Neighborhood Tutoring Program, News, Student Perspectives, Student Spotlight

My Experience at FLOC (Libby’s Report)

Libby is a FLOC 8th grader and future journalist. She’s reporting to us today from the Saturday Afternoon Reading program. Here’s Libby:

Libby and Sarah Post Test 1Hello, my name is Libby, and I’m in the eighth grade. Today, I will be telling about my experience in FLOC and how it helps me learn.

This year, I have learned a lot in FLOC. I have improved in my vocabulary and in my reading in school. My teachers were really excited when I improved in my reading. I think FLOC is a great place for someone who needs help with reading or math. I also improved on my writing because my tutor Sarah and I do journaling. Journaling is when you have to pick a subject and write about it and then your tutor checks for any mistakes and how you can improve. I think improvements will help me because I want to become a journalist or a lawyer, but for each one you need reading and writing. FLOC is the best place to improve on reading or math.

My favorite memory of FLOC is when I met Sarah. Sarah was really nice to me when I met her and that was my favorite memory because it was the first time meeting someone from the government (Sarah works for government when she’s not volunteering). Sarah is really a understanding person. She’s nice, caring, radical, makes delicious cookies and is THE BEST TUTOR EVER!!! If Sarah is in FLOC next year I hope I’ll be with her again.

Libby and Sarah College Week

In conclusion, I think anyone who reads this should take my advice because FLOC is a great way to catch up to your education.

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Neighborhood Tutoring Program, Volunteer Spotlight

Meet Kevin

Kevin Mayer-edited

Kevin is a Thursday night math tutor, who has been volunteering at FLOC ever since he moved here from the Midwest a few years ago. During the week, he is an engineer at a company that designs solar panels, but he always had an interest in tutoring. One day, Kevin came across FLOC in the comments section of a Reddit article on volunteering in DC, and the rest is history!

For Kevin, tutoring is a nice change from his day job; he enjoys hanging out with the kids, and being able to give back to the community by volunteering. One of his favorite FLOC memories is from summer tutoring a couple of years ago: Kevin wished his student luck at her upcoming track meet, and she melted his heart by responding, “Good luck at your job! I know you’ll do well because you’re so smart!”

Tutoring at FLOC has helped Kevin to grow both personally and professionally.  Professionally, he feels as though he is better able to explain complicated concepts to others outside of the engineering sphere. Personally, Kevin said that he has enjoying gaining a better perspective about his community and a greater appreciation for his own education.

(Samantha Bailey is the Bilingual Recruitment and Outreach Coordinator at FLOC.)

Scholars Program

4 Scholars Life Lessons… through Theater

All the World’s a Stage

Theater is a way of life. For those of us who have taken a theater class or have had any exposure to theater, we know that performing in front of an audience — no matter how small — ultimately affirms our character. Do we tend to move toward the spotlight or away from it?  Last semester, FLOC Scholars had the opportunity to participate in a theater elective. They learned the basics of acting and used those skills to perform short plays, which they themselves wrote. Little did our Scholars know they would intentionally receive life lessons along the way.

Noel

Expect the Unexpected

As the semester began, elective participants familiarized themselves with the concept of improv, a branch of acting that utilizes the unexpected as a gateway to performance. Improv prepares actors to expect the unexpected and to remain calm when things don’t go as planned. In one activity, scholars were tasked with creating a never ending story (think telephone, but in narrative form). One scholar would start the story and the next scholar would add on and so forth until time was called. Stories went in all directions. One started as a story of a boy in a farmhouse but ended as a story of a giant octopus destroying D.C. Another began with an evil witch on a mountain but concluded with a family trying to keep their fried chicken restaurant open. The activity taught students that no matter what was thrown at them — whether a witch or a farmhouse — they had to make it work and fit within the context of their ultimate goal.

cindy

Emotions Make Us Human

Students transitioned from improv to acting and were given multiple skits to exercise their acting muscles. Acting requires a lot of an actor; it requires looking into your own emotions and pulling out the ones that are most appropriate for a particular scene. Acting, therefore, can be a very introspective activity. Scholars explore their personal backgrounds and must figure out which memories and experiences inform specific emotions. What do you need to think about in order to feel anger, for example, or excitement, or grief? One Scholar mentioned her most recent birthday party as a source of happiness. Another mentioned being bullied as a source for sadness. Whichever memory they chose, Scholars had the chance to figure out what triggered certain emotional responses and then to decipher if those responses were appropriate for that situation.

Abdul_Jasmin

Take Pride in Your Work

After practicing their acting skills, Scholars were asked to write and perform their own plays. They used their creativity to develop stories, dialogue, staging, and even props. At the end of the process, scholars had created a multitude of plays set in a variety of locations and genres. Some clever titles included Mom and Orangina Save Mars, an epic story about a mother and daughter saving Mars from alien invaders; The Crazy Adventures of Bob and Dave, a thinkpiece on the relationship between a boy and his pet dinosaur; and Empire, a reimagining of the hit network drama of the same name. When it was time to perform, Scholars used the skills they had learned previously to deliver well thought-out and one-of-a-kind plays that showcased their imagination and creativity. Their energy was magnetic. By performing something they had written themselves, Scholars took ownership of their work, which built up their confidence. They took pride in the fact that hard work and effort truly did pay off in the end.

(Tiken Savang is the Scholars Program Fellow working with grades 6 and 11.)

Neighborhood Tutoring Program, Volunteer Spotlight

Meet Brenna

BrennaBrenna began tutoring math at FLOC this past fall, after coming across the opportunity in a volunteering newsletter at Deloitte, where she works, and hearing her coworkers’ wonderful stories. Having worked with children in the past, Brenna was excited to work with today’s students and reengage in education, while also giving back to her community.

While she has tutored several different students over the course of the school year, Brenna said she enjoys finding things in common and bonding with her students. “The first student I tutored, Emmanuel, has the same favorite cartoons and television shows as I do,” she said. “I enjoy being able to connect with kids where they are; it reminds me to laugh a little and not to take myself so seriously all the time.”

Brenna is looking forward to volunteering with FLOC in future years as well. Because of her interest in higher education, she hopes to become a postsecondary coach and work with an individual student as he or she prepares for college.

(Samantha Bailey is the Bilingual Recruitment and Outreach Coordinator at FLOC.)

Outdoor Education Center

Empowerment and Health

Students today are faced with many decisions in their life. FLOC aims to help students understand that they constantly have many choices, even when it comes to their health and the health of their community. Part of the youth empowerment programming adopted by FLOC’s West Virginia Leaders in Action program includes the self-awareness and knowledge that they do have power to make good decisions and affect change.

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Here in WV, the statistics for childhood obesity rates reached close to 18.5% in 2011 placing the state high on the list at number 13 compared with the 50 other states. For the same year, DC youth obesity rates were just above 21% putting the district at 4th highest among other states.   Poor health and nutrition and lack of activity can also be major determining factors in a person’s ability to focus, to sleep well, and have energy and motivation. The link between education and health is well documented, but it would not be surprising that students’ health could affect their education as well.

For the second half of the fall semester, our Leaders in Action programs have been immersed in the Health and Nutrition unit. Students looked at the consequences of added sugars with the enhanced visuals of actually measuring out the numbers of teaspoons of sugar in a variety of familiar foods and products. They also discussed standard dental hygiene practices and strategies for caring for our protective tooth enamel such as avoiding sugary acidic beverages. Everyone was surprised to learn that most fruit juices and sports drinks are comparable to sodas when it comes to acidity and sugar content.

The focus this month is on the importance of movement and activity in our lives.  Learning or developing unhealthy habits as a child can set a person up for a lifetime of difficulties and disease.  Play and movement can be fun, and implementing healthy habits can increase a child’s energy and confidence.  So last week, in honor of the First Lady’s Let’s Move campaign, we visited a local county park’s indoor playground and got active for one hour.  After learning how to measure their heart rates and get them up to beneficial levels, with the help of a moon bounce and some fun games like clothes pin tag, all those present got the recommended 60 minutes of activity in for that day.

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The health of a population is affected not just by education and awareness, but also by economic inequalities, and access to healthy food and safe, active, appropriate spaces to play, among other things.  We don’t want our young people to be limited in life by preventable health issues.  Their potential is at stake, so let’s move towards a more healthy and just society together.

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

Neighborhood Tutoring Program, Scholars Program, Student Spotlight

Meet Sanari

Sanari is an ambitious, outgoing high-school freshman, returning to FLOC in 2015-2016 for her fifth year of tutoring and her fourth year in the Scholars program. When asked about her favorite NTP memory, she responded, “I’ve had lots of good tutors…  I really like my current tutor, Samantha, because she’s genuinely interested in getting to know me and talking about my life.”

Sanari Bryan-Chavis

All the years of tutoring are certainly paying off: Sanari has nearly completed FLOC’s math curriculum, an accomplishment that we are all proud of. FLOC isn’t all work and no play for her, though—years ago, Sanari met her now-best friend at FLOC. Today the two girls are inseparable. “We never would have met without FLOC, since we go to different schools,” she explained.

Sanari’s enthusiasm and great attitude have rubbed off on her younger sister, who also attends FLOC, and is now excited about tutoring as well. While she still has four more years until college, Sanari is beginning to consider several schools, while having a wonderful high school experience.

We’re thrilled to have Sanari at FLOC for another great year!

(Samantha Bailey is the Bilingual Recruitment and Outreach Coordinator at FLOC.)