From Role Model to Role Mentor: How a Typo can Re-Frame the Impact of Mentoring Relationships

When preparing for an upcoming event, I made what at first glance was as a typo. I wanted to say “adult role model” when referring to mentors but instead role “adult role mentor”. I starting panicking since it was sent to VIPs; however, I recollected my thoughts and looked at my mistake only to see it become a mentoring epiphany.

It quickly dawned on how this mistake makes more sense in PYD’s line of work that the former, especially when we associate of the term “role model” as someone to be idolized or even as inspiration porn. The common talk today is to see fewer role models and more motivators. A role mentor, in my interpretation, takes the essence of illustrating guidance and support that others find influential and mimic that in their own work, adapting to that passion for forming durable and consistent mentoring relationships inter-generationally even.

The key aspect of mentoring has become more critical in forming healthy relationships with a young person whose experiences may be different or similar to yours and how you can support them on their journey. At PYD, our mentors are trained to help set goals, serve as a resource broker, aid in educational or job readiness skills, and be an open, consistent, reliable, and active listener (a term which we nickname as ORCA). For youth with disabilities, have a mentor who can manifest those skills is what helps illuminate their power and potential. It becomes a transferable skill to the mentee who is aiming to become more involved in their community and their personal growth.

If I were to create a definition for it, a role mentor is someone who volunteers their time and willingness to pass on these traits in training mentees to be role mentors in their community. I think of Reverse Mentoring, where the mentee teaches their mentor a skill that’s valuable to them. This was, for me, an example of having a role mentor as the sense of mentoring was passed on to the mentee. Critical mentoring, a term defined by Torie Weiston-Serdan (2017) that “places youth at the center of the process”, makes it so that those learning experiences are felt between the mentor and the mentee, maybe turning the mentee into a mentor is multiple capacities.  

It feels weird crediting a typo, something that is my ultimate vice as a writer, for sparking this cathartic realization as we rethink and re-frame mentoring in a global scope. As you have seen in our social media campaigns, we have been using #illumentors to refer mentors and mentees who have achieved the goals they have set through being driven and motivated by mentorship relationship. They illuminate the room as mentors in their own way, whether they be a parent, a youth, or a volunteer. Rather than putting those accomplishments on a peddle stool, let’s see if we can learn those skills actively and retroactively to promote an inclusive and equitable brave space! 

Tag @PYDBoston with an example of a role mentor in your life who inspired you to be a #illumentor? How was that impacted your goal setting and overall growth as an individual? 

Sources:

Weiston-Serdan, T. (2017). Critical mentoring: A practical guide. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, LLC.

Career Pathways and Marketing Yourself Workshop

On Saturday April 21st, PYD’s Mentor Match and C3 programs collaborated with several youth on how to find the career that’s right for them as well as how to market themselves to employers within those fields. The Career Pathways and Marketing Yourself Workshop combined topics from American psychologist John L. Holland’s RIASEC model, including personality and value assessment guides in finding how our strengths, values, personal self, and interests contribute to how we look for careers that make us happy and ready to make our own individual brands!

The event was graciously hosted by Capital One Cafe in Somerville, the perfect location in terms of helping us talk about marketing and finding careers in a creative and progressive space. presenters Amy Doherty and Jordan Lome shared their career pathways as well as networking and pre-employment pointers for attendees. One theme discussed was how employees have more equity than they think when applying for jobs as they are also observing their interviewers and employees. Finding a job is a two-way street after-all!

 

From https://personalityjunkie.com/holland-code-riasec-career-interests-myers-briggs-types/

 

The RIASEC model was developed as a theory for careers and vocational choices based upon an individual’s personality, interests, and values as to what type of work would best fit them. Holland created 6 categories that form the basis for the model: Realistic (Doers), Investigative (Thinkers), Artistic (Creators), Social (Helpers), Enterprising (Persuaders), and Conventional (Organizers). You can learn more about these types and the jobs covered by them here!

Once attendees learned where they may fit on the RIASEC model, the workshop then dived into how marketing and branding play a role in aiding individuals to  in making themselves noticeable for their career pursuits.

Marketing is a form of communication for promoting a message, idea, or brand to wider networks and/or audiences. Attendees learned how one uses marketing within organizations and as a job. This included how to use social media as both a professional and personal platform to share stories, events, and achievements. Attendees learned what someone in marketing does and the resources they use to help communicate their organization from Canva for graphic design, Constant Contact or MailChimp for email databases, Giphy for making gifs, WordPress for blogging and e-portfolios, and Vistaprint for making business!

Attendees tested how brands can make an impression through various activities during the workshop. This then turned to how social media can help promote personal brands on how Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram each contribute differently to marketing.

One social media platform mentioned was LinkedIn and how as a resource, the website can serve as a professional networking tool and online resume creator. A major point discussed was tracking performance and numbers for your resume to show employers what you have done and can do!

Feel free to share your career pathways or RIASEC results to us using the #illumentors on our social media @PYDBoston!

Are you interested in seeking more career advice and job readiness skills? Join C3 today!

Understanding your interests, strengths, personality, and values will help you find a personally satisfying path.

Interests – Interests are activities that you enjoy doing. You cannot learn interests.
Strengths – Strengths are the areas you are good at, what comes easily to you.
Personality – Personality is characteristics that form your character and can guide behavior. The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a common personality assessment that provides a measure of your preferences for 4 traits:

Extroverted/Introverted: how you get energy – being with people or by yourself
Intuitive/Sensing: how you get information – interpret or directly observe
Thinking/Feeling: how you make decisions – logic or feelings
Judging/Perceiving: how you organize information – plan or spontaneous
Preference for each trait results in a 4 letter code (e.g. ISFJ) that has general tendencies and strengths that fit well with certain careers and environments.
Personality Assessment https://www.16personalities.com/

Values – Values are what is important to you.

Common values are:
Achievement: using your abilities, accomplishment
Independence: work on your own & make decisions
Recognition: opportunity for advancement, leadership
Relationships: helping others
Support: supportive boss, training
Working Conditions: job security, good working conditions
Values Assessment https://www.vawizard.org/wizard/assessment-combined

Type Description Value Personality Sample Jobs
Realistic: Doers (autonomy, practical, determined, mechanical, constructors)
Investigative: Thinkers (achievement, analytical, scientists, engineers)
Artistic: Creators (self-expression, artistic, actor)
Social Helpers (altruism, cooperative, teachers, nurses)
Enterprising Persuaders (ambition, assertive, persuasive, lawyers, politicians)
Conventional Organizers (comfort, responsible, bankers, librarians)

O*NET Interest Profiler https://www.mynextmove.org/explore/ip
Answer questions about your likes and dislikes to determine your RIASEC type and explore careers based on the results

Other Resource
O*NET https://www.onetonline.org/
View descriptions of job duties, skills, knowledge, education, tasks for over 1,000 occupations

PYD at Anime Boston 2018: Autistic Coded Characters and ASD Representation in Anime/Manga

PYD had the first ever opportunity to present an original panel at Anime Boston 2018 on March 30th! Our Highland Street Ambassador of Mentoring & Recruitment Specialist Jordan Lome, Steve Slowinski from our National Inclusion Center, and Mentor Match Specialist Mike Haydu (all of whom are major anime/manga fanatics) collaborated together with PYD youth in the program, writers on twitter, and students who have autism/autistic students on anime/manga characters who they can identify with as being coded or represented with having ASD, providing their own experiences with how anime and manga has empowered them!

Over 120 people were in attendance, including some PYD youth, in what was a packed house that eventual became standing room! Youth started enthusiastically sharing accessibility resources at the convention with our PYD hashtag even before the panel got started! Audience in attendance includes special education teachers, YMCA employees, youth and adults with autism/autistic youth and adults, and many more!

Topics discussed included understanding what Autism/ASD can look like and the Neurodviersity Paradigm, which “refers to the idea that neurodiversity is a natural & valuable form of diversity” and how “we should view [ASD] as simply another way of being. It’s not abnormal, which carries negative connotations.”-ASAN

The panel then talked about anime and manga (Japanese animation and graphic novels) that feature representation of ASD, including a webcomic by Japanese cosplayer Akagi Kuro on living with Asperger’s and the series With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child by Keiko Tobe! The former is not licensed but can be found online while With the Light has 8 volumes licensed and can be found in the Boston Public Library!

Akagi Kuro: “Some good personality traits of having Asperger’s are: intense focus, excellent memory, and more.”

  • We can focus on completing a project.
  • We can become super knowledgeable on a certain subject.

“Rather than just being able to do ‘normal things,’ I think it’s much more amazing to make use of those skills and do something no one else can do.”

(translation by Louise from Goboiano)

The panel explored how autism or ASD can be visually represented in anime/manga, from character headcanons (theories about a character not shown or stated in the material), to seeing how those traits could be coded in certain characters. We looked at both positive and negative examples of how autism could be coded or represented. Our panelists not only shared their experiences working with or having ASD in relation to this project, but opened the discussion to a standing room and packed audience to share their stories using the #PYDatAB2018!

Audience participants then got to share their own characters they identified with! Anime Boston staff writer Lauren Orsini wrote on some of the characters mentioned during the panel here!

You can also watch the full panel on our Youtube channel here!

 

This April, join PYD in celebrating Autism Acceptance instead of Autism Awareness!

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Inner Critic

Source: https://www.thecrucibleproject.org/critic/

 

The new year brings about many resolutions and motivations for new goals. While that may be a confidence booster, it can also bring severe anxiety and stress. It is often thought of that depression is more of a seducer while anxiety is a guerrilla ambush, attacking you when you least expect it in times where you feel nothing could go wrong. And in the vanguard, stands your inner critic, looking like something out of Mad Max Fury Road. In addition to being a looming presence that just wants to rain on your parade, it’s also an emotion that has a hidden on/off switch. It can take so much emotional effort to just refuse to go away even when you’ve exhausted your coping techniques.

The inner critic or “critical inner voice” is a concept referring to the sub-personality (kind of like the internal angel/devil conversations in media) that judges and demeans a person. It’s when you internally produce feelings of shame, low self-esteem, self-doubt, dependence, and low self-confidence that can trigger depression or anxiety episodes. Psychologists Jay Earley and Bonnie Weiss identified seven common types of inner critics that manifest differently in various individuals; from the perfectionist, the taskmaster, the inner controller, the guilt tripper, the destroyer, the underminer, and the molder.

Many psychologists use either the response “treat it as a foe” or “treat it as an ally” in working with individuals depending on how it manifests. But the commonality between the two is acknowledging that the inner-critic is there rather than submerging it in our subconscious.

For me, anxiety is that very same inner-critic that lives in my head and makes me feel distrustful and paranoid of all those around me. It takes me through all the worst-case scenarios of my decisions and just loves to remind myself of those embarrassing or humiliating moments back from middle school. I have tools such as warrior rocks, a Nike training app, and plushies on my bed that try and alleviate this critic. I even have emergency mantras I whip out like I’m about to start an exorcism on myself.

It is often possible to manage anxiety by trying actively to replace the irrational, even trivial thoughts with more balanced and reasonable redirection but a new method for me comes from a thought I thought would be impossible to consider. And that’s just accepting what the inner critic is saying.

I’m not in the mental health field nor wish to diagnose those with any chronic form of anxiety. It’s my firm belief that effective coping for anxiety is individual-based so what may work for others may not work for you.

Validation of fears or anxieties is sometimes a thing we are trained to see as the thing we shouldn’t mid-panic attack but I make it into a game. A fun game where you detox those anxieties into statements more grounded in reality and believing that reality.

1. I try to create and repeat myself a sentence for the thought that is triggering me. I formulate into a general statement using I statements, capturing the emotion I am feeling and the cause and effect: “I am feeling nervous because I did not hear back from this person,” or, “Because I did not hear back from this person, I feel nervous.”

2. I try to notice any physical signs that the thought is getting me. I notice my breathing, my heart beats, if I’m shaking. Have water near me or decaffeinated tea (nothing stimulating)

3. I have a grounding object near me that I can hold on it. Grounding your emotions is key, no matter what the object is.

4. I then try to find out what is making me feel this way. Why am I feeling this way of someone not getting back to me? I try to make a mental list of these whys and repeat them to myself

5. I then counter those reasons with rational thoughts. They don’t want to talk to me is instead they must be busy with other things and that’s ok. Or, they are probably laughing at me is instead they must be processing what I’m saying and are just gathering the right words for a response.

6. I try repeating those counters three times. Closing my eyes, holding my grounding object and knowing that I am in a comfortable space with no distractions.

7. Acknowledge your thoughts and those redirections, then go do something you like doing or resume your routine.

The key is to not say to yourself that you are stupid for thinking of these thoughts or being irrational. Rather, it’s to help ground yourself back in reality without getting your thoughts racing. Grounding yourself helps ease the stress of the attack. Stress management is very subjective based on what makes you feel at ease so if this does not work for you then that’s fine.

Grounding and redirection can play a dual role in coping with the inner critic without throwing back into the loop of an anxiety cycle. This can be exacerbated during the holidays and all that may be happening in the news. Yet it is important to sit back and recognize that these are normal and can be sedated.

What are your strategies for coping with anxiety or intrusive thoughts? Write back to us with #illumentors!

  1. Stinckens, Nele; Lietaer, Germain; Leijssen, Mia (March 2002). “The inner critic on the move: analysis of the change process in a case of short-term client-centred/experiential therapy”. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research. 2 (1): 40
  2. Earley, Jay; Weiss, Bonnie (2010). Self-therapy for your inner critic: transforming self-criticism into self-confidence. Larkspur, CA: Pattern System Books. ISBN 9780984392711. OCLC 728324364

Understanding the Iceberg Model of Childhood Behavior

An adult speaking to a teenage boy in a calming wayBehaviors are the result of the interactions of two things: the characteristics we possess as people and the characteristics of the situation we face. The theory behind the iceberg model of childhood behavior is that there are many things that influence the way that children act and react: skills, knowledge, experience, social role or values, self-image, traits, and motives. Some (the most conscious) of these characteristics can be seen outright – “above the water,” if you will. The more subconscious or unconscious characteristics are the ones working behind the scenes — “underwater.” It is a mixture of all of these characteristics that will shape a child’s behavior—meaning that the cause of the behavior won’t always be apparent.

The tip of the iceberg—the conscious characteristics that children have in their toolbox—are skills, knowledge, and experiences. Skills represent what children can do innately or things they have learned to do over time. Knowledge is what they know or have come to understand as they’ve grown. This knowledge is shaped by their experiences, which help build both the knowledge and skills available to them in their personal toolboxes.

Under the water, however, are the unseen forces that can shape their behaviors. This portion consists of four large components: their social role and values, self-image, traits, and motives. Continue reading “Understanding the Iceberg Model of Childhood Behavior”

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