Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Oh Starry NIght....

Happy Holidays CalSERVES!

Our hard working Team Leaders, VIPs, and staff celebrate the holiday in front of the Starry Night (poster by Kathleen Chosa & friends)

 Fun decorating ornaments...we love a project!

 Sandra & Yesenia pose for the camera.

 There are lots of VIPs at this table.

 Paddy and friends enjoy the party.

We say thank you to all the amazing AmeriCorps members, volunteers and staff who are changing the world for the better every day!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanks Giving

I am thankful for many things including the amazingly committed people who serve as AmeriCorps members in the CalSERVES program. 

The VIP AmeriCorps Fellows are an amazing group of individuals, who work tirelessly to build volunteer programs in non-profits and educational organizations.  They engage over 100 volunteers each bringing thousands of hours of services to children and families.

I asked the VIP Fellows serving in Sonoma County to share their inspiration to serve.  Enjoy and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

The Sonoma County VIP team at the 2011 VIP Conference in Sanger, CA

Lauren Loeffler, Wright Charter:  Life is a privilege; I want to earn my keep.

Richelle Andrae, Taylor Mountain:  I trust that adults investing our time and sharing our passions with youth is the only way to make the world a more beautiful place! I am reminded each time a challenging kid smiles at me, or asks me how I'm doing.

Melissa Collins, Kawana Elementary:  It is a part of my DNA. For as long as I can remember I have always had the need to help people, and put their needs before my own. It is something that comes naturally.

Holly Cumbie, Meadow View:  It makes me a better person.

Patrick Link, Leader:  I desire to learn more about others beyond my comfort zone. I enjoy the way that service challenges me through exposure to diverse populations. Whether it be children, co-workers, or community members, I enjoy learning about others' cultures and styles of work. I find that so often it is easy to retreat when exposed to something different, but while serving I wasn't given that option--and that has made it all the more rewarding and satisfying.

Jaime Leimkuhler, Extended Child Care:   it is my passion. We are all put here on this Earth to serve in one way or another. Talking with people, being apart of a community is what makes me feel whole, makes me feel alive. I serve, and have been served. I am inspired to serve because I am living.

Tyler Rockey, R.L.Stevens:  I tend to feel good when I help other people...Perhaps I am just fortunate that doing what makes me feel good also happens to be that which society describes as serving.

Kelsey McBride, SCAN:  There are many things in this world that we have no control over. Therefore, the most important thing one can do in life is try to help someone else get through the things in life that just happen.

Julianna Whittaker, Bellevue Elementary:  I can't imagine doing anything else. My parents raised me to always help out when I can, and taught me to do so by example. I am so grateful that I have the opportunity help others, and I am so glad that my position allows me to share with others how they can make a difference as well.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

After School Ambassadors

CalSERVES Honorees from Bellevue District with former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin

Former Superintendent Delaine Eastin was on hand yesterday to kick off the After School Ambassador's ceremony by reminding us all to continue to address the needs of the whole child and remember we have the chance to change lives through the relationships that are developed after school. 

Bellevue Superintendent Tony Roehrick, Principal Beth Wilson, and Mentor Teacher Emma Charlebois were honored by Region 1 Friday for their contributions to the after school field.  Below are some words from each of their nominations. 

Emma Charlebois
"Ms. Charlebois has consistently supported after school by educating parents and other staff members on the positive impact that our After School Program has on our students.  She always makes time to meet with parents and new teachers to let them know about our program, specifically all the work and effort that our staff gives out to our students.  She is a huge advocate and supporter of our program, and she has consistently displayed an admirable commitment for many years and we would like to acknowledge her for that."  Yesenia Salas-Chavira

Tony Roehrick
"Superintendent Roehrick has provided important leadership, encouraging his staff to see the program as a resource and partner in student learning.  He has supported the after school program's attendance at district trainings, encouraging the learning of common instructional strategies.  He has provided resources to the program and is available to troubleshoot when challenges arise.  At CalSERVES, we feel very lucky to work with such a supportive Superintendent and want to thank him for all he has done."  Julie McClure

Beth Wilson
"Ms. Wilson consistently projects our After School Program as an important component and partnership to the success of our students’ academic and social progress to teachers and staff.  Ms. Wilson has shown to always make time to answers any questions or concerns that our staff might have by always being available, whether in person, phone, e-mail or a quick walk & chat across campus. Ms. Wilson also makes sure our staff members feel important and assures a sense of priority when asked for her time and attention.  We believe Ms. Wilson should be recognized for her constant support, commitment and care for all our students in our After School Program."  Yesenia Salas Chavira

Thursday, October 13, 2011

People I Admire

The Supervising Teachers of CalSERVES....

Melissa, Kimberley, Yesenia, Taylor, Katherine, and Kristen

 These women do so much every day to support children...

Show my your silly!

I admire their strong, unique, creative, spectacular, nurturing, and astonishing personalities.

You are the best!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Taylor Mountain Shows Off

I arrived just in time for snack at Taylor Mountain Elementary.

Andi Fletcher, a long time after school advocate and pioneer, is visiting the CalSERVES program with staff from Sacramento START to check out our nutrition education and wellness practices.

We watch a My Plate lesson where nutrition specialists Kristina and Brianna discuss what is or chicken.  They also talk about what you could put on pizza to make it healthier.  Some good suggestions from the students included peppers and pineapple.

A visit to the Kinder class led by KC and Crystal....

where they encourage students to get their "wiggles" out....too cute.

Our wonderful visitors from Sacramento START.  I love the process of sharing and learning that happens in these visits.  We can get isolated and it is wonderful to talk with other after school professionals to get new ideas and inspiration.

Thank you Kristen, Annette and everyone at the CalSERVES Taylor Mountain Elementary program for setting up such a wonderful day.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Wright Stuff

I visited Wright Charter School on Friday afternoon to check in with the group and see how the first Fitness Week of the year went.  Little known fact:  I was a proud student of Wright school in the second grade.

Taylor and Jenna greet me with big smiles.

Stacey and Lauren struck a pose to celebrate the news that they are doing well in our social media competition.  Lauren has been spearheading the groups efforts!

During Fitness Week students wear pedometers and track their steps in an effort to increase physical activity and improve fitness.  Prizes were given to students in each grade who returned their pedometers the most.  

Students created a drum roll for the prize announcements.

The little one shows off his paddleball prize before packing it up in his back pack.

 Jenna generates excitement around the prize table.

We had a good discussion about things we can do to encourage students to set fitness goals as the year progresses.  We have this baseline set of numbers, how to we encourage personal growth in each area?  We talked about developing a personal log or journal for each student so they can set goals and track their own progress.

I also met up with Mentor Teacher (for 13 years!) Ellen Desmond.  Here she is standing in front of the Cesar Chavez mural created by CalSERVES about 10 years still looks great.

 Oh your energy!  Thank you for all you do...

Friday, September 16, 2011

Healthy Behaviors at Kawana

I visited Kawana yesterday, joining Ediel from the Center for Collaborative Solutions.  She came to our site to see promising practices in the area of nutrition education and healthy behaviors. Our program is a Healthy Behaviors Learning Center, where we serve as models for other after school programs throughout the State on how to instill healthy habits in our students.

Snack included a banana this day...After School Team Leader Jackie Williams provided the students with lots of info about what the banana can do for you.  It has potassium which is good for the body and the mind.  As one student correctly pointed out, it also helps keep you regular (that isn't exactly what he said as you can imagine!)

A fun game of Fruit Salad...This one is like "Have you Ever" or musical chairs but with fruit.  It got the students moving!

Fruit and veggie many can you name?

Supervising Teacher, Katherine Brooks named quite a few.  

She shared with us some of her thoughts on health and nutrition:

Why do you think focusing on nutrition and health is important? 
Nutrition and health are important components of child development. When our students leave us, we want them to have the habits and knowledge they need to grow into healthy, happy adults.

What is your favorite vegetable? 

What is the best physical activity you have ever done or seen done at your site? 
I like obstacle courses and relay races where everyone is active at the same time and working with each other to achieve a team goal. 

The kindergarten room...learning their alphabet through song.  The students and mentors were going strong even at the end of a long day.

CalSERVES supervising teacher Katherine Brooks and Kindergarten mentor teacher Melinda Bachman pose at the end of our visit.  Thank you ladies for all you do.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Schools In!

As we start our work with students, the buzz at the schools is evident.  It is a mix of nerves and excitement but.. mostly excitement.  I visited Bellevue to get some words of wisdom from their principal on how to approach the new school year.
Bellevue Principal Beth Wilson and Supervising Teacher Yesenia Salas-Chavira
Principal Beth Wilson Interview 

What advice do you have for members on how to handle the stress of students in those first days?  
"It is important to have a sense of clarity about the day.  You need to have clear intentions yourself in order to communicate in kid language with students what it looks like, sound like, and feels like.  If you can do that things will feel and stay calm, focused and centered even though it is all new."

What is your favorite aspect of the CalSERVES program?
"The best thing is that CalSERVES helps kids stay connected to school and having fun!"

What is the most important role for the mentors?
"They show that school is a great place to be because of the relationships that are developed and the learning that goes on.  Their most important role is to help students become all they can be."

Mentors post their school pictures....very cute!
The Bellevue team hung pictures of themselves when they were in elementary school.  What a great way to get to know each other better and connect with their childhood experiences.

The Bellevue Team!
The team is very excited ... they saw their kids for the first time the day before I got there.  They are having fun getting to know the personalities and establishing their important role in the lives of the students they will be with this year. 

Mentor Teacher and CalSERVES Alum, Mr. Craig Jacques
Bellevue is excited to have Craig Jacques as their mentor teacher this year.  He teaches 6th grade at Bellevue and he was a former CalSERVES alum!