Neighborhood Tutoring Program, News, Student Spotlight

Meet Da’Maree

Da'Maree and her tutor Tim at the Thursday Night Math program.
Da’Maree and her tutor Tim during the Thursday Night Math program.

Da’Maree is a very optimistic student in our Thursday Night Math program. When talking to her I could notice her kindness and her eagerness to learn. Since she started at FLOC this fall, she has shown a lot of improvement in her math skills and a lot of determination to continue progressing. When asked what she would like to learn next semester, she mentioned that she wants to “improve in the area of fractions.”

One of the things that Da’Maree likes the most about coming to FLOC is spending time with her tutor, Tim Woodsmall. Tim has been very helpful and supportive. “I like my tutor. He is the same as me, nice and fun, and helps me a lot. I’m better at math than I was before.”

Da’Maree’s favorite game she’s played at FLOC is Life because “it is similar to life and exciting to see where you can land on.” During her free time she loves to read and submerge herself into the wonderful world that the books can offer. Her favorite book is Grace After Midnight, a memoir written by Felicia “Snoop” Pearson. Da’Maree likes the book because it is a real story about a girl who managed to overcome the challenges that she faced while growing up and later in her life.

When asked about her career interests, Da’Maree said that she wants to be either a judge or a lawyer. We know that Da’Maree has a bright future ahead of her and that her self-motivation and enthusiasm will help her to be a successful professional.

(Lisvette García is the Bilingual Recruitment and Outreach Associate at FLOC).

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News, Scholars Program, Staff Perspectives

FLOC Unlocks Student’s Full Potential

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This year the Scholars program is implementing a new advising model to ensure that all students are prepared for middle school, high school, college and beyond. Students meet with an advisor four times a year and submit their transcript and quarterly grades to inform these conversations.

As a Scholars Advisor, I have had several inspiring experiences speaking with the wonderful students during advising sessions. One specific experience was with an 11th grade high school student. While we were talking and looking at her transcript, I started to realize that this student was not aware of her true academic potential and of all the wonderful opportunities college would allow her.

I spoke with her about several options that she could pursue based on her well-rounded academic, extracurricular, and community service experiences. She never knew that there were actually college degrees that would enable her to focus dually on her love for English literature and language as well as her fascination with business.

When I brought up the idea of a business and liberal arts degree program possibility, her face lit up. The prospect of college became doubly as exciting for her. We talked about how college would enable her to study whatever she wanted, while also allowing her to continue with her love for dance and cheerleading. At the end of our meeting, I realized how important FLOC can be in the process of students identifying and unlocking their full potential.

(Tami Burger is a Scholars Social Work Intern at FLOC).

Development, News

The Spirit of the Season at FLOC

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I love this time of year for many reasons – one of which is definitely NOT the frigid temperatures! I love it because of the time I get to spend with my loved ones, relaxing and recharging after what is most often a busy year that’s gone by too fast.  I also love it because I find this time of year to be one of the most generous times: a time when people capture the true spirit of the season – realizing it is truly better to give than to receive.

There are few things better than picking out the perfect gift for someone, volunteering your time at a local nonprofit, or opening your checkbook to help support those groups in need. I see this same generosity and spirit in FLOC’s generous gift drive when donors purchase gifts so that every single one of our students has a gift this holiday.  I also see it in the generous FLOC donors who continue to donate year after year. To them, and to all of you who do the same this time of year and beyond, thank you!

At For Love of Children we’re also ready for some rest and relaxation! Our staff is busy wrapping up program before the holidays and reflecting on the successes of the year, while looking towards the year to come.  A lot has happened in the world around us in the past year on local, national, and international levels. But, no matter what has happened around us, all of us at FLOC are reminded that our work is critical to the children and families of this city.

For Love of Children was founded in 1965 by a community of volunteers who heeded a call to action. They joined one another, united in a sense of hope and motivated by a common mission.  Throughout FLOC’s 48-year history, we have been guided by the core values of our founders: to help children thrive and to offer them the educational opportunities they deserve. We still come together as a community united by hope, dedicated to the belief that individuals, working together, can bring about lasting and meaningful change.

Although I don’t interact with our students on a daily basis, the stories I hear inspire me to keep coming to work each day.  Stories like that of Aliyah, a current 8th grader, who provides an example of what can be achieved through hard work and focus. Everyone who worked with her saw her determination and drive to really “buckle down” and work.  She moved through the curriculum at an impressive rate, passing 13 lessons over the course of 6 weeks – her tutor had to work hard just to keep up with her! When the dust settled, she had made almost two years improvement in her fluency skills, and nearly three years of improvement in her general calculation abilities. Aliyah is focused on what she needs to do in order to find academic success, and FLOC is ensuring that she gets there!

Aliyah is just one of the nearly 600 students we work with each year. However, we can’t do this work alone. So, during this special season of giving, we’re asking you to join us in continuing to help students like Aliyah, and all of the students we work with at FLOC, realize their own potential all year long. If you’re interested in making a donation and joining us in our work, click here. You can also mail us a check or call Ellie Haga at 202-349-3500 to make a donation over the phone.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my thankfulness for the amazing staff and volunteers that also help to make our work possible. So, on behalf of all of the students, families, and staff at For Love of Children, we send warm wishes for the happiest of holidays and a safe and healthy New Year.

(Ellie Haga is the Operations Manager at FLOC).

News, Outdoor Education Center

Meet Jacob from the Leaders In Action Program

Jacob creates a human body energy simulation.
Jacob creates a human body energy simulation.

Jacob is brand new to the Leaders In Action (LIA) program this year. As a 6th grader at Charles Town Middle School, he became interested in the program when he learned that LIA focuses on “health, being active and outdoor activities.” Jacob quickly made friends in the program as the weeks progressed while participating in our many games and lessons. So far, his favorite part of our weekly meetings has been team building games and star wars because all the students play them together.

Jacob plays "Pin the Bone on the Body" while learning about human anatomy.
Jacob plays “Pin the Bone on the Body” while learning about human anatomy.

Jacob’s first trip to the Outdoor Education Center (OEC) was for the Science Olympiad with Jefferson County Schools. In early September, he was able to explore the OEC all day while participating in stations all based on science, nature, and wildlife. The next two times he visited us was for our weekend gardening program in October and November. In October he enjoyed making the slug slime, learning about indoor gardening, and planting seeds. During his November visit, his favorite part was being able to view the growth of the seeds he had planted in October and transplanting them into larger pots. Jacob also enjoyed planting daffodil bulbs and learning about bats and spiders.

Jacob transplants lettuce with a classmate.
Jacob transplants lettuce with another student during their November visit to the OEC.

Since Jacob has been in the program he has heard many other students discuss memories from last year’s summer camp. Jacob is very excited to attend the overnight camp this year at the OEC because “of all the cool trips, outdoor adventures, and fun counselors.” While participating in LIA Jacob has noticed he has been eating healthier, learning about nature and gardening, and meeting new friends which have truly helped when entering middle school. He enjoys having 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students in LIA as the program provides him with positive role models and good friends.

The entire OEC staff welcomes Jacob into our Leaders In Action program!

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

Events, Neighborhood Tutoring Program, News

FLOC Book Festival: A Great Success

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Students had the opportunity to take home their favorite books.

Our 7th Annual Book Festival took place at the Pepco Edison Place Gallery on Saturday November 16th. Over 130 people attended the event including FLOC students, volunteers, parents, and board members. This year we were able to celebrate our annual literacy event by distributing over 1,170 books to the 73 students who attended.

Marc Tyler Nobleman shared his anecdotes about how he became a writer to the students and their families.
Marc Tyler Nobleman shared his anecdotes about how he became a writer.

One of the highlights of the event was the presentation by author Marc Tyler Nobleman. He explained his start into writing by winning a contest in elementary school and how his love for writing and comic books characters grew over the years into a prominent career. All students were able to walk home with a signed copy of one of his books such as Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman. After Nobleman’s presentation, the students rotated through the different areas to meet and take pictures with Super Why from PBS; choose their books; and dress up like super heroes for our FLOC photo booth.

Super Why from PBS and our students.
Our students were very excited to meet Super Why.

We are extremely grateful for getting to partner with PBS this year and to receive extra activities for our students. All students were able to leave with a reading chart which they can send back to PBS after they have read a certain number of books to receive a prize.

The Book Festival was made possible by many great sponsors this year. Over 400 books were donated through book drives held by Raffa, Sedgwick LLP, SIGAL Construction, and University of Maryland’s Chi Sigma Iota Honor Society. We also received over 300 books from Books for America. We would like to thank First Book DC  for a wide variety of new books as well as providing volunteers for the event. Special thanks to JBG Companies for sponsoring the event, especially our board member, Matt Blocher, for making it possible.

Finally, we would also like to thank all of our FLOC families and volunteers for coming out to the event. We hope you enjoyed getting to mingle with some of our staff as well as meet students that are also in the program. We hope to see you all next year!

(Catherine Brenner is an NTP Site Coordinator at FLOC).