Thursday, July 28, 2011

Frontline Staff

Consult 4 Kids receives a lot of input from the frontline staff out in the field. We provide a forum for afterschool professionals to share their experiences, challenges, praises, and best practices with other professionals in the field. Often, when we are struggling though issues or problems, we forget that there is probably someone out there who has dealt with similar, if not identical, issues and problems. It is valuable to connect with people in the field who have had similar experiences and learn how they were able to overcome the challenge.

Check out what tips and tricks these frontline staff members have to offer other professionals in the field…

As a SC I have found a best practice…While we remain a work in progress in the 2010-2011 School year, alignment efforts were significant and made the site stronger. To relate a few examples of how, we: this year two of my PLs developed strong relationships with various teachers in the grades they work with and teachers across all grades have seen the program as more than just Child Care; Resources have been shared with the program and collaborative efforts have been made to motivate students academically and behaviorally; The Principal has also praised this collaboration. Moving into next year we would like to work more at interventions and evaluating students with the greatest need.
Shaun Irving, Sunnyslope Elementary, THINK Together

To have the students wear their name badges every day we have numbered them and we do a quick candy raffle.
1. number the name badges
2. number popsicle sticks to match
3. draw sticks daily and pass out candy
I also like to write one word notes on the back of their name badges, like respectful. They really like to keep their badge once they have earned the title.
- April Hueftle, Wildomar Elementary, THINK Together

Don’t forget to visit the Consult 4 Kids website for more helpful hints from frontline staff.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Childhood Obesity Epidemic Calls for Afterschool Action

In this brief by Central Valley Afterschool Foundation, they account for the obesity in the Central Valley. However, as many educators have now realized, obesity and malnutrition are not area or site-specific issues. Nutrition related issues are wide-spread and demanding our attention.

As an active player in afterschool, it is vital that you take part in the structure of the nutritional approach of your site. Afterschool is a foundational learning and training time – and those values should not stop with the way your students and staff snack or engage in physical activity. See the article below, and visit their site to see the research and findings the Central Valley Afterschool Foundation has made in bringing hope to afterschool nutritional efforts.

Afterschool programs provide a healthy dose of physical activity, nutritious snack and active learning. But an extra measure of obesity prevention may be needed to combat a condition of epidemic proportion among Central Valley youth.

Lack of consistent fitness activity, poor food choices and lack of healthy food access, as well as insufficient health understanding have led to a startling increase in overweight and obese students, particularly in low-income areas and communities of color.

The research reveals cause for considerable concern:

• One in three children in California is overweight or obese. The percentage of overweight children in the nation has more than doubled, and more than tripled in teenagers. More than 80% of obese children will also be obese as adults.

• We are faced with a generation of children predicted to be the first ever to die at a younger age than their parents due to poor health caused by obesity and poor lifestyle habits.

• The United States has one of the highest obesity rates in the world. Obesity is the leading cause of preventable death, and is now the fastest-growing cause of illness and death in America, according to the Surgeon General’s office.

• More than 30% of boys and 40% of girls born in California will be diagnosed with diabetes in their lifetime. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts that nearly half of African-American and Hispanic children are likely to develop diabetes. It is estimated that more than 7% of teenagers already have pre-diabetic conditions.

• Just 29% of children in the U.S. participate in physical activity one full hour per day, while 62% of children ages 9-13 do not participate in any organized physical activity outside of school hours. However, one study reveals that children spend an average of 6.5 hours a day on electronic media.

Afterschool Poised to Take Action

Afterschool professionals find themselves in a unique position to make a difference. Daily, measured, fun nutrition and fitness activities can help students develop healthier lifestyles in a safe, supportive environment. Afterschool leaders are keenly aware that healthy eating and physical activity will also improve academic performance and decrease behavior problems in students.

Central Valley Afterschool Foundation joins the many organizations around the country that advocate and provide resources for the development of a focused fitness-health-nutrition (FHN) curriculum. Are you ready to kick obesity prevention up a notch in your program? Here are eight considerations as you take your next steps:

1. Afterschool is all about creative approaches. FHN curriculum does not have to be boring or prescriptive—it can simply facilitate intentional play. Be creative with learning and activity games. Give students team projects in fitness, health and nutrition for hands-on learning. Create competitions, awards, annual themes, and thematic presentations. You can even integrate fun art, math, science, social studies, and language arts extensions around the FHN core.

2. Address all aspects of healthy eating. Nutrition curriculum can include inventive, interactive lessons on food groups, eating patterns, cooking, portion control, energy density, reading food labels, cultural food, family traditions, eating disorders, size discrimination, nutritional deficiencies, access and choices, hunger and fullness, and body image. Be sure to explore the rich local farming resources available in the Central Valley with guest speakers, farmer’s markets and school gardens.

3. Ensure that students are active one hour per day. Try to maintain continuous activity at least 30 of the 60 minutes. This may involve games, recreational activity, dance, martial arts, obstacle courses, and competitions. Don’t forget to warm-up and stretch!

4. Develop conscious behavior and attitude changes. Explore the psychosocial elements and barriers to behavioral change with students. The importance of empowerment, self-worth, respect, diversity, persistence, and the social environment cannot be underestimated. Incorporate dialogue and the student voice into lesson planning.

5. Measure progress and change. Are your goals behavioral and/or physical improvements? Will students set their own goals? Determine how you will measure and communicate outcomes. Keep in mind the sensitivity some students may have to openly sharing physical results. Make sure your FHN program goals center on health-promoting behaviors, not weight.

6. Integrate FHN activity and information into existing courses. For example, each day in your dance classes, give selected students a card with an FHN question and answer for health literacy, then have them quiz the group at the start and finish of each class. Alternatively, ask students to set dance activity goals, then keep a record of their non-stop movement activity in class along with pre/post -strength and flexibility improvements.

7. Promote parent, school, community, and staff engagement. How can staff role model healthy behaviors for students? How can you gain parent and school involvement in an afterschool health and fitness initiative or an afterschool wellness festival? What community groups or individuals can support your FHN lessons or provide needed equipment? Dream a little and find the answers to questions that may take your program to the next level.

8. Develop the whole person and add a greater cause. Besides focusing on personal improvement, engage students in a cause greater than themselves. Perhaps you can help them become part of a national fitness or nutrition movement, or join a childhood obesity cause. You could involve them in an FHN-related competition among schools, so they will work just a little harder to help their team. Finally, there is no worthier cause than to teach students how to promote a healthier lifestyle among peers, in their school, in their community, and at home.

Don’t forget to check out the Consult 4 Kids website to see other experience speaks posts.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Guest Spotlight – Get to Know a Champion for Children

Once a month, we here at Consult 4 Kids put a spotlight on an individual who is a champion for youth or youth programs. We feel it is important to recognize and celebrate these individuals because we know that it only takes one person to make a difference in the lives of youth. Consult 4 Kids is doing their part to thank and highlight those people who are doing good work for children.

For the month of July we have chosen to put the spotlight on Jason Hendrix.

Jason Hendrix has been in the Parks & Recreation field for over ten years. Jason started as a Recreation Leader with the City of Colton and had the opportunity to work in summer camps, youth sports, drop in recreation, and after school programming. Jason was then given an opportunity to work with the City of San Bernardino SKAMP Camp Program; there Jason learned how to run a successful program with limited resources in a community in need of quality after school programming. Jason continued his work in the field of Recreation working with the YMCA of the East Valley and now is a full time Community Services Coordinator with the City of Fontana. Jason is currently responsible for five middle school after school program sites, a teen center, mobile recreation, and a youth council titled Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council. Jason is extremely passionate about youth, and works tirelessly to research, plan and implement engaging innovative programming that aims to give youth an avenue to express themselves physically and emotionally. Jason’s programs are extremely successful, and Jason credits that to his staff, “I have been blessed with tremendous staff that are just as passionate about serving youth as I am, our success would not be possible without the efforts of my staff.” Jason is also a Cal Sac Trainer, and has attended numerous Cal-Sac and CPRS trainings.

Visit the Consult 4 Kids website to read up on other champions for children who have been highlighted in the past.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Student Chatter – What do Youth Have to Say?

It is amazing to hear what young people have to say about the events and situations they encounter throughout their lives. The Student Chatter section on the Consult 4 Kids website provides a fantastic place for people, students and professionals alike, to read “first hand” what students think about when they are asked to respond to given questions.

Each month, Consult 4 Kids provides new questions to pose to students and also posts student responses to the previous month’s questions. The responses gathered by the Consult 4 Kids team reflect the personalities and abilities of today’s youth while providing them with an outlet to express how they feel about the things they deal with in their life.

Here are a few responses to the questions that were presented in June 2011. See what students had to say about their experiences throughout the year and how they plan to move forward in the next grade.

What was your most memorable moment from the past school year?

  • “I remember when my teacher accidentally let our classroom bunny out of the cage and we all were trying to catch him because he was running all over the place.”
    -Julie, 3rd Grade
  • "When my friends and I played football at recess. We always had a lot of fun and my mom didn’t like when I came home all dirty."
    -Anton, 5th Grade

What are looking forward to most about moving on to the next grade?

  • "Getting to know new friends."
    -Robby, 1st Grade
  • “Being out of middles school! I’m excited to be at a high school level and prepare for bigger, better things.”
    -Jill, 9th Grade

What are your summer vacation plans?

  • "My mommy said we get to go to Disneyland this summer. I like Mickey Mouse, and Cinderella too!"
    -Becky, 1st Grade
  • "Every year my family goes camping in Yellowstone. I’m glad they get to take time off work and spend time with my sisters and I.”
    -Richard, 6th Grade
  • “I think I get to babysit my younger sisters and brothers. Hopefully I get to sleep in!”
    -John, 10th Grade

What if you favorite thing about summer vacation?

  • "Being home with my family."
    -Liz, 2nd Grade
  • "My favorite thing about summer vacation is that its great weather and I can spend time outside in our pool or go down to the lake with my family. There’s always great weather, so there’s always a good reason to spend time outside."
    -Simon, 8th Grade

Check out the Consult 4 Kids website to read the different student chatter responses for months throughout the year.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Education:It’s the Real Thing

Check out Consult 4 Kids' project Education: It's the Real Thing. Voting starts in 15 days.

Changemakers have teamed up with the Project Opportunity Project from the Ebay foundation for "Powering Economic Opportunity" Five winners will each receive a cash prize of US $50,000.

Go to this link to learn more.