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JAN
28

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup  January 28, 2015

By Luci Manning

Giving Young Athletes in New York a Fighting Chance (New York Times, New York)

Retired police officer Pat Russo works with youths on fitness, schoolwork and discipline, preparing hundreds of young men and women to face everyday challenges.  Despite all the young people throwing punches, Russo swears the Atlas NYPD Cops and Kids Boxing Program is not about boxing—it’s a way to heal rifts between young people and police and to teach kids the importance of staying healthy and staying in school.  For high school senior Elijah Johnson, the afterschool program is working.  “I used to get into the wrong stuff,” he told the New York Times.  “When I started boxing, I learned to discipline myself, how to be on time, how to dress properly, stay focused on school and be willing to work.”

Mentoring Program Helps Boys at Dixie Magnet Elementary Show Respect and Gain Self-Confidence (Lexington Herald Leader, Kentucky)

One by one, fourth- and fifth-grade boys in the Operation Making a Change afterschool group at Dixie Magnet Elementary stood at the front of the room and explained how they had shown leadership in the past week.  One had defused a bullying incident, another tutored kindergarten students and a third gave money to a homeless person.  The mentoring program is meant to teach these young men basic social and leadership skills, like how to show respect, set goals and take on responsibility at school.  Dixie Dean of Students Cheri Presley told the Lexington Herald Leader that the boys support each other and have developed a sense of family, especially with their mentors.  “Dixie as well as most other elementary schools have primarily female staffs,” she said.  “To bring men into the picture and mentor these boys, I feel like it’s been a huge success.”

Home Depot: Teaching Life Skills to Students (Jackson Sun, Tennessee)

At a Home Depot in Jackson last week, John Ducrest taught 13 children how to use simple tools, repair a hole in a wall and to cover damage.  The workshop was part of Keep My Hood Good, an afterschool mentoring program for children in high-crime areas.  Founder Juanita Jones said her mission is to equip the children to give back to their communities, the Jackson Sun reports.  Future workshops will teach other indoor and outdoor home repair and gardening projects, and Home Depot plans to partner with Keep My Hood Good on additional community service activities.

Mentoring Program Keeps Teen on Proper Path (Chicago Sun-Times, Illinois)

The Lawndale Christian Legal Center opened in 2010 to provide legal representation to area families, but its leaders quickly recognized that the youth they encountered needed more than legal help.  Organizers started an afterschool mentoring program targeting high school students on probation and in need of guidance.  “This is such an important relationship because there’s so many kids out here who are lost,” afterschool program director Maurice Harris told the Chicago Sun-Times.  “They don’t have the relationships with people that show continuous support with their daily life problems.”  Mentors follow the students throughout high school, eventually helping them with college applications and even job placement.  The center also provides academic tutoring, substance-abuse counseling, community service projects and social outings for the teens. 

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JAN
21

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup  January 21, 2015

By Luci Manning

Pupils Use Microscopes, Food Coloring to Study Dairy Foods (The Daily Item, Pennsylvania)

Oaklyn Elementary School students had a “dairy” fun time experimenting with milk during their STEM-focused afterschool program last week.  The program is designed to assist at-risk students having academic and behavioral issues, and get them interested in STEM subjects.  Each week focuses on a different food topic, and last week was dedicated to milk.  Students at one station observed curds and whey under a microscope.  At another, they separated the fat content, and at a third, they observed the effects of food coloring on different types of milk.  “They don’t get to do these kinds of things in school,” John Ryan, owner of Customized Tutoring Services, which coordinated the program, told The Daily Item.  “We’ve gotten a lot of good responses from the kids, the staff and the parents.”

Millburn High School Students Learn Philanthropy (The Item of Millburn and Short Hills, New Jersey)

Millburn High School alumnus Yale Levey has returned to his alma mater to train students in the art of philanthropy.  Through his ten-week afterschool program, students raised money and donated about $1,600 to several New Jersey charities.  In order to decide who to give to, the students interviewed representatives from each charity and evaluated their tax returns.  Levey noted that it was difficult for the students to choose some charities over others, but that’s the point of the program.  “It’s intended on being an experience that pulls you out of your comfort zone,” he told The Item of Millburn and Short Hills.  The students presented representatives of the selected nonprofits with checks during a ceremony on January 6.

District Finding Uses for Federal Grants (Mohave Valley Daily News, Arizona)

Children in the Bullhead City Elementary School District (BHCESD) are learning the art of drone photography, thanks to federal grants awarded to five of the district’s six campuses.  The 21st Century Community Learning Center grants, which total about $600,000, are allowing students to participate in dozens of afterschool activities that address a wide variety of student interests.  The students are learning to operate drones, write computer code and build rockets, BHCESD’s curriculum and professional development director Cynthia Neuzil told the Mohave Valley Daily News.

On the Bright Side: Group Shows Jumping Rope Not Just a Game (The Daily Star, New York)

The Red Hot Ropers Jumprope afterschool program in Cooperstown is in its 23rd year of helping students learn new skills, exercise and have fun.  Third-grader Lucy Hayes said her favorite routine is one she does with a friend where they trade shoes while jumping rope.  Adviser and elementary physical education teacher Connie Herzig said the program gives the students a lot confidence and brings their strengths to the forefront.  “I love the way it creates an opportunity for exercise in the winter months,” she told The Daily Star.  “It taps into creativity, cooperation and joy. The kids just love it.”  The group has several performances on its calendar in the next month, including February 8 at halftime of the State University College at Oneonta men’s basketball game. 

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JAN
14

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup  January 14, 2015

By Luci Manning

Static Cling! Kids Try to Make Cellphone Charging T-Shirts (The Brooklyn Paper, New York)

Pow! Caped Crusaders in Technology, a tech-centric afterschool program in Flatbush, is teaching sixth and seventh graders how to make wearable tech gadgets. For their first project, students created a shirt that can charge a cellphone. Once they finished the shirts, which feature pockets with a built-in phone charger and battery, the afterschool students presented their work to the rest of the class and took questions. Bobbie Brown, the site director of Brooklyn College Community Partnership, which runs the program, said the point of the program is to get kids thinking about making things. “Once they see that it’s not that hard, they’ll say ‘I can do this’,” Brown told The Brooklyn Paper. “Be more creative, take control. We’re really pushing that entrepreneurial spirit.”

Lafayette After-School Group Pairs Students with Mentors Who Are Architects, Engineers or Construction Professionals (Lexington Herald Leader, Kentucky)

Architects, engineers and other construction professionals are giving students a glimpse into their daily lives through an afterschool mentoring program. In the Lafayette High School ACE (architecture, construction and engineering) Mentor Program, professionals teach students about the basics of building and aid them as they work on complex hypothetical projects. The program allows students to be around people with similar interests and to imagine what their future careers might look like. Gene Toth, director of Lafayette’s pre-engineering program, told the Lexington Herald Leader that the afterschool group gives his students “a hands-on chance to actually meet with the architects and engineers that do this on a daily basis.”

After-School Program at Nursing Home Helps Young and Old (Duncan Banner, Oklahoma)

At Wilkins Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, an afterschool program for elementary students is bridging the generations. Through the Heart Bridge program, nursing home residents act as tutors and reading buddies for the students. The residents and the children love spending time together, and often connect as if they were relatives. “We have seen that children and school groups that come out always make the residents’ day,” Wilkins administrator and owner Melanie Wilkins told the Duncan Banner. “They just love to see the children and interact with them.” The average afternoon is packed with activity – the kids have a snack, read with the residents, work on art projects and attend field trips.

Teen Center Celebrated for Youth Outreach (The Herald, Connecticut)

The YWCA House of Teens, an afterschool program designed to give teenage girls advocacy and leadership skills, healthy habits and stronger self-esteem, will be honored today at a celebration with New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart. House of Teens keeps girls motivated to stay in school and take part in community activities. “Many of these girls need female role models to help them develop leadership skills and good decision-making skills,” YWCA associate director Tracey Madden-Hennessey told The Herald. In the program, girls participate in community service projects, like collecting food for nonprofits and highlighting ways to prevent domestic violence. 

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JAN
7

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup  January 7, 2015

By Luci Manning

Students Learn More Than Acting at Children’s Theatre (Vero Beach Press Journal, Florida)

Kids are learning a lot more than song and dance at the Riverside Children’s Theatre. Students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of afterschool programs at the theater, learning about lighting, sound, set and prop design, dance, singing, acting and much more. But most importantly, the kids learn life skills, including responsibility, communication skills, confidence and how to overcome fear. “Too many theaters spend all their time teaching kids how special they are instead of teaching them how to be special,” director/instructor Jeff Horger told the Press Journal. “We want to put our kids on a path to succeed in life.” Most recently, a cast of 19 students ages 10 to 15 put on a rendition of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”

Oakland: Afterschool Club That Gives Urban Boys Tools for Success Expanding (Contra Costa Times, California)

When high school teacher Ashanti Branch first learned that half of the school’s Latino and African-American boys were failing half or more of their classes, he created the Ever Forward Club to give urban youth the tools to succeed in life. Ten years later, the afterschool program has dozens of alumni, more than 90 percent of whom went on to college. Branch said the program mostly targets “students who are not really connecting to the school” to convince them that being smart and getting good grades is cool. In 2015, the club is expanding into more schools, launching a mentoring program and recruiting middle school boys for leadership training. Seventh grader Alijah Butler told the Contra Costa Times that the club helps students with their attitudes: “This is a place where we can say anything, things that are important to us, things we wouldn’t say in school.” The club will be featured in the documentary “The Mask You Live In,” premiering this month at the Sundance Film Festival.

A Leap of Faith for At-Risk Youths (Newport News Daily Press, Virginia)

Seventeen-year-old Michael Neblett said he used to be a bad kid – he got in trouble at school, disobeyed his mom and struggled to control his anger. Then he started skateboarding, and he said it changed his life. Neblett was one of five local teenagers chosen by the Newport News Department of Human Services to receive a free skating membership and mentoring at Mekos Skate Park. The initiative gives kids a safe place to be after school and aims to prevent violence, engage and empower youths and improve the lives of young people. The program offers help with homework and students said it helps build their self-esteem and motivates them to set and reach goals. Neblett told the Daily Press that he’s also learned to shoot and edit skateboarding videos through the program, and he recently applied to local colleges to study computer arts. “It all came from skateboarding,” he said.

Teenagers Tackle Heavy-Duty Themes (Ventura County Star, California)

Nine high school students recently performed “An Enemy of the People,” a sociopolitical drama that pits truth against politics and the individual against the majority, as part of the tuition-free afterschool program Literature in Action. The afterschool program has previously put on productions of “Twelve Angry People,” “Our Town,” “The Crucible” and Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” “An Enemy of the People” is set in a small town known for its healing hot springs that fuel the town economy. When the local doctor discovers the bath waters are infested with bacteria, he tries to close the springs but is met with resistance by town leaders. Katie Guthrie, who played the doctor’s sister and the town mayor, told the Ventura County Star that she hoped the performance conveyed the message of right vs. wrong while showcasing the talent of teens tackling deep material. “I’d like people to take away that teenagers are capable of more than just the stereotypical comedic plays,” she said. “They can deal with adult themes and they can perform and they can impact.”

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DEC
17

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup  December 17, 2014

By Luci Manning

Culinary Classroom: Auburn Middle-Schoolers Compete in Junior Iron Chef Contest (Auburn Citizen, N.Y.)

Ten young chefs put their newly learned kitchen skills to the test during a Junior Iron Chef competition last week in Auburn, N.Y. Two teams of seventh- and eighth-graders made a potato and spinach hand pie they’d spent weeks modifying during an afterschool program. The competition followed several weeks of working together and learning cooking basics from professional chefs and Sarah Parisi, AJHS family and consumer sciences instructor. Organizers say the program has promoted teamwork and communication – there were no meltdowns or raised voices during the hour-long competition. “I’m really proud of them; their creativity really came out,” Parisi told the Auburn Citizen. “They’ve learned to trust each other.”

Boys & Girls Club Keeps 9-Year-Old on Positive Path (Orlando Sentinel, Fla.)

Christina Hagle developed a sharp edge to her personality after her father was taken to jail. She hid her homework, stole things and talked back to her mother – until she found the Boys & Girls Club of Lake & Sumter. Christina began going to the club after school, where she gets help with homework and participates in a variety of activities ranging from aquaponics – growing crops in water – to knitting. “The club is about teaching how to learn about different things that will protect you in life,” Christina told the Orlando Sentinel. Her mother, Tracy Kendall, said Christina has absorbed the club’s lessons on being honest and treating others with respect. “I watched my daughter grow from someone who was a troubled child to someone who is really secure with herself,” Kendall said.

‘Stellar Girls’ Keeps Science in Mind (Southtown Star, Ill.)

Men have always comprised the majority of professionals in the math and scientific fields, but Stellar Girls is hoping to change that. The iBIO Institute Educate Center’s afterschool program is designed to keep young girls interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and improve scientific literacy. Over the course of the full-year program, girls partake in 20 different hands-on activities focused on how STEM applications are used to “feed, fuel, sow and heal” the world. “Studies have shown that around fourth or fifth grade, girls start to get the message that math and science are just for boys,” Educate program vice president Ann Reed Vogel told the Southtown Star. “We want to help them stay interested and let them explore the bigger ideas available in STEM fields.”

Urban Gardening Yields a Bounty in Many Ways (Albany Times-Union, N.Y.)

Each year, the kids from 15-LOVE, a tennis program for inner-city youths, grow tomatoes, green beans, squash, onions, peppers, garlic and more in their urban garden, then use the fresh produce to create healthy recipes from scratch. “Each week, the kids make something different, from salads to personal pizzas,” Executive Director Amber Marino told Albany Times-Union. “It’s healthy and a lot of fun. The kids really get into it.” Growing vegetables and preparing meals with them is a revelation for many of the children, whose meals often come from cans, boxes or fast-food containers. 

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DEC
10

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup  December 10, 2014

By Luci Manning

Discovery Space Program Aims to Extend Science Education Past School Bell (Centre Daily Times, Pennsylvania)

An afterschool science program through Benner Elementary School and Discovery Space of Central Pennsylvania is encouraging students to think like engineers. During one week, the students, split into groups by grade, were encouraged to build structure-like objects from an assortment of tools, including wooden objects, rubber bands, magnetic links and cards. “Our mission is to teach them that being an engineer is not just driving a train,” Discover Science executive director Allayn Beck told Centre Daily Times. “We teach them all the different ways of engineering, and encourage them to think critically if something doesn’t work out.” Organizers say they hope the program will return next semester to continue to interest students in science after the bell rings.

Stevens Elementary Teacher Gives STEM Subjects a Musical Remix (The Spokesman-Review, Washington)

Teacher Shawn Tolley is combining his two passions—music and computer science—to show fifth- and sixth-graders in his before- and afterschool program how to mix and master music, record audio tracks, synthesize sounds and create electronic music. His students dream of becoming disc jockeys, video game designers, sound technicians or audio engineers, and just a couple months into the program, they’re already learning how to record music, move around audio tracks and manipulate sound. “I’ve been interested in how music can work in electronics,” 10-year-old Faith White told the Spokesman-Review. “I want to make music for a video game when I get older, and it shows me how to do that stuff.”

Letter to the Editor: A Great Program (Hudson Register-Star, New York)

Germantown High School senior Joshua Wyant wrote a letter to the editor for the Hudson Register-Star about his experiences with the Germantown After School Program (GAP).  He writes: “One of the best things ever to happen at Germantown Central School was the implementation of the Germantown After School Program…Besides providing time for homework, GAP also provides kids with many things to do so it will never get boring…This program offers activities where the kids can learn something. These activities include things such as violin lessons, jazz lessons, computer classes, and crafts…GAP also offers the kids a structured, safe environment…Since this program is so great, other school districts should offer it at an affordable rate.” 

Pirate Underground a Space for Marshfield’s Creative Crowd (Coos Bay The World, Oregon)

After noticing several students on the outskirts of Marshfield High School’s social scene, librarian Peggy Christensen launched a new afterschool library program called The Pirate Underground. “I just wanted kids who did not feel like they had a place to belong or a club to join, that they were welcomed in the afterschool library program,” Christensen told Coos Bay World. So far the group has focused on creative writing, art and music. Community artists come in to mentor the students and lead art projects, and students are encouraged to explore their creativity through various exercises. “It’s a nice break from doing school work,” student Jessica Baimbridge said. “You’re sitting in a classroom for 45 to 50 minutes straight and here you get to do what you actually like.”

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DEC
4

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Weekly Media Roundup  December 4, 2014

By Luci Manning

New Afterschool Program Is Creating Future Entrepreneurs (The Avenue News, Maryland)

Fourth through twelfth-grade students are developing business models and becoming future leaders through I AM O’Kah!’s entrepreneurship program. The 10-week course provides students with entrepreneurship training and communication and each week guest speakers talk to students about their own journey and overcoming obstacles. Aisha DaCosta, CEO of I AM O’Kah!, told The Avenue News that by the end of the program, each student will create a viable business idea to present to a panel of local entrepreneurs. The top three winners will be awarded a micro-grant to help start their business and will be assigned a local entrepreneur as a mentor for the first 30 days of their business venture.

Centre Mentors Coeds Spark Boyle Middle School Girls' Interest in Math, Science (The Advocate-Messenger, Kentucky)

Centre College sophomore Ceci Vollbrecht and several of her classmates formed GEMS (Girls in Engineering, Math and Science), an afterschool program at Boyle County Middle School, in an effort to grow the scientific interest in the next generation of girls. The mentoring program is funded by a grant from the National Girls Collaborative Project, which allows for the group to go on field trips to expose the students to the world of science. “Our goal is to keep them interested, do fun stuff with science, keep them active in it, provide role models for the ones who are pursuing higher level science – and college in general,” Vollbrecht told The Advocate-Messenger.

Digital Harbor Foundation Is Using 3-D Printing to Attract More Girls to Technology (Baltimore Business Journal, Maryland)

Even though the technology field is known for being male-dominated, girls dominate the Digital Harbor Foundation's 3-D printing competition every year. In order to develop even stronger interest among girls, the Baltimore technology education organization is launching a club called the Makerettes, which allows middle school and high school girls to work together on projects (3-D printed or otherwise) and get to know each other. Greer Melon, the foundation’s director of business operations told Baltimore Business Journal, “The culture of tech jobs is something that can be really off-putting for girls.” Organizers hope the club will not only attract new students, but also help female students overcome the male-dominated technology culture.

School Spotlight: Whitehorse Makers Club Spurs Creativity (Wisconsin State Journal, Wisconsin)

Recently at the Whitehorse Makers Club, 11 year-old Kodie Kramer created a game app featuring a roving tank that can now be found in the iTunes store. The club allows children to explore their creativity through inventions like Kodie’s and other projects like stop-motion animation, Post-it note murals, video games, music and avatars. Jennifer Milne-Carroll, library media technology specialist and creator of the Whitehorse Makers Club, told the Wisconsin State Journal that the club can help students explore different careers. Whitehorse art teacher Andrew Erickson said it helps them learn to work together and the students have a great deal of freedom. “It’s a place for them to make things, use their creativity. It’s a way to challenge themselves,” he said. “It’s fun to watch them explore and figure out what they want to do and how to accomplish it.”

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NOV
19

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - November 19, 2014

By Luci Manning

Mentoring Program Opens at Church: Location Is Newest of Five Sites in Fallbrook Where Kids Attend After-School Sessions (San Diego Union-Tribune, California)

Thanks to a $6,000 donation, the GANAS (Guide, Advise, Nurture and Support) mentoring program opened a fifth site last month at the St. John’s Episcopal Church in San Diego, CA.  At GANAS, youth aged 9 to 14 can participate in afterschool activities led by trained mentors and local high school students, who serve as positive role models and help steer youth away from gangs and drugs.  The program provides snacks and encourages children to share news of the day and play brain games.  Pat Braendel, the program’s founder, told San Diego Union-Tribune, “The program develops critical thinking and leadership skills that help kids build confidence and healthy, balanced minds and bodies.”

In Englewood, New Program Puts Greater Emphasis on Black History (Northern Valley Suburbanite, New Jersey)

Vanisha Williams attributes her confidence and sense of pride to an African-American studies class she took in college.  Hoping to pass on this eye-opening experience to younger students, Williams began an afterschool program called “Sons of Sankofa” to teach seventh through twelfth grade students about black history, hopefully giving them pride and a sense of self in their community.  In the Akan language of Ghana, “Sankofa” translates roughly to “reach back and get it.”  “It’s about taking what’s good in the past and bringing it to the present for positive progress,” Williams told Northern Valley Suburbanite.  “I feel that’s necessary for any success.” Sons of Sankofa will incorporate technology and social media to better engage students as they learn.

Elementary School Students Explore How Water Works (Montrose Daily Press, Colorado)

Last week, Montrose, CO area elementary school students, with the help of park rangers, worked on hands-on projects to learn about the Colorado River system at their 21st Century Community Learning Center afterschool program.  Students built a replication of the river system and subjected a model town to pollution and precipitation to demonstrate effects on the watershed.  Teachers at the Montrose Elementary After-School Program have planned many other unique and highly creative projects for students, with titles like “Boredom Blasters” and “European Escapades.” “The growth and the quality that we’ve been able to build and establish, and… the amount of children we have every day in our program is amazing,” Director Erica Jiron told the Montrose Daily Press.

Clairton Kids Learn Healthy Snacking in CASTLE Class (The Daily News, Pennsylvania)

First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative encourages chefs to visit schools and educate children on healthy snack options.  In that spirit, Duquesne University Executive Sous Chef Zachary Puhala recently taught fifth and sixth-graders in CASTLE—Clairton’s After-School Teaching & Learning Experience—how to make hummus and applesauce.  Puhala believes the key to getting children to eat healthier is getting them engaged in cooking and finding ways to make nutrition fun – in this case, by letting them crush chickpeas and mash apples to make healthy snacks. CASTLE program coordinator Greg Spotti hopes the students will apply what they’ve learned at home, thereby promoting healthy eating in their communities. “It's not something that has to be done at school,” he told The Daily News. “They can take this learning and share with their family and pretty much everybody else.”

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