Tag Archives: Youth

EMPOWER’D

Showcasing Musical Performances, Dance, Spoken Word, and MORE!!!

Featuring Special Guest Appearances and Performances from Dance Theater of Harlem, and many MORE!!!

FRIDAY DECEMBER 2ND, 2011

7:00PM – 10:00PM
ARONOW THEATER
The City College of New York
160 Convent Avenue (@136th Street)
New York, NY 10031

Tickets: FREE Admission | $25 VIP Seats- CLICK To BUY
Donations are Highly Encouraged and Appreciated

For Group RSVP, Please contact Re:LIFE Inc @ 347.450.1201 or email relife@relifeinc.org

Theme
The Theme of the EMPOWER’D Event is ‘Empowerment Through The Arts, Education and Entrepreneurship’, and as such will feature performances in the Arts, as well the impact of Entrepreneurship on youth. There will also be the sales/silent auction of highly coveted autographed items like an autographed Mohammed Ali Lithograph, a Paul McCartney autographed album, BB King and U2 autographed guitars and MORE!!!

Purpose
The purpose of the event is four fold:
1. To draw attention to the problems of youth disconnection, youth poverty, educational disadvantage and opportunity divide
2. To raise funds to starts tackling these problems through Re:LIFE Inc’s programs
3. To increase visibility for Re:LIFE Inc and its programs in our community and New York City as a whole, so that the people who need its services have access to them
4. To unveil our new campaign called ‘The $1 Change Project’.

Advertise: To place an ad in the playbill, please contact Re:LIFE Inc @ 347.450.1206 or email relife@relifeinc.org. Click for  Playbill_Ad_Rates.

Sponsorship: To Sponsor this event or other Re:LIFE Inc events, please contact Re:LIFE Inc @ 347.450.1206 or email relife@relifeinc.org. Click for EMPOWER’D_Sponsorship options.

About Re:LIFE Inc
Re:LIFE Inc is a 501c3 Organization that is dedicated to empowering youth through entrepreneurship and education.  We believe that the positive engagement of the mind is the precursor to achieving excellence. Therefore, in empowering youth both educationally and through entrepreneurship, we don’t just mean through traditional academics, but also through nutrition, fitness, talents, interests, explorations and all that positively empower youth.

For more about Re:LIFE Inc, please visit our website www.relifeinc.org

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Filed under Education, Entrepreneurship, Minority Issues, Re:LIFE Inc, www.relifeinc.org, Youth, Youth Development, Youth Empowerment

Coping With Neighborhood Violence

Urban neighborhoods are infamous for their high crime rates. Violence in these societies has detrimental effects on every member of the community, but especially those who are the most susceptible to negative influences—youths. In 2009, 76% of urban youths reported having been exposed to some community violence. However, experience with violence has also allowed a number of youths in urban communities to adopt diverse methods of coping with their environment. A University of Chicago study explored how youths respond to the violence in their communities through a series of in-depth interviews. The participants were all minorities—32 boys and girls from neighborhoods in Chicago, ranging from 14 to 17 years old. Most of the participants were not from low-income homes and reported at least one of their parents having some college education.  Regardless of these minute differences, their coping methodologies were similar.

The youths described their neighborhoods, their experiences with violence, and finally, how they coped with it. Some correlations that were discovered were: males were more likely than females to witness and be victims of community violence and that females were more likely than males to spend afterschool hours at home. The principal forms of violence that the youths reported being exposed to were fighting, physical attacks, incidents involving police, and gun violence which culminated in murders. One participant described watching a friend die in front of him with the dying boy’s pregnant girlfriend also present. The youths even recounted violent happenings they had heard about from others.

The study also illuminated the relationship between youths and police officers—most of the participants tended to distrust them. The male participants reported being stopped and questioned by police, seeing police chasing and shooting at community residents, and police coming into their homes to arrest their family members. One of the researchers said, “A noteworthy and unique finding, which has not been commonly discussed in prior research, is exposure to police incidents as a form of community violence exposure.”

The youths tended to cope by associating with people in their neighborhoods who were not a part of the violence. They also avoided situations where it was possible that violence would erupt, often by isolating themselves. Other techniques included resigning to their situation or learning to fight back or carry a gun. However, for a quarter of the youths, their best coping method was trying their best in school. They rationalized that achievement in school was their ticket to a better future—they would be able to get a good job and perhaps move to a safer neighborhood.

Based on the results of the study, the researchers recommend that schools should provide more counseling opportunities for youths. This would reduce the symptoms of distress associated with violence. Furthermore, schools should work with the communities to reduce gang activity and the availability of guns. Although violence is in abundance in urban communities, there are many steps local governments and schools can take together to reduce it. It is a fight that both entities must learn to tackle together and not independently.

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101202124254.htm

Betty Diop (Re:LIFE Writer/Columnist)
Pace University
B.A. Applied Psychology

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Combating Delinquency: Introducing Positive Alternatives

The United Nations describes juvenile delinquency as antisocial behavior that is often a part of the “maturation and growth process and tends to disappear spontaneously in most individuals with the transition to adulthood”. Although it is true that naturally many youths do commit some kind of petty offence during their adolescence, it is also important to recognize that sometimes during this process youths create stable criminal groups that may later engage in more severe crimes. Many people have realized the necessity of preventing juvenile delinquency. Because juvenile groups exist in every local community, community-based prevention programs are ubiquitous. Federal funding for community initiatives has allowed independent groups to tackle the problem in a variety of ways.

There are numerous reasons why juvenile delinquency occurs. Socio-economic instability is often linked to unemployment and low incomes. Thus, youths who grow up in families with poor socio-economic status have an increased likelihood of engaging in criminal behavior. Geographical analysis also suggests that youth delinquency occurs more frequently in highly urbanized places than in rural locations. Youths in rural areas tend to be more dominated by their families and communities whereas urban youths are more subject to outside influences such as the media. In urban settings, the norms for acceptable behavior are broken down when unrealistic standards set by media and popular culture become a reality to many youths—forcing them to behave in ways they would not in traditional societies. Furthermore, available data shows that juvenile delinquency has strong gender associations–the crime rate of male youths is double that of females. This can be explained by the fact that society seems to be less tolerant of deviant behavior in girls than it is in boys. In patriarchal societies, aggression and violence play such important roles in the construction of masculinity that the male perception of violence can be desensitized.

To fight the negative effects of societal influences on the behavior of youths, the importance of family well-being is becoming more recognized. It seems that the most effective way to combat juvenile delinquency is to start assisting children and their families early-on. Educational programs have been developed to inform parents about how to raise successful and healthy children; inform youths on the matters of drugs, gangs, weapons, etc.; and other programs that aim to express to youths the innate worth they and all others have. These programs assist parents with raising their kids and help youths engage in positive self-appraisal.

Recreational activities are also encouraged in the fight against juvenile delinquency. These activities give youths a productive way to occupy their leisure time so they are not forced into criminal behavior. The Department of Education reports that youths are most likely to commit crimes between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., with crime rates peaking at 3 p.m. After school activities appealing to youths should reduce this phenomenon. This many include sports, dancing, music, rock climbing, drama, karate, bowling, art, etc.  Community involvement is also highly recommended.

Lastly, it has also been observed that changing an urban environment (literally altering its physical features) can reduce juvenile delinquency. A study conducted in an urban town within the United States revealed that most juvenile delinquency was concentrated around the town’s only park. Thus, the layout of the park was redesigned to create more recreational alternatives to youths.

Because juvenile delinquency stems from societal influences it is important for us to introduce positive influences to combat the negative ones. This includes re-introducing family and traditional values, initiating positive recreational activities within the community, and even redesigning the physical features of the community. By diverting the attention from media and popular culture to family and community involvement, juvenile delinquency can be greatly reduced.

Source: http://tinyurl.com/3t8t2h2; http://tinyurl.com/3vmqype

Betty Diop (Re:LIFE Writer/Columnist)
Pace University
B.A. Applied Psychology

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Framework for Positive Youth Development: Every Child Requires These FIVE Promises

The ‘framework for positive youth development’ outlines the support that young people need in order to transition successfully into adulthood. It emphasizes the necessity of focusing on youths’ strengths, identifying their weaknesses and minimizing their risk factors. Gallup Student Poll studies suggest that majority of the youth in the United States are not hopeful, engaged and thriving in their personal and educational/occupational lives—in fact, only four out of ten are succeeding in these areas. Lawmakers tend to focus on the risk factors or negative behaviors of youth, such as trying to find ways to reduce teenage pregnancy or high school drop-out rates. Just as reinforcement is proven to be more effective than punishment when trying to change someone’s behavior, positive youth development is a better tool for trying to fix these problems. It emphasizes the support and services that must be available to help youth in their various stages of development.

The framework, developed by America’s Promise Alliance, circles around the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional needs of young people. It states that youth need FIVE key support systems throughout their development:

Caring Adults: This Promise discusses the importance of concerned adults in young peoples’ lives. These adults can be in their families, from their schools, or members of their communities. Those who are able to develop secure relationships with their parents and formal and informal relationships with adults such as mentors, coaches, and youth volunteers have a great advantage. However, it seems that 30% of teenagers and 20% of younger children do not have quality relationships with their parents and only 8% of youth ages six to seventeen have a formal mentor. Youths themselves realize the importance of having adults in their lives—40% of young people ages 8 to 21 do wish they had these adult figures which they could turn to for help.

Safe Places: The second Promise encompasses the importance of physical and emotional security. From their homes, to schools, to neighborhoods, youth need safe places in order to develop. Sadly, only 37% have this luxury. These places must also engage them actively and constructively—there should be balance of structured and unstructured activities. Only four in ten young people participate in activities that teach needed skills, such as how to form lasting relationships with others and how to make big decisions. A great majority of them say that they sometimes (or never) feel safe in their schools or communities.

Healthy Start to Development: This Promise deals with the fact that youth need a healthy start to their development, including healthy bodies, minds, and habits. This can be ensured through regular checkups with a doctor, good nutrition and exercise, healthy skills and knowledge, and good role models. Although Americans have increased their awareness in health especially by recognizing the dangers of obesity, studies still show that only 43% of our young people are experiencing this Promise. 65% of them actually said that they wish they knew more stores and restaurants that sold healthy foods and drinks.

Effective Education: This Promise is about the importance of an effective education. Intellectual stimulation is an important aspect for youth as they grow, and for the future, when one must secure a job. In today’s competitive global economy, education is more important than ever. It results from having quality learning environments, challenging expectations and consistent guidance. More than 60% of youth ages ten to twenty-one believe that their schools should give them more preparation for the real world.

Opportunities to Help Others: The last Promise deals with opportunities to help others. Youth want to get involved in their communities, but many lack meaningful opportunities to contribute. America’s Promise Alliance states that “Knowing how to make a difference comes from having models of caring behavior, awareness of the needs of others, a sense of personal responsibility to contribute to the larger society, and opportunities for volunteering, leadership and service.”

These are known as the “Five Promises”. America’s Promise Alliance noticed that “Children who receive at least four of the Five Promises are much more likely than those who experience only one or zero Promises to succeed academically, socially and civically. They are more likely to avoid violence, contribute to their communities and achieve academic excellence in school. Receiving at least four of the Five Promises also appears to mitigate gaps across racial and economic boundaries.”

States are now beginning to use this framework to develop policies and programs to help youth prepare for college, work and life. Re:LIFE Inc. adopts these Promises and endeavor to ensure that the Re:LIFE Team and all its programs effectively employ them. We are a number of caring adults dedicated to helping youth succeed. We provide positive learning environments and effective educational programs, which include internship opportunities for youth to contribute to their communities by applying what they have learned. All youth-based institutions in the U.S. should try to adhere to the framework for positive youth development. As the saying goes, “Children are the future”, and by implementing these ideas we invest and develop the future of our nation as well.

Source
http://www.ncsl.org/?tabid=16375#frameworks
 
by Betty Diop (Re:LIFE Writer/Columnist)
Pace University
B.A. Applied Psychology
Edited by Chike Ukaegbu

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Filed under Entrepreneurship, Global Youth, Re:LIFE Inc, ReLIFE, Youth, Youth Development, Youth Empowerment

Re:LIFE’s ArtLIFE Program: Empowering Youth through Art Education

Du bleu dans vos coeurs....

Image by ImAges ImprObables via Flickr (Un Peu d'amour! means 'a little love')

“Re:LIFE’s programs are all aimed at reinventing today’s youth. Re:LIFE’s programs are determined to educate, equip, encourage, cultivate and motivate youth to become entrepreneurs in diverse fields that will spur economic growth, reduce unemployment, and increase fiscal responsibility in our communities.
The Reengagement Program is Re:LIFE’s Premier endeavor. It is designed to have an entrepreneurial focus, which will come alongside educational, career and leadership preparations in the five different areas of concentration. The Reengagement program spans an intensive 12- 24 month timeline. This time frame is broken down into a Mandatory Intensive 12-month training session, and Voluntary Extensive job placement/ fiscal responsibility session.” – http://www.relifeinc.org/reengagement.html

The Re:LIFE Reengagement Program for disconnected male youth incorporates five concentration areas with each student being assigned to his preferred area of concentration—ArtLIFE, FitLIFE, ServeLIFE, TechLIFE and BizLIFE. Although Re:LIFE Inc is an entrepreneurship-centered program, it acknowledges the necessities of training in other areas, especially as desired by the participant. Those in the Arts, for example, plan and execute a showcase of talents of which potential talent scouts will select candidates they hope to sponsor. Hence, the showcase serves as an audition for the candidates.
Some people do not readily see art as a focus from which one can pursue a career or learn valuable life skills. Unfortunately, some schools which are facing budgets cuts accommodate these changes by decreasing the number of art programs. Yet, the benefits of training and education in the arts can be found in all aspects of life and as such, art education should be preserved.

The arts are an important part of every youth’s education. Similar to English, Math, Science and other core subjects, the Arts also contains challenging subject areas that contain rigorous content and standards of achievement. Making art or simply experiencing it will help youth grow intellectually, socially, and emotionally. It can also be extremely beneficial for economically disadvantaged youth and those who are at risk of not succeeding in school. As stated by Eric Cooper, president of the National Urban Alliance for Effective Education, “Arts education enables those children from a financially challenged background to have a more level playing field with children who have had those enrichment experiences”. Research studies depict a strong correlation between learning in the arts and acquiring the fundamental cognitive skills and capacities used to master other core subjects.
Obviously art education develops creativity within youth. Let’s examine how it builds other aspects of the personality:

Critical Thinking and Communication Skills: Youth who study art are made to interpret and draw conclusions from the material. This fosters critical thinking by encouraging them to think outside the box and expand their mind. They learn to question things by participating in the arts. They also learn to problem solve and convey their thoughts and ideas effectively. Studies have actually shown that exposing youth to art promotes brain activity.

Emotional Development: The practice of art builds self-esteem, discipline, and maturity. For example, “After drawing a sketch, if a child does not like the final outcome, he erases and re-draws certain portions. Thus, he learns “trial and error” through art and uses the same in real life situations.” It also improves observational skills because one learns to take notice of small details and this will allow youth to appreciate even the smallest things in life. Lastly, they are exposed to different ides of beauty and perceptions of the world and thus, they develop a mind more open to the experiences and people they might come across in the future.

Interpersonal Skills: Art allows youth to develop a better understanding of human nature. They learn to see the world from other people’s points of view and as a consequence they are more willing to respect the thoughts and feelings of others.

Not only are the points mentioned above important skills necessary for youth development, they are also attributes any employer would want in an employee. And if one is particularly gifted in a field of art, this can open the door to a lucrative profession in the arts, thus increasing youth innovation and employment.

The subdivisions of Re:LIFE’s ArtLIFE include music, theater, dance, creative writing, painting/mosaic, and interior/exterior design. Youth that choose to participate in this area of concentration undergo basic, intermediate, and advanced training in their particular field and are then allowed to showcase their developed skills and talents. Art is an indispensable subject that would benefit anybody, regardless of artistic inclination.

Sources:
http://www2.ed.gov/teachers/how/tools/initiative/updates/040826.html
http://www.buzzle.com/articles/importance-of-art-education.html
 
by Betty Diop (Re:LIFE Writer/Columnist)
Pace University
B.A. Applied Psychology
Edited by Chike Ukaegbu

2 Comments

Filed under Education, Entrepreneurship, Global Youth, Minority Issues, Re:LIFE Inc, ReLIFE, Youth, Youth Development, Youth Empowerment

Community Outreach Programs: Touching Youth Lives through Intervention

They groan when told its bedtime, slam doors when mom says “no,” argue when someone disagrees with their ideas, and fight strongly for what they believe in. I think most of us can agree on the fact that generally youth are stubborn. Some are more likely to stir up tension than comply nicely with what is being asked or even given to them—a natural rebellion that accompanies this period in life.  Does this generalization apply, however, to youth that do not have the luxury of having two caring parents, a home to live in, or even something to fight for.  A study conducted by researchers at John Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy found that youth usually perceive community outreach workers positively, whether or not they have personally worked with one.

Community outreach workers are people who try to prevent conflict among the members of the community and, in some circumstances, provide necessary services to individuals such as housing, health care, and job training.  Community outreach programs exist in all of the United States, especially concentrated in urban cities.  In most cases they serve as a strategy to connect at-risk youth to beneficial services and prevent gang-related violence.

Re:LIFE Inc., for example, is a community-based youth development organization established in Harlem. It focuses on the provision of the needed training, opportunities, motivation and relevant life skills necessary for the proper grooming of educationally, socially and fiscally responsible youth in New York City. It is not uncommon for people to be reluctant to seek help when they find themselves in an uncomfortable, and sometimes perceived as embarrassing, situation such as unemployment. The same can be said of young people due to their stubborn tendencies. Before this study, little was known about how these programs and workers are actually perceived by youth within the communities they serve, especially those who have not worked with them personally.

Researchers surveyed 159 individuals ages 13 to 23 in Lowell, Massachusetts to evaluate their perceptions of local community outreach workers. The workers were from an organization called The United Teen Equality Center (UTEC). It was established in 1999 in response to local gang violence. Sixty-three percent of the survey’s participants indicated that they know first-hand of fights which the workers intervened in or prevented. Eighty-two percent of the respondents who participated in the worker-led mediation activities said their conflicts had successfully been resolved. Keshia Pollack, an assistant professor with the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health Policy and Management, stated that “even youth who haven’t directly benefited from working one-on-one with street outreach workers are telling us their presence makes their own community a better place.”

The participants were also asked about their employment, education, and health care needs. Approximately sixty percent responded that they needed assistance finding and securing a job; one-third required help with writing a resume; and over fifty percent stated that they could not have connected with the services they needed without the help of the outreach workers. “Young people have needs beyond conflict resolution strategies, and it is important that communities consider this point when thinking about how best to keep their young people moving in the right direction. At the end of the day, teens know that the factors necessary for a successful transition to adulthood include education, employment, and health care,” said researcher Shannon Frattaroli.

Regardless of their rebellious tendencies, youth understand the importance of community outreach programs and gravitate towards them. Support for these workers and programs should definitely be encouraged because our communities are a better place as a result of their work.

Source:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101208125807.htm
Betty Diop (Re:LIFE Writer/Columnist)
Pace University
B.A. Applied Psychology

Edited by Chike Ukaegbu

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Filed under ReLIFE, Youth, Youth Development

Entrepreneurship and Disconnected Youth

Re:LIFE Inc.’s mission is to refine and then infuse disconnected minority youth back into society as responsible citizens. This is made possible through training programs in a diverse set of areas with special attention given to entrepreneurship. According to Gallup and National Center for Research in Economic Education polls, ‘many students, particularly minority students, have a strong interest in entrepreneurship but lack the skills to pursue work in this field’. In light of this, Re:LIFE aims to provide entrepreneurial skills to youth of different ages, especially those who are out of work and not attending school. Entrepreneurship is a rewarding career path for a number of reasons.

Entrepreneurial education can positively impact a learner at all levels and in a wide number of contexts.

Youth from all ages can benefit from entrepreneurial education. For elementary school students, training in this field allows them to acquire basic understanding of economic and financial concepts. It also enhances their problem solving and critical thinking skills while providing them with an opportunity to explore a new career path. Some of these children become motivated to start a business of their own someday. Similarly, middle school and high school students experience improved economic, financial, and workplace literacy. They also become more empowered consumers who embrace diversity and networking with others. Most importantly, in every level, entrepreneurial education improves academic skills, behavioral performance, and motivates youths to further their education. If entrepreneurial education can produce all of these effects on youth who are already in school, imagine how much it could greatly change the lives of disconnected youth.
Disconnected youth will be equipped with skills to aid them in business start-up and management. They will learn how entrepreneurship can be an effective means of making a living and many will be motivated to start their own businesses as well. Personally, entrepreneurial education can provide a stronger sense of self-worth, the ability to control one’s life, enhanced responsibility, and the acquisition of interpersonal and problem solving skills.

Entrepreneurship is very flexible and provides an opportunity for youth to use their creativity.

A wonderful thing about starting your own business is that you get to be your own boss. Creativity and flexibility is highly available in this field. When all of the necessary aspects of the business are taken care of and everything is functional, entrepreneurs can change their work schedule to accommodate other things. There is time for other pursuits, hobbies, sports, and family. In addition, entrepreneurship is an effective mode of achieving financial independence. How much money you make in this field is utterly dependent on you. Entrepreneurs can establish unique goals and from this, they can determine how much is necessary to compensate their efforts and fuel  their businesses. The level of responsibility this field requires is surpassed only by the amount of flexibility available.

Entrepreneurship allows one to provide opportunities for others.

There is no better feeling than the one you get from helping others better their lives. Entrepreneurs contribute to their societies with the service(s) they provide. In fact, small business owners are usually respected people in the community because they are responsible for spurring community development and creating local jobs. Jobs provided by small business entrepreneurs can even be more fulfilling than jobs within a large company because there is more individual attention and thus, recognition for one’s efforts. Entrepreneurs are not only providing for themselves, but also for the community. This is especially true if the service they offer is designed specifically to benefit a group or groups within the neighborhood. No economy in the world can survive without the resourcefulness and labor provided by entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship can open several doors for the entrepreneur.

Small businesses have the ability to grow into bigger companies. They can begin by offering services in one neighborhood and soon find themselves expanding beyond their immediate community. Business can also grow in terms of the services they provide. They can diversify their services and reach a larger audience within the same community. Besides expansion, entrepreneurship also provides opportunities to meet other businessmen and influential people. Networking itself provides many opportunities for career development. Entrepreneurs might find themselves engaging in new projects and learning more about what they are capable of achieving. The possibilities for both career and personal growth are abundant in this field.

All it takes to be a successful entrepreneur is consistent motivation and diligence. Entrepreneurship is necessary for disconnected youth because of all the benefits it provides and because it is a field any dedicated and passionate individual can enter. With time, one can learn and cultivate the skills necessary to succeed in one’s business of choice.

Thus, Re:LIFE Inc. has different programs that aims to equip our youth with the concepts and skills necessary to facilitate successful entrepreneurship. Some of our programs include:

YoungLIFE Entrepreneurs Program

EarnLIFE Entrepreneurs Program

Re:LIFE Reengagement Program

Sources:
http://www.entre-ed.org/Standards_Toolkit/benefits.htm;
http://www.isnare.com/?aid=504866&ca=Business
 
 
authored by:
Betty Diop (Re:LIFE Writer/Columnist)
Pace University
B.A. Applied Psychology

Edited by Chike Ukaegbu

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Filed under Entrepreneurship, ReLIFE, Youth, Youth Development