Monthly Archives: March 2013

Scholars Ten Years from Now

Our 10th grade Scholars spend the year reflecting on what their lives will be like in ten years. They envision their high school graduation, decide on colleges to attend and graduate from, and determine their career paths. They share their ten year future by creating a scrapbook which includes photos or drawings and essay prompt responses. This is one of my favorite workshops for our Scholars. When I was 15, I wanted to be a financial consultant, but I was rarely asked how I was going to get there. Obviously, my path took a different turn, but I am pleased to share with you an example of one of our ten year scrapbooks:

High School Graduation

High School Graduation

College

College

Career Path

Career Path

(Kathleen St.Villier is the Scholars Program Manager).

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The Outdoor Education Center’s Health Expo and the 5K Challenge Run

Children participating in the barefoot running clinic at last year's "Just Move It" Health Expo

Children participating in the barefoot running clinic at last year’s “Just Move It” Health Expo

Saturday, April 13th is a busy day for the OutdoorEducationCenter! Our second annual “Just Move It” Health Expo and first the 5K Obstacle Race will both be held at Sam Michaels Park in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

Our historic 5K run is not one to be missed! JeffersonCounty harbors a rich Civil War history that will be brought to life during our race. This year we decided it was time for the Eastern Panhandle to tackle our own obstacle run. The 5k is not your typical challenge race: you will be jumping over, under and through obstacles, you will probably get dirty, and you will use muscles you didn’t realize you had, but you’ll do it alongside soldiers and cavalrymen hurdling over civil war themed obstacles. Each heat will have a designated skill level and you are able to choose whichever fits your personal need. The first heat sets out for battle at 8:00am, with the other two heats following closely behind. Each participant receives a t-shirt and will be welcome to attend our “Just Move It” Health Expo after the completion of their crusade. Plus, this historical race on April 13th is one for all ages! Following the 5K will be our free “Kids Fun Run” at 11:00am.  To register please sign up before 10:30am on race day and receive your bib number.  We hope to see all you Generals there!

Directly following the Challenge Race is our “Just Move It” Health Expo inside the JeffersonCountyParks and Recreation Gymnasium. Our Health Expo focuses on seeing the enjoyment behind exercising and understanding how to make health and physical activity a part of your everyday life. Last year’s inaugural Health Expo was a huge success. We are looking forward to an even bigger crowd this year, as we increased the amount of vendors, clinics, and activities. Our goal is to support healthy, active lifestyles while creating an increased awareness of JeffersonCounty local businesses. Many JeffersonCounty local businesses and organizations have assisted our program through donations, materials, volunteers, and program support. The Health Expo will be concentrating on the seven aspects of health:  intellectual, social, physical, emotional, spiritual, environmental, and occupational. Throughout the day there will be local area vendors, various exercise clinics, a moon bounce and rock wall, raffles, a guest appearance by Mike Jenkins: a “Top 10 finalist of World’s Strongest Man Competition,” a Smoothie Cool Off contest, and an Average Joe’s Strong Man competition. If you are interested in becoming a vendor, volunteer, Smoothie Cool Off contestant, or Average Joe contender please contact Katie Nolan at knloan@floc.org. This family friendly event hosted by the Outdoor Education Center of FLOC and JeffersonCountyParks and Recreation is free to the public. Join us at Sam Michaels Park in Harpers Ferry, WV from 10:00am-2:00pm. See you there!

(Sarah Nowicki is an AmeriCorps Vista at FLOC’s Outdoor Education Center).

Remembering Gordon Cosby: FLOC’s First Board President

Gordon Cosby was instrumental in the founding of FLOC.

Gordon Cosby was instrumental in the founding of FLOC.

Rev. N. Gordon Cosby, founder of the Ecumenical Church of the Saviour which called and nurtured FLOC into being, died peacefully in his sleep the morning of March 20, 2013 at age 95. He was FLOC’s first Board President and a beloved mentor of Fred Taylor, FLOC Executive Director Emeritus and many other FLOC contributors. A memorial service will be held at Foundry United Methodist Church at 1500 16th Street, NW on Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 10:30am.

Meet Stacia Klim

It is Stacia Klim’s first year volunteering as a tutor at FLOC as she started this September, but she’s no stranger to tutoring.  As a matter of fact, she has been tutoring since high school when she coordinated a Section 8 tutoring program.  Stacia said she started volunteering at FLOC because she wanted to do more than just go to her job each day, and she wanted to work with kids again.  Fortunately for all of us, she found FLOC through a volunteer match website at her job.

She works with a 9-year-old student named Rya, and she brightens as soon as she starts talking about her.  “Rya really loves Scrabble and other interactive games,” she said.  “She’s a visual person, so I make up games or storyboards for her to use as visuals.  She also loves whiteboards, so we try to use those as much as possible.”

Right now Stacia and Rya are working on building sentences and spelling.  “Sometimes I feel like she’s the teacher because she makes up her own games,” Stacia told me.  “She’ll be like, ‘How about we have the fox eat the word if I get it wrong?’”  Stacia finds her work at FLOC especially rewarding because she’s not just helping students with their homework.  She, like all our volunteer tutors, uses a structured curriculum to help bring her student up to grade level in reading.  “You really are a teacher here,” she said.

One of Stacia’s favorite FLOC memories was the holiday party, where she and Rya “accessorized” Rya’s paper reindeer.  As it turns out, both of them are very interested in fashion and it was a great bonding experience.  She happily remembered how excited Rya was to go to the arts and crafts tables and teach her some “Rya-style” origami.

In addition to her time spent tutoring, Stacia also works at United Way and is currently collaborating with FLOC on a social media fundraiser that was known last year as “Give to the Max.”  She says that she was fortunate enough to go to college at AmericanUniversity, so she has a lot of good friends still in the area and in her free time she loves a good Georgetown basketball game.

Here at FLOC, we are happy to have the opportunity to showcase another talented, committed tutor like Stacia.  We are truly lucky to have her on board.

(Rachel Baxter is the Bilingual Recruitment & Outreach Assistant at FLOC).

The Neighborhood Tutoring Program’s SWOT Analysis

In the spring of each school year, the Neighborhood Tutoring Program staff meets as a group to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the program and to make plans for the upcoming school year. This gathering is known as SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) and it allows us to step away from phone and email for a whole work day to focus on making our programs better. We talk about issues big and small and make plans that will hopefully continue to grow and improve our programs. This year, we are asking for your input too – what do you love about NTP? What would you like to see change? What suggestions do you have for our program? If you have worked with us this year as a partner or volunteer, we want your ideas too, so you can email them to me at lslack@floc.org.  I look forward to hearing from you as well!

(Lana Slack is the Manager of the Neighborhood Tutoring Program at FLOC).

A Closer Look at the Postsecondary Scholars Program

The Postsecondary Scholars Program gives students the support and resources they need to be successful in their postsecondary careers.

The Postsecondary Scholars Program gives students the support and resources they need to be successful in their postsecondary careers.

For Love of Children does not stop offering support to its high school graduates after they move away to college. In fact, students who are interested have the opportunity to participate in FLOC’s unique postsecondary program during their undergraduate careers. The postsecondary Scholars program provides guidance and support to students as they navigate the exciting and often challenging college experience with the goal of helping them succeed personally and academically.

The postsecondary program is currently operated by Andrea Julca and works to provide a smooth transition for students undergoing big changes in their lives. The transition from high school to college can understandably be very intimidating and nerve-wracking for students. The postsecondary program at FLOC endeavors to help students with this sometimes difficult but exciting transition by offering students individual academic advice, professional development workshops, exam care packages, and a college night where other postsecondary students can get to know each other better and offer support. The care packages are delivered to students at the end of each semester around exam time and include essential items for college students, such as pens, notebooks, candy, and Ramen noodles.

There are currently 53 students actively participating as postsecondary Scholars. Since last fall, the postsecondary program has offered 17 webinars on topics such as scholarships, tips for college students, a college transfer guide, and financial advice.  Andrea also helps students with several college-related matters, such as filling out the FAFSA, transferring schools, and selecting a major. Apart from providing scholarship information and academic-related material, the postsecondary program strives to ensure each student succeeds during their time in college.

Another benefit of being part of this program is that if a participant is financially eligible, they can qualify for the Fred Taylor Scholarship which awards students up to $2,000 each academic year. This is a great opportunity for them to take advantage of help that they may need with making this important transition.

(Diana Martins is a Scholars Social Work Intern at FLOC). 

An Environment of Mutual Learning: Jenna and Diana on Weekly FLOC Scholars Programming for High School Seniors

Jenna Simpson (left) and Diana Martins are both graduate students with the University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Social Work. They have been interning with the FLOC Scholars Program since the beginning of the 2012 – 2013 academic year.  Together, they facilitate twice-weekly programming for 12th grade students in the evenings which covers a plethora of topics relating to college and career, including financial aid and the FAFSA, college preparedness and time management, skills to help them ace their interviews, and college applications and admissions.

“I’ve had a lot of wonderful moments during programming,” says Diana; “the students are coming here with so many different experiences, backgrounds, perspectives, and also insights.  I’ve learned so much from them. My only hope is that they have learned something from us.” They also do one-on-one advising on a different group of high school and middle school students to better address students’ individual academic issues, which also, Diana notes, gives the students “more of an opportunity to open up and address more personal issues.”  Jenna recalls one student in particular with whom she “has forged a really trusting working relationship.”

“We’ve had three sessions, each lasting two hours, where we covered a myriad of topics that are important in her life, including her experiences with education, her family, her neighborhood and community,” all to get a clearer grasp of what the student’s daily routine looks like, and to work together so that she could set some personal and academic goals for herself.  “She’s incredibly insightful and self-aware.  Working with her has been a reminder of just how multidimensional the students here are, and how FLOC is only a small piece of their lives and who they are.”

12th grade students participating in FLOC Scholars programming with Jenna and Diana have recently celebrated acceptance into a wide range of universities, including the University of Alabama, Pace University in New York City, and Miami University in Ohio, and are currently beginning the process of comparing institutions that they’ve been accepted to and the financial aid packages that they’ve been offered to make the decision that’s best for their futures.

(Andrea Julca is the Postsecondary Coordinator at FLOC).