In-Group Support Group for Youth


We have a group and we call it, In-Group.

What does In-Group actually mean?

In sociology and social psychology, an ingroup is a social group to which a person psychologically identifies as being a member. By contrast, an outgroup is a social group with which an individual does not identify with.

The Famous Experiment by Jane Elliot

Iowa teacher, Jane Elliot conducted an experiment in 1968, (A Class Divided) that showed how easy it was to turn students as young as 7-year-old  into hate mongerers by targeted discrimination. Since the time of Elliot’s experiment, social psychologists have warned us of the causes, and consequences of ingroup-outgroup stereotyping. The experiment and the numerous studies after that showed us how easy it was to divide, to break bonds, to forms acrimonious groups that would stick to each other and against anyone they perceive as different.

 Philosophy behind In-Group Support Group for Youth

In-Group Support Group challenges the whole idea of discrimination based on perceived differences, and aims to unite teens and kids instead. It aims to build positive self-image and increased self-worth in kids and teens, and in turn ensure a future society that is more positive and inclusive.

Research shows that most teens and pre-teens go through issues like anxiety, bullying, stress, stereotyping, body imaging, depression etc. These arise from the very thought of being different. In fact, researcher, Yurgelun-Todd believes that a lot of teenage behavior is about avoiding the anxiety of feeling left out and not being a part of things. Though In-Group is targeted at teens and kids, it hopes to reach out to everyone in the community:  teens, kids, parents, educators, counsellors and policy makers, by raising awareness and by allowing a space to share stories, resources and solutions.

In-Group, Support Group (Kids/Teens)

In-Group is a non-profit initiative. It’s an advocacy, support group and a shared resource on stereotyping, bullying, peer pressure, anxiety and other issues faced by kids & teens. We believe shared stories not only increase awareness, but they also help build empathy in the community. The aim is to build a nurturing, supportive and inclusive society. If you would like to share your story (anonymously or otherwise), donate, collaborate or enquire about our workshops, or if you are an expert who could help us with building shared resources, do email us at ingrouphelp@gmail.com.

We are thankful to the following organisations for their support:
* The Bully-Free Committee, Singapore Children’s Society
* Tinkle Friend (www.tinklefriend.com)
* Coalition against Bullying for Children & Youth (Singapore)
* Association of Women for Action & Research, Singapore

Blog Contributors  & Writers Wanted!

We are blogging and are looking for opinions, articles, real stories, and resources (from kids, teens, parents, educators, counsellors, or anyone in the community at all)! We are looking for personal stories when things went wrong, for solutions that worked, and then those that didn’t. We are looking for some cool stuff too! Opinions, current events, music and feel-good articles (less than 300 words). If you would like to contribute, write to us at ingrouphelp@gmail.com or rayprionka@gmail.com. The articles and contributions can be anonymous if you so want, and if you don’t, then we are more than happy to publish your name.

Blog: https://ingroupsupportgroup.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InGroupSupportForYouth/

InGroup, Support Group For Kids/Teens

We founded In-Group, so that we could belong. Yes, all of us. Together.

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My ‘Happy’ List


On impulse, I asked, “What is happiness to you?” Most people around me stumbled. They didn’t know. Wait! They did know, they assured me but they needed time, “to think about it.” So I gave them time and I gave myself time. My initial list was easy enough. It had the usual suspects:

Rain

Chocolates

Laughter

Old friends

Sea breeze

A good book

A cup of tea with a friend

Gentle conversations

Early mornings

Shades of the evening sky

My friends had given it enough thought too and dutifully added more ‘happy’ things to my list:

Temple bells

Children playing in the playground

Flowers

Mom’s cooking

Clouds on a clear day

Weekends

Garden

Some also added:

Gifts

Jewellery

Money

New car

Success

But I gently and respectfully removed these from my list and retained the ones that mattered to me.  I began to enjoy this list and continued to add to it.

Making dream castles

Planning a vacation

Meeting my sister

Making a difference

The colour ‘orange’

And of course, my family.

Feeling rather pleased with myself, I arranged this list conspicuously so that I could look at it often. It gave me great joy. I also realised that the very act of categorising these ‘happy’ things made me happier. Everybody should have such a list, I thought. Insulated and ensconced by this general feeling of well-being, I walked in to the building. The usual peace greeted me and the giant foliage shaded the front gate. It was a secured area and it was under surveillance but nobody would stop me. I was a regular here and the people here know me. After all, I have been a volunteer long enough.

I greeted the staff cheerfully and signed my name in the register. They would call her and let her know that I have arrived. She is always happy to see me. She knows I carry a small chocolate with me, the one that she likes. She gobbles it up right in front of my eyes and I love seeing that excitement in her eyes. I must add that to my list of ‘happy’ things, I thought.

I know she will be happier this time. I had brought a gift after all. Ha! She wouldn’t be expecting that, I thought. She will be surprised that I remembered her birthday. I would say, “Haven’t I always remembered? Of course, I remember this time too!” Then, I will say how grown up she looks and I know she likes to hear these things. Strange, teenagers like to be told that they look older and adults like to be told that they look younger.

I was still waiting. Why hadn’t she come to see me yet? This place runs efficiently and the staff informs them when mentors visit. I have been meeting her for almost 5 years. I knew how this worked…but she still didn’t come. The lady at the counter gently guided me to where she was. I tightened the gift bag and sat stiffly next to the medical staff that attended to her. They were skilled in first aid. After a while, they left me alone with her.

“Did you do this to yourself?” I asked gently. She nodded. We spoke for a while but she wasn’t her usual self. “Why?” I asked. She lowered her eyes. “You know,” she said. We spoke a bit. I tried. Yes, I tried hard to be cheerful. I spoke of things that would excite her. I wanted her to feel better and then whipped out the 2 things that were considered, ‘happy,’ the chocolates and the gift. I handed them over, feeling inadequate and even ashamed. They weren’t ‘happy’ things at all!

Those pretty things that we had compiled, those that we thought were ‘happy’ were actually fake and so flaky. I kept the bag on the table and gave her a hug instead. That worked better. I promised that I will drop in again and saw her vacant eyes shine for a brief moment. I walked out of the building. The peace was scary, the foliage, sinister and the staff, tired. I came home and rewrote my list. Those pretty things were nice but not for those who had no hope, no place and no family. They needed sturdier things.

I made the list.

Support

Encouragement

Love

Shelter

Safety

Friends

Hope

Life.