Breakfast Club Blog

My Why: Hope Dealers – A Mission for Change

I got hooked on after school programs in 1992 while working as an art teacher in Hartford, CT. The old, rundown brick-faced school sat in the middle of an urban jungle. The hallways were dingy, there was no grass, only a cement parking lot that was used for “recess,” and many of the bathroom stalls were missing doors. It lacked promise to say the least. My immediate thoughts when I started this job were of sadness. Where was the equity in all of this? Despite previously working with ...Read More

The Flawed Leader

For the past 15 years, I have developed and grown an afterschool program model from its infancy serving 20 kids in a church to serving over 600 kids across three cities, demonstrating incredible success rates. By all means I have been deemed as a visionary, strong, competent leader.  Each year as we get larger and stronger, the pressure mounts as the praise continues, and the expectations build.  However, what most people on the outside looking in don’t see is with all the ambition, the drive fo...Read More

Finding Some Extraordinary In Your Ordinary

What does it mean to find the extraordinary within the ordinary? One of my favorite quotes is by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (author of The Little Prince, among others), where he says: “A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.” Are you someone who sees rock piles, or do you see cathedrals? To find the extraordinary within the ordinary, you have to see it. And to see it, you have to look for it. And to look...Read More

Tending You

What does personal development have to do with professional development? I’ve had many people ask me some version of this question. In other words, why bother working on myself? I should spend my time working on my job skills, my staff, my responsibilities, my “stuff.” And, okay, I get that. Tending to others, as I’ve pointed out, gives me a purr for sure. But here’s the thing that I’ve come to realize (slowly and begrudgingly and after being repeatedly put in...Read More

2017: I Am Here (with love)

Starlings In Winter, by Mary Oliver Chunky and noisy, but with stars in their black feathers, they spring from the telephone wire and instantly they are acrobats in the freezing wind. And now, in the theater of air, they swing over buildings, dipping and rising; they float like one stippled star that opens, becomes for a moment fragmented, then closes again; and you watch and you try but you simply can’t imagine how they do it with no articulated instruction, no pause, only the silent conf...Read More

I Can’t Wait to be BOOSTed Again!

In March of 2003, after being a stay at home mom for almost a year, I decided it was time to rejoin the workforce. I applied for and accepted a part time line staff position with a local after school program. I was assigned to work at Riverview Middle School in Bay Point. Riverview Middle had a tough reputation with students who resisted structure and authority. This program competed with the neighborhood gangs and drugs found at every corner. So having consistent student attendance was already ...Read More

What is After-School?

What is after-school you ask? It’s an answer 14 years in the making, although the recipe was already baking long before I came on the scene! After-school is a THING! Not a time in the day where you play, Bring out some board games And close out the day. After-school is a thing to be seen. Something to look back on and say, “Remember when…,” With a tear in your soul. Not a timesheet to track, Or a paycheck to hold! After-school is a thing that happens to you, Transforming ...Read More

Cheers to You, Youth Workers

Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got. Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot. Wouldn’t you like to get away? Sometimes you want to go Where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came. Where Everybody Knows Your Name Lyrics by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo As someone who grew up in the ’80s, these lyrics had a special meaning for me – they meant it was time to go to bed. But this summer, that meaning...Read More

18 Messages of Encouragement to Educators

In some locations, school has been in session for a couple weeks, while the doors of other schools and out-of-school time programs are just opening. This piece is collaboratively written by our bloggers and includes wisdom, tips, and inspiration for all of our valued educators. You ALL matter, and we wish you a successful school year. “Let love rule. Let’s assume best intentions from our team of colleagues, the families we serve and the children and youth we teach. To trust is a choi...Read More

Can You Alter Unconscious Bias? Changing the Conversation.

On Saturday morning… the City of Cleveland and its surrounding suburbs anxiously awaited the verdict reading of the Michael Brelo case, a white American police officer who stood on the hood of a car and shot fifteen rounds into the bodies of two black Americans who sat in the front seat of the car. There is nothing right about this situation and there is nothing right about the verdict, which cleared him on all accounts. However, the most difficult lesson in this story, and many similar st...Read More

My Why: Our Kids Belong to All of Us

I have not yet worked full-time for a for-profit company. I’m steadily climbing to the mid-point in my professional career, and so far, it’s been a path from museums to schools to non-profits. I sometimes wonder why and how I got started on my work road, though as the child of two public school teachers, perhaps it’s not much of a stretch that I’m a professional out-of-school time youth instructor. Sometimes I wonder if I would be satisfied working in the corporate world,...Read More

My Why: It Takes a Village

I do what I do because I was given an opportunity 18 years ago to join the Center for the Collaborative Classroom (formally known as the Developmental Studies Center). I left the classroom to join a team at CCC to work on a National Science Foundation funded project to help kids talk to a significant adult in their life about mathematics. This project started with a school to home component that we developed with ease, something our team of teachers was comfortable with. The next part of the pro...Read More

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