I work for the Multnomah County Commission on Children, Families & Community. I supervise team of 7 interns that visit area summer lunch sites deliverying the Smart Start Eating and Reading program to young children. They weave education about good nutrition into games and activities. We know that their presence is very appreciated by site coordinators and parents. The children also get very excited when the teens spend a week at a site to play games and activities.
It is a wonderful public service for OPB to run this program. What would be the possibility of OBP running Public Service Announcements before Sesame Street or Blues Clues?
My guess is that people do not know where the food is. It could be in a church or community building--not in the school where it used to be. Many people do not or cannot read, so radio and tv promotion would make sense. Also, contacting churches, parks and recreation and neighborhood groups to get the word out that our neighbors have options. Or maybe it is a matter of requesting the kids bring friends with them the next day.
Also, local celebrities and community leaders can show up, maybe with cameras in tow.
In Oregon, as above, the site is www.summerfoodoregon.org, phone number 1-800-safe-net. The phone number has translators.
In Washington, people can call 1-888-436-6392 to find the location of a summer food site for kids, free, no paperwork. Family Food has a lookup by zip code for summer food sites. See http://www.familyfoodline.org/index.php?page=summermeals
Also, printed materials, including a coloring page for kids, that can be ordered.
Many thanks to Lynne Reinoso at the Community Nutrition Child Nutrition Programs of the Oregon Department of Education (and your guest Annie Kirschner) for their help to figure out how to help the outreach. We have a growing group of 30 leaders committed to increasing access to summer food across the nation as part of our commitment to reduce hunger for 500,000 people by July 30.
Our research shows that Oregon and Washington do a better job than most states, but even with that, between the two states, if we were even at 40% participation, we'd have 100,000 fewer hungry kids. Our project website is http:/feed500K.ning.com.
Yes, Thank you OPB for running this program and for speaking about summer food. It is such a wonderful program for parents, children, and those who participate in the meal prep itself. A total win win situation. The major problem is the advertising. School districts can send flyers home but most don't make it out of the back pack. Banners and signs are good but are often vandalized or are in locations that are not clearly visible. I beleive that radio and TV are our best bet for letting those know that the program is available to all children in the community and that they do not have to qualify or apply.
There are so many community members out there working with us to provide free activities for the children as well. If the community was aware of these programs more children could participate in healthy activities such as cooking classes and nutrition education activities with OSU and sports and craft activities sponsored by THPRD. Good food and an active mind and body are the keys to a healthy child who will be ready to learn.
We have had a great response from volunteers after the governor sent out his plea for community support for the program. There are people out there that really want to help out they just did not know before that the program existed. I see a greater need this year than in years past and with the economy the way it is now next year we will see an even greater need.
With extended outreach, we (Oregon) have the potential to serve an even greater population than ever before if school districts, churches and other community member?s step up to the plate and think outside the box as far as where and how a program can be run. The State has been amazingly helpful with qualifying sites and giving sponsors the resources to run a break even program. Thanks to you all that are involved for your dedication and outreach thus far :)
Commercial stations have to run PSAs, public service announcements, to keep their licenses, I suggest calling them and asking what it would take to get their help. I don't know if they do the PSA productions or if you need to bring the completed project to them.
Consider ad agencies, they would probably be able to get a tax write off, good PR, and potential free ads for brainstorming ideas, producing them, and contacting their clients for underwriting.
Actually, we're hoping to blow the discussion out beyond summer hunger, to what options are out there for families who can't afford summer day camp or sleepaway camps. Anyone who's ever priced these services can tell you it's not cheap.
The state of Oregon has a referral network that lists open slots in every county. But interestingly, there's no way to search just for summer options, or for subsidized or low-income programs geared toward people who can't pay market rate.
How are kids spending their summer, if they can't make it to camp?
Beaverton School District offers meals at 29 sites, 14 of those are school sites and the remaining sites are at various apartment complexes and at the Beaverton City Park. On Tuesdays the city librarian offers a free storytime in the park in conjunction with out food program there monday through thursday from 12:00-1:00. Every once in awhile our vollunteers are able to offer activities at the park but no official schedule is offered as of yet.
THPRD offers free recreational activities and crafts Monday through Friday until August 14th.
OSU is offering free "Snack Attack" and Start Smart Eating and Reading classes for children at various Beaverton sites in Washington County as well.
Next week at Cedar Park Middle School (July 14th through the 17th) several church vollunteers will be offering free sports and craft activities for children from 10:00-11:00 with free lunch to follow.
We welcome all to join us for a free nutritious breakfast and lunch and to join in on the activities as well.
Nutrition Services / Beaverton School District
I discovered the free lunch in the park program 15 years ago when I was in middle school. My family couldn't afford summer camp so I spent my days up at Essex Park playing Ping Pong and basketball with Wes, the parks and rec employee who we all thought was about the coolest guy on the planet. We didn't need much, sandwiches and a few games...it was inner city summer camp!
Here's that link Annie just mentioned, listing summer food programs.
I think it?s a great program. As a society we really must care for the young. I?m not in a low income bracket; however as a single working parent of two young girls, I find it very challenging to find activities for the kids.
Also I?d like to hear what your panel has to say about the idea of getting rid of the long summer break for the kids. When we were an agricultural society it was needed. It?s an idea that?s had it?s time and in my opinion, isn?t needed anymore.
Right On! We need to get to a more year-long school program. Let the kids have 3 weeks between quarters. I see so many kids in our area that are just wandering around, some till late at night. If nothing else, maybe some camps locally ran by the schools?
My 14 year old boy is spending the month camping in the woods with the NorthWest Youth Corp out of Eugene, OR www.nwyouthcorps.org. He is earning an educational stip end of more than $500.00 (tax free) plus a few high school credits.
There is a bunch of differnet programs they run but the one my son is in is for 14 and 15 year olds only. The whole thing is modeled after the CCC Civilian Conservation Corp. of the 1940's. The kids do real work. They build or maintain trails, pull weeds, etc. plus an educational segment each day on ecologly, etc.
We made a parent visit and we were really impressed with how much fun our reluctant teen was having and how his behavior had matured.
I think a program like this that asks something from teens and then gives them back something is the best for developing them. We have sent our son to quite a few expensive camps and he is learning more here and having more fun and coincidently helping to solve some of our communitys problems.
We actually found out about this program on Oregon Field Guide, and then looked at thier web site. The Field Guide segment only highlighted the hard work part (and one particular kids problems)and not the fun and benefits the kids get
I don't know if child nutrition outreach efforts are already present in public libraries. LOTS of middle school and high school kids use the library as the main place they can use the internet, so they can be reached there.
I am a firm believer in the free / reduced cost lunch program in schools. I was a beneficiary of a program like this when I was in elementary school, and I'm convinced that eating well is why I turned out so smart.
We would pay the first week or two while the paperwork went through, then it was covered for us. When I was that young, I just thought that the few dollars I handed over to the teacher covered the whole year - It wasn't until much later I grasped the value of money AND lunch...
One option is to see if your church/mosque/synagogue/shala has a free or reduced-price summer program, like this one in Portland. This may not be the first option that crops up. We know most Oregonians don't claim an affiliation. But would you send your kid to a religious summer camp, if you could get that service for free?
p.s. Thanks for the urbanmamas blog for posting info about the PUMP program.
There are low cost/sliding scale programs out there -- Bethel Neighborhood Youth Drop In (near Killingsworth & Denver) has summer and afterschool programs for elementary school kids. (503-285-4919). Though housed in the church, it is a non-religious neighborhood partnership. The summer program started this week: 9-6, Mon-Fri. Lunch and snacks are provided. The program emphasizes fun activities that foster retention and growth of math and reading skills; there are field trips to neighborhood parks, swimming pools, library, farmers market, etc. so that kids find out about resources in their community. Again, fees are very reasonable (sliding scale: as little as $10 a week) with scholarships for those most in need.
Here is the link to Beaverton School District's Summer Food Service Program:
What a wonderful spokeswoman!
One great summer activity for girls is Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls. It's for girls 8-18 years old, and they offer financial aid.
"The Rock?n?Roll Camp for Girls, a 501(c)3
non-profit, builds girls self-esteem through
music creation and performance. Providing
workshops and technical training, we create
leadership opportunities, cultivate a supportive
community of peers and mentors, and
encourage social change and the development
of life skills."
As a taxpayer, I'm frustrated to hear about yet another program that essentially requires me to pay to raise other people's children. In my opinion, parents should be responsible (financially and otherwise) for raising their own children. Their children don't just fall on them out of the sky, and we are past the point where having children you can't afford is doing society a favor. I don't want kids to go hungry, I really don't. I just wish that somewhere amid all the government programs there was a least one promoting the idea that if you are not prepared (emotionally, psychologically and financially) to raise children, perhaps you shouldn't have them.
Its sad to hear people ragging on feeding each others kids. It takes a village. There would be plenty of money for free food for everyone if the rich corporations were paying their fair share. A better complaint would be to question why your tax money subsidizes Walmart employees that are on food stamps and other public assistance becuase they don't get paid enough to feed themselves and can't afford health insurance.
Did everybody hear Jeffrey Capizzao's on-air take? He says these programs are one way of lifting graduation rates, improving the workforce.
Its a struggle in Vancouver to find affordable non-denominational summer activities and lunch programs for kids. I'm sure they are out there but are hard to find. My 11 year old son wants to go to computer camp but it is in Portland and over $600 so it probably wont happen. It would be nice if the schools were a clearinghouse for summer activity information. Maybe next year I'll volunteer to hold a summer activity workshop for parents of my son's middle school.
As someone who works in schools in the Eugene area one thing that I would love for the community to come together and fund would be half day summer schools for all grades. This would allow students to eat breakfast and lunch at school and also improve their academic skills (while still having time to have fun). At the high school level here in Eugene there is only paid summer school. Students on free and reduced lunch do get a discount but I have had a number of parents saying that even with the discount it is still too expensive. Also the high school summer school is only held at one of the 4 high schools (so it is a long commute for students who cannot drive). There are many students who are credit deficient who if they could go to summer school could then get back on track to graduate.
I have seen the data from the Bethel School Districts summer program and students who participate have the opposite of the summer slump, they have the summer spike in improved reading scores. I have worked at summer school and it has a good balance between fun and academics and not a moment is wasted.
Here's one for you: Would you try a child care provider on Craig's List? There are quite a few listings on the Portland, Salem, and Bend Craig's list sites, some of them relatively affordable. But as one dad put it on this Atlanta forum, sometimes you get what you pay for. Would you try it, if it was the only option you could afford?
We found our child care provider/nanny on Craig's List nearly 3 years ago. She is great - we are lucky to have found her this way. But we do pay the going nanny rate which is not inexpensive.
As a proud "bleeding heart" Liberal I pay my taxes to invest in people and at the earliest ages possible. Sadly, my tax dollars too often get diverted to the Military Industrial Complex so folks like Bush/Cheney can make themselves richer than ever.
I hate the conservative idea that the poor deserve poverty because of some twisted and perverted version of Darwins' "survival of the fittest".
Top down ruling through fear or democratic self governing by raising children with positive reinforcement and nurturing, that is the difference that makes a difference.
My question involves kids with special dietary needs. I am a mother of two girls with a metabolic disorder (Classic Galactosemia) which is managed through their diet. This means that we must eliminate all food containing milk products, and milk sugar. All foods must be "managed" down the line i.e.: labels need to be read to ensure that products do not contain lactose, whey, casein, etc. We are lucky that we can afford summer programs for our childen and ensure that their diet is maintained appropriately, but what about the kids that have to rely on the summer lunch program and do have specific dietary needs? I am sure that there are plenty of families which cannot afford camp, etc. and their kids may have a metabolic disorder, or other reason for needing special diet. Is there a program to ensure that these children get the foods they can have?
I may be wrong but I believe that Bend Parks and Rec programs are free to in district folks. If not free they are at least subsidized.
A resource for parents who want to avoid the "summer slide" for their kids is Saturday Academy. Saturday Academy is a nonprofit organization based in Portland that offers a classes and camps in a wide range of topics for 2nd-12th graders. Classes are in subject areas not usually available to kids like nuclear physics, genetics, and marine biology. The classes are year-round, with over 300 offerings this summer. Classes are tuition based, but free and reduced-cost classes are available through sliding scale tuition assistance.
The great thing about these classes and camps is that they're FUN! Classes are small, with 10 kids or fewer, and hands-on, taught by community experts and professionals in cool subjects like computer game making or medical camps. They are also taught in a variety of locations all over the metro area, so they are easily accessible.
Check out this current summer special being offered by Saturday Academy (see website, www.saturdayacademy.org):
"We have 48 different high school classes this summer that still have spaces available. A few of the classes available are:
* Biology: Vertebrate Zoo
* Science of Sci-Fi Films
* Tsunamis!Coast Challenge
* And Much More... Check out all of our high school classes this summer.
We are offering 20% off on any NEW high school class (grades 9 - 12) enrollment between now and July 11. Sign up now! (To redeem this offer, simply register online and reduce the class tuition by 20%. We'll do the rest.)"
Call 503-200-5880 or visit the website www.saturdayacademy.org for more info or to register for a class. Tuition assistance forms are accessible through the website, in course catalogs or by calling the office.
Moving Images is a summer youth media arts program presented by the Oregon Learning Lab for Information Education (OLLIE), Portland Community Media, and MetroEast Community Media.
The Moving Images Summer Youth Program is an intensive video arts and production program that focuses on creative storytelling, the collaborative artistic process, exposure to exemplary works of video/film art, and personal awareness of artistic goals. Moving Images is offered to young people ages 14-18 throughout the Portland metropolitan area. Students will create their own video project describing a personal journey. There is no cost to participate! For more information or to apply visit: [u]www.ollietv.org/movingimages[/u]
Project-based learning through programs such as OLLIE and Moving Images is a great way to get students involved in their community and learning without seeming like school.
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