Breakfast Club Blog

Ubuntu: A person is a person through other people

There are many times in my life that I can think back to and attribute success solely to what I have done by myself, for myself, or for someone else, but accomplished just by me, alone. These are excellent moments for self-reflection and acknowledgment of individual accomplishment, and although individuals create many great things by themselves, we do not, for the most part, live as hermits, isolated from the rest of humanity. We live in families and in societies comprised of cities and towns, a...Read More

Best Practices in Afterschool: A Call for Mentorship

Due to the nature of my job, I visit a lot of afterschool programs throughout the country. A common element I’ve noticed at any program, whether they are in schools, community buildings, or churches, is the smell. It is the same no matter where I go. There’s always a hint of disinfectant, perhaps some body odor if it’s a middle school program, crayons, paint, chalkboards, whiteboard markers, or computer labs (I don’t know what that smell is, but there is definitely someth...Read More

The Importance of Being Intentional

Sue, an afterschool staff member, races into the school at 2:30 p.m. She came from a school across town where she has been a substitute all day. Sue gives a hurried “hello” to the school administrative assistant as she signs in for the day. Now, Sue runs down to the cafeteria, grabs the snacks, gets the attendance sheets to put on the tables, and figures out what activities are going to be offered to students once they finish homework help and tutoring. She finds some crayons and but...Read More

Where the Rubber Meets the Road- Planning a Successful Afterschool Activity

Building on the concept that the most productive learning comes through active involvement, the effectiveness of any program that seeks to develop skills in youth must be rich in activity. Remember, most of the students sit for almost 7.5 hours a day! They are eager to be involved in activities that allow for action and interaction. Enthusiasm is contagious and movement essential. You do not need a repertoire of several hundred activities. Such a large selection is simply not practical and, more...Read More

Dream, Baby, Dream

As you may know, I am privileged to do school assemblies across the country speaking to all kinds of students. Even when I start driving onto the school campus I begin to feel those “dad emotions” coming up in me. I want to hug every person. I want to spend hours with each of them individually just to hear their story. They’re all–every one of them–amazing kids. We all do what we do because we believe in young adults. They are packed with potential and need someone they respect...Read More

ABC’s of professional, purposeful, and powerful programming practices

These ABC’s are philosophical foundations. They are new and powerful paradigms. Paradigms are like mental models that we all have about the way things should be done in afterschool programs. These ABC’s might challenge the paradigms or mental models that you might carry in your own mind. We challenge you to consider these shifts and the way you may think about how afterschool programs should be. Autonomy Autonomy is the ability to act independently, to be self-governing. Autonomy is ...Read More

Take Cover, and Be Prepared, Here Comes the Rain

I had 30 minutes to kill this morning after eating my standard: oatmeal, fruit, and 2 eggs breakfast. While waiting for my 13 year old to get her lunch together, I decided to see if I could catch up with local news. (Side bar: Being that I am a busy mom, wife, and full-time professional, I’ve had to cut some non-essential activities out. Currently, I’m on a media fast, meaning I read and watch VERY little news. I actually find that I’m a much more peaceful person, but I digress...Read More

GIRLS: A Sneak Peek Into Their World of Aggression

In the past couple of years there has been much talk about females becoming more aggressive and violent. More aggressive? Many people would say that’s an understatement. More violent? Now, that’s not such a clear answer. According to the latest research conducted by the Girls Study Group for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, “available evidence based on arrest, victimization, and self-report data suggests that although girls are currently arrested more ...Read More

From Changing Lives To Saving Lives

For the past fifteen years I’ve had the privilege of working in the afterschool field as a program director, consultant, policymaker and advocate. I’ve met countless people who are making a huge difference. Students are doing better in school, becoming more enthusiastic about learning, developing positive social relationships, experiencing new things and mastering new skills. There’s no question that afterschool programs change lives. Now it’s time to save lives. Just a f...Read More

Stop, Look, and Listen with Your Eyes

A number of years ago, I clipped a cartoon from the daily newspaper to add to my collection of poignant printed reminders that deal with the importance of valuing interpersonal relationships. In the cartoon, a little blond boy of six or seven was looking forlornly at his mother, who was busy ironing the family’s clothing. She appeared to be listening to what he had to say, but her eyes were downcast, concentrating on her chore. In the cartoon callout, the young boy begged, “Listen wi...Read More