Mike Hidalgo, Asha Sandler, Hampton Facey, Jade Enyenihi
COVID-19 was something no one saw coming, including me.
I am a master’s candidate in Graduate School.
While I am grateful for the opportunity to soon be finishing my degree,
I also think about my future.
I wake up every day and try not to worry about my loved ones who are susceptible to COVID-19, my wife who is an essential worker or the state of the world as we know it.
I try my best to do well at my jobs, and to be a strong student. I need to remain focused at this time of transition. I also try to reach out to as many people as I can.
I miss Brooklyn, my home, and my people there. I miss my family – my niece especially. I miss hugs and I miss high fives. I miss driving and I miss the ocean. Most of all, I miss the sense of normalcy that a pandemic-free world gave me – for better or worst.
I am happy for perspective, for knowing that that normalcy never really was, as it was just a shadow of reality. I am happy my parents and grandparents are still safe. I am happy that the world will heal. I am happy that not all connections are lost.
I wonder how the youth development field will be in the months and years to come. I wonder if I can find my place in it all, especially since I am moving soon to a new place.
If I am honest, I am scared about not seeing people I love again before I move. I am scared of not finding work with so many things being on lockdown. I am scared of what comes next, and I am scared for the future of so many young people, even though I know they are resilient.
But I am the class of 2020,
and I will use my education to benefit the next generation, no matter what obstacles there are.
I am a senior in high school.
While I am grateful for my family's health and access to resources, I also think about my future. This is not the world I pictured being launched into.
I wake up every day and turn on my computer so I can get in touch with the rest of the world. Mondays through Fridays I have classes on Zoom. On weekends I do Zoom "dinners" with family.
I try my best to maintain a work schedule, a sleep schedule, and a (virtual) social life, but I don't often succeed.
I miss seeing my friends and teammates in the hallways, my eighth grade "little sibs" in homeroom, my teachers in class. I'm mourning all the senior traditions I won't get to experience: prom, graduation, our senior walkout, and more. I miss being a regular high school student.
I am happy for the successes of my friends and classmates, even if we can't celebrate what our futures hold in person.
I wonder if I will ever see the rest of my class again. I wonder how drastically our futures will shift as a result of this pandemic.
If I am honest, I am scared about what the next year holds for me. I don't know if colleges will be open come fall. I don't know if I'll be able to leave New York City. Right now, it's impossible to even try to plan.
But I am the class of 2020,
and I will be graduating—an adult—this spring.
I am an eighth grader.
While I am grateful for my family’s health,
I also think about my future.
I wake up every day and want to go back to bed.
I try my best to wake up early every day (unsuccessfully).
I miss my friends.
I am happy for the fact that I don’t have to go outside.
I wonder if things will get back to the way they were before COVID.
If I am honest, I am scared about
My grandparents getting sick.
But I am the class of 2020,
and I believe things will get better.
I am a fifth grader.
While I am grateful for my family,
I also think about my future.
I wake up every day and pray..
I try my best to be a good friend.
I miss being younger.
I am happy for Mothers day.
I wonder if I can still go to Florida over the summer.
If I am honest, I am scared about
the whole world dying.
But I am brave,
and I will keep trying to stay healthy.
By Jess Barreto
Shit - Home with my thirteen year old brother and almost two year old sister, and parents all day! Lol just kidding, this quarantine has made me grateful to be part of such a loving family. Our fridge is full, we all get along and work as a team now more than ever. Our days consist of routines. We have school time from 9am to 3pm then my brother and I conduct baby school because we want our sister to be a genius, from 3-5pm. Then we rotate the day; we each make dinner. Between that there’s laughter, giggles, pranks, and sibling fights. Art is being made, challenges are being developed, ideas are being brain stormed, jokes are being told. Then before dinner or after dinner, we workout. We finish the night off with game night.
Although I’m fortunate to have such experiences, I know many young people are struggling, mentally, physically and academically.. This pandemic has made things very challenging for the youth - seniors who have been deprived of graduation and prom, college students like myself who won’t have the opportunity to walk in May, students who have to learn and conform to distant learning, the youth who live with toxic family members. School and after school activities were the escape from a reality they are now forced to live, and they are having to learn to survive now more than ever.
Having been a youth who grew up in the system and in institutions, my heart goes out to the kids who have no supportive family in a time like this. The ones who have mental health issues, and now more than ever are struggling. To the ones fighting housing insecurity; who have been kicked out of their dorms and are struggling to find a place to rest their head. It’s important in a time like this to give support whenever you can to whoever you can. To those struggling and battling behind closed doors I just want to say: you're stronger than you think. Although you may feel stuck or like nothing will change - every challenge, every struggle will only make you stronger.
This Saturday, March 24, 2018, the Intergenerational Change Initiative (ICI) will join young people and their families at the March For Our Lives Movement in New York City. We join in unison with other young people and their allies who are also marching in Washington DC and across the country. This movement is to propel leaders, officials, and policymakers to prioritize the safety and well being of young people in schools. Throughout history and tragically very recently, there have been numerous mass school shootings and many young people have lost their lives to gun violence. Researchers at ICI will join the march this Saturday to help amplify the voices of the movement to end gun violence in schools and push back for immediate change.
We are grateful to take part in a movement that correlates with our data and research initiatives including the ChangeFocusNYC Project. The ChangeFocusNYC project within ICI provided a platform for other young people throughout the city to tell us about their experiences with city agencies. We collected data through focus groups and analyzed our findings with the goal to bring young people’s experiences into policy conversations and support policy makers to better listen to the recommendations from young people about how to improve the institutions that serve them.
The work of our research collective is being used to inform a broader cross-agency, data-sharing initiative between the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) and the Department of Education (DOE). Our data and coding methodology speaks directly to the systemic problems that cause gun violence and lack of justice for young people. Our data shows numerous instances in which young people express disappointment and face detriment situations that include unsafe environments in schools. The data we collected exhibits that young people see themselves as resources, even if not understood or utilized by agencies. And we support it.
You can learn more about the genesis of the movement by visiting the official March For Our Lives site here.
ICI researchers presented at the IPD Conference and it was a huge success! We'll share more about our experience in a multi post series.
Stay tuned for more!
Are you attending a panel or conference in the near future? Check out these cool #ICI tips for participants attending conferences and panels. What would you add to this list?
The Intergenerational Change Initiative’s current projects include the Change Focus NYC project which I am very honored to be a part of this fall semester. I joined the team in late August, and I’ve learned so much from the current researchers including ways to build and sustain a positive community amongst youth and adult researchers. When we first meet, we always check in with each other. Whether it’s a structured ice breaker or a quick “how is your week going?” our ability to assess the energy within the group is tantamount and important to preparing for the work that we do each week.
Our sessions include opportunities for all team members to share their thoughts, reflect on the analysis of the research and ask pertinent questions. Since we have a great deal of projects at different stages, we break into groups to increase overall productivity and each member selects a subproject to work on. During the last third of our session, we find time to discuss our progress, identify next steps, and complete written reflections to document our feelings. The time we spend working in mini-groups also provide opportunities for us to bond through the data analysis process and our ability to be creative and listen to each other. There are many “fun” moments of research which include engaging the mind, appreciating the intelligence of others, and discovering new things from the data that happen naturally through our work. It’s one of the many benefits of working amongst youth and adult researchers and the great experiences is a component that helps to build and sustain the community we are creating around the work that we do.
- Rachel J
ICI takes pride in creating positive spaces and inspiring change-makers to impact the community in a positive way and lead social justice change. It is an honor to work with sharp and progressive-thinking youth and adult researchers within the institute. It is also a pleasure to watch our alumni go on to use their gifts and cultivated skills in communities that extend beyond our current work. Over the holiday break, we were bestowed an opportunity to check in with Ayanni Godbold, an ICI alumnus, who is currently enrolled at Howard University with a 4.0 GPA!
Ayanni reflects on her journey thus far, shares advice for current researchers, and leaves a few words of inspiration that will inspire us in 2018 and beyond.
Read her thoughts below!
I am currently back home in NYC because I am on break from college but I usually reside in Washington D.C. at Howard University. At Howard I am a freshman majoring in Administration of Justice aka Criminology/ Sociology. I’m enrolled so far in three orgs: the HU Mock Trial Team, The New York Club, and Breaking the cycle (which is similar to the work I use to do with you guys at ICI).
While working at ICI, I’ve learned how important it is to surround yourself with the right type of people especially when it comes to research. When in a healthy and supportive environment, research becomes more then just research. It consist of passion and makes your finding more enthusiastic. I also learned how important it is to put yourself In other people shoes. When you do this you start to view the world from different perspectives and tend to be more appreciative of where you are. It also makes you want to help people who are not so fortunate to reach the same opportunities you have been able to as well.
My favorite part of working with this institution was traveling with them. When traveling we got to know each other even better then before, while still staying on track with our research, and its purpose. As well as also having fun and enjoying each other personalities.
The program actually helped me realize how fun research is. I had done research projects for school, and other activities before, but joining the program gave me a whole new outlook on how enjoyable it is. As for as the activist part it helped me realize that I really do want to spend my life helping people who need the help. There are so many people in the world who aren’t given the best opportunities, but have so much potential that they need to put to use and all they need is to have some push them, and tell them they are able to amount to their dream. I desire to be that very person, the one that makes them realize they can and they will.
In the future I plan on being a lawyer or professional within the criminology field. I will be a famous dancer as well who opens up a community center to cater towards young kids dreams and aspirations.
To the future researchers: if it’s one thing I can tell you, it’s to always put your heart and soul in everything you work towards. There is no purpose in work if you don’t give it you all so go big or go home :). No but really, just go big because Sarah and everyone else at ICI is working on something big here and they need every last one of you guys help make this grow and evolve!
We are excited to share that the researchers from our Intergenerational Change Initiative team are heading to Phoenix, Arizona this coming March 2018 to participate in the Innovations In Participatory Democracy Conference. We will join more than 250 youth, educators, advocates, elected officials, and researchers to explore innovations that will make real impact! We look forward to fine tuning our workshop plan. Check back for more updates as we prepare for the workshop!!
Vice Chair, Student Programming Board Concerts Committee (bringing Post Malone and Dave East to campus in 2 weeks!)
Events Coordinator, American Sign Language Club
Faculty Senate Committee Member - Member of the EOP Advisory Committee
Student Ambassador, Admissions Office
Binghamton Telefund, Paid Student Professional Fundraiser
Resident Assistant (RA’) - Dickinson Community
Participating in the institute this past summer was both a fun and fulfilling experience---I especially enjoyed having the ability to work with fellow young adults whilst delving into larger issues that affected the youth around us. The institute allowed me to see beyond myself and welled up a passion for change inside me. Hearing the stories, watching the faces and understanding the systems that have served as hindrances in the journey of many my age was both heart aching experience and one that I will carry forever; into wherever my field takes me in the future.
My advice to anyone joining the research team is to
take this seriously--you have an amazing opportunity to work for the ICI that is truly like no other. Beyond the personal advantages of having this job, remember the work you do will mean the world when institutions above us take the time to listen. I really can’t stress this enough. I’m disappointed that I can’t participate from 4 hours away, but for those of who you can: make the most of it. Use your voice for those who can’t, and work each day with both appreciation for those around you, and especially for those you'll never see.
This is my recap on how enlightening the Free Minds Free People Conference was in the spirit of love and healing. The following is an awakening of pure human interaction that you can't experience at the office. At the Free Minds Free People conference in Baltimore, some real life magic took place. The opening was done by a brilliant man by the name of Shawn Ginwright (accompanied by a panel of young people) who spoke on the problems America is facing today. From oppression to radical healing, the audience was definitely in sync. People from the audience got up to ask questions, some cried, some shared stories to connect, and other members of the panel shared stories that touched everyone. The audience was very diverse which made this moment of unison more powerful.
After the opening was complete and the tears were dried, a feeling seeped in. It was almost as if something ancient stirring inside of us opened our eyes and we saw each other's soul, not the avatar it resides in. Not long after it was finally time for workshops. I, being extremely intrigued by Shawn’s insight on radical healing, went to the Radical Healing workshop. Now to paint a picture of what RAD Healing truly is, I would say, Radical Healing is nuanced because everybody has a different struggle as well as different wounds that require different methods of recovery. Radical Healing is a concept made up of 5 Principles.