Fellows braved this bitterly cold November day, made their way to Northeastern University, and jumped into the monthly meeting with enthusiasm and energy!
We began with a skill share from first year fellow Abbie on Learning to Listening. We worked with partners on timed listening skills and the importance of becoming comfortable with silences. As youth workers, we all must practice active listening to ensure youth voices are being valued and heard. Abbie did a wonderful job of weaving the lesson with activities; helping us think critically about our listening skills.
Fellows then moved on to a Culture Sharing activity with Carro. Fellows were asked to bring with them an item that held cultural significance to them. Carro began by leading us in a discussion centered around the question – What is culture? We grappled with the ideas of culture meaning many things to many people. Fellows shared words like: music, art, community, sharing, heritage, dynamic and changing. Then, we broke into small groups to discuss the items each fellow brought. We were each given five minutes of undivided attention to explain our item. Fellows became closer through story telling and sharing important life experiences.
Next up, an incredible training from MPF Alums Anna Siembor (Big Sister Association of Greater Boston) and Lee Doyle (Boston Area Rap Crisis Center) on the topic of LGBTQQIA topics and working with youth! Anna and Lee lead us through the ins and outs of topics of Gender and Sexuality and how they relate to working with youth. We discussed the differences between identity, attraction, expression and sex (yay Genderbread person!). We discussed the language and expressions around the LGBTQQIA community – what language is good to use and what language in not appropriate. We discussed the meaning of several terms, breaking them own in ways that can be navigated through a youth lens. We discussed the disproportionate rate of risky behavior among LGBTQQIA youth as compared to heterosexual youth. We talked about the proper way to act as an ally among youth in order to effectively respond to harassment. Anna and Lee shared with us an enormous amount of resources and encouraged us to speak with our host sites about creating and sustaining safe spaces for the LGBTQQIA community!
“This was such a great LGBTQQIA workshop! Such a small but important step in the national movement to accept any and all beings.” First Year Fellow, Nancy Thompson.
“One thing I appreciated about the meeting was the depth and sincerity that fellows spoke when it came to their own stories and LGBTQ issues. It provided for an amazing opportunity for us all to come together and learn valuable tools that we can bring to our programs, and use to help continue to create safe and empowering places for young people.” First Year Fellow, Jeremy Kazanjian-Amory
The day was wrapped up as always, in traditional MPF style – with Pass the Wagon.
What’s Pass the Wagon?
At the end of every monthly meeting, all 40 fellows, MPF staff, and any guest speakers stand in a circle to close the day with everyone sharing a few words. We pass around a little toy wagon and each person has their turn to share while the rest listen. It’s a great way to wrap up meetings that can be packed with emotion. It is a time to debrief, tell jokes, share feelings, share updates and generally end the day as a united group.
Coming together and sharing community is one of the things MPF does best! Thanks for another incredible meeting.
Until next time!
Love in Service,