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3 Child Development and Family and Community Context
Pages 25-40

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From page 25...
... She said that this session's panel would try to integrate this perspective with an understanding of systems, structures, their enhancing or inhibiting effects on youth development, and how to remove the barriers and amplify the assets to improve engagement and action. Johnson then introduced the panelists: Dipesh Navsaria, a clinical associate professor of human development and family studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Human Ecology; George Galvis, the cofounder and executive director of Community United for ­Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ)
From page 26...
... • The education system needs policy reform to recognize the value of youth engagement, especially for students who are considered otherwise "unteach able." (Toris) • For effective childhood and youth development, appropriate support for w ­ orkers, such as teachers, nonprofit staff, community workers, and organizers must also be a consideration, both for employees to maintain employee retention and for front-line workers to ensure that they are not burnt out from the traumas they are addressing.
From page 27...
... He said that the person who has "good positive childhood experiences" despite the accompanying adversity is likely to have "better resilience" and "­better long-term frames." He then spoke about his experience as a staff pediatrician in a county juvenile detention facility where the population largely has "unopposed adverse experiences, and very few of those positive childhood experiences." He noted that one thing that makes a big difference is the social connections that these young people have in their family units and neighborhoods. He then clarified that in his following comments he would regularly refer to "parents," but that this term would be inclusive of "any kind of caregiver or positive role model" present in a young person's life.
From page 28...
... As an example, Navsaria told the story of how he assisted with arranging a service project to serve food at a homeless shelter, and while all the logistical elements of transportation and assigning tasks were occurring, he realized that there was no component focused on helping children understand why homelessness exists. Navsaria posed this question to the group and said that the discussion had some positives as it helped young people "make sense of the world around them." The next concept Navsaria discussed was "intentional skill building," which he noted is a concept regularly used in parenting programs for young children.
From page 29...
... He explained that intentional skill building can be used to help parents understand how to read to a young child, and that it could also be used to help adults and care­ givers build skills in their broader family units. Navsaria then underscored the value of home visiting but noted that the services taper out when a child is about 5 years old.
From page 30...
... . to just embrace and remind a young person that they're a blessing." Galvis then described a guiding philosophy for his organization, CURYJ, which is that "those of us that have overcome the challenges that young people are confronted with, are the ones that are also best equipped to reach them with a realistic message about the consequences of certain kinds of behavior to help them make life-affirming decisions." At the same time, he also shared an example that stands in contrast to this philosophy, a "grey haired old white dude who grew up in an upper ­middle-class background named Father Greg Boyle," who is still "one of the most effective violence interrupters." Galvis suggested that despite Father Greg Boyle's inability to relate to the young people around him based on lived experience, he is effective "because he loves them .
From page 31...
... He stated that "we have to come up with different systems that actually are rooted in providing healing in our communities." Next, Galvis spoke about the information and data he used to support these concepts, noting that he wanted to focus on "humanizing the data" rather than reviewing every detail. At this point, he asked his fellow panel members, Cristina Flores and Alex Toris, who are both young leaders representing CURYJ, to introduce themselves and share their background.
From page 32...
... The program Homies 4 Justice, Flores said, "is a system impact in formerly incarcerated space for our young people really interested in community organizing, policy, what's going on in environments, how can we improve our environments, beautify it." She explained that in her program coordinator role she has worked to ensure that the program is a safe space for young people "so that when they step into space, they're not scared to speak on what's going on." She elaborated that this is important since she regularly encounters young people who have experienced police violence and injustice within the immigration system. She then discussed how in her experience, it is normalized for her and other young people that they "just got to tuck in and keep pushing" when experiencing extreme hardship and injustice in their own communities.
From page 33...
... Toris discussed his background as someone formerly incarcerated and as someone who received little guidance "in navigating in the systems that we live in here in the town." He said that if he had been involved in an organization like CURYJ as a young person, that experience could have led to better decision making on his part and him finding his voice sooner, and it also could have "started to heal a lot of that trauma, a lot of that hurt I was carrying." He concluded by saying that with his lived experience and now his role at CURYJ, "I'm trying to make all the time I have left here meaningful and impactful in my community." Galvis then took the floor again and described his experience as cofounder of CURYJ, which stands for Communities United for ­Restorative Youth Justice (and pronounced "courage") .1 He said he has the "distinct privilege of working with young people with very similar lived experiences" to his own.
From page 34...
... Galvis said that CURYJ's mission is to "unlock the leadership of young people to dream beyond bars," and he offered further details on the history of the organization, which was "born out of the [Fruitvale] gang injunction .
From page 35...
... He said CURYJ aims "to prove the absolute efficacy of our project" and "to fundamentally change the life trajectory of these young people." Galvis concluded by stating that "we're going to actually improve public safety by addressing root causes, because trying to .
From page 36...
... One initiative of the afterschool program, Robinson continued, invited the community to donate dinners and to join the students for these ­dinners. While the initial intention was to address food insecurity, ­Robinson said that this initiative was "transformational" because "we were creating an opportunity for the community members to hear the voices of the youth that were written off as bad kids, and through shar ing those stories the community members were changing the narrative around youth in the community all together." Robinson then detailed how this then led to other initiatives such as a weekend backpack pro gram and a pen pal program, creating a "culture of care that went beyond the afterschool program and went out into the community as well." She said that she sees the program as successful "especially in regard to youth's social and emotional development" for both elementary and high school students and also community members.
From page 37...
... PANEL DISCUSSION Johnson acknowledged the common theme of relationships and healing that can lead to change in systems and structures. She then invited the panelists to reflect on remarks from others that really resonated with them.
From page 38...
... Robinson said she identified a common theme in the remarks of the CURYJ speakers, which was in-school experiences. She recognized the importance of the opportunity of having youth speakers on the panel since "youth organizing is education" and lamented the fact that the education system does not recognize that.
From page 39...
... Galvis added that changing systems that are oppressive is a long process but said that CURYJ has taken small steps as a nonprofit organization to appropriately support its staff, including by increasing salaries and benefits. The organization's goal is to "hold the bar up and the standard better and hold our funders accountable." He remarked on the excellent benefits of the city's department of violence prevention and the California Endowment, saying, "Let's hold up the same standard .


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