Breakfast Club Blog

It’s Time to Think and Act Differently

Over the past several months I’ve met with leaders at the White House, the Senate and Congress and with high level federal department officials and executives of national organizations. I’ve spoken with California’s top policymakers, sat next to the Governor on a flight to Los Angeles and presented at several conferences across the country. With few exceptions, I’ve been surprised by how little folks know about the impact of funding for afterschool programs and the impact...Read More

Making Connections- Youth Development and Academic Achievement

For many afterschool programs having an academic piece that really does make a difference in the lives of their students seems an elusive goal. With more and more stress being placed on afterschool programs demonstrating how their activities improve the academic achievement of their students, it has become increasingly important to understand what fosters this kind of success. One way to evaluate whether academic activities will produce the desired results is to look at them through the lenses o...Read More

Girls and the Scary World of Relationships- How Your After School Program Can Encourage Healthy Choices

There comes a time in a girl’s life (and boy’s for that matter) when the opposite sex no longer have “koodies.” Once girls discover that they like boys, there is no turning back the hands of time- they have entered the point of no return. By this I mean that all common sense is out the window. Girls enter this “boy crazy” stage in about 6th grade and it gets severely out of control in middle school- trust me! However, it is important to work with our female st...Read More

After-school Programs: “It’s probably time for an upgrade.”

OK, so let me tell you about last weekend. The refrigerator that my wife, Jan, and I inherited from the previous owners of our home is over ten years old. It’s a good model and it’s served us very well, but during the last year we’ve had to repair it three times. On the most recent occasion, the technician gave us the gloomy prognosis – “It’s probably time for an upgrade.” The news was unwelcome but inevitable. So, we found a good deal on a new one and made ar...Read More

Developing Superheroes

With age also comes reflection. Often this reflection is not sought after by the “elderly” but rather triggered. I was recently approached, after doing a keynote, by a disgruntled site coordinator who wanted to know where I found all the “Unbelievable” staff that did all of the inspirational adventures I had just talked about. This question has always been a double edged sword for me. My gut response was to say “First you have to be what you are looking for!” ...Read More

Behavior is a Form of Communication

Nine years ago, when my son was in 4th grade, he had a homework assignment that involved reading a newspaper article and bringing it in to school. He spread out the newspaper on the kitchen table and IMMEDIATELY my big, fluffy, 13 pound cat jumped on the table and spread out as far as she could over the newspaper (cat owners have surely seen this phenomenon.) Now Kasha, the cat, had done this to me MANY times. And no matter how often I pushed her out of the way or picked her up and moved her, sh...Read More

Laughter is Good Medicine

Have you ever had that group that just couldn’t get their sillies out? You know, the gigglers, the nervous laughers, or the kids who are just sharing a private joke or kidding around on the side? So often, students have spent their days sitting and focusing on work or drilling for standardized testing that by the time they are out of school and able to let loose a little, they have a hard time refocusing on the new learning opportunities and activities we have planned for them. Rather than...Read More

Waiting for Superman?

For five years I mentored a student in Alexandria, Virginia. He lived with his grandparents in the same “Berg” housing projects made famous in the Denzel Washington movie Remember the Titans. During my time with this young man I witnessed a series of personal tragedies beginning in fifth-grade. His two younger half-brothers were taken from his home and sent to foster care. His 15 year-old-sister gave birth to a baby boy and dropped out of school. His grandmother went blind and had he...Read More

Attention: Get in the Cyberworld Now!!!

If we want to know what is going on in the cyberworld with our kids, we need to get into the cyberworld. A new frontier has quickly developed and for many adults it is a frontier that is very foreign to us. This new frontier is the Cyberworld. This world offers our kids some pretty amazing things that can help foster their growth as an individual and provide information that accelerates their educational learning opportunities. Developed as an educator’s tool for sharing, the internet and ...Read More

Willing to Fight

I recently took a road trip up north to the bay area to congregate with about 70,000 like-minded individuals at the Power to the Peaceful concert. Road trips always seem to reignite the ‘rebel fire’ in my heart. My soundtrack included a number of folk songs that have never ceased to inspire me. As I began to listen to the lyrics of Ani Difranco’s Willing to Fight, I found myself a bit discouraged for a moment. I felt that after 10 years of working as a youth worker, I had not f...Read More

Somewhere along the way we forgot that we are Superheroes…

I remember that it was during middle school that I began collecting Iron Man comic books. I don’t know if it was Tony Stark’s playboy swagger or his awesome suit that rocked me. Almost everyone has childhood memories of their superheroes and one’s immediate desire to “validate” why his/her superhero was the best. Personally, I’ve always been intrigued in how we create and identify with superheroes… especially during adolescence. It was not until recently...Read More

Stop, focus, and reflect

As schools and afterschool programs across the country are gearing up for the 2010-11 school year, now is a good time to stop, take a breath, and reflect about where we are. While this might seem counterintuitive to some of us (I know many of us try to take that breather at the end of the school year), it’s always good to go into a new year with an open mind. As someone who conducts training, professional development, and technical assistance with afterschool program staff, I often focus o...Read More