Monday, March 22, 2010

Apple Store Field Trip ( the computer Mac)

March 16, 2010

I had a great experience at the Apple store. It was great because you could split the screen with a click of a button. I learned some things about the MAC computer. I learned how to make my own movie using the clips from the Flip Video we made at the Digital Connectors club. Also I took some very funny pictures with the web cam using photo booth that was with the computer. I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE ONE BUT IT'S TOO EXPENSIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! thats all for today

The Game of Life!

The other day Wensday March 17, 2010 we had a group of teenagers come in from another place. We played a game called The Game of Life. It is basically learning how to live life as some regular people do every day around the world. We had to learn how to write checks, deposit them to the bank, work and get our paychecks, pay tickets, and we had to waste money for our necessities. Each one of us playing the game had a different life role. Some of us had a part time job that didn't cover all of our bills, some of us didn't have cars so we had to ride the bus, and some of us had kids which meant even more expenses. You had to write down your expenses or else you would go broke. This was a real life experience for me. At the end of the game it was an eye opener. I realized I had just done most of the things I would have to do when I got older and grown up. Its as if I had just grown in 20 minutes and payed bills and worked and all that stuff. It is a big important thing to have a life plan as you get older. And its really important to have a job and an education because that will get you in a good job and in a good position later on in life. With a good education and good determination I think anybody can achieve anything they set their mind to. That was my lesson learned in The Game of Life! :)


On March 18,2010, we took a field trip to Janimation Studios. Where we uncovered the process of making videos and much more. We were able to get a first hand look at were the process takes place and how. We also got to meet very inflentiual people in the animation world. One peron in pactiular was Claude Locke the Executive Producer of Janimation. Mr.Locke has been working in the animation world for the past 40 years. He is the driving force behind all the production at the Janimation Studios. Their work space was very cool and they seem to be a family. Their work is tedious and very detail orientated. JANIMATION STUDIOS ROCKS!!!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day two of Spring Break

Our mission, to spread joy to all we encounter. First stop, Roseland Gardens where the seniors live. In this picture, we are containing our excitement and energy for our mission.

Meet our new friend Novella Roberts.
Trinity, Ta'Kyra, & Novella Roberts
Meet another new friend, Margie Macky
Trinity, Titana, Iesha, & Margie Macky

Getting Down to business with some arts and crafts

B I N G O, B I N G O, ...

Who knew BINGO could be so intense!!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

SMU...Here he comes!

I was sitting in our Parent Academy when Tameshia came up behind me, tapped me on the shoulder and said she needed to talk to me. Thinking the worst, I  walked to the back with her. Once we got to the back, she explained to me, "Michael just got a $200,000 scholarship!"

I was speechless! $200, SMU! Oh my goodness!

I first met Michael a few years ago when the great people at Education is Freedom provided us with a summer intern. Michael helped us get things organized that summer. Michael attends North Dallas High School. This year, when we started our Digital Connectors program out of Roseland, we recruited from North Dallas. Though we hadn't seen Michael in a couple of years, he remembered us and was one of the first people to sign up.

Though we can't take credit for all of Michael's hard work and persistence in being involved in many different programs and writing and following through on college applications and such, we can say that Michael will be more prepared technologically when he finishes Digital Connectors in May.

By May, Michael will be equipped with a Cisco IT Essentials certification that will provide him with the skills and knowledge of rebuilding computers from scratch. He will know how to create a mobile app. He will have completed a leadership skills module as well as a financial literacy module...all of which will be extremely important in college--especially at such a competitive school like SMU...and especially as an engineering major!

When Tameshia told me, I immediately went downstairs to congratulate him and do a quick interview. He reads this blog so help me in congratulating him on his amazing achievement of receiving one of only four Dedman Scholarships offered each year at SMU!


Friday, March 12, 2010

Jr. Reporters update

Our VP, Gerald Britt, came to my office for our meeting today. Not five minutes into our meeting, Danielle (who runs our After-School Academy) quickly came into the office apologizing for breaking in. Joshua stood around the corner as Danielle explained. Joshua had interviewed Rev. Britt during the Jr. Reporters interviews they did about two weeks ago.

Joshua saw Gerald walk in the door and immediately got excited and wanted to say hi. So, while Danielle asked permission to interrupt our meeting for a few minutes, Joshua stood around the corner. As soon as Gerald stood up to greet Joshua, I saw Joshua come around the corner with a big, somewhat shy, grin on his face. I loved the connection I saw.

The original intent of Jr. Reporters was to teach kids professional skills and interviewing techniques in hopes of encouraging a possible career in journalism and/or just developing skills that could help them in ways that could prepare them for their future. We are definitely achieving that, but an added benefit is seeing the kids excited about seeing the instant connection with the adults they interviewed.

I didn't think to capture the interaction until it was almost over so this is really short...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spotlight: Bridgett and Phillip Casey

There's nothing like having great parents. Though I believe all parents want the best for their children, I also realize that some parents take advantage of opportunities more than others.

Brigett and Phillip Casey are two parents who are soaking up every opportunity that comes their way. They enrolled their oldest boy, LaMarcus, in our After-School Academy at the beginning of last year. It was our first year so we had an orientation to sign people up. Bridgett and Phillip were one of the first couples there.

Throughout the first year of our program, they were very supportive. They loved that we had a checkbook system where kids earned and lost "dollars" according to behavior. They had to write their gains and losses in their checkbook to keep track. Bridgett and Phillip wanted to implement the system at home so we gave them extra check registers.

This year, they signed LaMarcus up for the program and added his younger brother, Joshua. The two boys are quickly becoming experts at greeting every person who walks in the door...just like we teach--firm handshake, good eye contact, and a strong voice.

Bridgett (and sometimes Phillip) participate in our parenting LOL (Ladies Oxygen Luncheon), faithfully attends the monthly Parent Academy, and started the 10-week Play Connection I blogged about here.

Yesterday, when I talked to Miss Katrina to find out who is buying books at the Library/Bookstore, she said Bridgett and Phillip went in to buy adult books for themselves and also bought a book a piece for their two boys and their older daughter.

Though we recognize that families have other things to do and can't attend every single workshop, meeting, and event we set up, I think Bridgett and Phillip have figured out they can attend everything, gather good information, and, in the process, be a participant in their child's education and experiences.

Thanks, Bridgett and Phillip! You guys are awesome!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Library/Bookstore is gaining ground!

What do you do when the rain has gone away and the weather is beautiful? Go outside, of course! ...which is exactly what Ms. Katrina decided to do with her kids who came to the Library/Bookstore today. What a way to combine the greatest things ever...great weather and a good book!

I look at these eager readers and smile. Less than six months ago, children accessed books through their school library...maybe on a weekly basis. Today, the kids can visit the library/bookstore on a daily basis...and they do!

I was asking Katrina how the library was coming along. She handed me $11.50 in sales just from last week! I asked her who was buying the books. She explained to me that two new boys, Jerry and Rome, have started coming to the library. Both are about 10 years old. They're best buddies and they can't get enough of the library. They come right after school, grab a book, sit off to themselves and read silently. When they're finished reading their book, they scrounge up money and buy it. Since they've been coming, they buy about a book a day.

I had to chuckle. Katrina said she has to warn them to swallow their food. Not sure what she was talking about, she explained that since they library is open until 7:30, their parents come to get them for dinner. The boys say that they will be right back as they sprint to the house and get back as fast as they can...just so they can read some more.

The great thing is...they're not the only ones enjoying the library/bookstore services. I'll post about that later...

Engaged parents

My to-do list never seems to end. Sometimes I have to realize my workload will never go away no matter how hard I try and recognize visiting the programs are sometimes the best thing I can do.

At lunchtime, I decided to check out our LOL (Ladies Oxygen Luncheon) led by Dr. Rhonda, a pediatrician in our clinic. LOL is an opportunity for current, future, and seasoned parents to come together and talk about different parenting and relationship issues. The number and variety of women at the luncheon were impressive--a young mother, pregnant with her 3rd...a couple of mother/daughter pairs...grandparents. Some parents came on their lunch breaks. I was encouraged by the attendance. Our CEO once told me, "people vote with their feet." It seems to me the parents in our community are voting.

Play Connection, an interactive support group on play for parents and children, met this evening. Though a smaller number of parents came, their engagement was energizing! When I arrived, Joshua was saying his "cloud" was when he didn't get to play with his daddy. His "sun" was when he did. At Play Connection, the kids get to play and interact with their parents. Parents and kids work together to create activities together out of very easily accessible materials. The energy in the room was contagious!

When one person said, "Great job!" to a child, other parents followed. Clapping, compliments, and celebrations were in abundance. I heard more "excuse me's" and "I'm sorry" from the kids when talking to each other. The smiles tell the story. 

The homework assignment given to the parents when they left? "Play with your kids for 30 minutes this week." After this evening, I don't think that will be a problem.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Boys at Work!!!!!!

Every first Saturday of the month, Home Depot has a Kids’ Workshop. Kids’ Workshop is so awesome! This month the kids got to build rain gauges.

Off to work we go!!! Jaden, Hakim, and Aviant went to Home Depot for Kids’ Workshop. They brought along their friend Kanye, Jaden’s little brother, Jayvion, and Hakim’s little brother, Izayha. What a day!!!

Getting down to business…

Tools, tools, and more tools... We like this : )

Brothers working together, Hakim & Izayha...

All in a days work….
The man in the middle, he is our new friend, Paul.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

After the Bell: Roseland Jr. Reporters

In case you just couldn't roll out of bed...or forgot to...this morning, here is our WFAA Channel 8 segment on the Roseland After School Academy and Dallas South News Jr. Reporters.

Watch out Chris Flanagan! :)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Turning the tables

Last Thursday, WFAA (Channel 8) came out to visit the After School Academy and video a piece that will air on their After the Bell segment. As was expected, we prepared for their visit and chose two of the kids in the Jr. Reporters program and Shawn Williams, President and founder of Dallas South News (also the founder of our Jr. Reporters program) to speak to Chris Flanagan, the reporter for the event.

However, before they left, our Jr. Reporters turned the tables on them. Ishmael asked to sit down with Chris in order to conduct his own interview. You can see the preview of the segment in the video above.

Watch the entire segment tomorrow morning at 6:20 a.m. on WFAA Channel 8.

We found out yesterday that Channel 8 liked the segment so much, they put it at the end of their "sweeps" period (for those of you who are journalists, I'm assuming you know what that means. For those of us who aren't, I've been told it's a really good thing! :) )

Tune in tomorrow!!