Working with Youth for Dummies

"Youth is not wasted on the young. The young know how truly dreadful youth can be. Their youth is wasted on everyone else, that’s the horror. The young have no authority, no respect. "
Anne Rice

Ah yes the wonders of working under a federal grant...it sucks pretty bad. The worst part about my job is that I help youth and I work under adults who always try to "cool" things up. Just look at the name of the program. These are some of the worst experiences you can have. and I'll go into some of my pain with you all.

  • Club Night - This seemed like a good idea at the time. I, knowing what clubs in Baltimore are like knew I would hate this. I spent the entire night like a priest at a catholic school dance seperating people, "Leave room for the lord". The difference is that these aren't kids dancing close and grabbing ass. This is dry humping on the floor. After the first two I refused to go to anymore. Since I have heard tales of sex in the bathroom. Dudes having asthma attacks and other patrons basically like, "fuck him!". The funny thing is the people who's idea it was weren't there.
  • Slang on flyers - This is a horrible idea. If you are older than 35 than do not attempt to use slang that you don't know about. This has ended up in mispellings like for one dance "Shake your boddie". I know what it should say, but for real just give it up. You may have been hip at one point in time, but no longer. Even I at 26 (almost 27) don't try that nonsense. I mean I am from the age group that had D.L. taken from them so I can't even trust the slang I do know.
  • Poetry Slams - Look for certain segments of the community poetry is cool. However don't think just because Def Jam has a show on HBO that all the kids love it...they don't. Hell they won't really come to a hip-hop event cause we won't let them in high or drunk. Plus I don't like to play bullshit...but hey what do you want?
  • The R.V. - This is a rarely working machine that is used for recruiting young folks. The theory is that if we pull up in it and blast "music the kids like" then they'll come in droves. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Just because you play some Tupac don't mean kids will want to get their G.E.D. Plus they know what you're trying to do and they don't think you're cool.
  • Naming Ceremony - Everytime it's time to have an event someone tries to come up with some "cool" name. For some reason they think if it sounds cool that kids won't figure out they're coming to learn something. They are not fooled by titles. The worse part is that these names end up sounding like some Japanese show -"The super happy fun time Job readiness class".

Adults suck.


Blogger Midlife Crisis said...

>Just because you play some Tupac don't mean kids will want to get their G.E.D.

LOL. This whole post had me laughing my arse off. Only those of us who work with da yoof' would truly understand this. The non-initiated are very idealistic, I'm afraid.

Re: the parties, you think the horizontal sexxin' is bad? I've chaperoned a couple of parties where the BOYS were grinding on each other. And these were not sissy boys, per se. These were the school THUGS who were on an express train to the penitentiary (sp?).

The jail culture has taken over our inner city kids. We should have known it wouldn't have stopped at belt-less pants and sneakers without laces.


1:27 PM  
Blogger G. Cornelius Harris said...

*shaking head*
I'll keep you posted

1:38 PM  
Blogger Byebye said...

I totally feel this post dude.

First off, the people we work under, even though they might think they are helpin, usually have no clue about the culture or the communities that these yoots come from.

Secondly, "adults" need to remember childhood in order to qualify for working with di lickle yoots dem.

You had me laughing as well because I have seen this time and time again. I would like to own my own agency and programs str8 up. Kids respond to us better then.

3:52 PM  
Blogger TJ said...

Um...the Hip-hop RV idea sounds just a little bit creepy. Like the "uncle" whose lap no one wants to sit on kinda creepy. Just remember that Michael and the Ar-rah did what they thought the kiddies like and look where it got them. You're better off passing out flyers or having an open house or something.

And your comments "Leave room for the lord" and "The super happy fun time Job readiness class" had giggling in my cubicle. Classic.

3:56 PM  
Blogger Anacaona said...

I am LMAO!!! Very funny. I hope you watch Office Space? Everyone who has ever worked a day in an Office must see this on NBC (not a plug, it's just along these lines).


4:26 PM  
Blogger K said...

i am glad to see that i am not the only adult that for the most part, don't understand other adults, lol.

and i cosign on that use of slang thing. 40 and still saying stuff like "dope"...*smh*

4:58 PM  
Blogger Laylah Queen of the Night said...

"Shake your boddie"...almost knocked the laptop over on that one..hilarious!

10:29 PM  
Blogger Nikki said...

Damn, I'm still laughing at Shake your boddie.

9:54 AM  
Blogger  said...

omg - is that really your logo? please tell me that it's not. i can remember as a teenager being invited to random events with names like "jesus gets down with hip hop" or "brenda's got a baby, how to avoid getting one too." just horrible. i feel your pain.

10:23 AM  
Blogger brooklyn babe said...

"...Leave room for the Lord."
-lol, got use that one!
Bk Babe

10:25 AM  
Blogger piranha said...

hm. you really got something here.
i think that the respect thing is a key issue.
if the young people feel they are respected they are more likely to correspond. right?
so, why not let THEM teach the adults about their culture? or simply give them room to live it, without interfering?
well, because the adults are scared shitless that the young will abuse the freedom and fuck themselves up with drugs and what not.
well, a different approach alltogether is in dire need here, and everywhere. i don't think that coolness is what young people need, man, it s all around them already. they need sth they don't have yet. but ahh, thats a topic for a night long to talk....
maybein saopaolo next year ... ;-)
so you are 'at work' right now? i just saw you posted a comment on my blog...i wish you a good day man!

all the love


ps you got me thinking here again. thanks. you are always an inspiration to think about interesting stuff.thanks.

1:09 PM  

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