Breakfast Club Blog

Releasing the Giving Hangover

It never failed. I would receive mountains of canned goods, dry goods, and cash from well-meaning donors before Christmas (always accompanied by copious amounts of cranberry jelly), but the season inevitably came: The Giving Hangover. Call it the Winter Blues, or the Post-Christmas Slump, or whatever, giving always dropped at the food bank after New Years’ and often lasted until February, sometimes even into March. People had credit card bills to pay; people had higher utility bills to pay; peop...Read More

Collaboration, Gratitude and Birds (Yeah, Birds!)

As we enter the holiday season, I’m thankful to be coming up on my 10th year at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. As Director of Community Partnerships, I have the unique pleasure of cultivating relationships to engage communities in promoting children’s health. For this article, I wanted to share three collaborations that I am particularly excited about – each with resources I hope you can use to bring wellness to life in out-of-school time while engaging families and empowering children...Read More

Conversations After Dark at BOOST

Reflecting on some of the many strong and impactful events that happened at the BOOST Conference this year, there is one event I need to highlight – because this conversation, while it’s been one we have been having for decades, STILL needs more energy and intentional activity. We need to keep fighting for this topic to stay top of mind within school communities, in expanded learning communities, and where parents, community members, and local business need to become more involved and a pa...Read More

Afterschool Programs: Expanding the Definition of Success

As a father of two girls ages 7 and 10, married to an amazing educator of over 20 years, I have a 360-degree perspective of the teaching and learning experience. As a matter of fact, my 4th grade daughter is my wife’s student. It’s a complete family affair. Most people I share that with have an initial reaction of concern. The most common questions are, “How is that working out for your daughter? Isn’t that weird for her? Does she feel challenged?” All these have me...Read More

Creating a More Connected World Through Local Agriculture: 9 Voices

Imagine if we, above all else, prioritized creating a more connected world. If we blend and integrate our passions, what innovations will we discover? What challenges would we overcome? To celebrate National Nutrition Month, this article explores how local agriculture can help foster social connectedness. To do this, I spoke with youth and adults representing urban and rural communities, non-profits, business and government and education agencies. Each brings a perspective that explores linkages...Read More

Fear and Deportation

What can after school programs do to support children who are experiencing fears related to the impacts of deportation? Many of our programs work with children and families who have deep fears about the changing immigration climate and increased deportations. Knowing what to do to support students and families on these issues can be hard for staff. They want to help but do not have expertise in this area. They also want to know what is ok to say and do in their role. Here are some actions that c...Read More

Designing Welcoming and Healthy Environments: 4 Activities

Designing welcoming environments for children and families has never been more important. Let’s look at some statistics and then talk action! Recent research shows that high school students report feeling “tired, stressed and bored” during the school day. 28% of U.S. students in grades 6–12 have experienced bullying and children with disabilities experience an increased risk. During the 2013-2014 school year, more than 1.3 million homeless children and youth were enrolled in pu...Read More

20 Resources that Create Cultural Exchanges in the Garden

Community gardens serve as a place-based tool for connection, empowerment, and cultural identity. Today, more gardens are popping up in school yards, in vacant lots, nonprofits, and housing developments. Educators are using gardens as creative and holistic tools for teaching beyond the walls of the classroom. In 2014, I wrote the piece, Using Gardens as Classrooms and shared how educators can use garden-based learning in formal and informal education settings with resources related to academic e...Read More