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First Annual Adversity/ Resilience Week by the AI Center Mentoring Project

First Annual Adversity/ Resilience Week by the AI Center Mentoring Project

In April, staff came across a book entitled “The Resilient Self: How Survivors of Troubled Families Rise Above Adversity”. Authors Steven J. Wolin, M.D. and Sybil Wolin, Ph.D wrote about the impact damage or adversity has on the human psyche. Damage can occur physically, psychologically and/or socially during childhood, adolescence, and/or adulthood (p. 300). Building resilience increases empowerment, specifically the organic view of empowerment. This view defines empowerment as risk, growth, trust, and teamwork (Quinn, p. 222-223).

Resilience relates to the building of developmental assets deemed crucial for reframing a victim’s view of damage to survival and success (Wolin and Wolin, p. 12-21). To enhance self, especially with the challenge of the troubled family, you must exhibit the following resiliency traits:

1. Insight

2. Independence

3. Relationships

4. Initiative

5. Creativity

6. Humor

7. Morality (p. 3-204).

A week of sessions to address damage and the resiliency traits which could combat them was created.

During the week of August 25, 2008 the following topics will be addressed respectively:

  1. Foster Care: According to the AFCARS Report (Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System Report), there were approximately 542,000 children in the U. S. in foster care on September 30, 2001. All of our youth have been involved in the foster care system at one time in their lives. Some of our volunteer mentors have experienced the system directly or indirectly as well. This session will address the various issues that connect with foster care (abandonment, abuse, isolation, separation, instability).
  2. Poverty: Poverty is an insidious plight which affects many of the youth we serve. According to the US Census Bureau, 35.9 million people live below the poverty line in America, including 12.9 million children. This is despite the abundance of food resources. There are many factors to poverty including, but not limited to education (academic, money management) and housing. This session will expose the root causes of factors enabling poverty to exist.
  3. Moving Barriers: This is a workshop where methods to overcoming adversity and barriers will be discussed using interactive games and activities. Participants will complete a damage inventory amongst other forms.
  4. Diseases: Among the chlamydia diagnoses reported in 2006, the male to female ratio was 253,236 to 777,675. For gonorrhea, the male to female ratio was 170,902 to 187,464. As these data demonstrate, the gender divide in chlamydia statistics is much greater than that in gonorrhea statistics. This is partly because more women than men are screened for chlamydia. Of the three main STDs reported, syphilis is the only one that has more male than female cases. To a large extent this can be attributed to syphilis outbreaks among men who have sex with men (www.healthypeople2000.com). It is important to address these statistics along with sharing of those who have overcome cancer and other diseases.
  5. “ME”: Awareness seems to be lacking despite the various resources available to young people. Identity can be a crisis when indivdiuals are separated from family. The adolescent years can be more tumultous with the existence of peer pressure, substance abuse, family violence, etc. By addressing topics of race, technology, and culture we hope to develop a better sense of self. Their experiences with foster care, exposure to poverty, ability to move barriers, and health are integral parts of this development.

Each session will occur from 4-6 PM. Panel speakers will be provided 1.5 hours to provide information, share personal expriences and answer questions for every session excluding the “Moving Barriers” session. Following the discussion, members will enjoy refreshments.

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