medicines without prescriptions

Words from Youth Workers: Positive Youth Development

July 22nd, 2015

“Always look for any strength and build on it.  Let one thing be the beginning building block.”

youth worker, Nashville

 

Make a habit to find one good thing about every person you meet.  Say it outloud to the person you meet.  You might be the only one who has noticed a good trait in him/her for a long time!  This is the basic foundation of positive youth development.

Words from Youth: Diversity and Acceptance

July 15th, 2015

“Respect my ideas and listen to me, even when they’re different.”

youth leader, youth development center in Nashville

 

Ask a young person how well you are doing in the respect department.  What about people that are different from you?  What about people with different ideas than you?  How could you be more accepting of youth around you?

Youth Heroes: Glories Happy Hats

July 10th, 2015

The Urban Passage serves youth held in custody at the Northern VA Juvenile Detention Home. They partner with community volunteers to teach, inspire and mentor youth in custody.  Their goal is to be a partner with them in rebuilding their lives, helping youth get access to educational and social support, economic counseling and spiritual mentoring that will help be successful and contribute to their community.  The Urban Passage wants to see youth move from the life they have always known to the life God intended for them

 

Since 2005, they have partnered with Glories Happy Hats to sew hats for terminally ill children in a local hospital. The youth responsibilities include designing and creating the hats, as well as checking for quality assurance. Volunteers work alongside them, encouraging them to persevere when they are overwhelmed by the task or discouraged by setbacks. When the hats are completed, the youth deliver the hats to families in the hospitals. The children get to choose a hat, and if they wish, a hat for a friend or sibling.

 

Kimberly Moore, the Urban Passage founder, says, “I love this program because young people get an opportunity to contribute to the happiness of others. The teen’s lives are difficult, but when they meet the sick children, they begin to realize that they have a lot to be grateful for.” The program makes a lasting impact on the teens because they realize that they have a positive contribution to make to society, and the community values their efforts. The teens love it too. After they are released from the detention program, they often ask to come back to b e a part of the Happy Hats program.

 

Find out more at  www.glorieshappyhats.org.

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!

Field Trips to Explore Youth Perspectives: Virtual and Real-Time Opportunities

July 8th, 2015

Excerpted from Groups Troops, Clubs and Classrooms by Susan Ragsdale and Ann Saylor, 2014

Field trips are a powerful way to help youth expand their perspectives. They help youth learn more about the community and expand their horizons of opportunity and awareness. Field trips can reinforce academic, civic, or cultural learning and connect to the personal sparks or interests of young people. Field trips are powerful ways to help youth explore potential connections to the community with regard to internships, career fields, hobbies, and volunteer opportunities.

Choose field trips that give youth different perspectives of what makes the community work and demonstrate a variety of sparks. Try one of these: airport, bakery, pro sports team practice, cathedral, farm, factory, science lab, or a military base. Think about what makes your community unique and take youth to explore your community on a deeper level. Where could you take your youth to give them the most diverse perspective possible?

Or consider virtual field trips:

  • Use Skype to interact with      people across the world. Skyping can prepare youth for what they might      experience on an upcoming trip to another part of the world or it can be a      conduit for creating updated versions of “pen-pals.”
  • Virtual classrooms can      provide venues for groups to connect through technology for the sake of      discussions or doing presentations.
  • Take virtual field trips      around the world to learn about anything you want to. The website      www.meetmeatthecorner.org has many virtual field trips submitted by      children around the world.
  • Have youth create and submit      their own videos to share on Meet Me at the Corner’s website.
  • Use a search engine to      research topics of interest to your group. Just remember to preview any      media content that you share with your group.

 

Looking for more ways to help young people explore the world?  Check out our newest 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!

111 Trees Planted for Every Girl Born Here

July 8th, 2015

we often talk about the 6 degrees of separation between issues, but it was cool to see how this story connects saving girls’ lives and planting trees which leads to education and economic growth!

“A village in southern Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district is quietly practicing its own, homegrown brand of Eco-feminism and achieving spectacular results. For the last several years, Piplantri village panchayat has been saving girl children and increasing the green cover in and around it at the same time. Here, villagers plant 111 trees every time a girl is born and the community ensures these trees survive, attaining fruition as the girls grow up. Over the last six years, people here have managed to plant over a quarter million trees on the village’s grazing commons. The village’s former leader, Shyam Sundar Paliwal was instrumental in starting this initiative in the memory of his daughter Kiran.” This article shares photos and more details about this remarkable hidden corner of the world, { read more }

Teaching Philosophy

July 6th, 2015

A friend asked me the other day to define my teaching philosophy.  Such a big question!

I answered something like this:

“I believe that  teaching should  engage the heart, brain and body, so I’m a big fan of practices such as service-learning,  problem-based learning,  peer teaching  hands-on learning, and learning through play.”

What is your teaching philosophy?  What are the beliefs that undergird the way you engage youth in your classroom and programs?

Good thoughts to ponder!

Words from Youth: Leadership

July 6th, 2015

“We can be trusted and we are responsible.  Let us show you.  Give us a chance and let us lead.”

youth leader, Donelson YMCA in Nashville

Do you trust your youth enough to lead?

How can you give them the training and responsibility they need to grow as leaders?

The Power of Relationships

July 3rd, 2015

My friend, Rena, a referee, stood on the sidelines before a scrimmage, talking with a frustrated basketball player. She gave her some advice for improving her game. She explained in detail how important her role was on the court and why the coach had changed her position. She gave perspective to what was going on. Rena helped paint a vision and expectations for leadership for the girl’s role and how she could step up her game.

 

After her next game, the player sought out Rena and told her that she had taken her advice and had the best game she’d ever had and scored the most points she’d ever scored.

 

This quick moment is a great example of how a caring adult created a relational space, took a few minutes to listen, focus on the player, be real, and find her strengths. A mere 5-10 minutes of listening and sharing together can build a person up!

 

Rena simply took advantage of a moment, and turned it into something deeper. She seized an opportunity to show the player she cared and to offer encouraging words, actions and challenging ideas for making things better. The result? The player ran with it. She needed someone to listen, to care, to create a safe space for sharing and then she was open to feedback for making changes. That’s positive youth development in action!

 

To learn more about creating relational space, the value of listening and empowering youth to be proactive in their own lives, check out our book, Groups, Troops, Clubs & Classrooms, The Essential Handbook for Working with Youth.

 

 

Have you had a passing conversation with a young person that you later learned was a bigger deal to them than you ever thought possible? Share with us!

 

 

Youth Heroes: The Power of Words

July 3rd, 2015

Without anyone in the church knowing it, a youth pastor in Charlotte County, Florida challenged his 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th graders to a thirty day project in the power of words. For thirty days, these young teens and pre-teens were asked to make a conscious effort to only say encouraging things to everyone they met. No put downs. Only positive, encouraging words wherever they were. At home. At school. In the neighborhood. At church. In the mall. In the grocery store. Everywhere and anywhere these youth were to avoid put downs as the norm for communication style and replace them with loving kind words.

 

Oh, and this project of love was to be done on the sly. No one was to know what they were up to or doing. It was a secret mission.

 

After three weeks into the project, the senior pastor called his youth leader into his office and asked him, ‘have you noticed the difference in our church (of some 380 people)?’

 

‘What difference would that be?’ the youth pastor asked.

 

Reverend Hayes replied, ‘months ago, everyone was growling about everything. Now, everyone is excited about the ministries we have and the upcoming projects. I am just so grateful that God is doing this.’

 

‘Me, too,’ Keith Coss had replied at the time. ‘Will you come to youth group and share this with them?’

 

‘Why?’ the pastor asked.

 

Keith smiled. ‘Trust me.’

 

The youth group meeting came and Rev. Bob Hayes shared exactly what he had shared in his office earlier. As soon as he was done speaking, a huge roar of laughter from the 28-29 youth present erupted. The pastor looked confused. Keith asked one of the 6th graders to tell the pastor what they had been doing for the past four weeks and why. The youth told the pastor about the verse they had studied (which they had all memorized).

 

The senior pastor’s response to the revelation of this big secret was so profound. He looked at that group of kids (which it should be noted was a diverse group of youth in a less than affluent part of town) and told them, ‘don’t ever let anybody ever tell you God can’t use you to change other lives for the better’ and then he quoted 1 Timothy 4:12 to the group.

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!

Warren Bennis on leadership and life

July 1st, 2015

“The point is not to become a leader. The point is to become yourself, to use yourself completely—all your skills, gifts, and energies—in order to make our vision manifest. You must withhold nothing. You must, in sum, become the person you started out to be, and to enjoy the process of becoming.”                             –Warren Bennis, author

Youth Heroes: Computers for Communities

June 26th, 2015

When Jacob Komar from Connecticut found 30 old computers being discarded from a school, he (then 9 years old) decided to find a home for them.   He started Computers for Communities an organization that works with volunteers in prisons and schools to refurbish and distribute to computers to people who can’t afford them.   Through distributing over 1000 computers, they have empowered countless volunteers and increased job skills in volunteers and recipients.   Prisoners with no former computer training now have marketable job skills in a technology-based workplace. For more information, visit www.computers4communities.org

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 Person. One Moment. A Lifetime of Change.

June 24th, 2015

Repost from www.jonathanfields.com:

We tend to think of profound change as a process that happens over time.

Sometimes, that’s true. But other times, deep, lasting change can happen in a moment. I have no idea if there’s a clinical name for it, but I’ve seen it happen so many times, I just started calling it “snapping.” As in something snaps you into a new awakening or state of being.

It could be a deed, a word, an experience. Seconds long. Something that shifts your belief and empowers faith and action. Sometimes that new state is negative or destructive. I’m more fascinated with positive or constructive snapping.

In this week’s episode of Good Life Project™, iconic designer and founder of New York magazine, Milton Glaser, shared just such a moment. Something happened more than 50 years earlier in his life. A moment that lasted no more than a few minutes. Yet, he’s never forgotten it. The impact was that deep.

The story gave me chills as he told it. So, I felt I had to share it here with all of you:

Keep reading the story here:  http://www.jonathanfields.com/one-person-milton-glaser/

Youth Heroes: Suitcases for Kids

June 19th, 2015

Aubyn and Welland Burnside were ten and seven years old, when they learned that the average foster care child moves three to four times during their youth. They were further saddened to realize that the children don’t have suitcases, so they usually move their belongings in garbage bags.   Wanting to give them more dignity and a way to protect their treasures, the Burnside children founded Suitcases For Kids. They invited churches and youth organizations to help collect suitcases for every foster care child in their county. The enthusiasm spread from county to county, eventually all across the United States. Twelve years later, the Burnsides are still involved – primarily handling logistics and speaking around the country. They have personally collected, cleaned and delivered 25,000 suitcases. They estimate that hundreds of thousands of suitcases, backpacks and duffels have been donated by volunteers involved in 87 countries around the world. They are excited about the suitcases, but they are even more thrilled about the increased awareness of foster care and adoption needs. The Burnsides that believe that one person can really make a difference, and they challenge you to make a difference with the passions and skills God has given you. For more information, visit www.suitcasesforkids.org.

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!

Silence – An Unexpected Strategy for Engaging Youth

June 17th, 2015

As you listen to youth, make sure you invite silence into the conversation. Some of us hurry conversations because silence makes us uncomfortable. Silence, however, is a friend to conversations and creates space for introverts to think and for everyone to reflect. After you ask a question, wait 10–12 seconds (count: one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, and so forth) before you ask another question. Or breathe slowly in-between. These two tricks will help you slow down and focus on them.

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 Help in an Orphanage

June 12th, 2015

Amanda Smith shared one of the projects she was involved with in Black Mountain, North Carolina. Over time she has sent 10 groups to a local orphanage. The youth group would go to the Presbyterian home for children to provide assistance for various odds and ends jobs. They would work on the grounds, do repair jobs and yard work.  The amazing thing about these simple tasks is that the youth groups would come back amazed that there were still orphans in today’s world. They were amazed at the challenges the kids face going into the school system who felt they were outcasts because they attended school on the designated Presbyterian home bus. The youth groups would come back with a little more understanding and a little more compassion for what it means to not have a ‘regular’ home.

 

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!