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MAY
15

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - May 15, 2014

By Luci Manning

Portsmouth Students Offer Community Service Through After-School Club (Virginian-Pilot, Virginia)

Students in the CARES (Christopher Academy Really Excels at Service) afterschool enrichment club enjoy volunteering in and around Portsmouth.  Christopher Academy Head of School Phyllis Shannon told the Virginian-Pilot that the “young children are very, very interested in helping other people, taking care of the environment, taking care of animals. We try to address those topics with our projects.”  Most recently, the students made “pillow pets” for children at the H.E.R. shelter by decorating white pillowcases with colorful drawings.  As part of the program students have also made cards for veterans, sang to the elderly, and made dog and cat toys, leashes and treats for the Portsmouth Humane Society. 

Lawrence Students Embrace Opera, Learn About More than Music (Eagle Tribune, Massachusetts)

When Lawrence students sing and dance to opera music at their Urban Voices afterschool program they are learning much more than rhythm and beats.  Erin Smith, who runs the program in Lawrence, told the Eagle Tribune that “opera incorporates all kids of art forms. It’s a wonderful way for them to express themselves through music and it takes it to a whole new level.”  Smith tries to incorporate the school-day curriculum into the afterschool lessons, like exposing the students to songs from around the world for multicultural day.  One student, Annykeisha, who was born in Puerto Rico, finds she benefits from the program because, “I don’t know much English and I learn more by singing the songs,” the Eagle Tribune reports. 

Fighting Childhood Obesity (Star-Ledger, New Jersey)

Ginny Ehrlich, chief executive of the Clinton Health Matters Initiative and Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and chief executive of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, wrote a compelling piece, featured in the Star-Ledger, about how New Jerseyans need to capitalize on the progress on efforts to reverse childhood obesity.  They wrote: “The school and after-school environments have an impact on children’s health.  Even if parents are trying to provide their children with nutritious food, young people spend the majority of their time in school and afterschool programs.  This is why we need to ensure that healthy choices are consistently available as the easy and appealing option – in schools, community centers, faith-based organizations, as well as home.”

Six Kids Living in a Brooklyn Homeless Shelter Will Bring Their Singing Act to Radio City Music Hall Next Month (Daily News, New York)

Six talented youngsters who make up the Tilden Hall Homeless Shelter gospel group were among 23 troupes chosen from more than 200 local acts to perform in the Garden of Dreams Talent Show at Radio City Music Hall on June 17. The talent show will give kids who struggle with illness and poverty a chance to shine.  Bill Barlett, the program’s director, told the Daily News that half of the students had not even been to Manhattan and none of them knew what an audition was before this experience.  

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MAY
8

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - May 8, 2014

By Luci Manning

Preventing Violence Will Take Action, Not Just an Action Plan (Star News, North Carolina)

A recent editorial in Wilmington’s Star News urges residents to go beyond community meetings and take action to address recent gang violence.  The editorial says: “It is clear that Wilmington residents and community leaders desperately want to put a stop to the violence that is destroying the lives of many of our young people. And for the most part, they agree on what needs to be done – better resources, more attention to early childhood education and programs to divert kids from gangs and crime, mental health and parenting counseling, second chances for young offenders, higher graduation rates, better opportunities overall…  It will take commitment and cooperation, but also resources. Is this community ready to step up, or will we instead determine that the price is too high? We already are paying too high a price; we can’t afford to lose more of our children to violence.”

South Carolina After-School Program Trains Olympic Hopefuls, In the Ring and the Classroom (KHON 2, South Carolina)

Thanks to the Greenville Boxing Club, two teens are now poised to compete for an Olympic medal.  Shakir Robinson, personal fitness trainer and the afterschool program’s founder, opened the gym’s doors to the students to give them something to do after school to keep them off the streets.  Khalid Johnson, one of the two teens trying out for the Olympic team, told KHNO 2 that  not only does he believe the club is the driving force behind his chances at the Olympics, but that it has also helped him perform better in school, saying “I didn’t like science, but I like it now, more than I used to.  The program has helped me focus in the classroom.”

Our Town: Atlanta Volunteer Helps Kids With Patience, Concentration – One Stitch at a Time (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgia)

Initially a way to pass the time in between helping students with homework, knitting has become a popular activity with students thanks to the tutelage of one volunteer.  Susan Frierson became the knitting teacher at the Brookhaven Boys and Girls Club after many students, fascinated by her handiwork, asked her to teach them.  She told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “I’ve talked up what a skill this is and how it’s been around for so long.  I’ve explained how it’s a nice quiet activity; how it teaches concentration and patience; how you’re supposed to think about the person you’re knitting for and to make them something that will make them feel warm and loved.” 

Prairie River Middle School Teacher Donates Time to Help Kids Build Their Own Canoes (Daily Herald, Washington)

In a society of instant gratification, Prairie River Middle School is offering students the opportunity to reap the rewards of detail-oriented, hard work through an informal afterschool canoe building club.  Mark Pugh, the program’s founder, told the Daily Herald that he is there every step of the way to guide students through the processes.  Since the program’s inception, five students have worked with Pugh, four making canoes, and one making a canoe shaped shelf.  The club has taught the kids patience and determination, and to pay strict attention to detail. The students can’t wait to get their boats on the water.

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APR
30

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - April 30, 2014

By Luci Manning

Learning From the Habitat Outside Your Door (Herald and News, Oregon)

Pelican Elementary School will soon be home to a wildlife habitat, and even though it is not entirely complete, second graders in the 21st Century Community Learning Centers afterschool program are already enjoying it.  With guidance from local Klamath Watershed Partnership and Great Outdoors Alliance educators, students are getting hands-on learning experiences right outside their classrooms.  Maureen Lundy, a teacher who has been heavily involved in planning the schoolyard habitat, told the Herald and News that “the idea is to have this cool habitat right outside Pelican’s door” where students can collect samples and engage in engineering design in a different learning environment.

Los Lobos Recruit White Elementary Mariachi Program Members to Open Tucson Show (Arizona Daily Star, Arizona)

Much to the delight of parents and students alike, the afterschool mariachi program at John E. White Elementary School opened for rock band Los Lobos at the Rialto Theatre last Friday.  Hearing the band was coming to town, Bill Mark, the program’s advisor, told the Arizona Daily Star that he emailed Los Lobos to see if they could speak to the kids, but Los Lobos took his request one step further and asked if some of the afterschool students could open for the band.  Mark told the Arizona Daily Star that he “Wasn’t really expecting a response, so this was a huge surprise.” 

YMCA Teaches Empathy through Animals (Daily Independent, Kentucky)

An afterschool program featuring some furry friends is helping students translate their compassion for animals onto their fellow students.  The program teaches young people to be calm, confident and caring through dog-related activities that help develop inter-personal skills that can later be used in the classroom, at home and even in the workplace.  Norma Meek, YMCA board member who prompted the introduction of the Mutt-i-gree curriculum, told the Daily Independent that “Children realize that all pets come in different shapes, sizes and colors.  All pets have strengths and feelings…There are Pedigrees and Muttigrees, some are mixed breeds, but they’re all wonderful – just like people.”

High School Students to Rock Homegrown (Duluth Budgeteer News, Minnesota)

The Duluth Homegrown Music Festival welcomed performances by local middle and high school students earlier this week.  The students, some in bands and others performing solo, were well prepared to showcase their talents thanks to the many hours spent practicing after school at the Music Resource Center (MRC).  Students were given their own hour-long time slot during the eight-day festival.  Emily Haavik, program manager of the MRC, told the Duluth Budgeteer News that “we want to give kids with a passion for music an avenue to advance their skills, compose, practice, record, learn.  It’s also a place to go after school where they can hang out while developing their skills.”

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APR
24

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - April 24, 2014

By Luci Manning

In After-School Program, Girls Link Elegance of Dance and Math (Boston Globe, Massachusetts)

At the SHINE afterschool program in Boston, the “stereotype that girls don’t like math [is] completely absent from the room.”  The unique mentoring program for middle school girls boosts girls’ confidence in math by combining it with dance lessons.  Dance was what encouraged Kirin Sinha—founder of SHINE and a math, computer science, and engineering major at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—to take on these male dominated fields, and now she’s helping encourage other girls do the same.  Sinha told the Boston Globe that by challenging themselves to learn hip-hop routines and solve math problems, the girls have significantly improved their math skills.        

Schenectady Students Use Free Time to Spruce Up High School (Daily Gazette, New York)

A once white hallway in Schenectady High School now brightens students’ days thanks to a group of students who spent their spring break painting a colorful mural.  Afterschool students from the 21st Century Extended Day program and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady designed the mural of the school’s patriot mascot.  “It’s really nice to have a color on the walls,” Junior Amirah Muhammad told the Daily Gazette, remarking that “it feels a lot brighter.  It gives the school character.” 

Three UT Students Raising Funds for After School Mentoring Program (Knoxville Daily Sun, Tennessee)

Three University of Tennessee students are raising money to support a Knoxville mentoring and afterschool program.  The students volunteer with Thrive Lonsdale to give the students, many of whom speak English as a second language, one-on-one tutoring and homework help.  The Knoxville Daily Sun reports that the UT students are raising money for Thrive Lonsdale so the nonprofit can continue to provide the children with a supportive, enriching space.

Willett Running Club Invites Community to ‘Run With the Owls’ (Davis Enterprise, California)

When the bell signaling the end of the day at Willett Elementary School rings, anywhere from 60 to 70 students make their way over to the field behind the school and start running.  The popular Challenge Club afterschool program, as one parent told the Davis Enterprise, “gets [the kids] some exercise after school, instead of going home and playing on the iPad.”  The students happily run for half an hour every Tuesday and Thursday, with even some passing the three mile mark.  The Challenge Club concludes the program each year with the “Running of the Owls” race that parents can participate in, too.

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APR
16

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - April 16, 2014

By Luci Manning

These Girls Cook Up Homemade Apps (Olympian, Washington)

A group of ambitious girls spent their spring break building computers, making apps, and learning about careers from women who work in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields at the YWCA of Olympia’s Build Your Future camp.  The camp is just one part of the YWCA’s Girls Without Limits program, which offers numerous afterschool activities for girls throughout the year, giving girls the confidence to take on STEM projects.  Lily Storbeck, a sixth grader at Reeves Middle School told the Olympian that she “really liked making the computers. That was fun and very easy.”

Hamden Middle School Students Honor Veterans with Flowers (New Haven Register, Connecticut)

After months of anticipation, 1,000 yellow crocuses, carefully arranged in the shape of ribbons, are in full bloom outside Hamden Middle School.  Each year, members of the school’s Technology Student’s Association (TSA) afterschool program participate in community service, and this year they planted flowers to honor those who served our country.  In addition to planting flowers, the students also raised funds to purchase the bulbs and designed a computer template to achieve the perfect shape. Elissa Lupi, a member of the Veterans Commission, told the New Haven Register that “the veterans and other members of our commissions appreciate anything young people do.  It shows students have respect for veterans. And the respect is reciprocal.”

Masters Week Camp Lets Kids Play at Y (Augusta Chronicle, Georgia)

Five branches of the Family Y of Greater Augusta offered parents a helping hand when kids were out of school last week for spring break.  Millie Huff, the community relations director, told the Augusta Chronicle that the camp was simply an extension of their typical afterschool program.   Huff expressed how meaningful the program is to the community, saying that “the families are so appreciative of the care because it really does mean the difference between the children being at home by themselves versus having a safe place to go in the afternoon, having a snack and homework help and fun activities.”

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APR
9

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - April 9, 2014

By Luci Manning

Kindergarteners Take Concerns Over Gunshots in Neighborhood to Mayor (Star Press, Indiana)

After Kindergartener and activist Terry Miles wrote a letter to Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler about recent shootings in his neighborhood, Terry and the rest of his classmates at the MuncieP3 afterschool program then took a trip to the mayor’s office to discuss ways to prevent gun violence in their community.  Terry’s letter read: “Dear Mayor, I want to ask an important question.  People have been shooting at night and I want to ask you ‘Can you make them stop?’  I want to meet this man who told the other people to shoot guns because it is inappropriate to shoot guns.”  Brittany Cain, an instructor for the MuncieP3 program, told the Star Press that regardless of their age, these students can make a real difference.

Some Teens Are Blown Away By the Rush of Competitive Sailing (Buffalo News, New York)

On Monday, 50 students took to the water to launch another season of a competitive afterschool sailing program at the Buffalo Yacht Club.  The students practice various complicated and scientific techniques during the week, and then on Fridays, they get a chance to put their skills to the test in a race.  While many participants have been sailing for years, anyone interested is encouraged to join the program.  Alyssa Vianese, a senior at Fredonia High School, told the Buffalo News that they “just go for it,” adding that “sailing is a sport for anyone and everyone, and it’s a lifetime sport.”

James Hmurovich: Reach Out to Others to Help End Child Abuse (State Journal-Register, Illinois)

To commemorate Child Abuse Prevention Month, President and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America James Hmurovich issued a call to action to all Americans and specifically Illinoisans, to improve the lives of children and families.  In an article for the State Journal-Register, Hmurovich writes that everyone has a part to play. 

“We all have a role to play in healthy child development and the prevention of child abuse. Coaches, teachers, babysitters and health care professionals work with children every day and already are working to move the country toward being a greater place for children. But even if you don't work with or around children, you still can have a positive effect on their lives. If you have time in the afternoon, you could volunteer at after-school programs or help coach sports teams to ensure parents have a safe place for kids to go when they get out of school and before parents typically get home from work….  By taking the time to volunteer for before- or after-school programs, offering to help families in your own neighborhood, or working to ensure that programs proven to prevent child abuse continue to be funded, you can have a meaningful effect on the lives of children throughout the community. Actions like these help bring together communities, reduce isolation and help children and families succeed by providing them with tools and resources for optimal development. If we all pledge to do each of these activities at least once during the month of April, we can make a real difference.”

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APR
2

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - April 2, 2014

By Luci Manning

One Good Reason to Support Renewing Fort Worth’s Crime Prevention Tax (Star-Telegram, Texas)

Star-Telegram columnist Bob Ray Sanders makes a compelling case for why Fort Worth’s crime prevention tax needs to be renewed, citing the positive learning experiences at the Fort Worth After School (FWAS) program.  Miguel Garcia, an Afterschool Ambassador and program director of FWAS, told the Star-Telegram how the afterschool programs “provide a safe, positive learning experience for students at the end of the school day when many of them otherwise would be at home, or somewhere else, without adult supervision.”  Sanders calls the $1.1 million the FWAS program receives in Crime Control and Prevention District funding, “a small amount of money for all the benefit that comes from this exceptional program.”

Shabazz Napier Has Sturdy Base in Roxbury (Boston Globe, Massachusetts)

Roxbury coach Tony Richards was there many years ago when Shabazz Napier, point guard for the University of Connecticut, learned to play the sport he loved at the Roxbury YMCA.  Richards started coaching kids in Boston neighborhoods in his “No Books, No Ball” program to keep his son and nephew off the streets.  Richards told the Boston Globe, “You see these single mothers, you see these kids that need mentoring… that’s the energy that keeps me coming back.” Napier will play in this year’s Final Four on Saturday.

Checkmate: After-School Club Draws JHS Students (Jacksonville Daily Progress, Texas)

On any given Monday night, dozens of students are engaged in some friendly competition at Jacksonville High School’s chess club.  The newly formed club was intended not only for the students to improve their chess skills for the sake of winning the game, but to employ those skills in all areas of life.  Club co-founder Larry Richmond told the Jacksonville Daily Progress that to excel in chess, the students need to utilize logical thinking and a strong work ethic, qualities he believes are “the greatest value to academics.”  

‘Little Doctors’ Work Blood Drives (Hicksville Illustrated News, New York)

Donors at Hicksville blood drives were treated to snacks and juice from a special group of “little doctors.”  Students from seven Hicksville Elementary schools, who volunteer through the Little Doctors afterschool program, not only served refreshments but also assisted potential donors before clinicians took over the process.  “Little Doctors is an opportunity for students to learn the value of volunteerism and the importance of participating in community service,” Fork Lane School Principal Christopher Scardino told the Hicksville Illustrated News. 

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MAR
26

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - March 26, 2014

By Luci Manning

Highland Kids, Activists Make Mural of Love (Shreveport Times, Louisiana)

A Highland alley got a colorful upgrade thanks to a group of afterschool students who through art were proudly expressing love for their neighborhood.  The students painted the mural to illustrate the values— friendship, trust and respect between residents—that they learned at Friendship House, part of a larger effort from Shreveport’s Community Renewal program to engage at-risk neighborhoods.  As one student told the Shreveport Times, “the mural shows we love our neighbors and we want to take care of people.”

Ithaca Area Students Campaign Against Tobacco at GIAC Assembly (Ithaca Journal, New York)

Students from the Greater Ithaca Activities Center and Southside Community Center afterschool programs taught adults about the health risks of tobacco and the marketing tactics used by tobacco companies at the third annual Kick Butts assembly in Ithaca.  In addition to displaying collages and posters about the dangers of smoking, students are also drafting a policy that would raise the minimum age for buying tobacco to 19, the Ithaca Journal reports. 

Anti-Bullying Program Gains More Momentum (The Free Lance-Star, Virginia)

Successful women who overcame their own adversities shared their experiences at the Girl Smarts annual leadership panel in Stafford.  The anti-bullying afterschool program was founded in 2009 to help prepare young women for adolescence.  Dianna Flett, founder of the program, told The Free Lance-Star that “our teachers have so much on their plates, so many critical skills that they need to deliver during the day, that having this sort of opportunity as an after-school program rounds out the total approach in supporting the growth of our girls into middle and high school.” 

First Lady Crissy Haslam Establishes New Field Trip Program for Tennessee Students (Cleveland Daily Banner, Tennessee)

Tennessee First Lady Crissy Haslam welcomed students from the Bransford Pride Afterschool Program into the governor’s residence last week to kick off a new field trip program, reports the Cleveland Daily Banner.  The program, which aims to get kids excited to learn about Tennessee history, offers students an opportunity to tour the Tennessee Residence grounds and tend its garden.

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