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Snacks by Luci Manning
JUL
20
2016

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: July 20, 2016

By Luci Manning

City Councilors Serve Up Free Meals for Students during Summer Break (Tulsa World, Oklahoma)

Employees at the Cornerstone Community Center got help providing summer meals to students last week from two Tulsa city councilors. The center’s Summer Café program offers breakfast and lunch weekdays throughout the summer to ensure students are getting healthy, filling meals when school is out. “The program itself (Summer Café) is hugely important,” Councilor Anna America told Tulsa World. “We’ve got thousands and thousands of kids who don’t have basic needs met. For many of these kids, during the school year they’ll get breakfast and lunch from the school. Over the summer, it’s a huge problem.”

Boom Comics Gives out Free Comics, Lunch to Support National Summer Learning Day, Other Initiatives (Topeka Capital-Journal, Kansas)

Various Topeka community organizations last week came together to put on a special “Meet and Eat” event to celebrate Summer Learning Day and promote literacy and healthy eating habits for students. The event was held at Boom Comics, which handed out free comics to participating children. Harvesters and the Kansas Department of Education’s summer food service program collaborated to provide a free meal for students while other groups gave out free books and put together games. “It’s not just a positive for the communities that are involved here – the small business owner, the nonprofits – but the kids win. And that’s what we’re about,” Harvesters government programs manager Angela Jeppesen told the Topeka Capital-Journal. “We want these kids to win. We want them to be positively supported by the community.”

The Rec Still Welcoming Youth after 75 Years (Dayton Daily News, Ohio)

Teens have been using the Troy Recreation Hall (better known as the Rec) to play basketball, work on homework and catch up with their friends for 75 years. “The Rec has survived over the years because it has had tremendous community support as well as its ability to meet the ever changing needs of the youth of Troy,” Rec board president Andrew Wannemacher told Dayton Daily News. The Rec offers free afterschool activities for middle school and high school students, including basketball, dodgeball, billiards, ping-pong and video games, and also provides computers and a homework room for students to get some extra work done.

STEM Classes Sprout in Summer (New York Daily News, New York)

A new program launching in New York City will give 4,000 students from underserved areas the opportunity to explore STEM fields this summer. Last week, City School Chancellor Carmen Fariña unveiled the STEM Summer in the City classes, which will teach topics like computer coding, video game design and robotics to students in grades two through ten. According to the Daily News, Fariña sees STEM and summer learning as “critical pieces of putting our students on the path to college and careers,” especially for at-risk children who may not otherwise have such opportunities. 

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learn more about: Nutrition Science Summer Learning
JUL
13
2016

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: July 13, 2016

By Luci Manning

Kids Bring Legos to Life in the Woodlands (Houston Chronicle, Texas)

The Woodlands Children’s Museum is hosting workshops on Shakespearian theater, arts and crafts and chemistry this summer, but the museum’s Lego robotics course is by far the most popular. The elementary schoolers learn to reverse engineer Lego robots using their knowledge of gear ratios and construction, building up to five robots a week. “We educated, empowered and excited them, and they didn’t even know,” museum executive director Angela Colton told the Houston Chronicle. The course shows students how fun working with technology can be while helping them develop skills like teamwork, problem solving and creativity.

Camp Susan Curtiss Provides Lifetime Lessons (Portland Press Herald, Maine)

Underprivileged youths rarely get to enjoy the opportunities that come with afterschool activities and summer camps. But for more than 40 years, Camp Susan Curtis in the foothills of western Maine has provided a place for economically disadvantaged students to participate in all the outdoor activities summer camp is known for while also providing free educational programs to build confidence and job skills for the future. All the campers come from disadvantaged homes and many are on the autism spectrum, but at Camp Susan Curtis they learn how to set goals, think critically about the world around them and build their self-esteem, the Portland Press Herald reports.

Full STEAM Ahead: Summer Camp Puts Students in the Laboratory (Auburn Journal, California)

Hundreds of Auburn students are learning about how rockets work, how to build robots and what happens when you mix Mentos with Diet Coke at summer camps all over the area. STEAM-based summer programs are popping up all over Auburn, from the Boys & Girls Club to the Colfax Library. The programs not only help stem the summer slide, but also focus on social-emotional learning, forging friendships, improving teamwork and creative problem-solving. “(Students) see a challenge and work to fix it. If it doesn’t work out great the first time they reassess,” Boys & Girls Club program director Jennifer Cross told the Auburn Journal. “It’s a great life lesson.”

Put Down Your Cell Phones and Learn How to Sew (Weston Forum, Connecticut)

Weston resident Gabriela Low thinks young people today spend too much time on their cell phones, so she has started running afterschool programs at Weston public schools encouraging students to work on hand-on creative projects, primarily sewing and knitting. The enrichment classes helps students build fine motor skills and give them a chance to work independently to develop their individual creativity. “When the kids complete a project in my class and see the end product, it raises their self-esteem and gives them something to feel good about,” Low told the Weston Forum. “Also, the process of sewing, knitting or braiding seems to help the kids focus and relax.” Low hopes to expand her program to the middle school and high school, where she would teach fashion design and other more complex programs. 

JUL
6
2016

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: July 6, 2016

By Luci Manning

Kids Have a Blast, Learn Cyber Basics (Pensacola News Journal, Florida)

Elementary and middle school students are learning how to better secure their computers, phones and tablets at Global Business Solutions Inc.’s (GBSI’s) Summer Cyber Camp. The program teaches students about the dangers of sharing personal information with strangers and shows them how to create complex passwords to protect their devices. The camp aims to expose young people to cybersecurity and computer science to encourage them to pursue careers in those fields. “The goal is to get them young and to get them interested,” GBSI technical writer Steve Samaha told the Pensacola News Journal

Free Range Fun (The Landmark, Massachusetts)

Lisa Burris thinks young students today suffer from a nature deficit, so she’s trying to give them opportunities to explore the outdoors at her Turn Back Time Farm. The nonprofit farm offers summer camps, home schooling and afterschool programs for students of all abilities, but particularly for children with special needs who may have trouble thriving in a traditional classroom. “The overarching goal is just play,” Burris told The Landmark. “It happens naturally, and it ticks all the boxes – development, gross motor skills. Kids learn, heal, negotiate through play.” The 58-acre farm boasts a trail system, a cultivated garden and plenty of farm animals for children to interact with, including goats, pigs and a pony.

Summer Camp an EPIC Way to Learn (Post & Courier, South Carolina)

Nearly a thousand Charleston County elementary schoolers are learning to be scientists and creative problem solvers at EPIC summer camp. Many of the students spend the whole day at EPIC (which stands for Engaging, Purposeful, Innovative, Creative), working on STEM projects in the mornings and art and other enrichment activities in the afternoons. The camp aims to improve students’ social skills and keep them learning over the long summer months so they don’t fall behind at the start of the school year. “I really like it because you can learn a lot so you don’t forget in the summertime,” fourth-grader Leila Nadar told the Post & Courier. “I’ve always had a hard time when I get back from the summer and I’m like, Oh my God, I forgot everything, but now I won’t forget.”

Horizons Helping More Hoosier Kids (Indianapolis Star, Indiana)

While many students lose ground in core academic subjects over the summer, 150 students in the Horizons summer program are gaining two to three months of reading proficiency, improving their math skills and learning how to be stronger communicators. The students, most of whom are at risk of falling behind their peers during the school year, spend their summer days on Butler College’s campus participating in classroom activities and field trips meant to sharpen their academic and social skills in all areas, including art, STEM, physical fitness and community service. They also get a glimpse into the college life, showing them that they could succeed after high school as well. “It makes me so happy because I get to see people eating lunch and they’re in college,” 13-year-old Quintez Tucker told the Indianapolis Star. “That makes me think I can do it. I walk past the door and see them in class, I know I can do that.” 

JUN
29
2016

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: June 29, 2016

By Luci Manning

Young Filmmakers ‘Make a Difference’ (NorthJersey.com, New Jersey)

George Washington Middle School students received the red carpet treatment at the eighth annual Make a Difference Film Festival last week. Students in the school’s afterschool club created nine short films to enter in the festival, each of which focused on the event’s making-a-difference theme. Representatives from the student newspaper took paparazzi photos and conducted red carpet interviews, and some of the non-actors even stood in as security guards. “Students ran the whole thing because it makes them feel empowered that they have an important role in a major project the school does,” sixth grade social studies teacher and festival organizer Mary Lou Handy told NorthJersey.com.

Domi, FAMU DRS Partner for Tech Program (Tallahassee Democrat, Florida)

Community-based startup incubator Domi Station has partnered with Florida A&M’s Developmental Research School to bring a computer science afterschool program to students on Tallahassee’s south side. The program is modeled after a program in Melbourne, using code cracking and the Minecraft game to get students interested in a future in technology. The ultimate goal, according to Domi community manager Lucas Lindsey, is to increase diversity in entrepreneurship and tech. “It’s become clear that we need to create opportunities for people in all parts of our community,” Lindsey told the Tallahassee Democrat.

D’Addario Foundation Brings String Music Back to Copiague (Newsday, New York)

The Long Island Lesson Program has brought string instrument music instruction back to the Copiague School District for the first time in 30 years. Thanks to the nonprofit D’Addario Foundation, about 20 students are receiving 6 hours of after school cello, viola and violin lessons, learning about responsibility, dedication and perseverance at the same time. “We really believe that music has the extraordinary ability to improve their cognitive and social development,” D’Addario Foundation executive director Suzanne D’Addario Brouder told Newsday.

Editorial: A Better Prescription for Helping Sacramento’s Kids (Sacramento Bee, California)

The Sacramento Bee editorial board argues for more dedicated funding for summer learning programs: “Try as Sacramento City Council members might, they just can’t seem to cobble together enough money to consistently fund programs for kids…. Going forward, the City Council must make it a priority to carve out a bigger, more reliable source of funding…. Currently, the city spends only about 1 percent of its general fund on youth programs. Such activities to keep teens busy, particularly in the idle days of summer, are important for Sacramento. After all, according to some accounts, violent crime is rising faster here than in many cities across the country…. It’s time to make Sacramento youths a priority.”

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learn more about: Media Outreach Science Arts
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.”