Breakfast Club Blog

You Are Changing Lives!

Every day I’m reminded of how fortunate I am to work with such amazing people who are doing such incredible work! Whether I’m consulting with program directors, meeting with leadership members, talking with colleagues or visiting sites, my passion is continually re-ignited, my sense of purpose is re-confirmed and my commitment to doing my best to make a difference in the world is strengthened. I’m blessed to be a messenger but it is you who are creating the messages. So, I̵...Read More

The Benefits of Working with At-Risk Youth

Two months ago I finally recognized it happening; I could never forget the needs and the gleam in their eyes. As I began to pull my supply cart back to my car and pull out my keys to open the trunk a young man yelled my name “Mark!” It was at that moment I realized a seed had been planted, watered, and began to sprout. This was a rare occasion. I had been visiting this site for three years now, the youth there were on probation, had been kicked out of traditional school and have even...Read More

Ode to Site Supervisors

I began to reflect on my career and realized that my days as a site coordinator have been the most defining and empowering. I dare say that this experience, as a site coordinator, prepared me for the biggest challenges of not only my career… but my life. So, I have written this ode, in honor of the site coordinator… The one who is a part time employee with a full time attitude. The one who has survived the bullets of lock downs and who also rose to the occasion to help supervise 1400...Read More

IF IT’S TO BE, IT STARTS WITH ME

I heard a story recently that I’d like to share it with you. One day a mother came to Gandhi with her little boy for help. She asked Gandhi, “Please, Bapu, will you tell my little boy to stop eating sugar. He simply eats too much sugar and will not stop.” Gandhi told the mother to leave and come back with the boy in three days. The mother returned with her son and said to Gandhi, “We have come back as you asked.” Gandhi turned to the boy and said, “Young boy, ...Read More

Love in Your Voice

It’s not always easy to be yourself. Maybe you can relate to this. I’m in a café with a cup of tea. It’s funny actually. There’s a trendy wooden table beside me. As I sit to write the first words of this blog project, in my head I hear the voices of writers I’m reading and speaker types famous for dumb one-liners. They are a crowded group in a room somewhere in my brain, an indecipherable rumble. “No Chad. Be you. Find your voice. Don’t write like them.&...Read More

Summer Brings New Community-Building Opportunities

Summertime is upon us. Summer brings many changes for OST programs. Many afterschool programs turn into full-day programs. The mix of children is dramatically altered – new children register for the summer program that did not attend the program during the school year. Some older kids depart and a new batch of kindergartners arrives. The curriculum and routine of the afterschool program transform into a very different summer program. The staff makeup of the program may change if new staff ...Read More

Go Team, Go!

The daughter of a manicurist at a local Orange County nail salon was visiting her mom at work. She overheard that I had been a teacher and a principal, picking this up from parlor chatter — a charming cultural overlay to having nails done. Julie came right over to engage me in conversation during my manicure. Her mother had told me she loves school. As a fifth grader, she turned out to be a great conversationalist. (Her real name was Tuyen, she mentioned later.) When I asked Julie what sub...Read More

Marketing to the Middle

In California, state and federally funded after-school programs that fail to meet their attendance targets are subject to grant reduction. In the most recent round of adjustments, middle level schools received a disproportionate share of the cuts. While they receive only about a quarter of the ASES and 21st CCLC funds allocated to K-9 schools, they accounted for more than half of the reductions. Clearly, we have a problem engaging middle school kids in our programs. And do you know why? Because ...Read More

Arriving in Holland

There is a very special story written by Emily Perl Kingsley in1987. She tells about planning a fabulous trip to Italy, learning the language and buying the guidebooks, but then landing in Holland instead. At first she’s disappointed because everyone else she knows is going to Italy. Because she’s arrived in Holland, she has to learn a different language and buy different guidebooks and meet different people. Soon she discovers that Holland has windmills, and tulips, and Rembrandts. ...Read More

Safe Schools: Utilizing Youth Leadership Programs to Develop a Safe School Climate

In developing school based approaches to create safe schools and positive school climates the single most important factor that youth leadership programs neglect to focus in on is the importance of developing a sense of belonging to a group identity for young people. We know that “After transition to middle school, peers become primary sources of support and motivation to achieve while the quality of teacher-student relationships tends to decline with time” (Wentzel, 1996). As we set...Read More

Never Underestimate the Power of Relationship Building

As a technical assistance and professional development provider, I often receive vague requests for “classroom management training.” It usually goes something like this: Program Director: My tutors need training on classroom management. Me: Okay, tell me a little bit about your tutors and your program. Program Director: I use certified teachers to tutor the students in my program. School is dismissed at 3:15 and tutoring takes place from 3:30-4:30. We used to have a lot of participat...Read More

Using Voice and Choice in Afterschool Programs

As afterschool professionals, we give a lot of lip service to the phrase “voice and choice”. Theoretically, we understand that students feel more ownership of their afterschool programs when they are able to voice their opinions and provide input into the program. Sounds easy, right? Like most good ideas, however, implementation is much more difficult than it sounds. Students are most likely not going to gather and discuss collaboratively what they want the program to be. There is al...Read More