Roses and Thorns – Kenna Rago

clipart-3rosesFor my first YASC Blog Post I wanted to talk about some of my favorite things (roses) and challenges (thorns) of working in Granite City. 

Roses for Coordinated Youth and Human Services: Working at an alternative school has definitely taught me a lot about working with children. Although, this isn’t necessarily what I want to do with my life, it is giving me tools for someday when I may decide to become a parent. A lot of the children in the classroom are also really growing on me, giving me the opportunity to build relationships with them. On my first day a student told me that he hated me. Now, I get hugs from him on a daily basis. 

Thorns for my work with Coordinated Youth and Human Services: The students at this school are difficult to work with as a result of their home lives. Many of these students have no family structure, which has a great impact on how they learn and socialize. Most of them have a parent in jail, or have neglectful parents. In my particular classroom, students have been diagnosed with behavior disorders such as ADHA, ODD, etc. These are classified as emotional disorders, so most have medication to take daily. However, sometimes parents will sell this medication or take it themselves, creating a constant battle for the school and state to try and get the right care for the students. When these students don’t get the proper medication, it creates instant chaos in the classroom, really making it difficult for teachers and teacher’s aides to do their jobs. 

Roses for my service with St. Peter’s UCC: I really love my work with the Wednesday Rocks Youth Group. St. Peter’s youth group is the church’s way of working to integrate more youth into the congregation with the mission of nurturing faithful leaders who contribute to society. As someone who is interested in Youth Ministry, I truly enjoy helping the church with this mission with the hopes that I can simply be an effective role model for the youth in Granite City. I care for every one of the youth group members and I’m really enjoying watching this group grow. 

Thorns for service with the church: The challenge I have with the church has more to do with the community structure. This is an interesting time for St. Peter because there is an increase in racial diversity in the community, which is new for the older folk of the community. The church is in the midst of change in terms of straying from a more traditional format and moving to a different approach to reach out to the changing community. Change is hard. One of my challenges in this work is trying to get the congregation ready for change and to think outside the box a little bit.

Overall, there are both beautiful and challenging parts of my work. These roses and thorns create great potential for growth, not only for myself and the church, but also for the community of Granite City.

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