Thursday, February 22, 2007; DZ08A new initiative in the District aims to provide more high-quality after-school programs to the neighborhoods that need them most. Project My Time, created by the D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corp., allows children to participate in a variety of academic and entertaining activities in a safe and stimulating environment.The project offers 25 programs from 3:15 to 6:30 p.m. at three pilot schools: Charles Hart Middle in Southeast Washington, Kelly Miller Middle in Northeast and Lincoln Middle in Northwest. The free programs offer homework assistance, debate, creative writing, African drumming, art, music, dance, sports and more."We know that high-quality after-school programs are vitally important to helping young people succeed," said Greg Roberts, president and chief executive of the trust. "With these 25 new programs, kids will be able to have fun and be with their friends, while their parents know their children are safe and strengthening reading and math skills."The trust, a nonprofit organization founded in 1999, received an $8 million grant from the Wallace Foundation, a New York-based education and arts foundation, to focus on improving after-school programs. Project My Time plans to expand in the future to more sites, including charter schools, community-based sites and recreation facilities.For more information, visit http://www.projectmytime.org.
-- Compiled by JILLIAN S. JARRETT
By Shelley Widhalm, THE WASHINGTON TIMES, February 19, 2007
Melvin Deal sits at a d'jun d'jun drum, bellowing out commands, "Walk and pick up your feet, and add your elbows. Down, down. March."
Six Lincoln Multicultural Middle School students try to follow along as they learn the steps to the agbadja West African dance.
Mr. Deal, dancing and drumming director for African Heritage Dancers & Drummers in Southeast, tells one of the boys sitting out in a pout to start dancing.
A girl who does not want to dance solo in the circle's center like the others gets a mini-lecture: "If you're afraid to go in, it means you have damaged self-esteem," Mr. Deal says.
Mr. Deal teaches the disciplines of African dance and drumming while addressing the issues of low self-esteem and of juvenile delinquency and violence. He likes to meet students "on their own turf and bring to them ancient knowledge and wisdom that they can apply to everyday life to build respect and discipline ... and to improve their general deportment," he says.
The drumming and dancing lessons are part of Project My Time, an after-school program that offers middle-school students in the District activities focused on youth development and school performance in an effort to lower dropout rates and improve school attendance.
Using grant funds, Lincoln Middle School in Northwest, Kelly Miller Middle School in Northeast and Charles Hart Middle School in Southeast are piloting the program. The program began Jan. 22 at the three schools and operates daily from 3:15 to 6:30 p.m. with extended hours during the summer. The program will expand to the remaining middle schools in the District over the next three to five years and then possibly to parks and recreation facilities, libraries and charter schools.
"Kids picked the name Project My Time: my face, my time, my choice, my chance," says Meeta Sharma-Holt, project director for Project My Time, Providing Positive Choices After School, in Northwest. "They're making choices. It's not adults telling them where to go."
Project My Time is an initiative of the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corp., a nonprofit organization based in Northwest that distributes funds to community organizations that offer out-of-school, entrepreneurship and early childhood development programs.
The trust received an initial $8 million grant from the Wallace Foundation, an independent charitable foundation based in New York City, along with $1.6 million in donations from the D.C. community, to fund the initiative. The Wallace Foundation selected the District -- along with Boston, Chicago, Providence and New York City -- to participate in its Learning in Communities initiative to develop comprehensive programs for out-of-school learning.
The trust is in partnership with several other stakeholders to carry out the initiative, including the mayor's office, the D.C. Council, D.C. Public Schools, district agencies and philanthropic organizations.
"What I'm most excited about with Project My Time is the fact they are aligning quality out-of-school programs with the priorities of the school district in a way that makes sense to education and holistic child development," says Karene C. Brodie, director of the Office of Community Partnerships in the Office of the Superintendent for D.C. Public Schools. Project My Time staff required interested providers that offer after-school programs to submit activity proposals, says Ellen London, director of external affairs and communications for the trust. The staff based final selection on student and staff input to create an menu of activities schools can pick every quarter, she says.
"The kids will vote with their feet. They'll show up if they like it," says Brodrick Clarke, site director at Lincoln Middle School for Project My Time.
Project My Time aims to offer a coordinated and systemwide after-school program that can be tracked and monitored for improvement, Ms. Sharma-Holt says.
A coordinated system takes the chance out of quality based on where students live or other factors, says Greg Roberts, president and CEO of the trust.
"We're going to bring the best sources that the community can offer," Mr. Roberts says.
Middle-school students participating in Project My Time are required to do one hour of homework, or if they do not have any, to engage in academic activities such as academic computer games or reading time. The rest of the afternoon is spent in their choice of two enrichment activities in art, music, dance, theater, sports or other recreation. The activities include instructions and lessons, along with life skills in leadership, teamwork, self-discipline, problem-solving, critical thinking, time-management, literacy and communication.
"I wanted to get ahead," says Shirah Moffatt-Darko, a fifth-grader at Lincoln Middle School, about participating in the Higher Achievement Program, an academic enrichment and high-school-preparatory program for middle-school students. "When teachers are teaching something, instead of having to struggle with it, I know it immediately because I learned it in Higher Achievement."
Students in the Higher Achievement Program, which has been in the District for more than 30 years, are expected to attend three days each week (Monday, Tuesday and Thursday) and six weeks in the summer, adding another 600 hours of academics to their school year, says Katherine Roboff, center director of the Higher Achievement Program at Lincoln Middle School. The program includes homework help and extra-curricular activities, such as acting, singing and visual arts, along with a curriculum in math, literature and technology, she says.
"We really try to challenge our students. We have very high standards and we do everything we can to support them to meet those standards," Ms. Roboff says.
Lincoln Middle School's other after-school offerings include playwriting, creative writing, debate, music, soccer and baseball. The activities are held in the school building in the classrooms and cafeteria and at nearby facilities.
Sixty-five students from Lincoln Middle School are participating in Project My Time. Students are not required to attend the school to participate, but must be District residents and attend two days a week.
"As long as we have the space to accommodate them, we'll accommodate them," Mr. Clarke says.
The initiative expects to eventually have 200 students from each school participating in the program.
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US Tennis Association Funds DCPS After-School Programs
by Khadijah Ali-Coleman
The United States Tennis Association (USTA), the governing body of the sport of tennis in the United States, is funding after-school programming in selected DC public schools, including Hart and Sousa middle schools. USTA will give $180,000 in financial support to the Child and Youth Investment Trust Corporation (CYITC) after-school component Project My Time. USTA national manager Dan Limbago is proud of the partnership with Project My Time and believes that the new initiative is a wonderful opportunity for children in underserved areas.
“Latin American Youth Center, the Washington Tennis and Education Foundation and the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center provide the tennis instruction to the students. We are very happy about this new relationship,” Limbago said.
Project My Time coordinates after-school programming in ten schools in the District to provide academic support activities, as well as sports, music and art. The USTA partnership ensures that students will participate in tennis activity at least two times a week. The Southeast Tennis and Learning Center provides the staff to oversee instruction to participating students at these schools. Participating students will compete in a tournament at the end of the school year to display their new skills.
"Although there are tennis courts all over our city, the sad reality is that many children in struggling neighborhoods typically would not have exposure or access to tennis," said Millicent D. Williams, president and CEO of the Trust. "This new, exciting initiative will enable many more children to experience the joy of tennis. We are grateful to the U.S. Tennis Association for making this possible."
On Friday, January 30, Project My Time and USTA hosted a kick-off event which was held at the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center on Mississippi Ave. Students were engaged in a team-based QuickStart format of tennis while some learned tennis training techniques through fitness obstacle course activities.
“I don’t know anything about tennis,” said one Sousa Middle School student in attendance. “But, with this new program, I’ll probably be pretty good by the summer.”
To get the full listing of schools where this program is offered, contact Project My Time director Meeta Sharma-Holt at 202.347.4441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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By: Alan King, February 3, 2007
Soccer, debate, African drumming and dancing, creative writing, tennis - a new after-school program offering all of these activities is now available to students of Ward 8’s Charles Hart Middle School, thanks to a pilot program funded by an $8 million grant from the Wallace Foundation. Ward 8 resident James Weaver, whose stepson goes to Hart, welcomed the project as a step in the right direction for teens. “If they can stay active [and] …positive, they could stay out of trouble and be focused on their future,” Weaver says. The new after-school offerings are part of Project My Time, an initiative of the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation (CYITC) resulting from the grant. The after-school programming will run from 3:15 to 6:30 p.m. and will include homework help and academic enrichment as well as arts and sports electives. The pilot program began in January in two other middle schools in addition to Hart, including Ward 7’s Kelly Miller Middle School. “[Project My Time] isn’t any one thing. It hopes to look at…the best quality [after-school] providers throughout the city [and] bring them into schools…to give kids and families all of those opportunities,” says Meeta Sharma-Holt, the initiative’s project director. On Jan. 16, Hart parents and students were able to check out the organizations that will be providing services at Hart: DC Scores, Positive Nature, DC Urban Debate League, African Heritage Dancers and Drummers, DC Creative Writing, Washington Tennis and Education Foundation, Covenant House Washington, Girls Inc., and A Greater Washington/Field of Dreams. In the DC Urban Debate League, students from 20 of the District’s middle and high schools debate on issues from the war draft to curfew laws to cell phone uses in school. “Colleges want people who can think critically,” says Colin B. Touchey, the debate league’s executive director. “Businesses want people who can communicate effectively…If you’re going to vote…you have to be able to take that information in, process it, and act accordingly. That’s what debate is about.” Founded in Waterbury, Connecticut, Girls Inc.’s mission is to inspire all girls to be strong, smart and bold through eight different programs that include economic literacy, a self-defense course and healthy living. “We have a partnership that’s evolving with Howard [University],” says Program Coordinator Nadirah Moreland, who hopes to help Howard build a center for the organization. “We’re [also] hoping this spring to do an essay writing contest with the girls.” The African Heritage Dancers and Drummers provides teens with an intensive two- to three-hour dance and drumming class five days a week, during which participants learn performance skills and study the costumes and history of the dances. “Some of my best students are [those] who have had another concept of drum and dance from the school band and the cheerleaders,” says Melvin Deal, director of the collective. “When they come to African dance and African drumming, it’s a snap [for them]. They pick [it] right up.” Deal added that once the program has a working model of how it will benefit young people, then it will be able to expand to other middle schools. Prevention services, a special project within Covenant House of Washington, works with youths between the ages of 11 and 17 to prevent teen pregnancies, substance abuse and violence abuse. “Through the programs…males and females are able to talk about positive choices,” says Shanita Burney, the director of preventive services. “We’re able to answer those questions in a safe space…and [provide them] correct information in a way that empowers them to make…better decisions about risky behaviors.” Ward 8 resident Tamekia Tolbert says she likes that her daughter can play soccer and learn creative writing. “I like the way that fun…coincide with education and learning,” she adds. CYITC aims to expand programming to other schools and community centers in the future. DC is one of five other cities throughout the country to receive funding from the grant.
Programas después de la escuela en Lincoln
Los estudiantes de tres escuelas intermedias en Washington, DC., tienen la oportunidad de elegir las más diversas actividades para realizar cuando terminan la jornada escolar gracias a programas después de la escuela que se pondrán en marcha desde el próximo 22 de enero.
El programa después de la escuela forma parte de “Project my time”, una iniciativa de la Corporación para la Inversión en los Niños y la Juventud de DC y está diseñado para proveer a los jóvenes del Distrito de Columbia programas después de la escuela de calidad.
El programa que operará en tres escuelas intermedias le da a los estudiantes la oportunidad de elegir entre los cursos que más llamen su atención por lo que se han considerado desde clases de nivelación académica hasta cursos de arte, deportes y todo lo relacionado con el desarrollo de su creatividad y autoestima.
Las escuelas seleccionadas son Charles Hart en el área de Congress Heights, Kelly Miller en Lincoln Heights y la escuela intermedia Lincoln, ubicada en la zona conocida como Columbia Heights.
El programa después de la escuela ha diseñado 25 cursos de los cuales se han designado los que son de más interés para la comunidad estudiantil latina a la escuela Lincoln.
El 50 por ciento del alumnado en la escuela Lincoln es de origen hispano por lo que se beneficiarán en gran medida con este programa gratuito después de la escuela que se dicta de lunes a viernes de 3:15 a 6:30 p.m.
El programa después de la escuela en Lincoln incluye el curso DC Scores a través del cual los estudiantes aprenden a través del fútbol y servicios académicos sobre el trabajo en equipo, cómo resolver problemas, liderazgo y habilidades para comunicarse.
También Lincoln cuenta con el programa de Jóvenes Escritores de Teatro a través del cual los escolares desarrollan su creatividad.Otra de las alternativas que tienen los jóvenes latinos con este programa es la habilidad para desarrollar sus destrezas para participar en debates y mejorar su pensamiento crítico, así como su capacidad para comunicarse en un ambiente completamente interactivo. Además, se ha instaurado en la escuela Lincoln un programa para enseñarles a los jóvenes béisbol y gimnasia con el propósito que desarrollen hábitos saludables, disciplina y al mismo tiempo aprendan cómo alimentarse correctamente.
Para empezar el programa después de la escuela se ha implantado en tres escuelas a manera de prueba, pero se espera que gracias a las organizaciones comprometidas se permita implantar en más escuelas en un mediano plazo.
“Project my time” también es el resultado del trabajo en conjunto de la oficina del alcalde, las escuelas públicas de DC, así como diversas agencias que incluyen el Departamento de Parques y Recreaciones, así como de la comunidad con un alto espíritu filantrópico.
Las inscripciones están abiertas para todos los escolares interesados en participar. Sólo comuníquese con su escuela.
La escuela intermedia Lincoln está localizada en el 3191 de la calle 16, NW. .