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The Sky’s the Limit

Trollwood Performing Arts School is a place where the sky’s the limit. There simply is no better youth development program in the arts. Period. The school celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2018. I was an alumni from 1989 to 1994. My shows include: The Sound of Music Peter Pan The Music Man Oklahoma! Anything Goes Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Under Milkwood I also worked as staff in 1995 as main stage …

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Bigger, Faster, More Power

I added a new M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive to my computer today. It’s the second M.2 form-factor, and the third SSD. My original SSD, an OCZ Vertex 3, is still my system drive, but I am moving that to the OCZ RD400. The Samsung 960 EVO I got today will be for large media, like video editing and RAW format images from my D-SLR. I can’t say zoom! Zoom! Or vroom! …

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Community: Context for Youth Work

Where does youth work happen? At school? At the clinic? In juvenile hall, or the emergency? What about at home? Sometimes, someone needs to sit down with the parent and explain parenting to them. It sounds awkward, but parents don’t always know best. I’m not saying I do, either. I don’t have kids, but I know you are having an emotional response firing your action because these kids are your offspring. I think …

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Everyday Lives of Youth

Everyday Lives of Youth was the first of four core classes in my Master of Education in Youth Development Leadership degree program. I’ve heard the structure has changed; they’ve added a fifth core class, and eliminated credits in seminar and elective requirements. I finish in the program as it was when I started, and that is how I’ve structured this website. My “YDL Class of 2015” was a cohort of me and abut …

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Praise the Sunday Football Game

For my Youth & Spirituality class in my undegrad, I went to my first big football game. I never went to a game in high school, and by this time in my college career, I should go to a game. It just so happened the Gophers were playing the NDSU Bison. Funny thing, cuz Fargo is my home town. They usually wouldn’t play because they are in different conferences, but this was a special …

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The Reflection of One More Light

I’m grateful so many were willing to participate in the One More Light Chester Memorial video last Tuesday.. I got goosebumps when it started to take shape. I want LP to perform at the Super Bowl. With Chester up on the big screen. Natalie Cole sang with her late father Nat Cole to do “Unforgettable” many years ago. It’s not a new concept. Maybe this next spring is too soon. But the Super …

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I’m Certified…

…certified that I know how much I really don’t know. I took the Office of Equity & Diversity workshops as one of my YDL seminars. I decided to enhance that experience with the Advanced Certificate by attending a 2-hour dialogue circle once a month during the past academic year. Today I received my certificate.

Do a 180

In 2002, I was behind the video switcher at a local NBC news affiliate. The Winter Olympics were on, and I had to monitor for live updates over the NBC broadcast feed to switch from national coverage to local commercials. A big red button did it all, but had to be with precision to the second.

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Long-range Plan for Cooperative Learning

This long-range plan entails a different approach to cooperative learning implementation because I am not a teacher. Cooperative Learning was taken as an elective for my Master of Education in Youth Development Leadership. When people discover I am pursuing an M.Ed., I am often asked what I’m going to teach. I’m not. It just so happens my M.Ed. program is in the School of Social Work. However, I’m not going after a social …

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Windows & Mirrors

In the summer of 1983, I was seven years old. My brother was 17. He had the role of Uncle Henry in Trollwood Performing Arts School (TPAS)’s production of The Wizard of Oz. I have few memories of that summer, but from what I’ve been told, I laid some bricks in the upper right corner of the letter “Z” in the yellow brick road shaped to spell “Oz.” Six years later, in 1989, I attended TPAS on my own as a legitimate student. That was the summer after my seventh grade in Moorhead (MN) Public Schools. Trollwood was a program of Fargo (ND) Public Schools, so I was among a lot of new kids in June and July. And I was among students from Russia and China, as well. Trollwood started a new program that summer: IMAGINE. I played cello in the orchestra pit for that summer’s production of The Sound of Music. I sat next to a Russian playing the balalaika. The next summer, I split my time between the orchestra and the lighting crew for Peter Pan. In the following years, I was on the lighting crew for Music Man, Oklahoma!, Anything Goes, and Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I watched actors perform year after year, but participated in “Songs from the Catwalk” with my fellow lighting techies.

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I am a penny under the piano.

Today I went to a campus event from a theatre company that works with kids. We all wrote stories. Here’s mine: Pennies Under The Piano Last Tuesday we made a decision to look under the piano, and do you know what we found? PENNIES! Green pennies. Red pennies. Purple pennies…. Even clear pennies. We started to collect the pennies into a pile, and the pile grew and grew. We realized that no two …

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References for the Riviera Theory of Youth Development

Abend, G. (2008). The meaning of ‘theory’. Sociological Theory, 26, 173–199. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9558.2008.00324.x

Amichai-Hamburger, Yair (2013). Youth internet and wellbeing. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(1), 1-2. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2012.05.023

Arnett, J.J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55(5), 469-480. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.55.5.469

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Reinventing Yourself

Topic(s) of Interest Self-Awareness Definition: having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. Who was I? Who am I? Who will I be? I want to learn how to reinvent myself. I struggled with many medical setbacks this semester, and I need to find a way to emerge “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” (Daft Punk) and more resilient. I lost sight of who I was, I want to …

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Celebrity Suicide in the Media

Sometimes you see a news headline like this: Progressive rock legend Emerson dies Then you read the news and discover it was a suicide by self-inflicted gunshot. The only reason I mention this is that I’m in a suicide awareness class right now. In two weeks, we have a discussion about how the media reports suicide. Today, we talked about suicide encounters online. The anonymity and privacy you have online sometimes lets you express …

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Bing’s Periodic Table of Elements

So… Bing went and did this: I remember having to memorize most of this chart; and I recall recent discoveries that expanded this table of elements. It’s amazing how the Internet has brought new information to our fingertips. But nothing beats Tom Lehrer’s Element song:

Making a Mandated Report

Some people in the social work fields are known as mandated reporters. These people must pass-on information they learn if they feel there is a threat to personal life or property by a person in crisis. The line between confidentiality and mandated reporting is not clear and distinct, which adds to the complexities of knowing when you should, or should not, say something to the authorities. Is there a definite threat or plan made? …

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Self-Care: Ink’d

I have approximately 41 hours [50 hours as of April 2018] of tattoo ink work on my body. It is all original work, no words, but a few Kanji. Many of my cohort have tattoos, so the experience is nothing others are not familiar with. The meanings of everyone tat(s) are varied as they are beautiful. I’m not going to go into the meaning of my art at this time. That’s personal. Instead, …

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Did you realize

I like the song Strangers by Portishead. The first stanza ends like this: Did you realize No one can see inside your view Did you realize For why this sight belongs to you These lyrics tell the story of living inside your own being. What you see, no one else can see. What  you experience is yours and yours alone. And there is are reasons for this. Imagine if you will, a virtual reality …

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OED #9: Disability and Advancing Access

I’ve struggled with a disability for many years. I have bipolar disorder, which leans more towards the depression side. I have low energy but an active mind. This is an invisible disability. I’m medicated and participate in regular therapy sessions to cope with my challenges. For some, adaptation is not so easy. I struggle with allowing these invisible, mental disabilities in as valid keys to accommodation. This is because of the struggles I’ve …

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OED #5: Universal Design

Design in our daily lives should be seamless and unnoticed. Well designed items flow in and out of use, and we hardly think twice about using the things we do. This changes, however, when you have a physical or mental limitation that restricts your use of objects designed for the masses. If you have a crippled hand, you may not have the dexterity to open a child-proof medicine bottle. The depth and breadth …

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I can’t speak for anyone’s experience but my own. So when it was time to attend the GLBTQ and Ally workshop, it was sensitive. It is a community I began with at the age of 16 when I came out to myself. I wasn’t active until I was 19, and I went through difficult adjustments of sexual practice and identity. That’s now at issue here. Rather, I am examining the relationships I do have with …

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Observing and Assessment

A teacher has a lot to do for class: make a lesson plan, instruct to that plan, manage 30 billion student relationships, ensure those students are building solid relationships, and that students are learning the material. This class session, we observed, assessed, and processed the group dynamic of class. It seems pretty straight forward, and I don’t have a lot of questions about the steps involved. It seems observing comes with practice, perhaps …

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OED #7: Race, Racism, and Privilege

I think it’s hard to understand privilege when you are in the majority. That said, I have trouble with race and privilege. I don’t understand it. It doesn’t click because it makes so little sense to me to NOT be culturally diverse and equitable. I have worked in so many situations where there’s been people of color, and we worked together just fine. The other day, I was talking about how diverse my …

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A Case Study: Equity and Diversity in Cooperative Learning

Off the record, I see solutions at work for many arguments of inequity and homogeneous nature of various organizations. I refer to the collection of portraits in the Presidents Room, as if being a while male is a required demography for President of the University of Minnesota. What is the opposite of the white man? What will it take to balance the room or presidents? A single, atheist, gay woman of dark skin color. I …

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Paragraphs of Social Skills

Social skills must be ingrained in the lesson plans. There are four steps to social skill mastery: awkward, phony, mechanical, integrated. This reminded me of a chart I saw back in early 2000s: unconsciously incompetent, consciously incompetent, unconsciously competent, and consciously competent. In other words, (1) you don’t know what you don’t know, (2) you know what you don’t know, (3) you don’t know what you know, and (4) you know what you …

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Paragraphs of Interdependence

Holding yourself accountable for the work required to learn material is a personal challenge I’m facing with this class. We are faced with a varying array of teaching methods and techniques, both in an effort to teach us material, but also to demonstrate these techniques in raw form. We are folding education inside out by studying positive interdependence and individual accountability. Positive interdependence is an umbrella of nine types of independence structures. Of …

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OED #8: Breaking the Glass Ceiling

WIIFM. What’s in it for men. This Office of Equity and Diversity workshop was about women and the glass ceiling. As is tradition, it is pointed out that the portraits on the wall of the Presidents Room is white men. We did a variety of exercises to discuss and demonstrate the glass ceiling, and what men and women can both do to overcome the negative drawbacks of a university run by men. As …

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OED #6: Educating about Equity and Diversity

There were five tips for educators of equity and diversity: Assess the situation. Model the behavior you want. Model active listening behaviors. Use yourself as an example. Reframe. Reframe. Reframe. We identified some challenges and strategies for addressing those challenges: Challenge #1: Saying the right thing. Strategies include: having a discussion versus proving right, keeping relationship, and be open minded & listen. Challenge #2: Building Confidence. Strategies include: practicing with friends, family, and …

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OED #4: Communicating on Issues of Equity and Diversity

Audience. Who are you speaking to? Who will see your message, and who will be affected by it? You don’t always know how far-reaching your message will be. This workshop talked of communication. Messages and strategies used to convey brand, design, media relations, social media, and crisis management are discussed. A person with a highly visible position, such as a Public Relations Representative, is encouraged to use extreme caution whenever they publicly post, regardless …

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A Paragraph of Cooperation

Cooperative Learning is a collection of theories and practices that encourage learning from positive interdependence and promotes individual accountability. Learning groups may be formed by formal and informal means, for long and short term assignments, respectively. Retention and achievement both improved as cooperative learning was integrated into the learning environment. Cooperative learning improved social skills of both students and teachers. I find it striking that cooperative learning is directly related to improvements in …

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OED #3: Working in Committees

This workshop was not as insightful. I never like meetings and committees. Not to mention, early morning is not my thing. The other workshops were afternoon sessions. Those who know me know I need my sleep, or I check out for the day quite soon. As it is, I usually need a nap to get through the day. Those are the facts of my own documented barriers to education. I know these, but part …

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OED #2: Today was an It’s-A-Small-World Day

Today, I attended the second of ten workshops in equity and diversity. I sat next to a woman who knows the Executive Director of the Will Steger Foundation that I am Webmaster for, with whom I had just met with that morning. On the other side of me sat an Associate Dean. When I got home, I logged into a social media site to see a post from the former Executive Director of …

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OED Workshop #1

Today I attended my first of ten “Equity and Diversity” workshops towards the Equity and Diversity Certificate  at the University of Minnesota. This also serves as a one-credit seminar for my YDL program. There are nine more sessions in the series for a total of 30 hours towards this certificate. The YDL seminar component requires 45 hours of work, so I need approximately 15 hours of work in the form of a journal, reflection …

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Dear David Riviera, Congratulations on your admission to the Youth Development Leadership – MEd program beginning Spring 2015. Registration: To activate your admission it is very important that you register. For instructions on how to register and to see term start dates, click here . Again, our congratulations on your excellent record and on being chosen for admission. I hope that you will accept our offer of admission and if we can do …

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