Future For KIDS’ latest Lunch and Learn at the Fiesta Bowl Museum in Scottsdale featured local Boys and Girls Club Unit Director Manny Padia. He spoke about how to truly bond with youth and connect with them on a personal level.
“Kids these days are different, and we need to realize that. We need to adapt to the changes – we can’t stop getting to know kids just because we don’t always understand them. We need to work harder, and when we do, we reach these kids in a whole new way.” Manny said.
Manny highlighted the importance of learning what youth like and trying to cater to their needs. By understanding what youth enjoy, it becomes easier to understand youth in general. He taught attendees how to stay current with youth population trends, actively plan positive youth programs, and incorporate current trends to engage youth both mentally and physically. He also spoke about the importance of a loving, patient attitude when working with youth.
“You can be a lion, or you can be a mouse. Sometimes, the situation calls for the lion. Other times, it’s the mouse. But you gotta know what to be when, and you always have to be thinking ‘How can I help the most?’ These kids need the right people in their lives, and you can be one of them.” He said.
Manny has been working with valley youth for over 16 years. He also serves as a Motivational Speaker and Trainer for his business, Produce Positivity, where he works as a master coach for the “Aspire” program through the University of Arizona. He is a strong supporter of out-of-school time programs and works with the Arizona Center for After School Excellence in any way that he can to help support Youth Development Professionals.