To celebrate our newly published book, The Heartbeat of the Youth Development Field: Professional Journeys of Growth, Connection, and Transformation, the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST), a program of WCW, launched the Journeys in Youth Development podcast series with host Georgia Hall, Ph.D., director of NIOST and co-editor of the book.
In the second episode of the series, Georgia talks to two colleagues who contributed essays to the book about their experiences in youth development: Amy Franks, associate director of learning partnerships at Book Harvest in Durham, NC, and Devan Blackwell, a longtime worker in the OST field and doctoral candidate at Hampton University in Hampton, VA. Both of their essays explore the ways in which youth development experiences can transform lives, and how youth development professionals can promote engagement in activities that foster motivation and self-reflection.
Amy reads from her essay “A Mirror for Black Boys,” about the afterschool book club for Black boys that she created. She talks about a moment of transformation, when the boys began to see themselves in the pages of the books they were reading and to feel like their stories were worth telling. Devan reads from his essay “Creating Windows Through Words,” about his use of creative writing and journaling to help youth see windows—possibilities for themselves—where previously only brick walls existed. He talks about a student who took to heart the idea of “a dream deferred” from the Langston Hughes poem “Harlem,” and connected it to a college catalog he carried in his backpack.
There's always a window that can be made, an opening from which to see a possibility. More than just a way to see out—a window can be a lifeline.
About Journeys in Youth Development Podcast
Amy and Devan’s essays appear in the book co-edited by NIOST, The Heartbeat of the Youth Development Field: Professional Journeys of Growth, Connection, and Transformation. Through both research and personal essays, the book shines a light on the intricate connections between research and practice, touching upon both the vulnerability and triumph of youth development work. The passionate voices of youth workers in this volume lead to the inescapable conclusion that programs and policies for youth must be informed by these same voices and the values they express.
You can find the Journeys in Youth Development podcast wherever you listen to podcasts, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and iHeart Radio. Follow the podcast on your favorite platform to get notified when new episodes are released monthly.
January 25, 2023