On Monday February 11th NOISE held its first dialogue session of 2013. We invited all the youth fellows and their pods to an interactive dinner and meeting to discuss how their action projects were coming along. Tables were organized by pod names and pod members were encouraged to sit with their members.
In order to understand pod dynamics we asked them a few questions however this was done in an interactive manner. Youth were asked to describe the good, bad and the ugly using images. Pods were asked to draw pictures of what they felt was the good, bad and ugly in their pods. The responses were quite remarkable; most pods reported that their communication and cooperation were good. The pods felt that the best part of the pods were the people. Sitting in with a couple pods it was clear that they had all built long lasting friendships with each other. In addition nearly all Pods drew pictures of themselves holding hands or working together for this section. It seems building relationships happened naturally for these grade 9’s 12’s and graduate students. The ACTIION pod for example was constantly laughing when discussing their pod and their pictures consisted of three C’s, Cooperation, Commitment and communication. Their image depicted members happily working together.
Another group told the story of how during one meeting a pod member was feeling down. Because the pod was so close they automatically knew something was up and as such automatically thought of a solution. In order to cheer the pod member up group members took a minute to breathe and have a group hug reassuring all members that they have a support system to fall back on.
In addition a common theme which came up was the lack of funds. Many pods felt that they one of the restrains they faced was restrictions due to money. It seems that as time is short, and the pods only have three months left, they were feeling strained for money. The FRESH group felt like the school was not cooperating as much as they’d like, and felt that though they had great communications skills with each other, they lacked them with the school. FRESH hopes to create a youth led mentoring program for Emery students by Emery students.
The pod Dribble for Change, or D4C, felt that they were having trouble getting everyone out at the pod meetings. They felt saddened that they could rarely get a pod meeting with all members as schedules are tightly packed with school and work. SAFER felt that time management was a problem for them as they were having trouble attaining goals on time. SAFER also felt that losing one of its POD members was a major set back, however their good was learning that there are other forms of communication other than face- to- face and because of technology like Skype, they were able to stay connected with this pod member. The Creators felt that they were restricted by lack of resources. The Creators wish to develop their own source of media which covers the positive programs which take place in Jane and Finch in order to eliminate main stream stereotypes, a #NOISECast. However they felt they were having troubling accessing the resources they needed like, video cameras and editing programs.
In total however the dialogue session seemed to be the de-stressor the youth and pod members needed, rather it was Deopaul forgetting his pod name or #NOISEFam describing the catch phases of each member, the meeting was filled with laughter and friendly jokes. The meeting was a chance for pods to share the concerns and progress. It was also a chance for other pods to provide advice and suggestions of other pods as many of the pods faced the same problems. It was a way for pods to communicate, help each other, and work together. In fact by the end of it three pods were considering working together on distributing a single survey to Emery students in order to be time and cost efficient. The ACTIION pod, which had already conducted a survey shared advice on how they did it and the struggles they faced giving the other two pods a heads up. As such the meeting was a good opportunity for everyone.
By Talisha Ramsaroop, NOISE Youth Research Assistant