Cyc101 Essay

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My Personal Journey with Child and Youth Care - Journal Portfolio

CYC101 Introduction to Child and Youth Care Ryerson University
Toronto

My Personal Journey with Child and Youth Care - Journal Portfolio
Table of contents

The Baby Steps- Getting to Know Child and Youth Care (Ch.1)…………………………………………………..3
Child and Youth Care Practitioners- The Ubuntu People (Ch.2)………………………………………………….5

When Child and Youth Care Fails- The ‘Death Sentence’ of Ashley Smith (Ch.3 & 4)...............…...7

Just Another ‘Letter of Hope’ (Ch.5)…………………………………………………………………………………………..9

References……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….11

Chapter 1. Defining Moments.
The Baby Steps- Getting to Know Child and Youth Care.
The author Carol Stuart (2013) at the end of chapter 1 of “Foundations of Child and Youth Care” challenges the reader to answer a question: “Do you like children? Do they make you smile?”(p.20).Several months ago my answer to this question would most likely be in the negative. However, as a result of events of May 2013 my opinion changed drastically. I volunteered abroad, in Kenya. Throughout my 30-day stay in a small village of Dago, I spent most of my time working with orphans and children considered vulnerable, and whose families were affected by HIV/ AIDS. That was a trip marked by not just one, but many defining moments that have impacted my perception of children and their unique life circumstances. The most memorable situation that gave meaning to my African journey was when I saw the children for the first time. It was midday, lunch time, and a female community member who volunteered at the orphanage kitchen, was distributing porridge among children. In this one situation I observed most of the essential characteristics of a child and youth care practice: passion, caring, the milieu (which in this case was the residential setting of the orphanage), social competence, and space and time (Stuart, 2013). Despite the presence of all those elements, would this local woman be considered a child and youth care practitioner? Not according to Western standards. She lacks education and theoretical knowledge in the field of child and youth care. Nonetheless, I admired her dedication and she is now part of my story and, as Carol Stuart (2013) concludes, “stories are a wonderful way to learn and to share experiences with others”.
The most common misconception about volunteering abroad is that volunteers who tour various parts of the world, predominantly third world countries, attempt to “save the world” by promoting education and to fight poverty. Surprisingly, majority of the time that I spent in rural Kenya, I found myself on the receiving end of learning. I became an observer, and what I learnt is that this one female volunteer along with 41 other women who devote their time to helping and caring for vulnerable children have created their own child and youth care system within their community. They worked in a variety of settings listed in adopted by The Canadian Council of Child and Youth Care Associations definition of child and youth care practice, such as “community-based outreach and school-based programs, parent education and family support programs” (www.cyccanada.ca, cited in Stuart, 2013,p. 6). While observing their involvement in the children’s complex problems and needs, I was able to better understand the phenomenon of a “calling”. A calling that motivated those women to set up their own equivalent of the system of child and youth care. A calling that I was not able to find within myself at the time. However, as time went on, I began to form relationships with the group of 21 children. I did not consider myself a child and youth care practitioner per se, but I was able to experience the process of forming a caring relationship with children the way Carol Stuart (2013) described it:
Children and practitioners carry with them a history that influences the caring…