It’s our first Monthly Meeting, and Class 18 already completed a week and a half of service. We began our first day with “My Most Important Word” with Senior Fellow Lauren Simao. As fellows formed into small groups, they were asked to choose their most important – or favorite – word, and discuss among themselves why they chose it. The fellows were then asked to create sentences with everyone’s words in the group. Following the activity, fellows were trained on evaluation expectations and the monthly reporting process with Colleen Holohan. Next, Fellows were given an overview of how to map out their service year. Fellows shared success stories of when they successfully developed and implemented a project, and the different tools they used in order to do so.
To end our first day, we were guided into a conversation about the School to Prison Pipeline, with Lauren Simao and Lauren Currie. Individually we read an article by Marilyn Elias, then followed up with small groups to discuss the readings and their feelings on the topic. Many fellows shared that they have witnessed instances where schools have practices that penalize students for behaviors, instead of embracing them and using those as teaching moments, thereby treating them more like criminals instead of students.
On our second day, we spent our time with Daisy Ortega from Health Resources in Action (HRiA). With the topic being named “Youth Development 101”, we reminisced on when we were at that critical age of 16, to put ourselves in the mindset of our youth. Fellows discussed the Youth Development Approach along with positive youth outcomes.
One last thing we focused on with Daisy was building and managing positive group behaviors. In our advising groups we came up with ways to model and teach positive behaviors, which included treating everyone with respect. Setting group agreements with the youth and having them visible is a way that we can establish clear expectations. While thinking of ways to successfully manage behavior in the classrooms, fellows noticed that this is an ongoing effort; when things occur in the moment, it is best to assess the situation and tell whether it should be handled at that time, or addressed and re-visited later on.