Monthly Archives: June 2015

Meet Miriam

miriam bishop pictureMiriam Bishop serves as a tutor with the FLOC Neighborhood Tutoring Program. In this role, she tutors a student named Alex on Tuesday evenings in reading. She has been a tutor at FLOC since March of 2011. Miriam loves the documented success rates and hearing what a difference FLOC has made in students’ lives.

Miriam is an attorney with Willkie Farr & Gallagher (WF&G). FLOC has been a principal grantee of the WF&G Foundation for many years. Miriam first heard about FLOC through the WF&G Foundation newsletter that is circulated within the firm. Miriam went to the FLOC annual fund-raising luncheon that year and was very impressed by the presentation and the work that FLOC does. After attending the luncheon, she began to explore ways to volunteer.

This year Miriam worked with a 4th grade student named Alex. Alex is very intelligent, very active, and very energetic. Alex brings a lot of enthusiasm with him to tutoring, though he sometimes has difficulty staying focused and on task. Miriam works on several things with Alex, including vocabulary, reading and sight words.

Miriam loves to see that children are really learning. She particularly enjoys that look of happiness that comes over their faces when they suddenly “get” a new idea or concept.

Miriam has participated in various FLOC activities held at WF&G’s offices. She has also been to graduation parties and the Outdoor Education Center. In addition to her work as an attorney and her time at FLOC, Miriam is an avid garden. She had flower gardens, vegetable gardens, fruit trees and bushes, and indoor plants, such as orchids, Christmas cacti, and ferns.

Thanks, Miriam, for your years of service to For Love of Children!

(Vanessa Hanible is the Recruitment and Outreach Associate.)

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Meet Chris

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (February 1, 2015) -- The Optic Society of America (OSA) Foundation hosts an outreach program demonstration event for kids at For Love of Children (FLOC) in Washington, D.C.  Photo by Johnny Bivera

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (February 1, 2015) — Photo by Johnny Bivera

Chris was a new student in the 8th grade Scholars class this school year. When he first joined the program, he was really quiet. I struggled to get him to open up, participate in activities and interact with his peers because he was so shy. However, slowly but surely as the semester went on, he began to open up.

Chris started to form bonds with his fellow 8th grade scholars which influenced his participation in class. He began to want to work with his new friends on workshop activities. As Chris began to make connections with his classmates, he also began to connect with students in other grades.

FLOC has provided Chris with a space to develop his social skills outside of a school setting. Through the interactive activities we do during program, he has been challenged to form his own opinion and share it. After completing his first year at FLOC, Chris is looking forward to coming back next year as a 9th grader in the Scholars Program!

(Jasmine Cornell is the Scholars Program Instructor for the 8th and 10th grades.)

Deloitte Impact Day 2015

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On Friday, June 5, we had eleven volunteers from Deloitte Consulting, LLP come to FLOC to participate in their international day of service: Impact Day. This was the fifth year that Deloitte and FLOC have partnered for Impact Day. The volunteers helped us with three projects during their day with us. After a quick breakfast and an overview of FLOC and our programs, the volunteers were ready to delve into the projects for the day! Two of the volunteers led a training session on Microsoft Excel for FLOC staff and AmeriCorps members. The other nine volunteers worked with our Deputy Director, Robyn on coming up with a communications plan for the new Fred Taylor Scholarship incentive structure. After lunch, some of FLOC’s postsecondary students and high school seniors came for a resume and interview-skills workshop. The students had the opportunity to go over their resumes with Deloitte volunteers and practice their interviewing skills. It was a successful and busy day! Thank you so much to the Deloitte employees who volunteered their time and critical thinking to FLOC!

(Kate Fleischer is the Development Assistant at FLOC.)

Scholars Spring Semester Recap

The Scholars Program had an eventful spring filled with exciting workshops and field trips. The sixth grade Scholars participated in workshops about leadership and identity.  Students enthusiastically identified qualities of a good leader and provided examples of leaders in their families and communities. 6th grade Scholars also created an identity box which included a personal timeline, lists of their favorite things along with a poem about their feelings, desires, and goals.

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The 7th grade students learned how healthy eating and physical exercise impact their performance in school and overall wellbeing. To alleviate personal and academic anxieties, students created stress balls. 7th grade Scholars also researched career fields in education and hospitality where they eventually created their own education nonprofit and toured Omni Hotel.

8th grade Scholars participated in Mock Admission activities where they had the 2015-03-23 19.25.16opportunity to design their own colleges. Students reviewed sample applications and decided who to accept waitlist or deny. 8th grade students also explored what it means to have a healthy verse an unhealthy relationship in all aspects of their life: dating, family, friends, and school.

The 9th grade workshops included discussions about positive self-expression with the help of metaphors; navigating life events and “what if” scenarios; building a timeline of their life experiences; and themes concerning police brutality, how to formulate arguments in a debate, and how to navigate various personal preferences that can help narrow students’ postsecondary choices.

10th grade Scholars spent time researching and developing a 10 Year Plan. Students started the project by talking about what it means to be a self-advocate, the importance of knowing your behavioral style, and creating logos and tag lines that represent who we are. Students wrote about graduating high school, what experiences they would like to have in college and what career they would like to aspire to. Additionally, they built a fictional budget based on the salary of their ideal job and learned how to make a paycheck stretch. 2015-03-18 18.38.58

The 11th grade Scholars focused on their college search.  Each student created a list of ten postsecondary institutions they are interested in applying to during their senior year. They familiarized themselves with the application process, and learned how to determine whether an institution would be a good fit for their career goals, academic skills, and personal interests. Scholars also developed an understanding of the purpose of a personal statement and identified the experiences, activities, and accomplishments that make for compelling and one-of-a-kind essays.

12th grade workshops are designed to introduce seniors to key themes that they will encounter in their postsecondary careers and help them transition successfully from high school. One of our Postsecondary Scholars, India Ellsworth, came to present some information to the seniors about her postsecondary experiences at Penn State-Altoona. She shared valuable insight concerning college life, choosing a major, and time management. The following week, students continued their conversation about the differences between time management in high school and their postsecondary institution and discussed how they defined success personally, professionally, educationally, and socially.

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As the school year comes to an end, we are busy planning for our summer workshops, OEC camps, and SYEP students. Here’s to a great year and an ever better summer!

(Kimberly Davis is the College Access Coordinator with FLOC’s Scholars Program.)

Yet Another Summer Reading List

Hey FLOC community! Today, we’re kicking off our summer learning academies with the first day of summer reading tutoring. We’ve learned that summer learning and summer reading are incredibly important for our students, but it’s a great time for adults to do some reading, too. Don’t let summer go by without picking up at least a few new good books. Here is a list of interesting reads that are sure to get you through the summer.

unlikely eventIn the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

In the Unlikely Event is iconic author Judy Blume’s highly anticipated first novel for adults in over 15 years. Set in New Jersey where Blume witnessed a bizarre series of plane crashes during her childhood, In the Unlikely Event is an imaginative story spanning three generations of characters, and a charming portrait of the mid-20th century. go set a watchman

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Go Set a Watchman is Pulitzer Prize-winning author Harper Lee’s follow-up to To Kill a Mockingbird, and one of the most anticipated books this summer. Set in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman follows the beloved characters from To Kill a Mockingbird as they struggle with both personal and political problems two decades later.

girl on trainThe Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

A psychological thriller about a girl named Rachel who witnesses a shocking event which inserts her into the lives of strangers. The book is a real page-turner with lots of twists, amplified by the shifting perspectives of the three main characters. Hard to put down!

Mr. Penumbra’s 24–Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloanpenumbra

When an ancient mythical fantasy world meets high–tech Google. An eccentric bookstore tucked away in San Francisco proves that magic can still exist in the digital world. For: booklovers who cherish a manual typewriter as much as their iPad

Woman With a Secret’ by Sophie Hannahwoman with secret If you’re looking for your next addictive thriller, meet Sophie Hannah and her character Nicki Clements. (Guess what: Nicki has a secret!) Skilled suspense-writer Hannah will sweep you into Nicki’s world — and you won’t want to get out until you’ve reached the very last page. Good luck to anyone trying to pry this one from your hands.

Infinite Home by Kathleen Alcottinfinite home

If you’re away from where you live and the people you love this summer, your required reading is Infinite Home, which gets at the heart of what the word “home” is about — both in terms of the physical place and the feeling. You’ll read about Brooklyn landlord Edith and her tenants, and what they when their home is threatened. Prepare to be moved, because this one will reach deep inside of you.

martianThe Martian by Andy Weir

This is the story of funny, smart, and incredibly resourceful astronaut Mark Watney who gets stranded on Mars. You will not be able to put this book down, which makes it perfect summer reading to me. The movie comes out in November, which is another reason to pick this up this summer.  

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón shadow of hte wind

This is a such a unique narrative about a young boy, Daniel, who finds a book he loves and sets out to track down the author. But he soon finds that someone else is also hunting the same books — in order to destroy them. The Shadow of the Wind becomes an adventure that Daniel could never have dreamed of, introducing him to characters both wonderful and terrifying along the way. This book is splendidly written — and incredibly quotable too!

(Queen Travers is the Program Coordinator for the Neighborhood Tutoring Program.)

Welcome, new summer OEC counselors!

Every June, we at FLOC’s Outdoor Education Center welcome our new summer staff of counselors.  It’s an exciting and challenging time for all of us as they are run through an intensive training schedule 2 and a half weeks long that prepares them for co-facilitating our FLOC kids camps.

During this time, they end up covering everything from “hard skills” such as safety and techniques on our High Ropes course, canoeing on the Shenandoah River, or backpacking on the Blue Ridge to the ever important “soft skills” like facilitating groups of students through the Low Ropes course challenges, helping groups to think about and learn from their experiences, and building confidence and rapport with our campers through a positive culture of interactions.

Natalie pic 1

This year we are welcoming Natalie Pickett as one of our new summer staff counselors.  Natalie comes all the way from Birmingham, AL.  She attended Louisiana State University and just graduated with a degree in Child and Family Studies and a minor in Business.  She brings 3 years of experience working with 6th through 8th graders in an afterschool program during her time in college.

Being from the south, this summer Natalie is excited to explore and learn about a new place and appreciate the cultural, social, and environmental differences.  She is especially looking forward to bonding with our camp youth and watching many of them experience something new.   “This,” she says, “is the reason I took this job.”  In addition to her gifts and passion for music, guitar, and singing, she is also very interested in social issues, particularly that of social justice.  In the future, she’ll be pursuing a career in non-profit management where she looks forward to working with at-risk youth, underserved populations, and the homeless.

A big welcome to Natalie and all of our new summer staff.

(Josh Evans is the Program Assistant for FLOC’s Outdoor Education Center in WV) 

Recognition Event Recap

On Friday May 29th, FLOC held its annual recognition event at the Woman’s National Democratic Club to celebrate all the amazing work our students, families, volunteers, and staff accomplished throughout the year. 11th grade Scholars Ghelatia and Johanna emceed, and FLOC staff gave out special awards to students and volunteers in four different categories: Visionary, Unity, Champion, and Empower.

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The Visionary Award celebrates students and volunteers who have a specific goal, a vision for the future, and have identified paths toward that objective.

NTP Student: Giselle
Scholars Student: Demarro
Volunteer: Gerald Mason

The Unity Award celebrates the people at FLOC who demonstrate exceptional relationship building or mentoring skills.

NTP Student: Valerie
Scholars Student: Jenny
Volunteer: Judith Blagrove
Student and Tutor Pair: Delchristoff and Jason Aiken.

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The Champion Award recognizes students and volunteers who are dedicated and committed to their program.

NTP Student: Wesley
Scholars Student: Joel
Volunteers: Bridgette and EJ Palmer

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The Empower awards are given to people who embody all of FLOC’s values. They go above and beyond in whatever their role is.

Partner: Acumen Solutions
Staff: Kimberly Davis
Family: The Ortiz Family
NTP Student and Scholars Student: A’Tyra
NTP Student and Scholars Student: Maura
Volunteer: Elese Sizemore

FLOC also recognized our 8th graders in Scholars and tutoring for an exciting time in their lives. They are all halfway toward completing their postsecondary degrees! To celebrate FLOC put together some High School Survival Kits. The kits included a FLOC notebook, a FLOC water bottle, a folder they could take on college tours, pens, pencils, and candy.

The night ended with time for chatting, eating food, playing games, and taking pictures at the FLOC photo booth. FLOC is excited to see what our students, families, and volunteers will accomplish in the future!

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(Tamarae Hildebrandt is an NTP Site Coordinator.)