Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Wish by: Ishmael Eddington

(Part 1)
Once there was a boy named Ishmael and he had a bully named Sam Tomphson. Ishmael believed in Santa Claus but Sam didn’t. Every where Sam would go, he saw pictures of Santa Clause on windows, stores, and etc… even at his house there were pictures of Santa Claus.

School was Sam’s playground, especially at Christmas time. Every time he went to school he would beat up anyone who believed in Santa Clause and then call them crybabies. Sam’s mother tried everything from, buying decorated cookies with Santa Claus, evergreen trees, reindeers, and elves. But still, Sam didn’t believe in Santa Claus.

So Ishmael decided that his Christmas wish this year is for Sam to believe in Santa Clause. Ishmael wrote a note in cursive to Santa Clause. This boy once told Ishmael that if you write your letter to Santa in cursive that your wish is will come to come true. Two weeks past, and no word from Santa. Ishmael for sure Santa would reply.

Three days before Christmas there was a knock at the door. A tall, skinny man, name Tom was at the door. Ishmael opens the door and Tom hands him a letter. The letter was from Santa….

Did Santa make Ishmael’s wish come true? Time to leave for Christmas break… We'll continue, January 5, 2010 when we come back from Christmas break to see if Ishmael’s wish came true. Does Sam Tomphson believe?????

By: Ishmael Eddington

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Boy who Never Gave up on Santa

Since Christmas is in two days, I thought all of you would enjoy this short story about a boy who never gave up on Santa Clause.

Once there was a boy named Joshua who wanted a motorcycle but he had a bully name Mickey. Joshua believed in Santa Clause and Mickey didn’t. So Joshua wrote a letter to Santa Clause. Joshua sent it in the mail and went back home. The next day was the last day of school until the New Year. When Joshua went to school the next day was when he came face to face with Mickey. Mickey was holding the Joshua’s letter to Santa Clause. Joshua had accidently sent Mickey the letter.

Mickey was showed everyone the letter. Everyone started to laugh and make fun of Joshua. Joshua was really sad, but did not give up in believe in Santa Clause. So he wrote another letter and made it was mailed to Santa Clause. Joshua was sure that Santa Clause will get his letter in time.

Around 1:00a.m. Christmas morning, Joshua comes running down the stairs and sees him, Santa Clause. Santa Clause was in his living room. Joshua looks around but does not see a motorcycle. At that moment, all Joshua was thinking was that Santa Clause is really in his house. Joshua goes and gets his mom. When they both came down the stairs, Santa Clause was gone, but there it was a motorcycle…

By: Joshua Latham 4th grade
On Tuesdays, our 3rd, 4th, & 5th graders have descriptive writing class. There are other great stories the youth wrote about how they caught Santa trimming his beard in their bathroom and about a boy who never wanted to take his Christmas pajamas off.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Meet Vanessa

I am a sophomore ,I attend Skyline High School, and I am in the Interior Design Cluster. I joined Digital Connectors to help further my knowledge on computers and design. I believe that I will be able to accomplish all things in my life with effort and perseverance. I tend to be very outspoken and I love to speak on topics that interest me. Also I am very intellectual and one day hope to inspire the youth. I motivate myself by trying to stay positive and focusing on my goals. Life is short an I intend to live it to the fullest. Also I believe that bad things happen so that good things may follow.

Being in Digital Connectors is a big opportunity for me to learn some new skills. Those who are interested come join!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

At D.C high

At DC high we all ways have and learn new things we also play fun games like the big wind blows, step to the line, zip/zap/zop thats the best one i like. and we alll have fun with each other making eacher other laugh and giggle i also have a new friend name, Mustafa .


It was a great day and cold, but warm inside DC High. We greeted everybody and greeted our new student!

My First Day

My first day at d.c. high school was very interesting. I got to meet outstanding people, who are trying to do something with their lives. I had a silent interview and it was kind of strange. People who dont know you try to get to know you by just staring at you. Then they ask you questions to see were they right or wrong.

D.C. High


The Joy

The joy of seeing little kids being picked up at school and going to an after school education program is speechless because, you know that what they are learning of what they could be when they get older and how they are grateful to meet others and share things. It's the joy of just seeing a little kid smile to brighten your day.!!

Another Day in Digital Connectors!

We keep learning more and more about technology and how it is spreading. We began to know each other since the beggining, and done many activities. Its sometimes very intresting to know how things evolve and become larger in technology. Hopefully one day I can teach what I learned in this program to other persons that may be intrested in learning about technology as well.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

ASA Adventure

Picking up the ASA youth from school is an adventure. What you are about to see is just the first 5 minutes of the ASA, how the day starts by picking up the youth from school. Please continue to check out the ASA blog to see more about the everyday adventures at the ASA.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Education vs. Success

Last week in Teen U, the teens squared off for the battle of the month. The battle took place in the form of a debate. Their topic was whether or not money makes you successful. Divided into two groups, they were responsible for gathering as many resources as possible to help prove their points. All sorts of resources were used to ensure their team's victory. Some students spent lots of time searching the internet for information, while others conducted surveys in their community and at school. Over all, the debate was a great success and was the first of many more to come.

Shine on Jasmine

Terrance & Jasmine @ PVAMU

On Thursday, as I was getting ready to depart, a young woman and her aunt came to fill out the enrollment form for Teen U. It shocked me because Teen U isn't even open on Thursdays. It shocked me even more, that the next day, Jasmine, the young lady, was one of the first students there. Since her enrollment date, one of the only high school seniors in the Teen U program, attendance to Teen U has been constant. Although it takes a while for her to warm up to you; once she does you can see that she is certainly a shining star.

We originally planned a trip to Texas Women's University to attend on Saturday, November 21st. She was on of the first to return a permission slip. The Wednesday before the staff abruptly changed and decided to go to Prairie View A&M University for their annual Family & Friends Day. I received a phone call from her at about 11 o'clock on Thursday night from her pleading to reserve her spot and that she would turn in her permission slip the next day. Sure enough, Friday evening I had her permission slip and the next Saturday morning, she was here before I was ready to go to PV.

Once we got there, I saw her to slowly open up to not only myself, but other staff members, especially Ms. Janet. She's a senior and already so far behind in the process of continuing her education. She wants to do something in the medical field she told me while waiting our turn in the restroom. She is still very eager to visit TWU. (So, I'm pretty sure, we'll still be making a trip to Denton.) I know that she will begin to be proactive in this journey and I am glad to be apart of Teen U to be able to help her achieve her academic goal.

This is only the beginning of Miss Jasmine. I see her soaring above and beyond. One of the many success stories of Teen University in the making.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dr. Iesha

For the last two weeks I've been going to physical therapy to rehab my knee.

I'm a big believer in exposing kids to new opportunities and careers. So as I left therapy the first day, I asked my physical therapist if he would mind if I brought a kid with me the next time. He said he didn't think it would be a problem.

So...each time since, I have taken a different "kid" with me. Warzandrielle, a sophomore, was first. Hayzul, a 4th grader, was next. Brittany, a sophomore in college was next. Each of those guys seemed to enjoy the experience. Warzandrielle celebrated with me when I came home and told her my knee had healed enough for me to make an entire revolution on a stationary bike. Hayzul learned what a quadricep, a hamstring, and a calf muscle was. And Brittany decided that she just might want to change her major from Political Science to Sports Medicine.

So, tonight, when Danielle (our After-School Academy Coordinator) brought Iesha (2nd grader) to me, I thought she had asked someone too young. On the way there, I talked to her about what we were going to be doing. I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. She said a doctor. I figured at least that was a start.

Once there, as I worked on the bike and then the shuttle machine, I tried to give Iesha some similar activities so she could work the same muscles I was working. She did the exercises, but seemed just as content watching me and everyone else doing exercises.

After doing a few exercises, one of the therapists allowed Iesha to shut off the timer and asked if she was going to read the next exercise on the clipboard. Iesha, being as quiet and shy as she is, didn't respond. Feeling that it was ok for Iesha to look at the clipboard, I asked her if she was going to tell me the next activity. Next thing I knew, the beeper went off. Iesha took it upon herself to turn off the beeper, take the clipboard off of the counter, and begin to read me the next item on the list, "Is-o-met-ric..." she began.

She wasn't being silly. She was very intent on her job. She took on the role so well that I could see shock but a pleasant, surprised smile on my physical therapist's face as he watched her. He proceeded to ask Iesha what I was supposed to do next. Very intently, she looked at the chart and did her best to figure out which exercise was next and how to pronounce it. As we finished up, he smiled in a very pleased way and commented to her in a very genuine way, "We need to hire you!" He went on to say that child labor laws would prevent that, but I got the feeling that had Iesha been about 10 years older he would've hired her on the spot! When we left, my therapist very seriously asked her if she was going to come back.

As we got in the car, I loved watching the smile creep across her face as I told her from now on I was going to refer to her as Dr. Iesha.

Ask Iesha what she wants to be now and I think she just might tell you, "Phy-si-cal thera-pist." It's a big career with a hard name. We've just got to work on saying it.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

More Funny Bug and Funny Faces.

My class also played "Funny Bug" for KidzMath this week.
Here's what a few of the teams came up with:

My class also decided that they wanted to see how many funny faces they could make.
Here are a few of the faces they came up with.

Digital Connectors Begins

I can't believe its finally here!

Digital Connectors officially kicked off on Nov. 9th!
This week the 8 connectors spent time getting to know each other
by participating in silent interviews, ice breakers, and general discussion.
The connectors also spent time learning about their new mission as Digital Connectors as well the missions of One Economy Corporation, The Beehive, and Connectors Club.
We discussed topics in Leadership, Philanthropy, Diversity, Personal Development and Professional Development.

Next week, we'll be diving in to the topics such as the history of
Computers, Digital Literacy, Hardware, and Networks.

The DigiCon Crew researching famous philanthropists.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Shine On: Ladaysha

Last Thursday afternoon, I took my students out to water the garden.
Little did I know...I would be getting a lesson in gardening.

I thought it was simple.. grab the hose and spray the plants.
Ladaysha, one of our garden apprentices, quickly showed me there was more to gardening than just "grab the hose and spray the plants".

She explained to her classmates that we needed to check the rainfall catcher. She made sure we picked up the trash and anything else that didn't belong in our garden. After, we collected all of the things that didn't belong she instructed everyone on the proper techniques of watering the garden. Not only did she teach us how to water the garden she came up with a strategy for each person to have a turn to water the garden. "You can stand right here, Tytiana will water first, then she'll pass it to you, and then you water your section". I was really impressed by this. I was already anticipating having to devise a plan for each person to have a turn to water.

Ladaysha continued to impress me. Hakim, one of Mr. Phillip's students, joined us in the garden. Hakim was anxious to pick peas and peppers. Ladaysha said "Hakim...let me show you how to check to see if the vegetables are ready to be picked". She took a few minutes to give Hakim one-on-one instruction on how to pick the veggies. She then allowed Hakim to pick a pod of peas. His face lit up with joy and excitement. He was incredibly proud of the 6 peas he picked. So proud that he asked for a ziploc to hold his peas so he could show his mother.

Seconds after his mother walked in the door....he exclaimed "Mommy, look what I did...I picked peas from the garden. Will you cook them for me? "
She was just as excited and proud of him.

Kudos to Ladaysha for teaching everyone about the garden!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Something Beautiful Continued.

This week we finished our discussion on
"What can we do to make our community more beautiful?"

"We can clean up all the trash outside and then put trash cans around
so people can have somewhere to put their trash when they're outside".

"We can put benches at the park for the mommies to watch they're kids play at the park".

"We can build a new park!"

"I can help people plant gardens!"

Our next step will be working on a plan to implement the things the students
would like to do to make their community more beautiful.

“Funny Bug”

How awesome for kindergarteners, 1st graders, and 2nd graders to work on their math skills by creating silly pictures!!!!!!!!

That is what “Funny Bug” is all about. This week, our kinder – 2nd did just that…“Funny Bug” is a math activity from KidzMath’s series. The players create a funny bug picture by rolling two dice, adding the two numbers, and drawing the body part for that number on the their funny bug. The thing is, the body parts can be drawn any where on the body.

The math skills that they learned were all centered on how to count from 1 to 12. By using dice, the youth in the ASA learned to add numbers (for example, 3 + 3 = 6). Some of the beginners had to count the dots on the dice to add the numbers.

Social skills were learned too. While playing the game the youth in the ASA learned to consider all the ideas
before making a decision
and how to be respectful of one another’s drawings.
Creating pictures, silly pictures by using math, it does not get any better than this...

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Does Money Make You Successful? The Battle at Teen U

Last week, Crystal, one of the teen participants at Teen U stated that "Money means you are successful!" Who would have thought that this one statement would have caused such an uproar. Terrance allowed them to divide into groups--those who think money makes you successful or "the dark side" and those who believe that having money does not determine your success, "the light side"; they brainstormed about reasons to support their opinions. Unfortunately, the teens did not get a chance to debate their sides.

On Monday, I began a lesson about leadership. I felt it to be appropriate because I see TONS of leadership displayed amongst the teens just not implemented in the right format. Again, I divided them into 2 presidential campaigns and had a mock presidential debate between candidates--Reshia (Warrenreshia) and Bay Bay (Warzandrelle), who happen to be sisters. At the conclusion of a VERY lengthy debate, we held elections and Reshia won.

After seeing how enthusiastic the teens were about the "debate", Terrance decided we should crank up the success debate once again. The setting was very socratic and professional; at some points the teens got EXTREMELY rowdy, but it was beautiful to see them so passionate about an activity. It was hard to not get persuaded to one side or another.

I know that once the computers for Digital Connectors get internet access and they are able to research actual facts to support their opinions, the teens will only excell in the debate process.

I can't wait!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


Each Wednesday, Ms. Katrina and I deliver the KidzLit curriculum at the Roseland Library/Bookstore. The curriculum not only provides reading enrichment but also engages the children in fun activities that increase comprehension as well as development in the areas of caring, manners, respect, service, and various other values.

Today's book was "Something Beautiful" by Sharon Wyeth. The book is about a nameless little girl whose struggling to find something beautiful in her neighborhood. Initially, she can't see pass the poverty, homelessness, litter, and crime. By the end of the book, the little girl discovers something beautiful all around her neighborhood despite the other issues going on. I'm not going to give all the juicy details of the book so you'll have to stop by and check it out.

One of the activities today, asked the children to answer
"How would they help make the world more beautiful?"
Due to lack of time and other issues, only one student completed the activity.
Here's what she wrote:

"I would make the world more beautiful by helping other people grow gardens so they can always have food, clean trash off the streets, recycling, painting old doors and walls, and giving the homeless people homes."

Over the week...I'll be sharing more of their ideas/thoughts on how they can help the world become more beautiful.
Our next activity will be planning a "beautification" project for the Roseland Community.
Stay Tuned.

Monday, November 02, 2009

My Favorite Poem...

My favorite poem is "Life doesn't frighten Me" by Maya Angelou.
I like this poem because ....

1. it rhymes.
2. I like the pitcures.
3. She's brave.
4. There's nothing that frightens me.

Written By: Niesha

Friday, October 23, 2009

My First Staff Development Meeting with ASA & Teen University

I could use the word "excited" to describe how I feel about starting my new endeavor; however, that would be a complete understatement. Beginning as a Teen University Coordinator assistant through the AmeriCorps program is going to be much more than just a job for me. I already feel an incredible bond between myself and my co-workers. When I got to my first staff development meeting here, there was a lime green crayola box with hand sanitizer and kleenex inside; along with a cardboard note that said "WELCOME TO THE TEAM :)." It was at that point when I realized, "Hey, this isn't a job, it's a family." Everyone is making me feel comfortable and right at home; a little sister of sorts.

I look forward to working with Terrance and Katrina. Oh and everyone else as well. (Everyone keeps telling me that I'm going to have to computer train I'm prepared.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dallas South News' Junior Reporters in training

Dallas South News' founder, Shawn Williams, conducts a Junior Reporter class at our After-School Academy every Thursday. He's working toward getting them to the point of being able to post articles on the Dallas South News website. Last Thursday I met up with Randy after he won the "Junior Reporter of the Week" award. He was so proud! The kids had been learning about asking open-ended questions. This Thursday, the kids began working with the Flip video cameras. As far as I can tell, the kids had never worked the video cameras before. You can hear Shawn instructing them in this random video below: But, as we know, kids are quick learners. After a few simple instructions about how to work the Flip video camera, the kids quickly moved to interviewing each other. Shawn was impressed that the open-ended questions lesson had stuck. Kwane, interviewing Lewis here, was awarded the "Junior reporter of the week" this week. Check it out. I think you'll understand why: I couldn't resist posting Ishmael's interview. I love his beginning answer, "I go to school. I get a good education." Toward the end he explains what he does to get that good education. He's already preparing, whether he knows it or not, to be a great college student! Keep an eye out for more from these Junior Reporters.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Junie B. Jones, meet Hayzul

"We're going to see Junie B. Jones!!!!!!!!"

That's how Hayzul greeted me as I walked into the ASA on Friday.

Hayzul and I went to the Dallas Children's Theatre with the tickets from the Free Night of Theater offered by the City of Dallas.

Evidently, Junie B. is a pretty popular character. I think I realized why. Hayzul *is* Junie B.! Hayzul was so into the play, I don't even know if she realized she was rolling her eyes and sighing when Junie B. got sent to the principal's office for "no apparent reason" if she, herself, were the one marching to the office. I watched Hayzul growl in frustration and exasperation at Junie B.'s best friends. I think Hayzul's life was being acted out on stage.

After the play, we topped the evening off by stopping by 1/2 Price Books. Seeing how much she liked Junie B., I wanted to get her an Anne of Green Gables book. I think she'll like "Ann with an 'e'" a lot, too. I can't wait to talk to Hayzul about it!

See pictures from the play below:

Hayzul getting autographs

Hayzul with Junie's classmate Jim

Hayzul with Mrs (the teacher) and Grandma

Hayzul with one of Junie B.'s best friends

Hayzul with Junie B.'s classmate

Hayzul with Junie B.'s best friend, Grace

Hayzul and Junie B.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Roseland Community Garden update

Ladaysha and Niemen are two of our Garden Apprentices this year. I am truly amazed and impressed with what they are doing in the garden!

Today they showed me the black-eyed peas, tomatoes, bell peppers, and jalepenos that are growing in the garden. From the videos you can see that we still have a little work to do on telling the difference between the different vegetables, but they are quickly becoming expert gardeners. As I quietly walked up on them, hoping to get some good pictures, they were so intently involved in putting the thermometer and rain gauge in the ground and staking the tomatoes that they didn't even notice I was there.

Check out the two videos below to see our garden and what the kids are learning:

Friday, October 09, 2009

Digital Connectors is coming!!

We are so excited to be a part of this amazing grant that will allow us to teach high tech skills to our young people! Check out the announcement made earlier this week:

Wireless carriers donate $1 million for tech training
Funding classes for 360 low-income youths on wireless issues and technologies
By Matt Hamblen
October 7, 2009 02:51 PM ET

Computerworld - SAN DIEGO -- The nation's four largest wireless carriers today announced a joint $1 million contribution today to a program to help bring mobile broadband education to low-income communities.

The contributions from AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA will be donated to One Economy Corp., a Washington-based non-profit organization that seeks to find innovative ways to deliver technology and information to low-income people.

The funds will be used to help fund One Economy's Wireless Digital Connectors program, providing 360 youth, age 14-21, with up to 200 hours of training in wireless technology, including software design and how to safely use wireless technologies while driving.

The program was announced at the International CTIA Wireless conference held here this week. Once trained, the 360 youth from low-income neighborhoods are each committed to provide at least 56 hours of technology-related community services in their areas. Rey Ramsey, CEO of One Economy, said that the nonprofit has already provided technology trained to about 3,000 youths, who have in turn performed 56,000 hours of community service.

He called the One Economy program, created nine years ago in a basement of a home in Washington, a means of "connecting people to the tools they need to improve their lives through a sustainable, lasting and innovative curriculum focused on mobile technology."

One Economy has programs underway in 10 cities.


Homework !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Homework !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Homework !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Homework at times has been very challenging with the new school year. When I say challenging, the youth are ready to play and homework is the last thing on their minds. I am a strong believer with the right ingredients, like little creativity, proper tools (notebook paper, pencils, dictionary and etc) and great mentors the homework blues will be no more. At the ASA, those very ingredients have made a world of difference. So hats off to the ASA team, Phillip, Tameshia, and Anna. Much thanks goes to Amanda too. Every day they stand strong and deal with the youth and their homework blues. They have made homework more of an adventure. If you think about it, homework is an adventure. I mean homework has it all, numbers, stories, human emotions, “the facial expressions”. It really does not get better than that…

I started my homework,
Then my pencil broke.
I thought I was going to have a stroke .

I sharpened my pencil,
But then I had to sharpen everyone.
So much to do.
And I have just begun.

Truly I did…
I started my homework,
But then I had a sneezing attack.
I thought I was going to choke.
Then when I saw all math problems.
Was this a joke?

I started my homework
Truly I did...
But then I got distracted,
My books were taken hostage.
I spilled juice on my paper .
Plus, I was running out of excuses .
Where is the cape crusader?

I started my homework,
Truly I did…
Everything I said before ,
Just part of my homework.
A little creative writing,
Do you want to hear more

Monday, October 05, 2009

cloudy with a chance of meatballs.

About a week ago, I read Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs to my class. They were amazed by the fact that someone wrote a book about "food weather". The book has sparked serious discussion about the possibility of it raining pizza. They all agreed that it would be pretty awesome if a huge pancake fell on their school and forced school to be closed for that day.

As a follow-up to our reading, we did an activity online. I taught my class how to check the weather across the United States. Niesha simply loved the activity. She taught her classmates how to read the temperature and even explained to them that the F following the degree sign means Fahrenheit. I believe she would make a wonderful meteorologist one day.

That friday, each teacher got to pick a student to go see the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs movie in 3D at Studio Movie Grill. I picked Shamaria.

Shamaria is known for her smile and quiet disposition. However, during the movie Shamaria anxiously pointed out the similarities from the book. In fact, she talks about it everyday now.

I'm looking forward to having more experiences like this one.

Friday, October 02, 2009

My Feelings Before Baptism

today is friday two days b4 i get baptised. im happy because this will be a major change in my life. not only am i getting baptised but i also became a member. my church is Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church every ones proud n i jux had to spread the word

Chavondria AkA ♥Shay♥

Sunday, September 27, 2009


The children planted beans this summer.
They were incredibly excited to eat what they grew.
Ms. Susie cooked the beans and made a delicious batch
of cornbread to go along with them.

Aviant thinks we'll figure out how to grow pizza one day.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Meet Tameshia...Digital Connectors Instructor

I keep telling people that every day I become more and more impressed with the 20-something age group. They are innovative critical thinkers who know and utilize technology and want to change the world. And so many of them are on the path to do just that!

Tameshia is an African American Studies AND International Relations double major. She has taken some time off so she can save up to finish her last year at school. When we interviewed Tameshia for the After-School Academy position, she was very open about her passion and desire to change the world. I could tell it came from the very depths of her and was in no way a passing phase. We want people like Tameshia on our team!

Tameshia works part-time in our After-School Academy and, because of her amazing skill and love for technology, she will also be running our evening Digital Connector program for the teens.

Tameshia has sometimes helps with the Friday night and Saturday meetings at Teen University. None of that is in her job description. She just attends because believes in building relationships.

She is an extremely important addition to our team. Thanks, Tameshia!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Opening Teen University in Roseland TownHomes

When we began talking about starting educational programming for teens, I was aware of the stories that getting teenagers to come could be challenging. But I also know that so many of our teenagers are eager to go to college and simply don't have the knowledge of how to be prepared and how to get through all of the paperwork. After interviewing Terrence for the Americorps position, I knew he was the perfect person for the job:

After only a week and a half of programming, Terrence is drawing about 13 teenagers an evening. After using my records to count all of the middle and high school students in Roseland, I figured out that is 10% of the teenagers! 10%...and I expect that number to increase! That's significant! What's even more significant is that they are being challenged educationally and they keep coming back!

When I went to check on the program, a girl was sitting on the couch reading what seemed to be a dictionary. When I asked her what she was doing, she rolled her eyes and explained that Terrence made them look up words. Despite the rolling eyes and seeming exasperation, after we chatted, she went right back to looking up more words.

In the comfortable, living room setting, Terrence was sitting on the couch helping another student with geography, while others were working on homework as well.

Off to the side, a group of students had the Scrabble board out and were getting a game started. When I took the picture, they wanted to spell out words to present themselves as great Scrabble players. We decided on "Intelligent Students," as you can see if you look real close.

Over the last week and a half, Terrence has engaged the students in dialogue about education, college, careers, history, and more. They have watched documentaries, practiced interviewing, and practiced speed reading to bump their reading skills up.

Terrence and I met with Raul Hinojosa to plan for our UTD students that will be helping. The rate Terrence is going, he's going to need the extra help. He's getting ready to start engaging them in researching careers and colleges to get them prepared for their future.

Roseland Library/Bookstore

The Roseland Library/Bookstore was a buzz of activity when I entered. Ms. Anna's class from the After-School Academy was there for their KidzLit reading class. They had finished reading the book and doing their activities and were all browsing the library.

I noticed a low-key rucus begining to take place. I looked over to see Randy rather upset. One of the kids had picked up a book and Randy was afraid he was going to buy it. Miss Katrina intervened, "What's wrong?" Randy, upset, tried to explain, "He's got the book I wanted to buy!!" Katrina calmly explained to Randy, "He doesn't have any money with him today. He was just looking at the book." The other child finished looking at the book and turned it over to Randy. Randy was then able to get his book and pay Miss Katrina at the check out desk. (I believe I heard a sigh of relief. :) )

After his purchase, I realized Randy had already bought three other books that same day.

Randy quickly settled into one of the library tables and began soaking in every word on the page.

The Roseland Library/Bookstore is open for kids, teens, and adults Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 3:00-7:30, Fridays from 3:00-5:30, and Saturdays from 10:00-4:00. Miss Katrina facilitates story times and book clubs for kids and teens.

All books are available to read in the library or to purchase--25 cents for paperbacks and 50 cents for hardbacks.

What's going on at Roseland

Last Monday we kicked off our education programs in Roseland. We've got GREAT things going on!

The After-School Academy (ASA) is in it's second year at Roseland. Danielle Evans is heading up the effort and doing a wonderful job.

Anna Hart, Phillip Hawkins, and Tameshia Ridge are our amazing Americorps members who are helping her manage our 30 kids and numerous classes. The ASA has partnered with Susie Marshall with the Gleaning Network of Texas. She is helping our kids create a fantastic community garden that we are hoping will become a mini-farmer’s market (run by the kids) to the Roseland community. We are also partnering with Shawn Williams of Dallas South News who will be helping our kids become junior reporters, with the hopes/plans of them reporting out on the Dallas South News site in a month or so.

At the building across the water park area (2101 N. Washington) on the first floor is the Roseland Library/Bookstore. Katrina Hobbs, another Americorps member, is doing great things there. Katrina is at UTA majoring in Education. She grew up in Roseland and has been a part of Central Dallas' programs for 14 years. She’s so excited about beginning to work with kids on their reading. We also sell books there for 25 cents for paperbacks and 50 cents for hardbacks for adults and children.

We also have a Teen University in that same building. Terrence Brooks, another Americorps member is going to school at Dallas Theological Seminary. He plans to run his own non-profit one of these days, but I'm hoping we'll be able to sell him on sticking around here. He’s amazing with the teens. He’s working on helping them with their reading and school work. In addition, we just received a grant in partnership with UTD. UTD will provide us with 2-4 college students to work with the teens on homework, college preparation, career research, and taking college trips.

Finally, we received a grant from One Economy in conjunction with CTIA and Comcast. It’s a Digital Connectors program. Tameshia, who also works in the ASA, will be running the program. Tameshia is awesome at technology and is extremely excited about teaching the teens. The program is for 14-21 year olds and focuses on several skills. Technology is the big focus, but they also has a leadership, financial literacy, and service component. Through the program, the teens will become certified by Cisco Systems to be able to rebuild computers. They will also be creating a mobile app and be creating videos throughout the program. I am so excited we were chosen to be a part of that and can’t wait to see what happens once the group mobilizes and becomes technology point people for the Roseland community.

Whew! So…please! Come visit us!! Great things are happening and I would love to show you what they look like!

We'll keep you posted!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Parent Academy meeting

We had a great Parent Academy last Thursday! Eleven of you came to engage in conversation about Rights and Responsibilities of Parents and interactions with the school.

Thanks to Ms. Alpha for facilitating the discussion and providing us with her wisdom as a parent.

The Parent Academy meets the third Thursday of every month. All are invited. The next one is on October 15 from 6:30-8:00. We will be talking about helping our children with homework.

We look forward to your attendance and your input!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What happens after the ASA?

Check this out!

This summer, we had a great staff of ExxonMobil Green Team students. I just received an email from Mr. Uchenna. Check out his work... ( can't see him. He is the voice throughout the video). Mr. Uchenna is doing great things! He's a star! Listen to him on a voice-over near you! :)

Congrats, Uchenna!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

First Day
After the first day of the new ASA school year, I sit and reflect. I started to think about why is the ASA important to the Roseland Community. In my opinion, there are not enough words that can fully express the importance. Then I remember what Janet had told us and reminded us on the first day. That we are here, to “Change the trajectory of people’s lives….by equipping kids to dream and envision who they can and will one day become.” The evidence is seen every day on the faces of all the young people who enter the ASA door.
We are planting seeds in the Roseland Community, maintaining the stamina to give that extra little nurturing a seed needs to become a flower and eventually a garden. The planting of seeds is not just a “one man operation” but a team effort. A big part of why today went well was because of team work. Sandra Day O’Connor stated that “we don’t accomplish anything in the this world alone… and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something.”
To the AmeriCorps team, Anna, Tameshia, Phillip, Katrina, and Terrence, “hats off to you guys”. Thank you for a great first day.

Little girls just want to have fun.

Little Girls
Author: Karen Barnes

Little girls are made of daisies and butterflies and soft kitty cat purrs
And all the precious memories of times that once were.

Little girls are made of angel's wings and giggles and a firefly's glow
And all the happy feelings, deep inside, that we all know.

Little girls are made of cinnamon and bubbles and fancy white pearls
And snowflakes and rainbows and ballerina twirls.

Little girls are made of sunshine and cupcakes and fresh morning dew,
And these are the reasons, little one, why everyone loves you.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

New Beginnings...

September 8, 2009 the first day our whole team will be together. I am really excited about all
the wonderful activities that are planned for the ASA. Today the focus is training and uniting as
a team. Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” Teamwork is what will be the key ingredient in making this a successful year for ASA. Also to note, I enjoy working with young people because you get to teach and be the student too.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Meeting authors leads to exploring potential careers

We haven’t even started the After-School Academy yet, but we’re already engaging the kids in great experiences!

This past weekend, two of the kids were chosen to attend the Tulisoma South Dallas book fair. They met several authors, including Carole Boston Weatherford, who authors a number of great books you can find here and Derrick Barnes, who authors the Ruby and the Booker boys series.

The kids also participated in a class where they watched a puppet show that took them in a time machine over to Africa and then were allowed to play some of the African drums and other instruments.

Tulisoma is a free book fair event offered every year at this time. Plan to go with us next year!