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

My Why: Because, Me, We

I believe in the interconnectedness of everyone and everything. I believe we are all inextricably woven into the fabric of the humanity and of the universe and because of that, I feel a deep responsibility to do what I feel is right. Our children are humanity’s greatest resource and unfortunately it often seems that as a society, we have forgotten or choose to neglect that. I feel that ALL children deserve and should have a right and equal access to quality education suitable for each chil...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: Dare Mighty Things

In the afterschool world, program leaders and staff nurture the whole child, providing them a safe space to learn, grow, and connect to others. In the afterschool space, we see many kids making daily acts of bravery – some extending themselves simply by showing up, participating, or trying something new. Through youth development, kids are encouraged to dare greatly to be themselves, come into themselves, and develop their passions. In the world of space exploration, we also “dare mighty t...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

My Why: It’s My Calling

You know how people say we each have a calling, something we were put on this earth to do? I started my career working with children with autism and special needs, not knowing that it would transform into something that literally ignites me to the core of my being. I owe where I am in my life to one little boy whom I met years ago named Austin. At the time I was a pre-school assistant in Boston. I always loved being around children so it was no surprise to others that I chose to study education....Read More

My Why: Youth Are Assets

I started off as a high school English teacher in an East Harlem school with Title 1 funding. My plan was to become a principal and I knew classroom experience was imperative to being an effective school leader. Teacher training helped me understand how to write lessons plans, use different forms of assessment, and reflect on how my own education may influence the way I “showed up” as a teacher. It didn’t prepare me to deal with all the social and personal factors that influenc...Read More

My Why: Defining Moments and Relationships

In college, I was in search of a work-study position to help pay the bills. I knew I loved working with children and so I interviewed for a position with a local after school program. Not only did I receive the job, I received a life-long mentor in the field of education, a passion for the out-of-school time field, and a purpose for continuing my education and career path with children, families, and communities. I do what I do because of the relationship aspect of out-of-school time programs. F...Read More

My Why: Making a Meaningful Impact

I wasn’t one of those people that knew exactly what they wanted to be when they grew up. You know, the kid that knew since the age of five. For me, this was a question I grappled with throughout my life, until I directed my path towards happiness. After college, a variety of empty jobs and many years of volunteer work, I realized that my primary goal was simple: to make a meaningful impact. I wanted to inspire others to do the same, and use my experiences to pay it forward. For me this cou...Read More

My Why: Curly’s Law – A Bearer of Hope

I love the scene in the movie City Slickers where Billy Crystal’s character, Mitch, is riding alone with Curly, played by Jack Palance. Curly gives Mitch some advice about life. Curly: You know what the secret of life is? Mitch: No. What? Curly: [holds up one finger] This. Mitch: Your finger? Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don’t mean s**t. Mitch: That’s great, but what’s the one thing? Curly: That’s what you gotta figure out....Read More

My Why: It’s Personal

”This work is so rewarding.” “It’s important work.” “It’s needed.” “I found what I am good at.” “I am inspired every day.” “I am kind of person that has to enjoy my work”. “It’s service and service is important to me.” “I am passionate about kids”. While all of these are true, these reasons are not nearly the reason why I really want to change the life of a child. So, let’s get...Read More

My Why: Kickball

This is probably the most important question that I continue to ask myself…it’s a question that has to be asked with a series of “Why’s.” Each one peeling back a layer of a deeper meaning. It’s a question that I toiled with for months. It wasn’t until a few days ago, when I sat discussing character development and social and emotional learning, that a colleague of mine, Mary Jo Ginty, made a poignant statement. She said, “Kickball isn’t just ...Read More

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