Monday, March 18, 2019

A New Face for an Established Organization

The Brashear Association is pleased to announce and welcome Andrea Matthews as their incoming Executive Director. Andrea will begin on April 1st 2019 following Hugh Brannan's retirement after 36 years of dedicated service.

A result of a recruitment and hiring effort led by Nonprofit Talent, Andrea was selected as the Board of Directors' consensus choice. Andrea was the Founding Executive Director of the Children’s Sickle Cell Foundation, Inc. and more recently has held a position as a Public Health Analyst with the Health Resources and Services Administration, Health and Human Services, in Rockville, MD. She is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and Leadership Pittsburgh Class XXIX.

A native Pittsburgher, who grew up in the Beltzhoover neighborhood, Andrea is already familiar with the work and potential of The Brashear Association. Her children participated in the agency's educational programming and she served on the Board of Directors as a 1st Vice President.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Cooking with the Gaynor School

 Healthy eating habits and self sufficiency is something that is very emphasized at ALEC. We do our best to educate our youth on nutrition and healthy snacks that are simple to make and easy to share. Recently, we were very lucky to be awarded an education grant and it was decided that we would hire a professional chef, Chef Gaynor Grant of Gaynor's School For Cooking, to lead a few classes on healthy and quick meal preparation. Chef Grant has provided a personalized menu for the students to keep and actively participate in the creation of the meal. We will have two sessions: Session One was last Thursday, the students went over a practice run of the recipe and tried everything they made. Session Two will take place this Thursday where the youth will re-construct the menu and present the meal to their families in a restaurant-style setting.




Session 1 was a great success. We are all excited for Session 2. We hope the families bring their appetites! 

-The ALEC Team

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!


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