New York, USA
I have been working in the youth work field since 1987 first as a youth worker, then as a consultant to youth programs, researcher, and more currently, youth work educator. I hold a doctorate degree in Educational Psychology. I am an Associate Professor in Teacher Education, and am currently serving as the Acting Dean for the School of Health & Behavioral Sciences at CUNY York College in Queens, NY where I have been since 1999. I continue to be a mentor to many young women whom I have met over the years and enjoy studying and writing on matters close to my heart. In 2004, I wrote and produced a video-documentary, When School Is Not Enough, looking at the developmental opportunities provided in out-of-school environments. Currently, I am editing a volume with colleagues from across the globe entitled Advancing Youth Work: Current Trends, Critical Questions (to appear in Summer 2011, Routledge).
How I came to be in this field:
I was an undergraduate student in Psychology and enrolled in a summer course where we working at a summer camp for “emotionally-disturbed children” (that was the language used in the 80’s). I knew at that point I wanted to work with kids. After graduation I landed a job coordinating a dropout prevention program and worked with “at-risk” kids. I loved my job but couldn’t make ends meet so I went to graduate school and earned a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology. I worked in several afterschool programs as a consultant and then was hired by York College in 1999, where I have been ever since.
My Favorite Saying (this week):
How many faculty members does it take to change a
A Few Thoughts About CYC:
• Our kids need us.
• We must get smarter about articulating the work we do and why it is critical.
• We need practitioners to consider themselves scholars of the future.
Last thing I read, watched, heard, which I would recommend to others:
Alice in Wonderland
Favorite CYC experience:
I was working with a group of ‘tweens’ in the South Bronx. We had been designing a community garden. They were working on bringing in expert green thumbs, landscape and lighting designers, architects and the like to help with the design. After a couple of months of putting up with ‘under the table’ gang signals, I said, “How come we don’t have a signal?” They said “First we need a name.” “What is it?,” I asked. “REAL!” said one boy. “Yeah”, said the others. “REAL, ‘cause this ain’t like what we do in school; it’s REAL.” I went home happy that day.
A few thoughts for those starting out:
• Remember to play.
• You don’t need to know all the answers. What you need is a questioning-stance.
• Develop a support network.