Breakfast Club Blog

If Not Now, Then When? If Not You, Then Who?

It’s six o’clock in the morning and I’m sitting in my office, drinking coffee, eating yogurt and blueberries and putting a schedule together for the next three hours before I have a meeting with the Governor’s Chief of Staff. With careful planning and any luck, I can give 20 folks the information they need to register to vote. I can encourage 15 people to make choices that I believe are in their own best interest when they go to the polls, and I can set up a schedule that...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

Do you Suffer from Terminal Modesty?

At my house in the mornings I can usually talk my five-year-old son into going outside and fetching the paper from the drive while I prepare a few bowls of cold cereal and pour two cups of hot coffee. Usually I enjoy reading the headlines and filling my head while I fill my tummy, but I have to admit that lately it has been frustrating to read about the school budget cuts here in Austin. Hundreds of educators have lost their jobs and multiple school sites being considered for closure. With limit...Read More

After-school Programs: “It’s probably time for an upgrade.”

OK, so let me tell you about last weekend. The refrigerator that my wife, Jan, and I inherited from the previous owners of our home is over ten years old. It’s a good model and it’s served us very well, but during the last year we’ve had to repair it three times. On the most recent occasion, the technician gave us the gloomy prognosis – “It’s probably time for an upgrade.” The news was unwelcome but inevitable. So, we found a good deal on a new one and made ar...Read More

Laughter is Good Medicine

Have you ever had that group that just couldn’t get their sillies out? You know, the gigglers, the nervous laughers, or the kids who are just sharing a private joke or kidding around on the side? So often, students have spent their days sitting and focusing on work or drilling for standardized testing that by the time they are out of school and able to let loose a little, they have a hard time refocusing on the new learning opportunities and activities we have planned for them. Rather than...Read More

Willing to Fight

I recently took a road trip up north to the bay area to congregate with about 70,000 like-minded individuals at the Power to the Peaceful concert. Road trips always seem to reignite the ‘rebel fire’ in my heart. My soundtrack included a number of folk songs that have never ceased to inspire me. As I began to listen to the lyrics of Ani Difranco’s Willing to Fight, I found myself a bit discouraged for a moment. I felt that after 10 years of working as a youth worker, I had not f...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

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