Monday, June 11, 2018

Summer Camp at ALEC


... have you signed up?

It's that time of the year again at ALEC, time for Summer Camp. The Brashear Association will be hosting its yearly series of workshops and activities at the Allentown Learning Engagement Center. We will be offering a variety of activities as follows: 

CAPA Portfolio/Boot Camp [June 18-21, 25-28] - This will be specifically for current 4th graders that will be in the 5th grade come the beginning of next school year who interested in attending CAPA (Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School). We will be focusing on life drawing skills with a strong emphasis on portraiture and nature. Those attending will also learn the language needed in fine art as well as color value, mark making, design concepts and sculpture. If you have an artistic 4th grader that is displaying a passion for visual art, this is something you definitely should consider.

Tech Camp with YMCA Creator Space [July 9-12, 16-19] - The YMCA Creator space is a great camp for science and engineering minded youth, or those who are curious bout it. The YMCA Creator Space will be focusing on wiring, circuitry and design to create some awesome gadgets that will stimulate motor function and spacial mathematical thinking. 

Venture Outdoors [July 23-26, 30 - August 2] - Venture Outdoors will be featuring a family kayaking lesson. Participants will learn how to properly kayak and even get a chance to show what they've learned on the water! 

Special Note: We are aware that our flyer that has been going has the cut off date to May 25th, we are extending our sign ups to 6/14. We are open 10am-5pm to either walk in and fill out a form, or turn in the application you've collected. We are so excited to some returning youth and to meet new faces. 

The ALEC Team

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Project HAND Paints!

P R O J E C T   H A N D   P I N T S 

Tameara and one of our Duquense tutors starting their clean water sign.

As mentioned earlier, the youth involved with Project HAND (Helping Allentown Neighbors Dream) have begun brainstorming slogans for signs to place along the neighborhood to encourage our community to be more mindful of our littering, and to remind them of the location of our existing trashcans so people will know where to deposit their litter, if they aren't already familiar. 

Zechariah is a fast painter! He's almost ready to add the final details to his sign.

We will be installing the signs within the next 2 weeks among the neighborhood. We hope that our bright and friendly reminders will encourage our fellow youth to speak up about litter, empower their peers as well as their elders, and add some extra color to our awesome neighborhood.

Jay smiles as he realizes he can now use glow-in-the-dark- paint for his sign

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for our colorful additions!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Project HAND Fundraiser: Painting Allentown Green

Here it is, ladies and gentlemen, the latest update to ALEC's service project, Project HAND! As you may know, our students have been working hard to learn about their community and come up with a project to best serve their community. If you don't, check out our latest blog entry about Project HAND here.

To summarize, our Project HAND Team decided to focus on trash collection in Allentown by installing trash cans and coming up with a campaign to encourage the community to stop littering. Of course, trash cans cost money. A lot of money. In fact, it costs about $1,000 to buy a single trash can, install it, and include it on the city's emptying cycle. Wow!

Painting Allentown Green



To raise this money, we have come up with a fundraiser idea: Painting Allentown Green.
Where: 831 E Warrington Ave (across from Zone 3)
What: An instructional painting event where you will paint your own canvas while enjoying mocktails, mingling, and raffles. You will be able to take home your painting, your supplies (painting tray, paint brushes, etc.) and your drinking glass.

Each ticket will cost $40. Space is limited at 40 people total, so register quickly!
If you have any questions, feel free to visit our FAQs
Still have questions? Email us at or call us at ALEC at 412-620-8282

After the Fundraiser

Once we have raised some money towards Project HAND, we will use it to carry out our project. In the next couple of weeks, we will be planning multiple parts of the project to prepare. We have already started discussing how we can help the fundraiser, for example by selling our coloring book or making a banner.
More importantly, we have started planning our litter prevention campaign. Last Monday, we brainstormed cool slogans to put on signs around the neighborhood. Because a trashcan only does so much as long as people don't use it, we want to use signs to encourage neighbors to reduce litter.

We've already come up with some cool ideas and will turn these rough drafts into real signs very soon!

Tameara focused on protecting the trees from litter
Our newest student Delshawn was really good at coming
up with clever slogans and lines to promote throwing away trash
If everything goes as planned, we will install the trashcans and hold an event to kickoff our litter reducing initiative. We hope to have shirts, games, and a dedication to our new trashcan and signs!

We are SO excited about how Project HAND has evolved, but we need YOUR HELP to make it a reality. Help us spread the word about the fundraiser, the project, and our awesome kids!
Their vision is to make Allentown a better place for all, and we want to help them reach that goal.

Thank you so much for your help so far, we could not do any of this without you!
Until next time, when there is less trash on our streets!

Strong Women Strong Girls

I am s t r o n g, I am p r o u d, and I am not afraid to s h o u t   i t   o u t   l o u d !!
                                                                                                            - SWSG Chant

Happy Monday, Everyone! Hopefully all of you had an amazing weekend, our ALEC girls definitely did. This past Saturday we had our annual field trip to Point Park University for the Strong Women Strong Girls mentoring program field trip. 

-Cool, so what did they do?- 

So glad you asked, or well, wondered in your head as you continue to read this post! Our young ladies had the opportunity to explore different interest groups as well as participate in some hands on activities. The women with Strong Women Strong Girls had an interest fair with different booths available for the girls, including (but not limited to): Campus Politics, Face Painting, Self-Esteem and Empowerment Portraits (the sparkly princess crown was an added bonus), Slime-Making, Crocheting, and a presentation of student films from Point Park's Film department. 
Cecili has previous crochet experience thanks to our Fibers program last semester. She was so happy to show her mentors what she could do and they were so impressed. I definitely had a proud moment, as Cecili actually taught me how to crochet as well (the struggle was real, never let someone tell you a child can't teach you anything)

One of my favorite activities was the dance lesson in the ballet studio, towards the end of the session the girls got some free time to show off what they learned and what they could add to their routine.

The girls also got to show off their detective skills when they had the opportunity to solve a crime on a stage crime scene as forensic analysts. There were two separate rooms with a different mystery to solve.

 As a collective, our girls did an amazing job communicating as well being observant and using their senses to assess the scene, hypothesize and solve the mystery. Well done ALEC ladies! 

We are so appreciative of our mentors that continue to show up for our youth, showing consistency, dedication and providing an excellent example to not just our young ladies, but also our young men. Strong Women Strong Girls is such an amazing organization that mentors so many of our elementary aged youth. If you'd like to read more about this amazing organization, please check out their website: Strong Women Strong Girls

The ALEC team wishes you an amazing Monday and thank you for visiting our blog. 


Thursday, April 5, 2018

A Short Spring Blurb

Despite the lingering snow and winter air, Spring has definitely sprung at ALEC! We are excited to welcome new classes, as well as new students and fresh new energy in our growing family. The weekly schedule this semester resumes Project HAND (Helping Allentown Neighbors Dream), our community service project class, and Venture Outdoors. The great thing about Project HAND is that in the fall, the youth went through many guest interviews and personal surveying to asses what we can do to make an impact in our community. Now, with the work of Ms. Christa and Mr. Neal behind the scenes, we have gotten some positive help from the Hilltop Alliance as well as the Allentown Clean and Green Team and a composting company called Worm Return (more on our new friends later). Tuesdays the youth are split into two classes; Sight and Sound (with Ms. Christa) and Y-Creator Space and will be focusing on active designing. Sight and Sound will be an introductory level documentary class where the students will be grouped and paired with a teacher to explore the neighborhood, photograph their interests as well as video and journal their experiences and observations. Wednesdays continue with our Point Park mentors, Strong Women Strong Girls and facilitated Dude Time with Mr. Neal and Ms. Maggie where they construct team building and community activities to empower our young men and teach them the value of working together.

Our Mondays and Wednesdays are so exciting and with one week under our belt, we cannot wait to update you on our other endeavors and the progress we are making in our new courses.

Stay Warm and Cheery!


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Personal Projects

p e r s o n a l    p r o j e c t s 

Example of a statement of interest from Zechariah

This semester, we have introduced a course titled "Personal Projects". This course is a Monday elective to train students to research, outline, brainstorm, plan and execute a project of their choice. The students were required to submit a statement of interest and create an outline and plan for what they would like to explore. This course will aid the youth, especially those starting middle school next year, in learning what research is, how to do it, and how to implement self discipline to create a product from a special interest. 

Students practicing their nail design techniques on Miss Dianna

Krystal practicing her cornrowing technique and creating a lookbook of her styles.

Ray is creating a wearable transformer out of recyclable materials, way to think green, Ray!
There have been a variety of projects in the works. Anything from a traveling nail salon, to hair styling, sculpture, design, drawing and even some kitchen chemistry with edible slime. Our Brashear Kids are just a handful of the talent that is flowing throughout our community and we are so proud of their passion, creativity, and drive! We are always so grateful to be involved with their early development and the opportunity to showcase the amazing youth Allentown has to offer.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Dude Time

On Wednesday's, while the ladies work with Strong Women Strong Girls, the dudes hang out. Because our activity changes week to week, we have no other name for Wednesday activities than "Dude Time." No matter what the activity, we try to introduce themes of mentoring and teamwork through fun games and events.

The Gym at A Giving Heart

More often than not, we go to Miss Christie's at A Giving Heart to play at the gym. There we play basketball, kickball, and sometimes Frisbee with each other and the students in A Giving Heart's after-school program. In our free time, we play knockout, around the world, dodgeball, and our newest favorite game, SPUD.
Hezekiah practices his shots from up close

Before: Cayden and Raymair line
up before their race
After: While tired, the boys shake
hands to congratulate each other
on a good race
Lately, we have been running! The guys like to race around and across the gym to see who's the fastest. With Miss Maggie as the starting official, everyone lines up with their hands against the wall and runs as fast as they can to the finish line. In order to promote good sportsmanship, we shake hands or fist bump before and after each race. While winning is great, it is very important to congratulate the winner and encourage each other in competition.

While most of our guys like free play, A Giving Heart occasionally hosts games for all of the students in the gym. We've played two-hand-touch football a few times and have even run through an obstacle course. It doesn't matter what their doing, our guys like competing!
Cayden runs from the soccer station to take a
shot at the basketball station of the obstacle course

One team lines up and focuses on the obstacle course.
They ended up winning!
When we can't get to the gym, we go to the park and do various other activities to engage our dudes. 

Trash Pick-ups

We love our community, and we want to improve it. That's why some Wednesday's we spend our activity time setting an example by serving our community. Searching for trash all over, we found the spots in Allentown that have the most litter and reported that information to the Project HAND team. They are working on a litter and trash project, so our findings helped them out a lot!
Raymair poses with the large bag of trash
he and his team found throughout Allentown

Shane and Jaymair clean up 
the Lunchtime Lot by the Hilltop Alliance


When the weather isn't good and we have to stay inside, we play games. Recently, we tried two teambuilding games that challenged the guys to communicate and work together. The first game, "Human Knot," had us all twisted together trying to become one circle again. The second game tested our self control: packs of fruit snacks were in the middle of the circle but only one person could stand up to get one pack of fruit snacks at a time. Every time the guys talked or broke the rules, they would have to put all the fruit snacks back and start over again! This activity took a long time, but they managed to do it!

Whatever the dudes do together, we're always learning about teamwork and each other. It's important to work together and try new things as a team. For future Wednesday's, we hope to keep this theme strong while having fun with "The Dudes!"


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