, including the absence of the
male figure due to death, incarceration, or abandonment. When our youth is
surrounded around this type of behavior continuously its difficult try to break those
chains that the parents are instilling in them. As I talk about African Americans I
realize that this is an issue with all races, but its dominant in the African American
community. Our family must get on one accord and empower and uplift these youth
so they can become the next doctors and lawyers. Even though Ive talked about
mentors and other influences theres nothing like having positive influences from
people that stay with you. Im not perfect but growing up Im thankful that I had
parents that encouraged me each and every day and now even at 25 my parents
contact me daily and talk to me and encourage me. Family influence can be
implemented by parents being and acting as parents and not as their child friend.
Regardless of where our youth start and where our youth live the family can still
have the biggest impact on our youth.