Tools to promote college-going cultures

Buscando Vida Y Encontrando Exito Escolar:
Apoyando a Nuestros Hijos con La Fuerza de Nuestra Cultura

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Buscando Vida Y Encontrando Exito Escolar: Apoyando a Nuestros Hijos
con La Fuerza de Nuestra Cultura
by Dr. Victor Rios and Jaime Carias.

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Dr. Rios and Jaime Carias discuss proven strategies for raising successful students. They share with readers characteristics associated with successful parenting that they have found in years of empirical research and personal experience. They incorporate their personal upbringings in Oakland and South Los Angeles and ten years of combined research to give readers a better on understanding on supporting “at-promise” students. This book fully engages the reader with a research based yet real life book aimed at motivating at-promise parents to promote a college-going culture within their households.

Our research shows that “CLASE”, Communicacion (Communication), Liderazgo (Leadership), Apoyo (Support), Sensilibidad (Unconditional Nurturing), Emocion (Emotional Connection), is a central component for parental and youth success. Moreover, Dr. Rios and Jaime believe that CLASE is already a strong component of Latino culture, that all familias have CLASE in their corazones (hearts), in their conversations, and in their households. To understand CLASE and how to hone it, how to bring it out, how to use it to our full advantage so that we can empower ourselves, our children, our communities, and our gente, we have to move forward while looking back. We believe in the idea of “buscando vida.” Buscando Vida is the process by which one overcomes adversity by patching together the few resources available in order to survive and thrive. If we use this idea within our schools, among our children, where no matter what obstacles they encounter, they find a way to survive and thrive, we will become more successful in producing more college educating Latinos in the United States. We can be proud of our roots and actually utilize our culture to strengthen our paths and the academic productivity of our children. What follows are stories of struggle and success that can be replicated if we use some CLASE, ganas, and hone in on “buscando vida.”

“Victor Rios grew up in the ghetto of Oakland, California in the 1980s and 90s. A former gang member and juvenile delinquent, Rios managed to escape the bleak outcome of many of his friends and earned a PhD at Berkeley and returned to his hometown to study how inner city young Latino and African American boys develop their sense of self in the midst of crime and intense policing. Punished examines the difficult lives of these young men, who now face punitive policies in their schools, communities, and a world where they are constantly policed and stigmatized.

Rios followed a group of forty delinquent Black and Latino boys for three years. These boys found themselves in a vicious cycle, caught in a spiral of punishment and incarceration as they were harassed, profiled, watched, and disciplined at young ages, even before they had committed any crimes, eventually leading many of them to fulfill the destiny expected of them. But beyond a fatalistic account of these marginalized young men, Rios finds that the very system that criminalizes them and limits their opportunities, sparks resistance and a raised consciousness that motivates some to transform their lives and become productive citizens.

Ultimately, he argues that by understanding the lives of the young men who are criminalized and pipelined through the criminal justice system, we can begin to develop empathic solutions which support these young men in their development and to eliminate the culture of punishment that has become an overbearing part of their everyday lives.”

Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys

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Street Life: Poverty, Gangs, and a Ph.D.

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“Victor Rios grew up in Oakland, California in a single parent household, in poverty and on welfare. He joined a gang at the age of thirteen and by age sixteen he had dropped out of school and had been incarcerated several times. Having witnessed the tragic murder of his best friend by gang rivals, Victor hit a critical juncture in life at which point he made the decision to transform. With the support of educators and mentors, Victor redirected his attitude towards life, and returned to school to eventually acquire a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

Dr. Rios uses his personal story, and 10 years of research experience, to discuss how personal and institutional “illusions” contribute to academic failure. He speaks about how society gives young people little choice but to use their “attitude” to solve their problems and how this strategy often leads to detrimental consequences. He discusses practical pathways to transformation relevant to the lives of students. Dr. Rios speaks about his own personal transformation by taking advantage of the support that teachers and programs provided him and discusses how these efforts can be replicated. This book is written to speak to a young adult audience—those young people who live on the margins, who are often assigned texts that do not represent their lived reality, their struggles, or their experiences. Educators and youth workers can use each of the short chapters in this book as tools for discussing complicated social issues like abuse, youth violence, delinquency, fatalism, opportunity, stratification, poverty, resilience, college, positive role models, healthy choices, and personal transformation.”