Friday, December 21, 2012

Did you know that 7 million kids miss more than a month of school each year?  This is a staggering statistic! recently published information on attendance research that they’ve been doing.  The link for the infographic is below.  It’s title, “Skipping to Nowhere” says it all.  Young people are skipping school, dropping out, and giving up on school and as a result, trading options and opportunities for limited choices and dead ends.  The information continues to shock—75% start skipping while in middle school, 46% skip once a week or more, and only 9% of them ever attend college. 

Possible solutions can be found toward the end of the infographic.  We need to let youth know that we notice when they are not at school.  We need to help them understand how important attending school is for their future.  We need to send our messages through the right messengers—the people who matter to students, like teachers, parents, celebrities, and athletes.  We also need to help youth make the connection between the here and now—the present and the future.  We need to step up and youth need to step up.  We need to change this trajectory.  At the beginning of the infographic it states, “Absenteeism issues plague almost every community in America.  It is not a problem facing only urban low income students; it is a problem facing middle class America - students and families who plan to go to college but simply are not in school enough to ensure they are prepared and ready to succeed once they get there.”  We need our youth to both show up and choose to be present in school.  Read more:

Tis the Season

December is the time of year that prompts many of us think more seriously about how we can give back—to our community, to family, to neighbors, to groups we belong to, to our friends and colleagues.  That makes it the perfect time to engage our youth in Service Learning or Community Service.  Service Learning is a specific outreach in which students identify an unmet need, plan and implement a project to address the need.  Service Learning differs from Community Service in two significant ways.  The first is that Service Learning requires the academic piece to be intentionally embedded in the project.  Secondly, Service Learning requires a reflection to be included in the project.  Students are expected to think about the project and how the project is progressing, and also on the impact of the project and the effect of the project on the student and others—perhaps the community.  This reflection allows young people to connect the dots and more clearly see how academic learning is relevant.  Both Service Learning and Community Service begin with students identifying an unmet need.  Dependent upon the age of the student, this could vary from something on the school ground, the immediate neighborhood around the school, and as students mature, the community at large.  Both Service Learning and Community Service require youth to be involved in the planning and implementation of the plan.  Sometimes with Community Service young people will join others in supporting the community.  A perfect example would be young people participating in “Relay for Life” or a community holiday parade.  The work is supporting the community and teaching the young person about the importance of giving back.  Here are the steps to planning a successful service project:
Step 1:  Identify Community
  • Appropriate for age group
    • School
    • Neighborhood
    • Extended neighborhood
    • Community at large
Step 2:  Determine a real need
  • Needs can be determined in a variety of ways:
o   Survey
o   Walk about
o   Interviewing
o   Outside speaker
o   Other
Step 3:  Find a team to work with you
  • Brainstorm a list of people you might want to involve (local businesses, local media, family)
    • List potential allies
    • Find out about the team members
    • Get adults on board
Step 4:  Design the project
  • Begin with the end in mind:  What do you want to accomplish?  What do you want the impact to be?  What is the end result?
  • Bring in the children/youth to help so this is their project
  • Determine which Standards apply

Step 5:  Get things done
  • Create an action plan—put them in priority and logical order
  • Action plan:  Priority #, Task, Assigned to, Due Date, Date Completed
  • Note:  Will you need to do any fundraising?
Step 6:  Reflect on the work
  • What was my goal?
  • What steps did I take to accomplish them?
  • What do I feel really great about?
  • What do I wish I had done differently?
  • What asset did I build?
  • How did this work change me?
  • How did this work change the community?
  • What do I still want to do?
Step 7:  Celebrate!
  • You reach a milestone
  • You develop a plan that you think will work
  • New members join the group
  • You finished a hard day's work
  • You make a mistake and learn from it

Try a service project this December.  Let us know how you’re doing.  

Friday, November 30, 2012

Book Review: Whale Done by Ken Blanchard

          Ken Blanchard has written a number of best sellers.  Perhaps you have read his One Minute Manager series, or Raving Fans (how to make your customer a raving fan), or Gung Ho! which encourages your pursuit of excellence.  If you’ve read a Blanchard book you know that he is a master storyteller who makes his points by telling a story that is easy to read, entertaining, interesting, and most important of all, drives to the point he is making.

          Whale Done is no exception.  The book jacket explains that “both whales and people perform better when you accentuate the positive” and of course give people the much deserved, “Great job!”  The book follows a business manager/family man names Wes Kingsley.  As Wes reflects on his life—both personally and professionally, he realizes that things are not going well.  There is a great deal of tension in both arenas and while on a business trip he escapes to Sea world and watches the killer whale show.  As he goes backstage he learns that the trainer’s techniques of building trust, accentuating the positive, and redirecting negative behavior work together to create the extraordinary performances that we all witness.  

          The book’s story continues as Wes learns to apply these skills in his personal and professional life.  He, and his family, learn how to apply these technique and ultimately live a much happier and more fulfilling life.

          At C4K we promote the Big 3—building relationships, communicating formally and informally, and recognition for exemplary performance.  Working on the Big 3 will help you to build trust, focus on the positive and redirect negative behavior as you acknowledge good work. 

          Consider reading Whale Done! and also consider checking out the C4K videos on the Big 3.  Both are user friendly and insightful. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Creating Innovators by Tony Wagner

This article is written by a member of our expert blogging community.

     Tony Wagner, author of The Global Achievement Gap, recently published Creating Innovators.  In my opinion, this book picks up where The Global Achievement Gap left off.  The Global Achievement Gap identified the current state we find ourselves in.  He shares sobering statistics about how even our AP students have fallen seriously behind their counterparts in other counties.  He identifies 7 skills that he believes we must develop in young people to ensure their success in college and career.  These 7 include:  collaboration across networks and leading by influence, agility and adaptability, initiative and entrepreneurship, effective oral and written communication, accessing and analyzing information, and curiosity and imagination.  You can view Wagner speaking about these 7 skills by tuning in to  I think it should not be lost on us that he has identified these as “skills”.  Skills are different than talents and interests.  They can be learned and honed.  In other words, these skills can help the masses, and are not housed in a few core people.
     In Creating Innovators, Wagner does several case studies of young people who demonstrate innovation both in social enterprises and more traditional business arenas.  What he has found is that they each had parents or caregivers that supported them and did not over-schedule time, allowing them to explore and play.  They had a mentor who did not subscribe to conventional and traditional educational lectures and papers, but rather more authentic learning.  Wagner goes on to say that if you overlap expertise, motivation, and creative thinking skills, at the center you will find innovation, and that when you input the 7 survival skills into that innovation, you have a “revised framework for developing the capacities of young people to become innovators.” 
     Wagner’s book is well worth the read.  It gives you a great deal to think about.  In afterschool we are well-positioned to support authentic learning, hands-on explorations, and collaboration among learners. 
What strategies are you using in your program to encourage innovation?  How are you using an understanding of the 7 Survival Skills to make your program more relevant?  Let us know by weighing in at

Monday, October 8, 2012

Charting the Course

This article is written by a member of our expert blogging community.

On October 12, 1492 Christopher Columbus thought he had found a new route to India and the spices that were in such demand in Europe at the time.  The Italian born Columbus was eager to sail for Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, not because he was an expatriate but because he was an adventurer and was delighted at long last to have a sponsor for his expedition.  His crew, divided onto three ships, the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria were tired of the endless ocean and it was fortunate for Columbus that he found land before the crew mutinied. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

What's New at C4K?

Did you happen to hear bells tolling or fourteen choruses of “hallelujah”?  If you did then you are already aware that the C4K system is complete!  We’ve been working through the kinks for several years.  It is like pulling at a thread until the entire tangled ball unravels.  We made a commitment to “measure” many times before we “cut” and it has finally paid off.  For several years we have been proud of our product.  We believe that we have a great staff development system to support high-quality afterschool programs that are supported by exemplary performance.  We are proud of our Program Made EZ Lesson Plans and activities, units, kits and toolboxes that you can purchase from our online store.  We believe that the website provides a place for afterschool professionals to come and share best practices as well as the great work they’re doing.  In other words, we’ve been pleased with our work that you interact with.  What we’ve been working on is the systems behind the scene.  How do we track, guide, and support the work going on?  How do we create user-friendly interfaces and tools that make it easy to get the most out of the website?  How do we build a more effective Learning Management System that will allow you to assign, track and monitor your staff?  What tools do we need to help get new sites and users up to speed quickly and in a nearly-automated way?  These are the things that we’ve been working on and we are thrilled that it’s ready to launch.

Friday, September 28, 2012

We're Hiring!

Photo via Sho & Tell

Consult4Kids, better known as C4K, is a consulting firm, specializing in afterschool staff development. In its simplest terms we train and develop adults both virtually and live who then train and develop youth to be successful both personally and professionally. C4K's work is nationwide in scope and is soon to be a worldwide business. Our goal over the next 10 years is to impact 100 million youth and 10 million adults. We are looking for special, talented people interested in a long term career, not just a temporary position, willing to go up and beyond the call of duty.

We are searching for people who are passionate about helping children and youth to fill two positions: 

Resourceful Receptionist
*Handle office logistics (meeting agendas, company calendar, etc...)
*Attend and transcribe meeting minutes as requested
*Set Appointments
*Answer phone calls and take clear notes
*Contact outside entities to build partnerships 

Administrative Assistant
*Research information and summarize findings using various Internet search engines and research sites
*Assist with the volunteer recruitment process (Marketing, Screening Applicants, etc.)
*Data entry (entity files, daily reports, monthly reports)
*Create materials and supplies from scratch 
*Minimal video recording and editing 

Key Characteristics to be successful for both positions include:
  • Strong Interpersonal Skills; excellent ability to interact positively with a variety of individuals/stakeholders
  • Willingness to learn and try new things outside of their typical comfort zone 
  • Able to handle and maintain confidentiality
  • Demonstrates a natural confidence and leadership mindset
  • Insists upon a high level of quality work 
  • Works well under pressure 
  • Extremely confidential
  • Highly loyal 

Skills needed:

  • Ability to think ahead, able to anticipate and act on future issues and needs, must be able prepare self and CEO for predicted events
  • Excellent communication skills in both written and oral forms
  • Superb organizational skills including planning and prioritizing, ability to multi-task and adapt to changing needs and demands
  • Sound judgment and decision making skills, ability to analyze and objectively investigate situations and problems
  • Must have experience using Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • Must be able to demonstrate proper phone etiquette 
  • Must have excellent keyboarding skills

Other Items:

  • May occasionally require some irregular hours, possibly including some evenings and/or weekends
  • Marketing and Social Media knowledge is important, but not required 
  • Ability to critique and analyze written narrative and other items 
  • Minimal travel required
  • Creativity

To be considered for these positions, 
email us at with your resume. In the subject line, include your name and the position you are applying for. 

*Serious inquiries only, this is a long-term career position geared to accomplish helping youth and communities.