Last Friday, the 20th of April, we drove down to Heath Street to participate in a health fair with other organizations such as The Bromley community health center, Boston Public Health Commission and Justice Resource Institute. This day of outside activities, food, music, and socializing happened to try to show the importance of being physically fit and healthy. Pictures below.
Last week Sport in Society had the opportunity to take full advantage of a beautiful sunny day. We cosponsored an event hosted by Snell Library and brought students together to play games and meet Paul Tukey, the co-author of Tag, Toss & Run. Thank you to the students of some of the following groups: NUHOC, Vietnamese Student Association, Betta Gamma Epsilon, and Tri Sigma, for participating and making it an awesome day! Pictures below.
It’s been a while since my last blog post, but wait, before you call me a slacker I have a legit excuse. The last month I’ve been working on a comprehensive survey that will evaluate all the YMCA’s Teen Centers of Boston. It’s my hope that it will provide the YMCA administration with relevant, accurate data in order to allocate their resources more efficiently, as well as make well-informed decisions (spoken like a true economics major). It should also help Sport in Society make a decision on which YMCAs to focus on next Coop cycle since they aren’t going to be able to support all 10 anymore.
My plan is to evaluate the Teen Center based on a criteria of 7 key insights:
1. Challenges: Do the teens feel challenged to be better people? Are they bored at the YMCA, because none of the activities seem interesting enough?
2. Identity: Your teenage years are your transition years into becoming an adult. It’s an awkward period in which you search for an identity, and a purpose. Is the Y helping them find themselves?
3. Ownership: Lets face it, teens want ownership and control over their time. They don’t want to be herded like cattle into meaningless activities.
4. Uniqueness: Teens want to feel unique while they’re at the Y. Adults often lump them together, and stereotype them unfairly.
5. Coolness: What’s more important to a high schooler than swag? We often overlook this when dealing with teens. They want to feel respected, and don’t want to be judged by adults who don’t understand the way they express themselves.
6. Safety: Do they feel safe traveling to the Y? Do they feel safe from violence, racism, and abuse while they’re in the Teen Center. It’s the Teen Director’s job to provide a safe environment even if that means cracking down on cursing/teasing. (It’s a power relationship between the teen and adult that should remain balanced).
7. Adult Support: Does the Teen Director and the staff give the teen adequate attention? Do they serve their needs (i.e. tutoring, sat prep, job prep)?
For each category I will ask two questions that pertain to how they feel about the current situation at the Teen Center. The questions will be rated on a 1-5 scale.
I truly believe that a Teen Center that fulfills each of these categories will be successful in retaining their teens, and bringing new ones in from the surrounding community. The YMCA is in a good position to reach-out to their community right now, but not if they don’t meet them on equal footing. This is basically my idea of a healthy Teen Center that can make a positive difference in the community. This is basically my idea of capacity building.