January 29, 2015 Newsblast

Hey everyone!

I realize I neglected to introduce myself in last week’s newsblast– sorry about that!  My name is Julie Thompson and I am taking over from Lexi as Director of Communications.  I’m really looking forward to getting to know everyone and working with you all to provide the awesome opportunities So What Else offers to the community!

Internal notices

We have a LinkedIn page!!  If you’re on LinkedIn please go “Follow” the company page on your account!  This is a great way to connect with each other, potential volunteers, current and prospective donors, and other like-minded organizations in the area, but we’d like to wait until we have a respectable (read: more than 2 people) following before we start posting and promoting.

We are currently looking for a donated truck to help us support and expand our programming!  If you know of anyone who might be of service please refer them to us or pass along their information for us to contact!
As promised in the Jan. 5th staff meeting, we’ve attached an “On-Site Service Curriculum” to this email.  This semester we are implementing the Big Idea program into every after school class; in the document, you will find several ideas for various on-site service projects to incorporate into the weekly curriculums of our after school programming.  Take a look, and if you have any questions or need any support with logistics, contact Dave, Rachael, or Daphne.

We will soon begin our search for members for our Student Advisory Board, who (among other duties) will help start So What Else service clubs at their various high schools and serve as general leaders and liaisons to the community.  We anticipate them to continue their role over the summer and serve as summer interns with So What Else’s summer session.

We will be spending the week of April 5-11th on a week-long staff workshop.  This is the second of four week-long trainings, and we will be focusing on our themes of service and sustainability by building and landscaping an edible garden, the fruits of which will be donated to the Feed the Mind collaboration between So What Else and Nourish Now.

Providers, please mark your calendars for April 10th for our all-day Olympics event!  We’ll need all hands on deck to man the stations throughout the day and are looking forward to our biggest event of the year!

Upcoming volunteer events and opportunities

We have ongoing opportunities for tutoring, coaching, and mentoring throughout this semester with Scotland Storm, Hearts and Homes, and other regular partners.  Please reach out to us atsowhatelsehelps@gmail.com for more information!

Leveling the Playing Field, Sat. Feb. 7, 2-4pm | 9170 Brookville Road, Silver Spring MD 20910— Volunteers will be helping to sort and inventory donations of sporting equipment.  We will also be filling shoe boxes with used cleats and labeling the boxes before placing on shelves.  Volunteers will be in charge of creating comprehensive lists of everything sorted throughout the day.  Be sure to wear tennis shoes and clothes you don’t mind getting dirty!
Earthopia Workshop, Sun. Feb. 22, 1-4pm | 2560 Mill Hill Road, Waldorf MD— Students and community members will get an introduction to permaculture and earth/land stewardship in our So What Else: Southern Maryland kickoff event.

Hampden Family Center Rec Center Clean-up, Sat. Feb. 28, 10-2pm | 1104 W. 36th Street, Baltimore MD 21211— Volunteers needed to assist with maintenance and light repairs at the children’s recreation area of the Hampden Family Center. The Hampden Family Center provides enrichment programs to children and seniors, as well as economic and health support services to the community at large.

Monthly Birthday Party at Sarah’s Hope, Sun. Mar. 1, 6-8pm | 1114 Mount Street, Baltimore MD 21217— We will be joining Sarah’s Hope, a 24-hour shelter for women and children, for a monthly birthday party for all the children in the shelter. There will be cake, games, and arts & crafts as we help celebrate the March birthdays of the shelter.

Strawberry Festival, Sat. May 16, 8:30-4:30pm | Springbrook HS, 201 Valley Brook Drive, Silver Spring MD 20904— Milk Lady Markets’ annual Strawberry Festival is back and requesting 22 volunteers to assist in covering the festival operations from 8:30am and 4:30pm, covering set-up, booth and vendor support, breaking down the stage at the end, picking up loose trash on the grounds, and helping take down the booths and decorations.  This is a great opportunity for volunteers, and all volunteers working the festival will be given a break time to enjoy the attractions!

January 22, 2015 Newsblast

General Updates

On January 12 we kicked off our winter session with 28 after-school programs.  This year our programs will be focusing on integrating on-site service for our youth along with the skills-based class they’re taking throughout the semester.

We have 5 programs running in Baltimore this semester, up from the 2 we had last fall.  Students will be doing two on-site service projects highlighting civic responsibility and giving back per semester. We are happy to continue strengthening our relationship with Eutaw-Marshburn Elementary School and are thrilled to announce the week-long summer camp that will be held there this year.

The So What Else staff attended its first of four Maryland Out-of-School-Time Youth Development Conferences. We had a successful week of training and would like to welcome Abu, Horiol, Talia, and Jonathan to the So What Else youth development team! We look forward to our next conference on April 5-11th, which will focus on environmental conservation, sustainability, and service.

We have been invited to submit a proposal for the $150,000 Team Up Grant from the Trawick Foundation. The Trawick Foundation is very supportive of our mission and we look forward to developing innovative new programming with our teammates.

New Collaborations

We are thrilled to officially announce the collaboration between So What Else and Nourish Now.  Feed the Mind will allow us to deliver diverse programming and nutritious food in one setting for our youth constituents and we look forward to continuing our strong relationship with Nourish Now.

We are excited to welcome David and Nicole Holly to the team as pilots for So What Else: Southern Maryland! Our goals are to bring the So What Else mission to Waldorf, La Plata, and neighboring southern Maryland communities. Our preliminary calendar and official affiliation begins on February 1, 2015 with an Earthopia event from 1:00-4:00pm at 2560 Mill Hill Road, Waldorf MD. We will have a “Farm Day” from 9:00am-5:00pm on April 25, doing hands-on learning through hiking, gardening, and learning about plants. We look forward to further engaging with the southern Maryland community in community service events in the near future.

We are excited to welcome Davey Rogner and Jane Matt to a new collaboration with us here at So What Else. This partnership with The Harvest Collective will allow us to delve further into sustainability, healthy fresh foods, and environmental and STEM education.  We are currently building a garden at Springbrook High School and teaching classes at Clemente Middle School, and on April 5-11th we will be hosting a weeklong environmental workshop at 11405 Guerlac Court, North Potomac MD 20878

Thanks for reading!

Read About How We are Making an Impact

Check Out Our Good Work:

We invite you to read this letter we received from the Principle of Eutaw-Marshburn Elementary School in Baltimore City.

We have recently expanded our youth programming to Baltimore City Schools to try and help fill the large gap of programming for kids in the hours during after school time.

Currently we are offering fitness, healthy living and musical instrument creation courses at 3 sites throughout the city.

Eutaw letter

Program of the Month: Olympiad

Currently being run at 5 schools across Montgomery County and Baltimore City.

olympiad-1So What Else’s Olympiad program is designed to promote healthy activity and wellness in the lives of youth. The program provides students with access to fun fitness activities and games, in Olympic competition form, that keep them moving and engaged in physical activity for at least 60 minutes. These activities are set up as a series of team games, challenges and individual events.

olympiad-2Each class has a running theme of the day, which is reflected upon during the  activities. These themes teach the values of teamwork, integrity, inclusion, positivity and hard-work. These values are not only encouraged throughout the program but rewarded as well.  Fitness time is followed by a nourishing and healthy snack, fueling the students again after their exercise. Students are introduced to the concepts of nutrition and healthy living as well as new interesting topics and current events related to wellness and our bodies.

olympiad-3So What Else knows that kids are in the classroom all day with not much time, if any at all, dedicated to health and fitness. After school is the best time to provide kids with fun fitness activities because they have tons of stored up energy from being indoors all day. Our Olympiad program aims to heighten daily activity and exercise levels in youth which is essential to their health and combating childhood obesity. The program also promotes team building and gives students a chance to form new relationships with peers, allowing them to build social, character and leadership skills.