Category: Achieve Written by Simone Bernstein, thehuffingtonpost
Winter break is a great time for teens to volunteer and find ways to get involved and to give back to their communities. We all know there are huge benefits for teens that volunteer. One of the most rewarding is that volunteer service provides teens the opportunity to create positive change and make an impact, often with immediate results.
Volunteering also gives you the opportunity to gain an awareness and understanding about the challenging issues and concerns facing your communities while gaining valuable skills. Unfortunately, in this difficult economy, it is tough for teens to find employment opportunities for those few weeks in December and January. Community service allows for youth to gain valuable skills, network and connect with their community along with building a working resume and obtaining contacts for future references.
With increased budget cutbacks, more volunteers and funds are needed to deliver the valuable services and programs to meet the needs of the community. Even just a few hours a week can make an impact. Yet, many non-profit organizations and agencies have minimum age restrictions of 18 to volunteering on-site due to security, safety and/or liability concerns. So how can college, high school and middle school students get involved and find ways to volunteer in their communities over the winter holiday break?
1. Organize a book drive for a local shelter or create a children's library for a health clinic.
2. From the comfort of your own couch, offer to create or update a Facebook page and Twitter site for a local non-profit.
3. Make both your parents and the future recipients of your outgrown clothing and shoes happy by cleaning out your closets and encouraging your peers to do the same. Find an organization in your community that helps homeless teens and/or donate the items to Goodwill.
4. Spend time with senior citizens in retirement homes or at a VA Hospital playing your instrument, teaching basic PC or texting skills, playing card games or even bringing along your pet and just spending time visiting the elderly.
5. Host a Diaper Drive and or a Personal Products Drive (shampoo, soap, toothpaste, shaving cream, razors toothbrush) for area shelters.
6. Collect PG and G-rated movies that you and your neighbors no longer view to donate to a local children's hospital or pediatric floor of a local hospital.
7. Find an organization in your community to volunteer at volunTEENnation.org.
Want more ideas? Log on to generationOn.org and Youth Services of America for great tips and suggestions on service projects.
Last Updated on Monday, 10 December 2012 10:15
Category: Achieve Written by Alex Kuczynski-Brown, thehuffingtonpost
As Congress seeks to avoid triggering across-the-board cuts to education, the nonprofit First Five Years Fund is urging legislators to invest in quality early childhood development. According to a video released by the organization, investing now in early childhood education would ensure that students are school and workforce-ready, reducing the achievement gap and boosting graduation rates.
In a press statement, Kris Perry, the group's executive director, spoke to the importance of funding Head Start pre-school programs, which primarily serve low-income families.
“Right now Congress has an opportunity to be smart about building a more prosperous future,” she said. “If lawmakers are wise, we can both save and invest dollars for better returns. Protecting and investing in the critical infrastructure that programs such as Head Start and Child Care provide can facilitate parents’ employment, save special education costs and improve educational outcomes, while building a more productive workforce and stronger economy.”
The campaign comes as Congress debates a solution to the "fiscal cliff," with funding for education programs at risk for significant cuts come January. Three federal programs critical to education -- Title I funds for poor students, state grants for special education and Head Start -- would lose $2.7 billion over 10 years if sequestration goes forward, according to a Senate report. As many as 15,000 teachers and aides could lose their jobs, and 10,000 special education workers could be laid off.
The First Five Years Fund notes the consequences of cuts to federal education funding would be particularly harmful to the 25 percent of children in the United States under the age of 5 who live in poverty, including 43 percent of African-American children and 36 percent of Latino children.
A joint report by Save the Children and First Focus released in October awarded the U.S. a C-minus on early childhood education based on early learning program availability and enrollment, as well as access to child care. State funding for preschool programs decreased by nearly $60 million last year -- the second consecutive year of funding cuts. In 2009, the latest year for which data is available, only one in six eligible families received childcare assistance through the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF), the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF) or the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG).
The First Five Years Fund argues these gaps in early childhood development lead many children to enter kindergarten lacking the foundational skills and other capabilities necessary to succeed in school.
Citing data from economists, social scientists and medical experts, the organization argues comprehensive development from birth to age five -- particularly for disadvantaged children and their families -- yields positive outcomes in higher educational attainment, improved health and economic prosperity. More specifically, research conducted by Nobel Prize-winning University of Chicago Economics Professor James Heckman has found that every dollar invested in early childhood development produces a 7 to 10 percent return, per child per year, in reduced social spending and increased productivity.
Last Updated on Monday, 03 December 2012 17:53
Category: Achieve Written by Elev8.com
If you are a mom or dad dreading this Thanksgiving celebration, you are not alone! Parents seem pulled between their desire to create a day of joy and family togetherness, and the needs of their teens.
When children are young, they get excited about making cookies, or putting on that new dress or snazzy new shirt for the Thanksgiving meal. But by teenage, those same children seem to be transform.
Last Updated on Monday, 19 November 2012 10:35
Category: Achieve Written by Detroit Public Schools
Detroit Collegiate Preparatory High School will hold a “Community Grade Conference” on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012 from 8:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. in the school’s cafeteria.
The school is located in Building A on the east side of Northwestern High School.
The purpose of this conference is to provide students the opportunity to reflect upon their grades and academic path with a community leader. The process will yield weeks of reflection for students.
At 8:30 a.m., community leaders will receive the necessary supplies, a brief introduction, and a personal thank you for participating in the day’s activity. By 9:00 a.m., students will enter the cafeteria in groups to be seen by community leaders for less than 5 minutes. A community leader will see as many as 10 students where they will review student grades, subject support in their area of career interests, inquire about personal/school related interests, possible changes to current practice that might help predict future success, and how classes contribute to state mandated graduation requirements.
Depending upon the total number of community members, the school expects the conferences to conclude by 10:00-10:30 a.m.
The school will stress student ownership and professionalism. The school asks community members to dress, talk, sit, and engage students with eye contact and a firm hand shake to encourage students to personalize their communication with an interested adult. The school is picking a community leader, instead of teachers and/or parents, because they are already used to and see these individuals daily. DC Prep wants to make this a unique, personal, and potentially demanding experience.
To RSVP, please call the DCP main number at 313 899-7370 and ask for Paula Johnson, Communities in Schools.
Last Updated on Monday, 12 November 2012 11:52
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