Breakfast Club Blog

Working Together: Heroes Through Collaboration

Quick, name any movie you can think of about education. Here are a few that immediately come to my mind: To Sir With Love…Stand and Deliver…Dangerous Minds…Dead Poets Society...Freedom Writers. As you made your list did you notice that they all tell a similar story – the story of a dedicated educator who essentially works alone, often against great odds, to reach out and inspire students? The individual hero-teacher appears not just in movies, but also on television shows, in t...Read More

Hear the Whole Song

I’ve mentioned before my love of the band Mumford & Sons, and I have been delighted recently that my five-year old son has been similarly taken by them. The other day we were listening to “Roll Away Your Stone” and I was telling him how that was the first song of theirs I had ever heard, and recounted the first time I heard it.  He made me tell him the story twice, somehow as rapt by it as he was by the song. I told him that I was in the car driving when it came on. I told ...Read More

Words Matter

“You look like a clown,” my dad said as I got ready for picture day. Time froze. Tears poured down my face. Elementary school me was devastated. (Though, to be fair, my outfit matching skills needed a lot of work back then and using a headband for a scrunchie probably wasn’t the best picture day choice. Sorry Dad!) MANY years have passed, and that memory now makes me laugh a little, but the fact is… I still remember it. Every word. Most of the feelings. DEFINITELY the out...Read More

Family Communication: How to Create An Atmosphere Where Your Kids Talk to You

I’m only at the cusp of this thing, this elusive thing called “family communication”. My kids are just 5 and 8, but already—already!—I can see the need for intentional and thoughtful strategies to encourage and maintain open lines of communication. I recognize how important it is to set up a safe and open line of communication with my children now so that they can rely on it later. The following list is a mash up of things we’ve just organically tried and things that the ...Read More

The Rest of the Story

Perhaps you remember as well as I do the Big Hair Bands that dominated the charts during the 1980s. These bands were known for their big hair, big concerts, big displays of pyrotechnics, big guitar solos, and big personalities. One of the bands that exemplified the image of the Big Hair Band was Van Halen. The stories of the antics that occurred off-stage were often as newsworthy as the music they performed onstage. One such story was that the band – get this – demanded that M&Ms be placed b...Read More

The Interconnected Nature of Everything

First: Did you know that the great sequoia trees in California, known to grow to nearly 300 feet tall and have a circumference of 100 feet or more, have roots that only go as deep as three feet or so into the ground? Imagine this: a tree towering nearly three stories high, supported by roots less than three feet deep. And they endure, having the capacity to live for more than 2,000 years. How is this even possible? Here’s one way how: they spread their roots wide, not deep. And in groves o...Read More

9 Tips from Out-of-School Experts to Build #PartnershipsWithPurpose

Call it what you want – partnerships, collaborations, collective impact – whatever your terminology of choice, partnerships with purpose are essential for any out-of-school program to be successful. Resources are tight, time is limited and staff turnover is a reality. So how do you build impactful partnerships? Here are 9 tips from key out-of-school time leaders. Use the hashtag #PartnershipsWithPurpose to share yours. “Establish a mutual purpose of providing the best for kids....Read More

Just Love

I’m sitting here at my computer, with my four-year old son Dylan sitting at the table across from me. He’s on the other computer, playing Peppa Pig games. I’m supposed to be staring at my computer thinking about blog topics for the day, but instead I’m staring at him and thinking about how unbelievable he is. How smart (as he navigates the laptop like a professional, even with his tiny little fingers), how funny, how mischievous, how cunning, how playful, how joyful. I...Read More

Kids Bond to People, Not Programs

One of the things I am most grateful for is how my job allows me the opportunity to meet and work with some of the most amazing people. I am inspired daily by those who have given their time and talents to after school programs across the country. And since it is apparent, they are not in this business for the vast amount of money they can earn, there is something else that compels them. They love kids! Yes, I used the “L” word. In a recent training in Arizona, one of the participant...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

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