Friday, February 15, 2019

A Little Reminder Goes A Long Way

Valentines Day isn't just about being in romantic relationships, it's also a great day to especially honor the friendships you have as well as those who are dear to you, be it a teacher, your mom/dad/grandparent(s), or a best friend who is always there for you. We like to encourage our students to always express gratitude to those they hold dear, to be observant of others, and show compassion when needed.

Many students created cards for their parents and guardians 

Some collaborated with mentors 

Others used their unique vision to create lovely mementos

Remember, it doesn't take a holiday to show someone kindness and compassion. However, those holidays are great to go the extra extra mile. You never know how you can impact someone with one seemingly small act of kindness. 

Take care of yourselves and one another, 

Miss Christa 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Rain won't ruin our fun!!

Yesterday, the Brashear Kid's got a taste of Venture Outdoors!  I know what you're thinking, what are they doing taking kids out in the cold and rain!?  That is why we have the great Mr. Ryan and Ms. Caitlyn to help us out.  The rain might keep us inside but it won't stop us from learning and having fun!  Our kids got to take a closer look at a first aid kit and learn how to handle its contents.  Take a look below, our kids now know what a typical first aid kit has in it and even how to use its contents!  We even got to enjoy the rare indoor S'MORE!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Fostering Vision into Art

"There is no depth to education without Art." - Amiri Baraka 

This month the students at ALEC will be learning about still life drawings and the important process of drafting, planning, and adding dimension to their work. As some of you may know, ALEC offers a summer camp for students interested in attending CAPA or really fine tuning their exposure and skill set to the arts.

Students had the opportunity to gather simple objects and arrange their own still life set.

For some students, this will be their first time learning how to plan out a composition and learn to draw from observation, for others, this will be a continuation of content they have learned in previous years. I am anticipating a lot of initial frustration with learning a new concept, but, I have complete faith in our ALEC youth to be open to learning and rise above their challenges.

Here are a few images from our 2nd-5th graders:

As we continue our lessons, the students will soon learn that there is no progress without frustration, determination and patience. I am excited to post the progress of these blossoming ALEC artists.

Keep an eye out!

Ms. Christa

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

              Hello!  My name is Zach Volpe and I am ALEC’s new AmeriCorps Teacher.  I have been serving with AmeriCorps for about a year now and am very excited to be at Brashear Association.  Since graduating from Duquesne University in 2014, I have been striving to help our youth out in any way possible.  I’ve spent time coaching youth basketball and baseball teams as well as helping high school baseball players through the recruiting process who wish to play at the next level.  For the last year, I’ve focused on helping from an educational and social standpoint through AmeriCorps KEYS!  I am very excited to get to know the Allentown community and its future AKA the children growing up here!
                There are many interests that I hope to bring to the table but some of my personal hobbies include snowboarding, hiking, kayaking, gaming, and gardening!  I grew up in Du Bois, PA which is about two hours north of the city but have also spent time in Pittsburgh as well as South Baltimore.  MOST IMPORTANTLY, I’m a huge Bucs fan as well as Steelers and Pens fan. 
             Zach Volpe

Friday, January 25, 2019

What are These Kids Up To?

Normally when someone asks that question it's mentioned with an air of exhaustion and confusion; In our case, it's meant with excitement and curiosity. ALEC has so many wonderful partnerships, including Venture Outdoors and the Y-Creator Space. I'm sure you've seen us mention them one or two times, it's because their consistent work with our youth, as well as the ALEC staff has always been such a great component of our curriculum.

Since Winter has definitely made itself known, it's natural to want to stay indoors with a blanket and a few good movies, we want our youth to become familiar with nature around them and not be afraid to find outdoor activities even if there's some snow on the ground. Not only does this build familiarity with our local parks, it acclimates our youth to the outdoor elements and plants the seeds for an early appreciation of our planet.

Most recently, the students had a chance to experience the traditional act of snowshoeing, its origins, practices, and got to experience a minute aspect of ancient traditions and what it would be like if they were living in a difference climate and culture.

Alongside our outdoor partners, our indoor partners, The Y-Creator Space is currently working with our youth to design, think outside of the box, and re-purpose said box for a different perspective and vision. With diverse personalities brings diverse creativity and interests. Our most recent lesson is learning about magnetic electricity, what elements create current and the possibilities of future designs we can use with every day materials. The students are also learning about 3D-Printing and design concepts.

Keep checking back for updates, we have an exciting winter and spring semester ahead. We currently having some great news brewing, and we will be sharing it with you all very shortly.

Stay warm!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Future is Now...When Is That, Exactly?

A key concept we are consistently repeating to our students is that they are the future. The hang up is, most people are barely living in the present. If we cannot be mindful of our present selves, how do we connect that to our future selves? It's all about i n t e n t i o n. The world is full of hustle and bustle, where do we make our mark? How do we set those goals? All of these questions are part of the process of awareness and figuring out what it is that we must do in order to serve ourselves and our fellow people. If you believe in it, you can make it happen. The only person stopping progress, is you. Failure isn't the attempt to do something and it not working the first few, or hundred times. Failure is giving up.

Just something that has been on our minds at ALEC.

Our students are learning to overcome their obstacles, and so are we.

Stay Warm!

The ALEC Team

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

A wrap on the first half of the year

Hello, it’s me, chiming back in! With the year coming to a close, I wanted to pop back in to reflect on a terrific first half of Brashear Kids After School programming.

Since I began back in August, I have certainly learned a lot. From getting introduced to Pittsburgh, Brashear, ALEC, our staff, Allentown, our partners, our neighbors, families, and kids, I have certainly had my hands full! Each day has been an adventure, and I am thankful for the wealth of knowledge and experience everyone has provided me with.

From homework help, to managing behavior, to dreaming up and facilitating Dude Time lessons, to watching other passionate educators engage with the students, and to watching these amazingly talented, incredibly kind-hearted, sometimes goofy kiddos learn, develop and grow each day... the past four months have surely been quite the treat. We could not have had as much learning, fun, or success without the help of our partners at Venture Outdoors, the YMCA Homewood, Strong Women Strong Girls, Big Brother Big Sisters, and many many more. 

A special Happy Holidays wish to my core team: Ms. Dianna and Ms. Christa! These two ladies have been so patient in getting me on my feet, and so inspirational with the unique talents they bring to this program. Without them, ALEC would not be nearly as amazing as it is today.

As we look towards the New Year, I cannot wait to see what it has in store. I look forward to continuing on with these adventures, meeting new faces along the way, and growing just a little bit with each step.

Happy holidays, and have a safe and happy new year!
Ms. Arielle


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