Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Reading List for Youth Workers

I received this great reading list from SLYPN, the Service-Learning Youth Professionals Network. I already love some of these books, I can't wait to read others:

Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
By Malcolm Gladwell
Gladwell considers the elements needed to make a particular idea take hold. The tipping point occurs when something that begins as small turns into something very large. Gladwell's premise rests on three rules: the Law of the Few, the Stickiness Factor, and the Power of Context.

Good to Great and the Social Sector: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great
By Jim Collins
This monograph is a response to questions raised by readers in the social sector, and it is not a new book. The author wanted to avoid any confusion about the monograph being a book by limiting its distribution to online retailers. This monograph is based on interviews and workshops with over 100 social sector leaders.

Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High Impact Nonprofits
By Leslie Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant
What makes great nonprofits great? Not large budgets. Not snazzy marketing. Not perfect management. Great nonprofits spend as much time working with institutions outside their four walls as they do managing their internal operations. They use the power of leverage to become greater forces for good. This reveals the six powerful practices of twelve high-impact nonprofits and tells their compelling stories. Leslie Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant spent four years surveying thousands of nonprofit leaders, conducting hundreds of interviews, and studying in-depth a dozen high-impact organizations to uncover their secrets to success. Their quest took them from the well-known, Habitat for Humanity; to the less well-known, YouthBuild USA; and to the unexpected, the Exploratorium. What the authors discovered surprised them.

Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable...About Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business
By Patrick M. Lencioni
Lencioni uses a parable to frame his advice on how to get value from time spent in meetings. Meetings are like movies in that they need conflict and resolution to hold people's attention. They also require seriousness of purpose, diligent preparation, and a persistent focus on stated goals. He then offers explicit advice about providing drama and structure.

The Complete Guide to Service Learning: Proven, Practical Ways to Engage Students in Civic Responsibility, Academic Curriculum, & Social Action
By Cathryn Berger Kaye

How to Change the World
by David Bornstein
HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD tells the stories of people who have both changed their lives and found ways to change the world. It tell stories of people who have discovered how to use their talents and energy to advance deeply meaningful changes -- defiant people who refuse to accept the status quo, who simply cannot sit still in the face of injustice, suffering or wastefulness. The book shows (and analyzes) how innovators advance new models to solve social and economic problems -- how they make headway against the odds. Full of hope and energy, pragmatic solutions and compelling characters, this book will be practical and inspiring reading for individuals who seek to understand the fast growing field of "social entrepreneurship" and discover opportunities to enrich their work and their lives. Whether they are teachers or management consultants, bankers or doctors, nurses or social workers, writers or engineers, the people in this book are successfully demonstrating that one person with initiative and the courage to try out a new idea, along with a determination to seek out and connect with other changemakers, can advance changes that improve the lives and unleash the potential of thousands or even millions of others.

The Call to Service
by Robert Coles

Leading from Within
by Nancy S. Huber

The Impossible Will Take a Little While
by Paul R. Loeb

Finding Your Voice
by Lorraine R. Matusak

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Games in Unlikely Places

We received this letter from a woman using games from Great Group Games in the prison system. It's amazing to see how many different types of organizations and businesses and schools can use this resource! It's exciting to see!

The women in our program are truly enjoying the games in your book. Just to give you some background... I work at the Tennessee Prison for Women (the only maximum security prison for women in the state). I am a Substance Abuse Counselor in the Therapeutic Community, which is a long-term substance abuse program within the prison. The ladies in our program are incarcerated for charges related to their addiction to drugs or alcohol ( i.e.- vehicular homicide, possession of controlled substances, child abuse, etc.) We primarily utilize cognitive-behavioral therapy to address their criminal thinking and anti-social behaviors.

Our program is structured as a hierarchy- every person in the program has a function and responsibility. They are all put on different crews, such as Education Crew, Service Crew, Orientation Crew, and Creative Energy Crew, just to name a few. The responsibility of the Creative Energy Crew is to motivate the women first thing in the morning with some type of game, skit, activity before they start their therapeutic groups. As you can imagine, having to do this every day, they are running out of ideas. When I saw your book, I thought it would be perfect to help give them some great ideas that require little preparation and few props. It is ideal because we are limited (as staff) as to what we can actually bring into the prison. Most things are considered contraband, so it gets challenging for us to "think outside the box" when it comes to motivating the inmates.

So far, they LOVE the games! This morning, in fact, they did the one where they have to sing their name to the group and then the group in unison sings it back to them. We were all laughing hysterically and it got the day off to a great start.

The book truly give ideas that are great for any setting-- from a corporate group to inmates in prison. Thank you for your contribution and we are going to keep on having fun!

Amber Stevenson
“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” Plato