Monthly Archives: August 2012

Q & A with Summer Associate Daniel Peek

(FLOC welcomes new staff each summer. In this miniseries, we are recognizing our summer associates and interns by publishing blog posts about their experiences. Daniel Peek is a Site Coordinator for the Summer Reading Academy.)

Q: Where are you from?

I was born in St Louis, MO, but I’ve lived in Northern Virginia since kindergarten and that’s where I live now.

Q: Where do you go to school and what do you study?

I go to school at Davidson College in North Carolina. I’m a psychology major.

Q: How did you hear about FLOC?

I heard about the ExxonMobil internship and then applied to a few organizations [through the program]. This was my top choice.

Q: What is your job description at FLOC?

I am a site coordinator, [so] I oversee the volunteers for the reading program. I make sure that they have everything they need and that all the [tutor-student] pairs are working well on program days. On non-program days, I am usually inputting data, checking lesson plans, and…just generally making sure program is running well.

Q: What have you learned?

I’ve learned a lot about what strategies to use to help kids learn; things that work and things that don’t work. Bouncing ideas and trying new things. I’ve also learned to be patient and that when something doesn’t work, try something new.

Q: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced this summer?

It was hard at first to get accustomed. There were a lot of meetings and there was a lot of information. I was really nervous when program started, because I had all of this information given to me really quickly. After seeing program a couple of times and getting the hang how things work, everything settled in.

Q: What are some of your hobbies?

I’ve played sports all my life. I played basketball and soccer in high school, and now I play soccer at Davidson. I love watching movies, any type of action or comedy movie.

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Meet Jazmin, Age 21

Jazmin at the 2011 College Night

Jazmin, a postsecondary Scholar student pursuing a degree in International Relations and French, is beginning her senior year of college at Tufts University. Six years ago, Jazmin got involved in the High School Scholars program as a sophomore.

Throughout her college experience, Jazmin’s had the opportunity to study abroad and gain professional experience through an internship at a French consulate. “The American college experience is so unique,” Jazmin said. “It’s a great way to get out of your comfort zone, experience new cultures, and [you have] opportunities that you probably won’t have again.”

College life is not always a smooth ride. FLOC has helped Jazmin and supported her education financially. “Your education is going to come at a price, but it’s worth it.”

She stays connected to FLOC staff members as much as possible, especially when issues arise. “They’re people I can come to if I have a problem,” Jazmin said.

This summer, Jazmin volunteered with the Middle School Scholars program, joining the students on their treks to the National Zoo for the engaging zoology workshops. She enjoyed seeing the students interact, “explore the city together” and bond, since it brought to mind her time as a Scholar.

“It’s also nice to give back to this community that has given you so much,” she added.

Jazmin is excited to see how FLOC evolves in the next years. “I think it’s really important that it continues to grow, because it offers such great opportunities to students. And I feel like FLOC has grown with me.”

When Jazmin first began her college education, she planned to pursue a profession in government affairs. However, she now hopes to work with a nonprofit organization on an international scale in a field like nutrition or health.

A Look Back at an Exciting Summer

FLOC programming has been quite active this summer. Our Neighborhood Tutoring Program (NTP) worked with nearly 100 students, while our Scholars participated in zoology and test preparation workshops. Our students even had a chance to visit and camp at the Outdoor Education Center in West Virginia.

The NTP Reading and Math Summer Academies served 98 students in total. The programs, which were both held twice a week for a six-week period, focused on improving competency and preventing summer learning loss. Tutors incorporated interactive activities and varied instructional approaches to make the lesson engaging, and most importantly, to ensure student improvement. Trashketball, UNO, and the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books were all out in full force this summer, helping to keep learning fun and engaging during the months away from the classroom.

Many of our Middle School Scholars spent their summer discovering the components of zoology in a concrete environment, the National Zoo. The students were excited to interact and learn from a zoologist. They were tasked with fun assignments including drawing, writing, and a bingo competition.

Test Preparation workshops this summer offered High School Scholars the opportunity to learn strategies to prepare for standardized exams. Students practiced math concepts and reading skills and also focused on a different section of the ACT each week. Though they spent their time indoors, there were just as many memorable moments and endeavors as the middle school workshops. Games like Jeopardy quizzed students on their skills and on testing strategies, while keeping it fun by mixing in contemporary subjects like music.

NTP and Scholars students visited the Outdoor Education Center in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia throughout the summer. Students hiked to Crescent Rock, canoed on the Black Water River, and documented their experiences in journals. Overall, it was a great bonding experience with the great outdoors!

FLOC was so excited to have held so many diverse programs and opportunities for our youth this summer.

Q & A with Summer Intern Erin Gilman

(FLOC welcomes new staff each summer. In this miniseries, we are recognizing our summer associates and interns by publishing blog posts about their experiences.  Erin Gilman is the Recruitment and Outreach Intern.)

Q: Where are you from?

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Q: Where do you go to school and what do you study?

I go to High Point University in North Carolina. I study Human Relations, and I’m minoring in Nonprofit Leadership and Management and Entrepreneurship.

Q: How did you hear about FLOC?

Basically a lot of research. I was looking for nonprofits in DC that had a focus on children and FLOC stood out.

Q: As the Recruitment and Outreach Intern, what have been your job duties this summer?

A large part of my job was research to begin with and planning out strategies for recruitment in the fall. Beyond that, I was able to take my research and reach out to the community.

Q: What are some of your hobbies?

I typically work with a nonprofit, so volunteering in general. I love to read. Also, hanging out with friends.

Q: What did you most enjoy about working at FLOC this summer?

I like that most of the summer interns [participated] as tutors in the Neighborhood Tutoring Program because it gave us a chance to see what our co-workers were doing and see what FLOC does.

Q & A with Summer Associate Stephanie Maldonado

(FLOC welcomes new staff each summer. In this miniseries, we are recognizing our summer associates and interns by publishing blog posts about their experiences.  Stephanie Maldonado is a Site Coordinator for the Summer Math Academy.)

Q: Where are you from?

I was born in Chicago, Illinois. I was raised in Puerto Rico.

Q: Where did you go to school and what did you study?

I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May. I studied Social Work.

Q: How did you hear about FLOC?

Idealist. I received the Harry Truman Scholarship in college and they sponsor our moving to DC [for the summer]. They also provide an extensive list of…public service positions and I chose FLOC. FLOC’s mission aligned with my personal and professional interests. I’ve never heard of a nonprofit that had an established curriculum in place for students who are below grade level. I was strongly interested in how a nonprofit could so efficiently manage the collaboration between volunteers, schools, and families.

Q: What is your job description at FLOC?

I am a Math site coordinator for grades 6-12. I help provide continual support guidance for student-tutor pairs through lesson plan reviewing and tracking student progress.

Q: What’s a challenge you’ve overcome this summer?

Learning how to meet the needs of volunteers in order to [help them] provide quality services to the students and managing the balance between support and guidance, while still encouraging autonomy and individual tutoring styles.

Q: What are some of your hobbies?

I used to dance. I used to perform salsa and hip-hop. I like to explore different cuisines and run.

Q: What are your future plans?

For now, I want to be a school social worker. After that, I’m interested in community nonprofits that collaborate with schools and families, also known as community schools with an inclination toward schools with Latino populations.

Q & A with Summer Intern Karen Lott

(FLOC welcomes new staff each summer. In this miniseries, we are recognizing our summer associates and interns by publishing blog posts about their experiences.  Karen Lott is a Scholars Program intern.)

Q: Where are you from?

I am from a small town in South Mississippi called Leaksville.

Q: Where do you go to school and what do you study?

I’m currently enrolled at the Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, MS, where I’ll be a senior in the fall. I’m a Political Science major with a minor in History.

Q: How did you hear about FLOC?

Through a program called the Washington Center. You write an interest statement about your passion, and they take your interest statement and send it to partnering organizations. My interest area is education, so my resume and interest statement was sent to FLOC.

Q: What are your job duties this summer?

My primary project has been to develop FLOC’s community college and vocational education resources. I’ve also helped with resume and interview prep with our post-secondary Scholars. Other things I’ve done is compiled a research booklet on employment projections for the next 10 years to see which jobs are going to have the most growth.

Q: What have you learned here?

Everything this summer has been a tremendous learning experience. I know that our team works really great together. I’ve learned that sometimes it’s hard to connect with our current generation because it’s such a multitasking mindset. I think that when I go back to Mississippi to tutor, I’ll try to focus on finding ways to interact with the kids through technology and implementing multi-tasking activities.

Q: What’s your favorite part about spending the summer in DC?

I came with the mindset that I was going to be a tourist for the summer. I have been to every museum and every event that I could possibly think of. There’s so much to do and I’m so excited to start the day. I’ve really enjoyed working with the people at FLOC. It’s a great, great team!

Q: What are your plans after college?

This summer has given me a lot to think about. I’m thinking about applying to a public administration program with education being my focus area. This summer has really helped me to find that goal. [I’m also considering] applying to Teach for America mostly because of my wonderful experience here this summer.