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.

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 Ashley

Ashley is a lively, ambitious seventh grader, returning to FLOC for her second year in the Scholars program and her fifth year of tutoring. When she first came to FLOC, Ashley was quiet and reluctant to answer questions in school. Today, she says that her FLOC tutors and workshops have given her more confidence and made her excited to participate in class. “It’s great to raise my hand and know I have the right answer,” she said, grinning.

Ashley Ramirez

When asked what she’s most excited about doing in the 7th grade Scholars workshop this year, Ashley said that she’s looking forward to making new friends and learning skills that will help her succeed in school. The excitement in her voice was evident as she continued to explain that she wants to become a veterinarian for small animals one day. “My family helped nurse a baby bird back to health this summer, and I loved caring for it. Don’t you think it would be really fun to get paid to care for animals all day?”

Ashley’s other career aspiration is to become a teacher, because she would like to help other kids learn to read and gain confidence in school, just like FLOC has done for her. Ashley has many other hobbies, including playing volleyball for her school, but coming to FLOC remains one of her favorite activities. “FLOC is just the best,” she exclaimed, as her mother arrived to pick her up. “Can you write that down too?”

We’re looking forward to having Ashley back for another great year at FLOC!

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

Events, Neighborhood Tutoring Program, News, Scholars Program

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.)

News, Scholars Program

FLOC Students Take to the Hill

On Friday, April 17th, during DCPS and FLOC spring break, 8 FLOC High School Scholars had the opportunity to be lobbyists for a day.  They began their Capitol Hill visit with a working breakfast, learning and discussing about the U.S. legislative system, how to influence decisions and reach consensus, and the do’s and don’ts of lobbying.  Then the students broke up into teams of two and headed off to House and Senate office buildings to shadow some professional lobbyists and participate in meetings with congressional staffers on topics ranging from health care to cyber security to transportation infrastructure and more.

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One of our high school sophomores got to lobby a congressional staff member on the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind law (or the Elementary and Secondary Education Act), which sets national standards for closing the achievement gap and provides funding for state and local school districts.  Joel had the opportunity to share his own experiences with DC’s annual assessment tests and his recommendation that Congress make college more affordable for all students.

After a full morning of learning and lobbying, it was time for a fantastic lunch in one of the Congressional dining rooms, including ice cream for dessert, and a tour of the U.S. Capitol. Our tour included some of the usual interesting stops, like the Capitol Rotunda and murals, Statuary Hall, the old Supreme Court Chambers,  and the exact center of Washington, DC. But it also included some extra special behind-the-scenes peeks that the general public doesn’t usually get to see, such as visiting the Senate Cloakroom and stepping onto the Senate floor, touring the Minority Leader’s office, and a ride on the Capitol subway.  Many thanks to the staff from the offices of the National Governors Association, Senate Sergeant at Arms, Senator Bennett from Colorado  and the staff of the Democratic Cloak Room for making this tour possible, plus the Senate pages who spoke to us about their lives as high school students living and working in DC for the semester.

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Our group of students included an aspiring politician and a young woman set on being the “second Latina Supreme Court Justice,” so the insiders glimpse into our political process was such a fabulous experience to help them on their career journey!

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(Elizabeth Metz is the Recruitment and Outreach Manager at FLOC.)

News

A Different Path: Violence Prevention and Educational Opportunity

Late last month, FLOC Deputy Director Robyn Lingo testified before DC City Council as part of a forum on preventing youth violence.  Read her powerful testimony about the impact out-of-school time programming can have on our young people and our city…

Testimony of Robyn Lingo
For Love of Children (FLOC)
D.C. Council Committee on the Judiciary
Forum on Preventing Youth Violence
April 25, 2015

My name is Robyn Lingo and I am the Deputy Director at For Love of Children (FLOC). Thank you for the opportunity to testify today on behalf of For Love of Children.

Last year, our nation reached a profound milestone — 80 percent of our students now graduate high school. Within the District of Columbia, however, we struggle to graduate even 64 percent of our students. Our city boasts the highest proportion of young adults with college degrees, yet only 10 percent of our city’s own high school students will attain postsecondary degrees.

According to the DC Alliance for Youth Advocates, there are over 14,000 young people in the District neither enrolled in school nor employed, and less than 42% of 20-24 year olds in DC have fulltime employment. In the highest-need Wards of the city, those statistics are even more striking.

It’s not hard to see the correlation between the lack of educational opportunity and the prevalence of violence among our youth. Without us demonstrating a clear path to a successful educational journey and chosen career for our youth, we see all too often the dangerous and harmful direction that too many young people go down.

Everyday, FLOC is offering a different path, by providing opportunities for students to succeed in school, aspire to earn a postsecondary degree, and become contributing members of their communities. Unlike many other youth-serving programs, we provide a continuum of support that guides our students from first grade through completion of a postsecondary degree. Through our Neighborhood Tutoring Program, we intervene early to make sure that students do not fall further behind in reading or math. Building on those academic skills, our Scholars Program exposes our students to experiences, information and activities that build persistence skills to help them progress through their educational journey and into a chosen career.

As the Deputy Director of For Love of Children, I know that out of school time programs play critical roles in ensuring every student’s successful path toward adulthood and in preventing youth from being pulled into dangerous choices or violent circumstances.

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A nationwide study by the Afterschool Alliance showed that DC has the highest after school participation rate in the U.S., yet we ranked 49th in the percentage of low-income children enrolled in an afterschool program.  In the same study, the Afterschool Alliance found that of those DC children not currently enrolled in afterschool, 66% would be likely to participate if an afterschool program were available in their community. As the data has shown many times, students who participate in high quality afterschool programs “behave better, receive better grades and perform better on tests than students that do not.” At FLOC, we also know that our students benefit tremendously from being exposed to college and career options that help them envision an exciting and rewarding future for themselves, and from the attention of caring, adult mentors who help them make smart choices about their future. These powerful interventions can make a critical difference in the course a young person takes into their future.

Over the past 50 years, FLOC has served more than 10,000 children, turning disparity into opportunity and making sure they stay on the right path to a healthy, productive and fulfilling adulthood. Currently, 100 percent of our seniors graduate high school, and over 70% have graduated from postsecondary or are persisting towards a degree. FLOC sparks community transformation one young person at a time by ensuring access to quality afterschool services that lead to postsecondary success. FLOC programming focuses on youth empowerment by building critical thinking, leadership, and advocacy skills that dramatically increase readiness for postsecondary education. Through our signature Neighborhood Tutoring and Scholars Programs, we intervene early and expose students to educational opportunities and career experiences that lead to proven success.

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With more than 100 local and national partners, FLOC provides critical access to free afterschool services — from first grade through college and career — for youth throughout the city. Furthermore, by partnering with our students and families, we are organizing a community call for wider access to quality out of school time programming.

These are tangible, achievable steps we can take together to move closer to our vision: a city in which every child’s potential — regardless of zip code, skin color, or socioeconomic status — is unlocked with a postsecondary degree, opening the doors to success in life.

Thank you, again, for the opportunity to testify.

Neighborhood Tutoring Program, News, Student Spotlight, Volunteer Spotlight

WNDC’s Dynamic Duo

Jasmin and her tutor Ashley Oakes have been breaking records in our WNDC testing room this year!

WNDC Pair

Jasmin is a student in our WNDC – Tuesday night reading program and in the Scholars program. She has passed many tests in the Wilson curriculum and has added new words to her vocabulary such as frolic, compliance, occurrence, and more.

Jasmin began this year in Unit 2, Lesson 1 in the Wilson curriculum and will end at the beginning of Unit 4, Lesson 1. She has shown a lot of dedication to improving her reading skills and works very well with her tutor. This is Jasmin’s fourth year with FLOC, and she says it has been the best one yet.

Ashley has also enjoyed her time at FLOC and credits a former colleague for recommending the program to her. As the oldest sibling from a large family, Ashley often draws from experiences of tutoring/mentoring her siblings while working with Jasmin. They both are excited to return to FLOC next year and continue to work together!

(Felise Ortiz is a site coordinator for the Neighborhood Tutoring Program, including in the Tuesday night program at the Woman’s National Democratic Club.)