Breakfast Club Blog

Adolescent Girls and the Media: A Look Beyond the Mirror

Let’s face it- growing up female can be tough, but growing up female in this day and age can be REALLY tough. There are a LOT (and I mean a lot) of unique challenges that adolescent girls face and one of them happens to be the “M” word. What is the “M” word, you ask? Here’s a hint: something that has the ability to impact girls’ perception of themselves and their body image? Any guesses? Well, chances are you probably said media. If you did (and I’...Read More

The Challenge of Creating a Culture

Almost every day, I am a teacher, a student, or a leader. Sometimes I play one role at a time. Sometimes I play all three at once. One could say I dance in between them. I’m sure that all of us who work with you move between these roles and watch our peers and our students do the same. The question I keep coming back to, no matter what role I am in, is how do I create a culture that I can be proud of and inspired to be a part of? And what I mean by culture in this context is the feeling in...Read More

Summer Style

School’s almost out, and across the country kids are getting ready for summer camp. Back in the day, everyone brought a big trunk, loaded with bug spray and books, bandannas and band aids and of course, secret stashes of candy. There was lots of anticipation about which counselors would be there, which kids would be in your cabin, and what activities you were going to sign up for. Believe it or not, these camps still exist. Sadly, they’re mostly not available to our after school kids...Read More

Breakthroughs @ BOOST

It wasn’t until the ride back from Palm Springs that I began to absorb my most recent BOOST experience. BOOST, for me, has been the metaphor for the movement of afterschool. BOOST has become a type of gauge of the movement. Whether it’s the number of participants, the quality of workshops, the keynote, I have always been able to use BOOST as a diagnostic for the movement. This was the first year that I went alone with no team, no training to prepare for, or no real “role”...Read More

Reach out to the Gifted in Your After School Programs – Provide the Spark for All to Learn

More than a majority of professional literature and conferences are geared to disadvantaged, underserved, underperforming, and English learner students. We talk about Closing the Achievement Gap. This has been the case for more than a decade. Do we often forget to look at the strengths of students and gear some of our activities to their strengths? Do we actively seek out gifted and above-average learners in our after school population and stretch their thinking? In closing the achievement gap, ...Read More

After School Funding – How Can You Help?

Well, it’s that time of year when budget negotiations begin to heat up in Sacramento, and once again, the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) is recommending that voters be given the opportunity to amend or repeal Proposition 49. The problem with Prop 49, they say, is its inflexibility. The initiative, which was passed by a 56% majority in November of 2002, guarantees an annual $550 million General Fund appropriation to operate the After School Education and Safety (ASES) program. The...Read More

Marketing Your Program Through Positive Youth Development

Just because you built it, doesn’t mean they will come. Afterschool is no field of dreams. Even with a wonderful curriculum, enthusiastic staff, abundance of supplies and unwavering support from the regular school staff, your program cannot be labeled a success if nobody attends it. Recruitment issues exist at all grade levels. If you serve younger children (K-4th grade), parents usually ensure that the children attend the program, and the children are less likely to rebel at this age. Att...Read More

Ubuntu: A person is a person through other people

There are many times in my life that I can think back to and attribute success solely to what I have done by myself, for myself, or for someone else, but accomplished just by me, alone. These are excellent moments for self-reflection and acknowledgment of individual accomplishment, and although individuals create many great things by themselves, we do not, for the most part, live as hermits, isolated from the rest of humanity. We live in families and in societies comprised of cities and towns, a...Read More

If I’d Only Known…

Have you ever had an “if only I’d known…” episode? This happened to me when I learned some simple ways I could have helped a hearing-impaired student join my YMCA afterschool program with much less stress and fuss—had I only known. Basically, this is what happened: In the fall of 1999, a father came to my office to register his son and his stepson for our afterschool program. He was newly married, had just moved to the area and had some difficulty completing all the neces...Read More

We ARE the hope we’ve been waiting for!

A career? After School? What?! Yes folks, believe it or not, the career pathways in youth work are out there! It is not an esoteric profession that only a few elite have access to. It is much attainable for anyone that is willing to work, network and advocate for youth. However, there is a sub-culture among the youth work movement that has been lost in the bureaucratic educational methods of the past and is unable to create a new definition of the craft. This discernment of the ‘work’...Read More

Walking the Walk

“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” – Oprah Winfrey “Leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it in themselves.” –Stephen Covey, The 8th habit The two quotes above speak so powerfully to the importance of having a mentor alongside you in your life’s journey. I’ve been fortunate to have had a few mentors beside me in my journey and as I consider our work in after sch...Read More

Best Practices in Afterschool: A Call for Mentorship

Due to the nature of my job, I visit a lot of afterschool programs throughout the country. A common element I’ve noticed at any program, whether they are in schools, community buildings, or churches, is the smell. It is the same no matter where I go. There’s always a hint of disinfectant, perhaps some body odor if it’s a middle school program, crayons, paint, chalkboards, whiteboard markers, or computer labs (I don’t know what that smell is, but there is definitely someth...Read More