Friday, April 12, 2019

Indoor Herbology and Gardening

This Spring we thought it would be a good idea to introduce the concept of indoor gardening with a focus on herbs. Herbs are such a crucial type of plant, not only do they make your recipes taste extra good, they also provide a lot of medicinal qualities that are very beneficial. While it's common to use planters, even paper products, we decided to try our luck with mason jars. Some of the staff is familiar with gardening while others, such as myself, are learning along with the kids and we are all amazed at how fairly simple it is to grow a basil plant inside. These herbs are also easily transferable into an outdoor garden if ever desired. 

The herbs we are currently working with are basil, oregano, cilantro, and lavender. Mason jars were purchased for each student along with seeds, soil and rock. We are happy that everyone is learning more than they expected and enjoying the process more than they may have expected. This is a great lesson to teach younger youth about patience, attention to detail  (via research), discipline and empathy. Some of the students have even named their plants. 

Along with the planting process, the students are exploring their chosen herbs in detail by compiling a growth data sheet, research facts, and a creating informational posters about their favorite new pieces of information that they would like to share with others. We are very excited to continue this unit as a branch of Project HAND by empowering the youth of ALEC to be creative with their available resources and learn that sometimes it just takes a little bit of ingenuity to create something in an unlucky environment; A lesson all of this are wise to keep close to us.

If you are curious about starting your own indoor garden, stop by sometime and we will do our best to point you in the right direction.

Enjoy this spring weather and be well.

Ms. Christa

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Summer is Coming

With the warm weather rolling in, the Brashear kids have been busier than ever!  Dude Time kicked off the spring with a special Sports Unit that got us our fill of what we couldn't do during the cold!  The boys learned the importance of constantly practicing good sportsmanship as well as the ins and outs of basketball, soccer, and kickball.  
Last week, our kids started working with the Saturday Lights Brigade which is a local radio show that encourages the thoughts, ideas, stories, and feelings of children, youth , and families.  They will be interviewing the police officers of Zone 3 and learning more about their lives and what they do while practicing their interviewing skills!
That's not all these kids have going on though!  They are also getting their hands dirty preparing their outdoor gardening area, making sure it's ready to go for the season.  Between picking up trash, tilling the soil, and other maintenance, Brashear is expecting the best garden yet!  Some have even already gotten started by planting indoor herbs!

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


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