Breakfast Club Blog

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

Coaching And Endless Possibilities

A quick story and important reminder about how important a good coach is, and what the possibilities are when you have a great coach. My son, who is in first grade, played rookie tackle football this fall. The season ended a few weeks ago, with his team winning the 1st-grade championship. It was a spectacular finish to the season—they got to play the game on the high school football field. Our town’s high school football team won the state championship last year, and so football is a pretty big ...Read More

How Clue and The 4C’s Inspire Connection, Community and Creativity

How DO board games inspire Connection, Community, and Creativity, you ask? Last week, eight middle school girls were consumed with the details related to who murdered Mr. Boddy. This wasn’t the latest episode of a crime drama, and thankfully wasn’t something in the news, but instead was the culminating event wrapping up their Secret Agent badge-an intense game of Clue. I’m lucky enough to be the troop leader for my daughter’s Girl Scout troop, an out-of-school time activity that she and mo...Read More

Why Schools Should Inspire Students to Do What They Do Best

This is the fourth article in a four-part series. Read the first, second and third articles. Many talented teachers and coaches have a knack for spotting and fostering innate talent in others. They are driven to maximize the potential of every student and athlete who they serve. My daughter Miriam graduated from high school this year, and she was blessed to have such a coach. Four years ago, Miriam was a gymnast who competed successfully at her first regional gymnastics meet. A few weeks later, ...Read More

Calming Back-to-School Jitters for LGBTQ Youth

Will I make friends? What if I get lost? Will I like my teachers? What if I do something embarrassing? These are the back to school jitters we’re used to helping youth navigate. We have all kinds of strategies to help young people feel comfortable in their new classroom or after school program — putting their name on a desk or name tag, icebreakers, activities that encourage youth to get to know each other — the list is endless. But consider the young person who is unsure of his or h...Read More

Our Kids Are Stressed Out – 5 Ways to Empower Youth To Find Their CALMM

Focus, Pay Attention, Sit Still, Listen, Follow Directions… Just a few phrases youth are bombarded with on a daily basis whether it’s coming from their parents, teachers or other adults in their lives. As adults it can seem as if our words go in one ear and out the other and that children lack attention, motivation and behavior is something they have immediate control over or is an intentional response. Our kids Are Stressed Out – Empowering Youth the find their CALMM In my years as an education...Read More

People Aren’t Flies: How Youth Can Listen Without Needing to Be Heard

We have all experienced a time when we believed we had a genuine connection with a person, only to find out that they had a specific agenda in mind. We have all experienced someone that has tried to proselytize or preach at us, to use us to get ahead, or to gain access to our friends or family members. For many people, what starts out as a genuine connection dissolves almost instantly as soon as the sirens of topics such as politics or religion are sounded. We know how difficult it can be to hav...Read More

Speak on What We Do! Youth Development is for You!

I believe you cannot learn youth development without experiencing it. What I mean by “youth development” is distinct from “education.” Reflecting on nearly 19 years in our field of many names, I embrace Expanded Learning here in California as it embodies the heart of our work.  When I hear Michael Funk, Director of the Expanded Learning Division at the California Department of Education, talk about the importance of love, I feel at home.  It inspires me to reach out to those of you who can relat...Read More

What Drives your After-School Program?

This new year of 2014 marks eight years of working in out-of-school (OST) time programs for me. While my passion for youth work has not changed over the course of that time, my approach to youth work has been profoundly shaped. I started my work in OST programs in a vulnerable neighborhood outside Philadelphia. I was a young college student looking for academic credit by putting in my time with at-risk youth. I loved this program and I loved the people I worked with. All of us had a passion and ...Read More