With the heavy focus on data and assessment in the youth services area, sometimes it's important to take a look to the qualitative side. The results can be easier to spot and motivate staff and youth both to continue their hard work.
This morning on Lifehacker there was an article featured from the blog, Ready for Zero, entitled “5 Big Mistakes Keeping You in Debt.” These articles come up often, and are usually a solid set of guidelines that most people could allude to all on their own, but don't.
One reason for this in particular stands out in this writeup.
They Forget to Change Their Attitude. This can be one of the hardest mistakes to make and one of the hardest to learn from. The reason is that humans don't like change. For the most part, we're comfortable with where we are right now. But for those of us in debt, usually we have to change our attitude to change our outcome. We have to start thinking in a new way and change how we look at money. The best way to accomplish this is to proactively decide how you'll incorporate new beliefs about your finances into your daily life.
As adults, we’re comfortable. Most of the time, far too comfortable. It’s difficult to imagine changing one’s entire routine or lifestyle - that’s why going to the gym or finding time for a new hobby can be challenging as an adult. What’s important to remember, however, is that these barriers are considerably lower for youth. Fads, games, and even circles of friends have an amazing power to transform a youth’s behaviors very quickly.
Andson works hard each day to move those behaviors and perceptions in youth to new heights - both in Personal Finance and Academics. Some days are more rewarding than others. What we’ve accomplished and witnessed this year in transformations, however, has been inspiring.
A student at one site I personally oversee seemed like he was on a path to medication, an ILP (Individual Learning Plan), and perhaps even counseling or some sort of treatment. A kindergartener, he likely did not receive any early childhood development, and was a distraction to the rest of the group. In just a few short weeks of structure and personalized attention with a tutor - behaviors have changed, the distractions have nearly ceased, and he actually likes doing his homework (gasp!).
Personal Finance and Academics do not have to be chore, they don’t have to be a fight - but we must take the time to invest in attitudinal change. The outcomes are clear, rewarding, and transformation can be seen on the spot.
Believe me, it will come quicker for youth than for most of us adults.