medicines without prescriptions

Youth Heroes go to Mexico with their Families

March 27th, 2015

‘At our church in San Diego, California, we started leading family mission trips between Christmas and New Years,’ Julie Stevens recalls. ‘The basic idea was for 100 people from infant to 70 years old to go to Mexico and lead Vacation Bible School, build classrooms on a school, and at nights offer intergenerational services.

 

‘It was a great bonding time within families. They worked together on a common goal. The adults went out of their way to include kids (it took longer to build a classroom or what have you, but they took the time to make it happen).

 

‘The kids learned to see outside themselves and how good they have it, but the adults also learned the same lesson: I have it better than I think I did. To have a whole family see that and to value family at the same time, they were able to see they shouldn’t take things for granted and were able to see how they worked together in a 3rd world country. The could see how families in another country value each other and take care of each other. The saw people who have peace and don’t take for granted the basic things in life.

 

‘The 1st year we built houses and did VBS in a dump. The next year we built two classrooms and did VBS. All the kids would be on the side playing with kids in the neighborhood in the dump – soccer was very popular.

 

‘Our kids also shared their faith with the kids they got to know there in Mexico. There was one boy, Enrique, that was there every day that the kids got to know well. The kids would show Enrique their favorite story in the Bible and he would look it up in his Bible to read it in his language.

 

‘I had been teaching them stories and they were able to turn around and share their favorite stories with their new friends in Mexico.’ Julie explains. ‘It completed the circle of sharing with each other. They ended up taking my Bible (Pastor Julie’s) and every kid circled their favorite verses in the Bible and gave it to Enrique before they left.

 

They did it at the end of the trip when we had a ceremony to give the keys to the family we had built a home for. That’s when they also gave the Bible to Enrique.’

Reprinted with permission from our book Ready to Go Service Projects: 140 Ways for Youth Groups to Lend a Hand. Find more ways to help youth engage their skills, talents and passions in serving the community by picking up your own book at your favorite online bookseller OR bring us to your school, church or community organization to lead service-learning workshop!

6 Ways to Challenge Youth to Become Social Entrepreneurs

March 25th, 2015

If your young people are fired up about tackling issues and have ideas for wide-scale change, they may be social entrepreneurs in the making. Do your young people seem to be change agents at heart? Do they seek to invent new approaches and improve systems? “That’s what social entrepreneurs do,” says Bill Drayton, CEO of Ashoka. “Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.” Social entrepreneurs often weave philanthropy and business with ideas that unstick systems or impact communities in big, powerful, society-changing ways.

Strategic Moves

  1. Invite your youth to take a social entrepreneur quiz or practice building a socially conscious business at The New Heroes, “Are You the Next New Hero?” www.pbs.org/opb/thenewheroes/engage/
  2. Read stories of other young      social entrepreneurs in this article: “Meet the 25 Most Influential People      in the World!” Huffington Post.      June 18, 2012. www.huffingtonpost.com/news/25-most-powerful-and-influential-young-people-in-the-world
  3. As a group, join others in      solving big challenges at www.openideo.com/
  4. Teach a course on social      entrepreneurship. Check out the free curriculum at The New Heroes,      “Classroom Materials,” www.pbs.org/opb/thenewheroes/teachers/
  5. Find funding for creative      projects at Kickstarter, www.kickstarter.com/
  6. Be inspired by other ideas      at http://innovideo.tv/ and at      http://changemaking.ashoka.org/

 

This is an excerpt from our new book, Groups, Troops, Clubs and Classrooms: The Essential Handbook for Working with Youth.  It is full of strategies to help educators, coaches and youth workers bring out the best in young people!  Check it out and share it with someone else that loves young people!

Youth Heroes: Potato Drop

March 20th, 2015

The Society of St. Andrews in North Carolina goes to restaurants, grocery stores, and food distributors to get the food that will be thrown away. After collecting the food, they give them to organizations that can the food onto the tables of those who need food immediately.

 

The task our youth group did with St. Andrews was to work with their ‘potato drop.’   St. Andrews finds potatoes that were not harvested the first go around. These potatoes are considered not sellable, but are in fact, perfectly fine. St Andrews collects the potatoes (1,000s of lbs of potatoes), drops them in a field, and then gives volunteers some bags and twist ties. Our youth would fill up the 3 lb sacks to give them away. They simply circle the mound of potatoes, bag ‘em and load ‘em on the truck and then the potatoes are distributed to organizations and in some cases distributed directly to families.

 

‘What I remember about this,’ Amanda tells me, ‘is that the connection the teens made is that the potatoes they were bagging were perfectly good potatoes. They shared a common frustration and question of why are these being thrown away when there are people who are hungry?

 

Their global thinking kicked in as they thought about the excess of food and how we’re throwing these away because they’re not perfect, yet people in other parts of the world are eating grass and starving.’

 

The project was one that let up to 4,000 youth work together all at once. The teens really felt they were part of a larger community and that they were part of something bigger than themselves and they were making a difference.’

 

— Reprinted with permission from our book Ready to Go Service Projects: 140 Ways for Youth Groups to Lend a Hand. Find more ways to help youth engage their skills, talents and passions in serving the community by picking up your own book at your favorite online bookseller OR bring us to your school, church or community organization to lead service-learning workshop!

Take a Stand – A Service-Learning Activity for Exploring Interests

March 18th, 2015

What issues is your group willing to take a stand on? Poll your group by having each person vote with their feet by simultaneously moving to a corner of the room that represents their answer.  Group members will be able to look around the group to see the kinds of social issues each person is interested in.  This will help you gauge the interests of the group, so you can know what kinds of service or advocacy projects to explore together.

  • You have extra money to donate to a cause. Will you give it to help the homeless or to address environmental issues?
  • You have a day to volunteer. Will you help the animal shelter or a nursing home?
  •  You are going to answer the phone to accept donations for a service group. Would you rather answer the phone for raising money for world hunger or for saving the whales?
  •  You get to choose how the city will spend its financial and physical resources. Will you vote to help disaster relief victims or senior citizens?
  •  You’ve been chosen to speak to a group of lawmakers. Would you rather speak about childhood obesity or violence in schools?

Ask the group for other causes that mean something to them and why they’re important to them. Brainstorm ways youth can help. Then get busy! Pick an issue you want to tackle or a project idea that everyone agrees on and get to work.

This is an excerpt from our new book, Groups, Troops, Clubs and Classrooms: The Essential Handbook for Working with Youth.  It is full of strategies to help educators, coaches and youth workers bring out the best in young people!  Check it out and share it with someone else that loves young people!

Finding Great Books for Kids

March 16th, 2015

“Find out what the kid really loves, and help them find a book, magazine, or any kind of text about that love. Without judgment. The subject can be sharks, volcanoes, bodily functions, the Guinness Book of World Records, fighting ships of World War II. And they can read about this love for as long as they want.” – Jon Scieszka

Youth Heroes Meeting Medical Needs

March 13th, 2015

When Hannah Brown was 17, she went on a mission trip to Haiti with 14 members of St. Paul Presbyterian Church in Pennsylvania. There were physicians, nurses, and teenagers that wanted to make a difference in another part of the world.

 

Hannah worked in a temporary eye clinic fitting glasses for Haitian people that were visually impaired. She learned basic skills in testing vision and the importance of finding appropriate eyewear to enhance vision. She learned how to select eyeglasses for people with various impairments. She said it was very difficult at times, because of the language barrier. She said, “I knew a little French, so that helped, but we were grateful for our translation book. We would say the words over and over again, to determine the proper prescription strength and fit.”

 

“Some of the patients needed bifocals. The donated bifocals had thick glass, so they didn’t look great. Watching the Haitian’s reactions, we knew they didn’t want to wear them. They had a sense of style, and they didn’t want to look foolish. I realized how similar we were – making life decisions based on our images, instead of our greater needs. It really humbled me.

“Throughout the week, my goal was to serve people happily and lovingly. We were at a church, so many people knew Christ, but I hope the way I served pointed to Christ for those that didn’t already know him.

 

“I went to the Haitian church service at the end of our trip. The Haitians sang with such ardor and passion. It rekindled my heart and inspired me to love God with that same passion.”

— Reprinted with permission from our book Ready to Go Service Projects: 140 Ways for Youth Groups to Lend a Hand. Find more ways to help youth engage their skills, talents and passions in serving the community by picking up your own book at your favorite online bookseller OR bring us to your school, church or community organization to lead service-learning workshop!

‘Evidence-based’ only proves it worked in the past

March 11th, 2015

reposted from Anderson Williams

But, we work in the present, and are preparing young people for the future.   Now, don’t get me wrong, this does not necessarily mean evidence-based practices don’t work in the present, or won’t work in the future. They very well may. Many do. But, let’s just be clear on what the term “evidence-based” actually means.   Evidence is inherently backward looking. And, acknowledging this, it seems worthwhile to take pause and reconsider our obsession in education and youth work with an evidence base, and wonder if it may be part of our problem when it comes to reform.   The technology-driven pace of social, cultural, economic, and educational change is only picking up speed. What we did yesterday is increasingly distant from what we will be doing tomorrow. Yesterday’s evidence-based input is further than ever from tomorrow’s desired outcome.   Evidence in moderation is a good thing; it’s a foundation; a starting point. Evidence-based approaches are conservative, and that’s good in the right place and time, and with the right dosage. It’s important to remember, however, that evidence-based models started as innovations somewhere along the line. They were generated because someone wasn’t acting based on evidence!   Unfortunately, moderation is dead in the age of high stakes testing and related attempts at accountability. Our current use of “evidence-based” as the pervasive and singularly accepted criteria for action stifles creativity and innovation. It slowly but surely stops progress. And, in a broader context of rapid change, it encourages education and youth work to be less reflective, less confident in taking risks, and makes us less resilient when we are presented with the changing realities of our young people.   As we cozy up in the comfort and security of evidence, we find ourselves securely on a path to irrelevance.     But, irrelevance is only part of the problem. The obsession with evidence-based models can be more insidious too. It’s one thing to unwittingly stifle innovation and slowly become irrelevant in an honest (if uncreative) effort to generate quality work, establish standards, etc. It’s another thing altogether to use evidence-based as an active excuse. Too many of us use our “evidence” to let ourselves off the hook even as we fail to deliver solid outcomes.   “Hey, our curriculum (or program) was good. It was evidence-based. I don’t know why the kids are still failing (or aren’t showing up). I did my part. I’ve got the evidence to prove it!”   Our evidence-based input gets confused as our outcome.   So, as we continue to invest in evidence-based models and standards, let’s make sure we also keep our senses attuned to the present and our eyes up and looking at the future. Let’s invest in building and enhancing evidence-based models and not just relying on them.
For more great posts from Anderson and his colleagues, visit the Zeumo blog.

Advice on Choosing a Career

March 9th, 2015

“The best career advice given to the young is ‘find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.’”

– Katharine Whitehorn

Youth Heroes: Soccer and Special Needs

March 6th, 2015

Taylor Bell created Little Rock, Arkansas’ first soccer league for children with special needs when he was 15 years old. He organized the logistics of uniforms, fields, rosters and schedules. His 100 teen coaches have worked with 100 special-needs children in the spring/fall seasons. Now, Taylor is expanding the program by training coaches in other states and writing a coaching manual for new groups to follow.   Taylor says, “When you find something you are passionate about, you have to do it – if you don’t, then you will spend the rest of your life regretting it.”

Reprinted with permission from our book Ready to Go Service Projects: 140 Ways for Youth Groups to Lend a Hand. Find more ways to help youth engage their skills, talents and passions in serving the community by picking up your own book at your favorite online bookseller OR bring us to your school, church or community organization to lead service-learning workshop!

Quote on Inspiring Others from Emerson

March 4th, 2015

Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Youth Heroes: Partners for youth with Disabilities

February 27th, 2015

Maureen Finnerty is a community hero. She started volunteering with Partners for Youth with Disabilities (PYD) in Boston, Massachusetts when she was 15 years old. She says, “Too often disabled people receive service, but they are rarely given the opportunity to give back.” Even with her own personal challenges of having cerebral palsy, dyslexia and other nervous system disorders, Maureen found a way to give back to the community when she started working with PYD. She says that her shy nature kept her from speaking up in their circle group for over a year. Now you would never guess she ever struggled with shyness.   She started a Pennies for Hunger program, through which she collected $5000 for her local food bank in the first year. Her philosophy is, “No one is going to miss their pennies”, so she asks stores to put collection boxes at their checkout lines, and she asks friends to donate their spare change.    Maureen doesn’t consider herself a hero. She says, “I’m just doing what I’m doing. It’s just the right thing”.

— Reprinted with permission from our book Ready to Go Service Projects: 140 Ways for Youth Groups to Lend a Hand. Find more ways to help youth engage their skills, talents and passions in serving the community by picking up your own book at your favorite online bookseller OR bring us to your school, church or community organization to lead service-learning workshop!

6 Ways to Remember Names

February 25th, 2015

To build relationships, you have to learn the names of the youth in your program.  Knowing a person’s name is a way of showing honor and respect. When someone tells you her name, repeat it and ask if you are saying it correctly. If you don’t get it right the first time, practice until you can say it correctly. Then focus on remembering that name, so you can call the person by name in the future. Taking time to know names communicates value and appreciation.

Here are some simple strategies for remembering names:

  1. Repeat names as soon as people introduce themselves. If one person says, “My name is Jim,” then respond with, “It’s so nice to meet you, Jim.” Make a point to use his name again in the conversation. Repetition will cement the name in your memory quickly. (Remember what brain science tells us—you have to repeat to remember!)
  2. Keep a list of young people you interact with on a regular basis. We like to keep this list in a calendar or journal. Sometimes we include the phonetic pronunciation of their names (Shanella = shane + ella) or a phrase to remind us who they are (tall red-headed boy who looks like cousin Jake).
  3. Take pictures of young people in your program, and let them autograph their pictures. Seeing images with the names will help you remember.
  4. Link their names with someone else you know or an object that will help you remember the association. Perhaps Angelica reminds you of an angel. Or George makes you remember your grandpa George.
  5. Combine their names with random facts. You could also ask anything like the following: What color can’t you live without? What decade would you want to live in? What kind of car do you want to drive? The more off the wall less frequently asked question the better. The approach keeps youth on their toes, makes them pause, adds in an element of novelty, and helps everyone in the group remember names. Jake Lawrence asks his youth to share their names and what shampoo they use. Random facts create a lighthearted tone and set people at ease. Believe it or not, these crazy facts will also help you remember their names.
  6. Mix movement with the sharing of names. Here’s another brain booster from Jake to help your entire group retain names. The first person says, “I’m Weston, and I like to move.” Weston then does some sort of move or dance. Everyone else says, “Hey, Weston!” and they copy his move. Continue on to the next person.

This is an excerpt from our new book, Groups, Troops, Clubs and Classrooms: The Essential Handbook for Working with Youth.  It is full of strategies to help educators, coaches and youth workers bring out the best in young people!  Check it out and share it with someone else that loves young people!

About Ragsdale and Saylor’s Work

February 23rd, 2015

Susan Ragsdale and Ann Saylor are accomplished authors and nationally recognized trainers that draw upon 35+ years of youth development experience to create inspiring, effective workshops and resources for educators. Their specialty is teaching, challenging and motivating others through experiential education, hands-on activities, story-telling and practical strategies educators can use in the classroom. Their practices are grounded in research, and yet transcend research to offer innovative, practical, and easy-to-implement ideas to schools, and youth organizations. Ragsdale and Saylor are committed to advancing the understanding, practice and growth of individuals and organizations regarding positive human development.

 

Unique in Their Approach

Ragsdale and Saylor actively engage participants, model best practices and provide participants with tools they can put to immediate use. Instead of a boring lecture, they create spaces for discovery, growth and change through experiential learning. Instead of providing canned formulas for growth, they empower others to be themselves – to serve and lead from who they are. Instead of asking people to sit mundanely, they invite clients to play, to question, to stretch, and to bring their passions/gifts into the work they do. In lieu of talking about themselves, they ask intentional questions and facilitate thought-provoking activities that lead to self-discovery and cultural change. Ragsdale and Saylor know the research and have years of teaching experience, but their contagious spirit and teaching style is what inspires youth and adults to make change and aspire to greater heights.

 

Meaningful Work. Ragsdale and Saylor empower others to make a difference by giving educators tools to continue to create cultural shifts for years to come. Because their work transcends beyond the surface to the depths of who people are and how they relate, their work is truly life-prompting. They are changing the face of education.

 

Led by the Best. They’ve published 6 educational books and 2 tested curricular resources. With 35+ combined years of experience in educational leadership with groups such as Generation On, YMCA of the USA, Tennessee 4-H, Search Institute, Volunteer Tennessee, Safe & Drug Free Schools and the Points of Light Foundation, Ragsdale and Saylor consistently give clients practical tools that reflect research in youth work and human development.

 

Competitive and Connected. Ragsdale and Saylor’s workshops are affordably priced and competitive with the market. Their products are consistently rated to be of higher value than competitors.

 

Connect with us on linkedin via Susan Ragsdale or Ann Saylor, call at 615.262.9676, e-mail at cad@TheAssetedge.net, tweet @TheAssetEdge, or look us up at www.TheAssetEdge.net

 

Youth Heroes Help with Yardwork

February 20th, 2015

A youth group in Canton, Ohio answered the call to serve by tackling and getting rid of invaders in a nearby neighborhood. Broken into teams of 5-6 people per group, these teams went door to door in a neighborhood offering their services to take on weeds.

 

The leader of each group would say something like this, ‘we’re here to do work around the yard. Free of charge. What can we do for you to be of service? We have no agenda. This, for us, is a project to learn how to demonstrate caring and serve others. We only ask that you let us plant a tree for you wherever you want. You pick the spot and we’ll plant the tree there for you there.’

 

And then the group would proceed to do weeding, cutting grass or what have you. They would plant trees as their calling card and move on to the next house.

 

The leader of the group used this experience to teach his group about leaving a legacy and leaving a place better than you found it. The trees were the legacy they left. They planted them, fertilized and watered them, and they would be able to go back and see how the trees have grown over the years.

 

Sidebar note: Many Beautification commissions will give free trees to service groups that want to plant them for schools and nonprofit agencies. This is also a great way to make sure the trees you are planting will be friendly to the neighboring vegetation

Reprinted with permission from our book Ready to Go Service Projects: 140 Ways for Youth Groups to Lend a Hand. Find more ways to help youth engage their skills, talents and passions in serving the community by picking up your own book at your favorite online bookseller OR bring us to your school, church or community organization to lead service-learning workshop!

One Strategy that Will Completely Change the Way you work with Young People

February 18th, 2015

Wanna change the way you work with young people?  Adopt what our counseling friend Jake calls “unconditional positive regard”, and determine that you will maintain that attitude no matter what.

Unconditional positive regard is a belief that no matter what happens or what is seen, this person (the youth in front of you) is good even if he or she has done terrible things. Even if the good isn’t obvious. Everyone has the capacity to do good. Your job is to believe that and offer encouragement to your group to cultivate it.

This is the attitude you commit to before you meet any child, during your interactions with your youth, and even after those trying moments when they walk away and you want to start grumbling and generalizing about “kids today.” It’s okay to get the frustrations out of your system  but always return to center: to a belief and hope in unconditional positive regard. This attitude will bring hope to your group and strengthen your efforts to see and cultivate the best in others.

How would this change the environment in your home, classroom or program?

This is an excerpt from our new book, Groups, Troops, Clubs and Classrooms: The Essential Handbook for Working with Youth.  It is full of strategies to help educators, coaches and youth workers bring out the best in young people!  Check it out and share it with someone else that loves young people!