Got Service Learning

By: LaQuisha Glasco

Life is not measured by the number of breathsyou take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away. – Unknown
What Happens When…?
A Social Work professor assigns an assignment that requires a social work student to work with a client that they may or may not know?

Meet My Client  Chasity

Chasity Armstrong is a freshman at IUPUI. She is majoring in Psychology and wants to work for the Police Department and the Firefighter Department.

Dr. Gentle – Genitty gave me an assignment that I would never forget. The assignment was called, “MAPS GOAL DEVELOPMENT.” I had to find someone to be a client for me and demonstrate my social work skills. Now, this may seem easy but it was not. I was actually helping someone with a real life issue and it finally hit me that I was going to be a factor for the choices she had to make.
This opportunity made me a better Social Worker. It confirmed my love for Social Work and my care for the people in the world. This service learning project helped me to imagine myself being into the field and made me more confident in skills that I once struggled to perfect.

Marion County Youth Know how to OWN THEIRS!

Friday, April 12th was the submission deadline for the Own Your Future Media Arts Contest. Over 50 middle and high school students submitted writing, prezi presentation, and infographic entries explaining what it means to “Own Your Future.” We received some fantastic and inspiring responses that will continue to motivate school and community efforts to increase graduation rates and encourage student success. Below are some excerpts:
“I do have the support from my family to stay on the right path and strive for success. Their motivation is pretty much all I need. I feel like with the right mindset I can be whatever I want to be in life, and so can you. No one can tell you that you can’t.” – Excerpt from My Future by: Tyler Alums, Arsenal Tech High School
“You don’t get rhymes like me sleeping in class
So get your notebooks and pencils out of your bags
Take notes, pay attention, this is gonna be fast
We’re changing futures
Hope it suits ya
Let’s forget the past”
          Excerpt from Own Your Future (Rap) by: Sydney-Symone Tate, Decatur Central High School
“Success is not defined by the money you make but by the happiness you create. So the new equation looks like this: Success in school can bring success in life and success in life is defined by your joy…and with success and happiness I have owned my future.” – Excerpt from The Teenager by: Kristen Holston, North Central High School
“I currently am a youth entrepreneur and work with girls in grades 5th – 9th grade building self-esteem from the inside out through pageantry. I plan to continue to strive for excellence in every subject so that I can continue to help others grow.” – Excerpt from The Key to Life by: Kayanna Lovett, Fall Creek

We hope you will join our celebration of these students and their messages of empowerment at Crispus Attucks High School on April 27th. The Media Arts Contest Award Ceremony follows directly after the Focus2020 Youth Chautauqua. Registration is still open—we’ll see you there!

Contributor: Anne West

The Scoop on Teen Parenting
By: Leila Mortazavi 

I made the decision to become a parent at 18 years old.  Though unplanned, it was still a decision.  Each year after I gave birth I did what I could (and still do) to support myself and my child in the best way I knew how.  As a teen mom, transitioning to parenthood is a challenge.  I found myself trying to adjust to taking care of myself and a newborn, but also dealing with the new label that had been placed upon me by society.  From the assumed ignorance by nurses and health practitioners to dirty looks from ladies at the grocery store, I found myself drowning.  I was drowning trying to find myself in a way that connected with my title as a mother and my age.  One day I realized, though, we ALL have the same goal in life.  No matter whom you are, what you are doing, or where you are going, the goal is the same.  Happiness! One simple word that sums it all up.  So in my quest to prove that I was a competent parent and good person with good morals, at some point I finally realized that I can relax because it doesn’t matter what everyone thinks.  We all have our pasts and poor decision-making, and in the end we all just want to be happy.

So I continued on serving and bartending to make ends meet and realized at some point that my purpose in life was more than shaking up a good martini.  I didn’t know what this purpose was, but I knew that it probably started with an education.  I enrolled at Ivy Tech and began taking classes toward a nursing degree.  One semester I registered too late and all of the classes were full, so I thought “Hey, let’s see what this human services class is all about.”  DING DING DING- everything made sense.  Everything came together.  I found exactly what I wanted and had to do.  So now, four years later, I have one year left until I graduate from the School of Social Work at IUPUI.  I’m currently working at the most awesome nonprofit organization, Project Home Indy.  Their mission is to provide a nurturing residential environment to enable homeless teenage girls who are pregnant or parenting to gain self-sufficiency.  Hey, that kind of works for me doesn’t it?  Working at Project Home allows me to use my experience combined with my education to help young mothers transition into parenthood, learn independent living skills, and sustain self-sufficiency.  And if that sounds like a lot- it’s because it is!  The girls amaze me every day, because they are amazing.  So next time you see a young mom, try to shut down all of those judgmental thoughts that we all can’t help, and maybe give her a pat on the back.  She’s just trying to be happy.

Bullying from one parent to another

Bullying from one parent to another
The word “bully” is as prevalent as the words” I love you”

Daily our children go to school and are subjected to the values and parenting styles that differ from you as a parent. Differences in family values often spark bullying. The steps to assist our children are not victims of bullying vary, but I offer a few as a parent.
  A Parent’s Guiding Steps
1.  Create a routine: Each day ask your child about their day and truly wait and listen to their responses and how they share the information with you (really listen). This will allow you to know when something different and you may learn a lot about your children from regularly asking that question.  In fact, if becomes bonding time.

2. Writing it down: On the contrary, if you want you can ask your child to write down what happened during their day and encourage them not to leave anything out. This helps your child recall the events that led up to the bullying; it also helps them go to their teacher when it happens, instead of waiting and holding it in until they see you.

3. Investigate and Observe: After your child has told you about an incident at school, i.e. … That a child  keeps calling him / her names or insists on pushing them to the back of the line and laughing about it to all the other children in the class — what can you do?

— arrange  to make a trip to your child’s school and work with the school officials to be able to observe the inner- workings of the class room ( you’ll be able to see very quickly who has the power; either the teacher or a specific child). After being an observer in the classroom, schedule a conference. Alert your child of the process.

4. Schedule a formal meeting: The first formal meeting should be an informative meeting to let the teacher and principal know that your child has told you about another child calling him/ her names and pushing him/ her to the end of the line and the other kids laughing. You are probably thinking to yourself, “Why have meetings with both the principal and the teacher?” This helps everyone be aware of the situation and monitor what’s going on in the classroom as well as other classrooms that your child may attend throughout the day – music, art and P.E.

5. Tell your child you trust them: Most important- let your child know that you are on their side and you believe him/her. Explain that bullying is unacceptable from others, as well as from them. Lastly be active in demanding change for your child’s environment.

By: Cara Burrus

The Monster We Created

By Danielle Guerin
This past week, I had the privilege to attend the Senate Committee on Education and Career Development.  My original plan was to attend in support of HB 1423 Antibullying, but since it was last on the schedule I had the joy to listen HB 1381 be argued.
HB 1381 has to do with public transfers. A school corporation has to set the amount of transfers they will accept and the date to when they will accept them. It also says they can’t deny a transfer except for capacity. This last part, where they could not deny transfers, was pretty contentious. One after one, school principles and head of school corporations came up to talk about why they opposed it. The number one reason they gave was because it would affect their graduation rates.
These leaders of schools were worried that students, who normally didn’t do well in school or were at a low performing school, would want to transfer to their school and not graduate on time. When asked, what they meant by on time, they answered 4 years. Nowhere in our laws does it require students to graduate after 4 years, it does affect the graduation rate after that, but that’s it.
These school leaders also hit on the issue of funding. They didn’t have enough funding to give extra attention to the struggling students or hire more teachers. I think someone should tell them that funding follows the students. These are public schools, which mean taxpayers pay for them so they should be able to send their child to any school they choose.
This conversation went round and round, until one senator got up and walked away clearly frustrated at these leaders. I was frustrated too. When did graduation rates become more important than the success of our students? Why are our school leaders actively trying to keep low performing students out of high performing schools? If the environment isn’t right for them to succeed, shouldn’t we encourage them to find the right one?
The environment that has been created in education today needs to be changed. We should encourage schools to stop worrying about their rates and funding and just worry about the students and their needs. Hopefully soon, something will change but I’m not holding my breath.
I’m happy to say that HB 1381 passed the committee 10-2, with an amendment and will now go to the Senate Floor. I will follow this bill and hopefully you will, to ensure that students have a choice. 

Gratitude is a powerful thing.

It’s amazing, the more thankful for what you have, the richer your life becomes.  Living a life of gratitude can make you incredibly happy.  For those of us who try to practice gratitude, some days are easier than others.  For me, it’s a process of fits and starts.  I go down the path, I fall off the path, I start back on the path.  I guess that’s why they call it “practice.”   

I recently heard a wonderful story of gratitude.  A young woman was graduating from college and wanted to thank some of the individuals who made a difference in her college career and her life.  She invited professors and mentors to a dinner and at the gathering, she expressed how she had lost an important person in her life at a very young age.  Because of that, she came to realize that you must always express thanks to those who impact your life while they are with you, because you never know how short that time may be. She thanked each individual personally for the impact they made in her life.  The grace and gratitude she shared brought everyone to tears and the impact of her gesture spread to others, who then shared their gratitude for those in their lives. Her gesture of gratitude spread.

I am on the MCCOY board of directors and I am grateful for the incredible work of the MCCOY staff and volunteers, the dedication and involvement of the youth workers who are out in the field every day, and the amazing impact that our youth have on our community. MCCOY is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.  I’m honored to have the privilege of working alongside MCCOY staff, board members and volunteers as we make plans for upcoming celebrations of MCCOY’s impact for the past 20 years and it’s exciting to hear what’s planned for the future.  While MCCOY is thanking the community for its support over the past 20 years, we also need to thank MCCOY for its tireless work in Marion County over the years.

If you have ever wondered what you can do to make a difference in your community—ever thought about getting involved but didn’t know how to get started—just take that first step.  Making a difference in your community doesn’t need to be big, involve a lot of money or be a drain on your time.  It can be simple—and fun!  Come to a MCCOY event and bring a friend.  Attend a training session.  Come to the June golf outing or September Art of Youth event.  Join a committee and volunteer your time and talent.  Subscribe to our newsletter and share it with a friend.  Thank a social worker by making a donation in their name.  Just say “thanks, MCCOY!” If you don’t know how to get started, email me at [email protected] and I’ll get you going.

Thank YOU for being a friend of MCCOY.  Pass it along.  

Stephanie Judge Cripe
MCCOY Board Member