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Snacks by Luci Manning
JUN
22
2016

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: June 22, 2016

By Luci Manning

Mobile Tech Lab Offers Children Alternatives to Crime and Violence (Rockford Register Star, Illinois)

Rockford students are spending their afterschool hours learning computer programming, graphic design and video production out of a 30-foot-long RV. The Rockford Police Department donated the vehicle to Rev. Samuel Sarpiya’s Center for Nonviolence and Conflict Transformation so he could transform it into a mobile tech lab that would give youth positive role models and valuable skills and steer them away from a life of crime. “As we teach nonviolence, we teach skills and leadership development with a goal of transforming conflict… and we hope that this will become a prototype that can be used as a model across the country,” Rev. Sarpiya told the Rockford Register Star.

Weed and Seed Is Safe Harbor for At-Risk Youths (Las Cruces Sun-News, New Mexico)

The Arthur C. Fielder Safe Haven Weed and Seed Program has played a pivotal role in cultivating valuable skills in Las Cruces students for the past 17 years. Las Cruces Police Department youth program coordinator Felipe Briseño said the program’s goal is to weed out bad elements of impoverished neighborhoods—drugs and crime—and seed them with good. “A lot of (the kids) are searching for a role model or they’re searching for a place to hang out and be comfortable, and we provide that for them here,” he told the Las Cruces Sun-News. Weed and Seed runs afterschool and summer programs for children enrolled in a free lunch program, or living in a single parent home or a home in which the parents attend school.

Foundation Give Lewiston Students Thousands of Books (Lewiston Sun-Journal, Maine)

More than a thousand Lewiston elementary school students took home eight free books to read over the summer, thanks to a massive donation from Reading Is Fundamental, a national children’s literacy organization. The influx of books is meant to help stem summer learning loss for Lewiston’s more disadvantaged students. The group also donated 40 books to each Lewiston K-2 classroom, bringing the total count of donated books to more than 13,000. “A lot of students don’t have their own books at home, so this is a real gift,” Montello Elementary School literacy coach Kelly Johnson told the Lewiston Sun-Journal. “It keeps them reading and helps prevent that summer slide.”

Local “Doctor Who” Fans Go International (Park Cities People, Texas)

When a group of students at The Lamplighter School decided to start an afterschool fan club dedicated to the British sci-fi show “Doctor Who” more than two years ago, they planned to just spend their afternoons discussing the plot and character developments on their favorite TV show. Instead, with the encouragement of drama teacher Jeff Peck, the students have put together a 217-page episode guide that is now gaining international attention. The club was recently featured on the cover of Doctor Who Appreciation Society’s magazine, and students even had the chance to meet several stars of the show at a convention in April. “Fans all around the world are reading what our Lamplighter students have written about the show,” Peck told Park Cities People. “I don’t think even the kids realize how big they have become.”

JUN
15
2016

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: June 15, 2016

By Luci Manning

Nutritional Project Sows Seeds of Learning (Times Record News, Texas)

More than 50 members of the Boys & Girls Club explored Morath Orchard and learned about healthy food as part of the Wichita Falls Area Food Bank’s “Grow Health, Grow Strong” program last week. The students participated in a number of activities focused on vegetables and healthy eating, including relay races and arts and crafts. They also got to harvest, clean and snack on carrots from the orchard. “It’s a great way to introduce kids to where healthy food comes from,” Wichita Falls Area Food Bank nutrition services director Jessica Bachman told the Times Record News.

Lessons for Beating the Learning Gap (Daily Astorian, Oregon)

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden advocates for summer learning programs to help low-income students overcome the achievement gap in the Daily Astorian: “The sad truth is that the lack of access to learning programs for underprivileged kids in the summer widens the achievement gap between those students and their higher-income classmates…. As parents, community leaders, educators and policymakers, we must provide every resource possible to bridge that gap for disadvantaged and low-income students…. This year I hope to see even more communities come out and support our students by hosting summer learning activities.”

Everest Young Entrepreneurs Leave the Nest (Wausau Daily Herald, Wisconsin)

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy at the D.C. Everest Area School District gave 13 students the entrepreneurial skills to create their own business ventures this year. Through the afterschool program, students learned to develop a business, keep a budget and market their product to customers. The young entrepreneurs toured local companies and were mentored by local experts as they developed products as diverse as portable ski-waxing tables, self-tied neckties and embroidered clothing. “Because of this program, I have become comfortable with myself and everything I can do,” recent graduate Lukas Lindner told the Wausau Daily Herald.

North Philly Student Artwork on Display at Philadelphia Intl. Airport (Philadelphia Tribune, Pennsylvania)

Middle school students at General Philip Kearny School have been exploring the creative side of science through Wagner Science’s Science, Nature and Art in Philadelphia (SNAP) afterschool program. “The opportunity to give each student in grades six to eight the chance to think artistically about science, make connections between what they are being taught and what they see in the world around, and then to engage in it with critical thought and creative expression is uniquely powerful,” Kearny principal Daniel Kurtz told the Philadelphia Tribune. SNAP directly supports the school’s science curriculum, teaching students to translate scientific principles into works of art, many of which will be on display through October at the Philadelphia Airport as part of the airport’s Exhibitions program.

JUN
9
2016

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: June 9, 2016

By Luci Manning

Underwater Robotics Team Comes Up a Winner (Petoskey News-Review, Michigan)

After months of research and hard work, the East Jordan afterschool underwater robotics club’s vehicle came out on top at the Great Lakes Regional Competition. In addition to developing a remotely operated underwater robot designed to collect and analyze spilled oil samples, each team in the competition created a fictitious company to market their product and services. “This competition is very real, as there are deadlines, teamwork, collaboration, communication skills, and innovative engineering challenges,” team coach and STEM instructor John Twichel told the Petoskey News-Review.

State Schools Chief Richard Woods Promotes Summer Reading in Macon (Macon Telegraph, Georgia)

Georgia school superintendent Richard Woods joined local librarians and superintendents last week to promote the Middle Georgia Regional Library System’s summer reading program. The state education department has partnered with several organizations to donate more than 100,000 books to children this summer, and the reading program is trying to encourage students to read at least 25 hours this summer. “Reading doesn’t just stop at the end of school,” Woods told the Macon Telegraph. “It needs to continue during the summer.”

Taking Afterschool on the Road (Brooklyn Daily Eagle, New York)

Afterschool Ambassador Marcel Braithwaite discusses the importance of federal and local funding for afterschool programs in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle: “Last week, I joined more than 150 afterschool advocates from 36 states… to send a message to Congress that we need to make afterschool a priority…. Lawmakers must resist efforts to balance the budget on the backs of schoolchildren. Securing funding for the afterschool programs that keep kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families is vital for our neighborhoods and our communities. It was a message our lawmakers needed to hear, and we were proud to deliver it!”

Education for Homeless Kids Gets a Boost (Deseret Morning News, Utah)

The Utah State Board of Education recently approved funding to make sure summer education for homeless children starts on time this year. The board unanimously approved $15,000 to fund the Road Home’s Midvale Center’s summer program, which serves about 50 homeless students, according to the Deseret Morning News. The all-day program includes meals, academic instruction, field trips and other fun activities. “Children experiencing homelessness can lose an estimated three to six months of educational attainment with each episode of homelessness,” said State Rep. Steve Eliason, who secured the appropriation. “This funding will help mitigate this issue for some of the most at-risk students in the state of Utah.” 

JUN
2
2016

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: June 2, 2016

By Luci Manning

After-School Program for Newport Kids Experiencing Homelessness Ends the Year with Artistic Flourish (WCPO, Kentucky)

Over the last few months, an afterschool program has showed students experiencing homelessness that they have the power to make a difference in their communities. Club Diversity Wildcats students learned about cultures from around the world and eventually created a set of colorful, diversity-themed murals to adorn the outside of Newport Middle School. “Art is a powerful tool for changing lives,” lead artist Linda Schneider-Houghton told WCPO. “My goal is for these kids to come back here with their own children one day and for it to give them self-esteem for the rest of their lives.”

After-School Program Teaches Peace Education (WJLA, District of Columbia)

Students in One Common Unity’s afterschool program are learning conflict resolution skills through poetry, music, meditation and art. The program, based out of Wilson High School in Washington D.C., uses arts-based programming to teach young people how to solve their problems peacefully, how to handle stress and build their confidence. “It’s a good program that kind of reminds you to think before you say,” 11th-grader Isaiah King told WJLA. A second afterschool program through One Common Unity, Fly by Light, tries to connect inner-city youth to the great outdoors, even offering a week-long retreat in the summer.

Connecting Children to Nature Initiative Builds Off Current City Programs (Wisconsin State Journal, Wisconsin)

Each week during the school year, Sherman Middle School students trekked through Warner Park with their University of Wisconsin student “co-explorers” as part of an afterschool program designed to support park preservation. The program is part of a larger trend in environmental programming in Madison, fueled by a $25,000 grant from the National League of Cities and the Children & Nature Network for the Cities Connecting Children to Nature Initiative aimed at getting more low-income and minority youth outside. “Nature is not always a top priority for cities, but it can be,” Children & Nature Network director of strategic initiatives Margaret Lamar told the Wisconsin State Journal.

Make Some Noise (Westchester County Journal News, New York)

A new recording studio at the Nyack Center will give low-income students the opportunity to create and record their own music under the supervision of experienced professionals. In the new recording studio and afterschool program, young people will learn about voice overs, audio engineering and video and music production from more than 15 local professionals, including broadcasters, sound engineers and producers. “I hope to spend my time helping teens learn new skills they can take and use going forward,” sound engineer Ed Willock told the Journal News. “It’s going to give the kids a place to bring their creative outlets and to learn the technical skills to produce themselves.” 

MAY
25
2016

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: May 25, 2016

By Luci Manning

To Bridge the Gap (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Arkansas)

Joyce Willis, educational programs manager for the Clinton Foundation, makes the case for summer learning programs in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette: “Summer learning loss, also known as the ‘summer slide,’ affects nearly every student in the country…. This education loss is even more severe for students from low-income families who fall nearly three months behind in the summer…. That’s why it’s important for communities to come together and create opportunities for our students—all our students—to have access to quality educational and literacy programs.”

Organizers: Program for Inner-City Kids is Difference Between Life and Death (WHO, Iowa)

A ten-week summer program is attempting to transform Des Moines’ poorest neighborhoods into safe places for kids. “Doing More in the Core” is providing grants to non-profits and community organizations that offer activities for young people from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. throughout the summer, a time when police say youths are most likely to get into trouble. “Everybody’s home situation isn’t the best,” Oakridge Neighborhood site coordinator Stephen Williams told WHO. “Giving them an opportunity or a place to go or services that they can benefit from or learn from may help save a life.”

“There’s a Lot of Devastation,” After-School Programs Brace for Budget Cuts (KFOR, Oklahoma)

Oklahoma City Public Schools’ looming budget cuts will start affecting students this week as summer programs try to handle the cutbacks. Struggling students will lose out on tutoring, fun activities and meals thanks to the $30 million in planned reductions. “So, the kids will be home alone, a lot of them or out getting in trouble,” Boys & Girls Clubs CEO Jane Sutter told KFOR. “It’s a very economically challenged area of our community. There are not a lot of options for those kids. So, not only will they not get a nutritious meal probably during the day, they won’t have positive activities to help them grow and learn…  It is really time for our state leadership, our community leadership, everybody to make kids come first.”

Shaking up Fitness (Austin American-Statesman, Texas)

Middle school students throughout Austin are learning that biking and running are more than just ways to stay fit – they’re a way to build confidence, make friends and, most importantly, have fun. Boneshaker Project runs youth exercise programs at recreation centers and schools throughout the city, fulfilling its mission to foster a lifestyle of activity and movement. The nonprofit targets middle school kids, according to founder Todd Reed, because it’s an underserved age group when it comes to these sorts of programs. “We all realize there are more resources available to elementary kids than middle school kids,” he told the Austin American-Statesman. “There’s a gap there, at a time when kids are very impressionable.”

MAY
18
2016

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: May 18, 2016

By Luci Manning

Students Jump into Club (Norwich Bulletin, Connecticut)

Earlier this year, Sterling Community School students were treated to a visit from a jump-rope expert who inspired them to start their own afterschool jump-rope program. The students have done all the work to make the club a reality – they put together a proposal, made flyers, created permission slips and developed a schedule. Principal Shari Ternowchek said the club is a great way for students to stay healthy and build a sense of camaraderie. “It really opened the doors to the quiet, shy kids,” she told the Norwich Bulletin.

NYC Teens Head to Flint to Bring Relief to Water Crisis (Newsday, New York)

When New York City students in the YMCA’s afterschool program learned about the Flint water crisis, they decided to hold a water drive that would eventually collect 300 bottles of water and donations for filters. But for six teens, that wasn’t enough – they personally made the trek to Michigan to deliver the donations themselves. Sixteen-year-old Fahme Ibrahim’s family struggled without water after Superstorm Sandy, so he said he could relate to Flint residents as they deal with their contaminated water supply. “Knowing that Flint was out of water for a longer period of time, it was unimaginable,” he told Newsday. “I wanted to make sure we could give back.”

Future Docs Go to Cooking Class (Philadelphia Inquirer, Pennsylvania)

Medical students from Rutgers’ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School are trying to mitigate diseases like obesity and diabetes by bringing their medical knowledge to an afterschool cooking class in New Brunswick. RWJ encourages its students to participate in community service, and after seeing the role food choices play in many of these diseases, three students – Sally Vitez, Jaclyn Portelli Tremont and Melissa Villars – decided this was the best way they could start to treat the next generation. “With the epidemic of childhood obesity in this country, we felt an obligation, as future physicians, to try and teach kids how much the food they eat is directly related to their health,” Vitez told the Philadelphia Inquirer. The class gives students lessons in moderation and a plethora of healthy recipes to try at home.

Refuge for Refugees (Tucson Weekly, Arizona)

For two hours every Wednesday, documentary filmmaker Özlem Ayse Özgür teaches filmmaking techniques to refugee teenagers as part of the Owl and Panther Youth Film Project. The art therapy program hopes to give these students a set of valuable multimedia skills while building a community of friends and mentors for teens who may feel out of place in their new country. Over the course of the four-month program, each student creates a short self-portrait as well as a longer film about the meaning of “home.” Owl and Panther administrative manager Abby Hungwe said the program has helped students build their confidence and take on leadership roles. “I think with any work that you do with kids, the reward is seeing their growth and seeing them push through something that may have begun as a weakness and converting that into a success,” she told Tucson Weekly.

MAY
11
2016

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: May 11, 2016

By Luci Manning

Waterbury Children Spend Day at Half Moon Farm (Meriden Record-Journal, Connecticut)

Kids in the Almost Home afterschool program recently spent a day riding horses around Half Moon Farm with their friends and family members. This is the second year the afterschool program, which serves 40 children each week, has visited the farm, although for many of the students, it was their first time ever riding a horse. The riders were assisted by members of the Cheshire Horse Council, according to the Record-Journal.

Bird Street Students Proudly Finish 5K Race (Oroville Mercury Register, California)

Thirty Bird Street School students crossed the finish line of their first-ever 5K race last week while being cheered on by their peers in an afterschool running club. The club, organized by teachers Kristi Theveos and Kathy Pietak, trains elementary school students for the 3.1-mile race throughout the spring, encouraging them to be proud of participating in the race in the first place rather than worrying about coming in first. “It’s a big deal for them because most kids this age have never run that far,” Pietak told the Oroville Mercury Register.

Village Ambulance Program Training Young Members to Save Lives (Berkshire Eagle, Massachusetts)

Village Ambulance Service’s Explorer Post 911 is teaching kids as young as eight years old how to be lifesavers. The program teaches the basics of emergency medical services, like CPR and the Heimlich maneuver, and prepares students for future careers as health care providers. It’s also a way for kids to find their self-worth and stay safe during the after school hours. “Being part of this has built my confidence and I think more kids should get involved,” high school sophomore Brianna Harris told the Berkshire Eagle. “It feels good to know that I have the skills to save a life.”

Greenhouse After-School Program Sparks Adventure for Ridgeview Elementary Students (Craig Daily Press, Colorado)

Ridgeview Elementary School students are subtly learning about science through the plant-based Greenhouse Afterschool Program. Last week, students worked with flowers like marigolds and petunias to prepare the perfect Mother’s Day plant, while also learning about the plants’ vascular system and the difference between plant and animal cells. The program is sponsored by the school’s Parent Advisory Council (PAC), which also runs afterschool programs in art and languages. PAC president Mindy Baker said the afterschool atmosphere makes learning fun and less of a chore for students, and lets them explore fun topics they don’t have time for in the regular school day. “It gives you the opportunity to offer (students) something outside of what they normally have in their classes,” she told the Craig Daily Press

MAY
4
2016

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: May 4, 2016

By Luci Manning

A Journey to Medicine (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pennsylvania)

Over the past seven years, nearly 100 African-American teens have explored a potential career in medicine thanks to the Gateway Medical Society’s mentoring program, Journey to Medicine. Kids in the program receive hands-on basic medical training, academic tutoring, and guidance on how to get into college and beyond. “African-American males are the group with the lowest representation in medicine, and this group had a vision to change that,” Rhonda Johnson, a Gateway Medical Society board member, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Eli Paperboy Reed Lifts Young Voices in the Gospel Spirit (New York Times, New York)

When musician Eli Paperboy Reed visited the Gospel for Teens afterschool program in 2013, he proposed a new class in quartet singing, a looser style of music than the other choir programs at the Mama Foundation for the Arts. Since then, he has been dropping by once a week to teach groups of young men gospel songs and instill in them the confidence to sing their hearts out on street corners. Mama Foundation executive director Vy Higginsen says the class has been therapeutic for the students involved. “So whether you decide to pursue a music career or be a veterinarian, it really doesn’t matter,” she told the New York Times. “When you take the music with you, you’re taking your own therapy with you.”

Students Show Off at Maker Expo (Cincinnati Enquirer, Ohio)

Reverse-engineered light sabers, 3-D printed water bottles and sumo-wrestling robots—all designed and built by high school students—were on display at last week’s World Maker and Inventor Expo, an event put on by NKY MakerSpace. Students from four counties convened at Boone County High School to see what kinds of projects their peers have been working on in STEM classes and afterschool programs. Boone County Schools expanded learning opportunities coordinator Ryan Kellinghaus called the event a success and said “Parents see the power in how we’re making education fill the needs of our community and our economy…The interactive element of this education is important and it’s why we put together workshops (at the MakerSpace).”

Students Give a Helping, Artistic Hand (Journal Review, Indiana)

The newly renovated Darlington Community Center now features a colorful mural showcasing the best parts of town, thanks to the Sugar Creek Elementary School’s art club. Fifth graders in the afterschool club worked together to design the mural, presented their design to the Darlington Town Council and raised all the money to make the project happen. Town Council Member Kim Carpenter said she and her fellow councilmembers were impressed with the presentation and thrilled the students wanted to be involved. “It is great to see the kids become invested in our local community project,” she told the Journal Review.