Archive for October, 2006


Friday, October 27th, 2006

 Not only for the nonprofit! Learn how to tell your program’s story.  Let the community know what is happening afterschool ! 

Cause Communications’ Communications Toolkit

A guide to navigating communications for the nonprofit world is a comprehensive resource offering practical information in virtually every area of communications — from how to develop and budget a communications plan to what tools you need to help raise awareness and funds. The toolkit is practical and easy-to-use, making it a must-have guide for nonprofit newbies, veterans, and anyone in between seeking to revolutionize communications with strategic marketing, advertising, branding, media relations, event planning and more. Tips, templates and strategy outlines are based on more than 25 years of experience from the professionals at Cause Communications, and on information from national qualitative and quantitative audits of what nonprofits need in the area of communications. The book was made possible by support from The Annenberg Foundation, The California Endowment, The James Irvine Foundation and The Marguerite Casey Foundation.

Dropout Solution

Friday, October 27th, 2006

Dropping out of high school is motivated by a variety of factors and many of them have little to do with school or homework. The only way at-risk youth will remain in school and earn their diploma is if their communities make a concerted effort to help them. Learning to Finish is a new campaign launched by the Pew Partnership for Civic Change that seeks to address the dropout problem in communities ready to meet this challenge as a community-wide concern. The Pew Partnership for Civic Change has also published a dropout discussion guide titled “Learning to Finish: The School Dropout Crisis.” Here the case is made for a community-wide approach to solving the dropout problem and the five elements that should serve as the core of any community-wide dropout effort. According to Dr. Suzanne Morse, “For the one million or so kids who drop out each year, the prospects are dire. For the communities in which they live, the dropout rate is very bad news indeed. Each year, the toll of lost wages, taxes, and productivity that can be attributed to dropouts comes to more than $200 billion for the nation as whole. That does not take into account the fact that more than two-thirds of the inmates in state prisons are school dropouts or that it is a turnkey issue for poverty, poorer health, and more limited prospects for the children of dropouts. It is a vicious cycle that must be broken.”

Tips To Have A Safe Halloween

Friday, October 27th, 2006


 Please share with families and and  have your staff review with your afterschool children!
Your Guide to Pediatrics, From Vincent Iannelli, M.D.,

Help Your Children Have a Safe and Fun Halloween
Most people think of Halloween as a time for fun and treats. However, roughly four times as many children aged 5-14 are killed while walking on Halloween evening compared with other evenings of the year, and falls are a leading cause of injuries among children on Halloween. Many Halloween-related injuries can be prevented if parents closely supervise school-aged children during trick-or-treat activities.

Parents can help prevent children from getting injured at Halloween by following these safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Safety Council.
Children should:

    * Go only to well-lit houses and remain on porches rather than entering houses.
    * Travel in small groups and be accompanied by an adult.
    * Know their phone number and carry coins for emergency telephone calls.
    * Have their names and addresses attached to their costumes.
    * Bring treats home before eating them so parents can inspect them.
    * Use costume knives and swords that are flexible, not rigid or sharp.

When walking in neighborhoods, they should

    * Use flashlights, stay on sidewalks, and avoid crossing yards.
    * Cross streets at the corner, use crosswalks (where they exist), and do not cross between parked cars.
    * Stop at all corners and stay together in a group before crossing.
    * Wear clothing that is bright, reflective, and flame retardant.
    * Consider using face paint instead of masks. (Masks can obstruct a child’s vision.)
    * Avoid wearing hats that will slide over their eyes.
    * Avoid wearing long, baggy, or loose costumes or oversized shoes (to prevent tripping).
    * Be reminded to look left, right, and left again before crossing the street.

Parents and adults should:

    * Supervise the outing for children under age 12.
    * Establish a curfew (a return time) for older children.
    * Prepare homes for trick-or-treaters by clearing porches, lawns, and sidewalks and by placing jack-o-lanterns away from doorways and landings.
    * Avoid giving choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys as treats to young children.
    * Inspect all candy for safety before children eat it.
    * Parents and adults should ensure the safety of pedestrian trick-or-treaters
    * Make sure children under age 10 are supervised as they cross the street.
    * Drive slowly.
    * Watch for children in the street and on medians.
    * Exit driveways and alleyways carefully.
    * Have children get out of cars on the curb side, not on the traffic side.
    * And a few tips about pumpkins:
    * Carve pumpkins on stable, flat surfaces with good lighting.
    * Have children draw a face on the outside of the pumpkin, then parents should do the cutting.
    * Place lighted pumpkins away from curtains and other flammable objects, and do not leave lighted pumpkins unattended.

Who Is Affected?
A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that during 1975-1996, the number of deaths among young pedestrians was four times higher on Halloween evening when compared with the same time period during all other evenings of the year. Halloween poses special risks to young pedestrians. For example, most of the time children spend outdoors is typically during daylight hours. However, Halloween activities often occur after dark. Also, children engaged in “trick or treat” activities frequently cross streets at mid-block rather than at corners or crosswalks, putting them at risk for pedestrian injury.

Many parents overestimate children’s street-crossing skills. The pedestrian skills of children are limited by several factors related to their physical size and developmental stage. For instance, young children may lack the physical ability to cross a street quickly, and their small size limits their visibility to drivers. Children are likely to choose the shortest rather than the safest route across streets, often darting out between parked cars. In addition, young children do not evaluate potential traffic threats effectively, cannot anticipate driver behavior, and process sensory information more slowly than adults.

Staff Meeting Tip

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006


Are you are looking for a consensus among your staff?  Stoplight Cards and Thumbs Up are 2 tools you might use.

 Stoplight Cards

Materials Needed

    * Prepare 3  ”stoplight cards” for each staff member . Index cards work fine. Cut and paste a circle of red to one card, a circle of yellow to another, and a circle of green to the third. Alternatively, you might purchase stickers of red, green, and yellow and stick those on cards. 

This activity can be used for whatever part of your meeting requires staff members to make decisions about “hot” issues that face your afterschool program.

Before the meeting, prepare green, yellow, and red “stoplight cards” . Distribute a set of three index cards, one of each color, to each meeting particpant. When a decision is being proposed, explain the use of the stoplight cards.

Imagine you are facilitating a staff meeting that will require several decisions. Group members will use the cards to indicate where they stand on the decision to be made:

    * Green card — indicates agreement with the decision
    * Yellow card — indicates some hesitation or caution about the decision
    * Red card — indicates disagreement with the decision State clearly the decision to be made. Then ask group members to hold up the card that indicates where they stand on the decision.

Ask those who are holding yellow or red cards to explain their hesitation or disagreement. When their thoughts have been heard, you might call for another vote to see if the results have changed.

Thumbs Up

Is essentially the same tool as Stoplight Cards. The difference is that participants indicate with their thumbs, rather than cards, where they stand with a decision:

    * Thumb up — indicates agreement with the decision
    * Thumb sideways — indicates some hesitation or caution about the decision
    * Thumb down — indicates disagreement with the decision The clear advantage of the thumbs-up activity is that you can use it in a moment with no preparation.

 Both activities may also be used with the children in your afterschool program.

Adapted from, “Great Meetings” — March 22, 2005.

Hand Washing Tips

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

With cold and flu season starting…Don’t Get Caught Dirty Handed

In an August 2005 survey sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology and the Soap and Detergent Association, 91 percent of adults say they always wash their hands after using public restrooms; however just 83 percent were observed doing so. Americans also say they always wash their hands after using the bathroom in their home (83%) and before handling or eating foods (77 %). However, smaller percentages of Americans always  wash hands  after petting a dog or cat (42%), after coughing or sneezing (32%), or after handling money (21%).

Neeed tips and ways to teach handwashing to staff and children? Resources available in Spanish and English !

Go to :