Thursday, September 24, 2009

After school programs matter

A lot has been happening in Roseland Townhomes this year. At the beginning of the summer, we began working to make the Community Center, Education programs, kids and adult programs, Central Dallas services, and church seamless. Our efforts are working!

We now have a great Parent Academy that meets the third Thursday of every month and focuses on Empowerment, Enrichment, Education, and Employment. We had 11 parents at our first meeting with a powerful presentation from a community organizer on the Rights and Responsibilities of Parents and their interactions with the schools.

Though there is much more that goes on through the Community Center that I can talk about later, my passion is the Education department.

On August 18, the Education department at Roseland was asked to put together programming for a vacant building at Roseland. I had to scramble to get it all in place by September, but as I have figured out through the years, things that are meant to work out always do!

Last Monday we kicked off our programs in Roseland. (yes, that’s with an “s”).

As we have had for 14 years, our After-School Academy (ASA) continues. This year Danielle Evans is leading up the effort and doing a wonderful job. We have three amazing Americorps members--Anna Hart, Phillip Hawkins, and Tameshia Ridge 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.

We now have the Roseland Library/Bookstore. It’s run by Katrina Hobbs, Americorps. Katrina is at UTA majoring in Education and has been a part of our programs for 14 years. She’s so excited about beginning to work with kids on their reading. We sell books there for 25 cents for paperbacks and 50 cents for hardbacks. Kids are buying them right and left!

We also have a Teen University run by Terrence Brooks, Americorps. Terrence wants to run his own non-profit one of these days, but I think I might be able to sell him on sticking around for ours once he gets out of school and we can hire a full time person. He’s amazing with the teens. He’s told me some stories of really helping them with their reading and school work and how their resistance is beginning to dwindle. We just received a grant in partnership with UTD that will provide 2-4 college students to work with the teens on homework, college preparation, and career research. We’ve got some great plans!

Finally, we received a grant from One Economy in conjunction with CTIA and Comcast (you may hear about it…they are making a national announcement during the week of Oct. 5). It’s a Digital Connectors program. Tameshia, who also works in our ASA, will be running the program. Tameshia is our “Queen of 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 really look like!

More to come.... :)
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