Faces & Places - More than English and Algebra, IKE Box
by Mary Masla, OregonASK Field Correspondent
The IKE Box coffee shop in Salem is located in the few blocks between the State Capitol Mall and downtown. Passing through the cafe one might notice that it's a little different. The place has character, certainly, with its wide-open ballroom in the center of the building, small workrooms and quieter spaces to read or talk in the corners. There's a stage in the main ballroom. When I was a student at Willamette I attended a few concerts here, recognizing its characters, but not knowing the true significance of this place. I imagine I was like many other patrons, I was unaware that the IKE Box is operated by a non-profit, Isaac's Room, which provides powerful opportunities and learning through a program called IKE Quest, until I began working for OregonASK.
Isaac's Room is the non-profit founded by Mark and Tiffany Bulgin, the organization helps "divested young people build the capacity to rise to the challenges of life." They accomplish this mission by providing divested young people with a "progression of opportunities and services that help them get on their feet, learn to walk and then learn to run." The progression of opportunities begins with something called an IKE Quest, followed by training and an internship working as a barista for IKE Box; and potentially employment at the café and an opportunity to mentor other young people. I spent my day at IKE Box with the newest IKE Quest students - it was their third day in the program.
I began my day by talking with the students. I asked them what they thought about their experience so far, and what had brought them to IKE. Stories ranged from a young man who was living in his ninth foster home, getting ready to graduate from high school with dreams of moving into his own apartment; to a young woman with dreams of becoming a social worker following her experiences living with homeless youth. The group was excited about the next three and a half weeks, to learn more from Mark's life skills lessons, make friendships and better themselves body, mind and spirit in order to take on the world. I could tell IKE Quest was already working its magic. As one young man put it, "Mark wants you to do better and that's why I like being here."
Read the rest of Mary's story...
Click here to learn more about IKE Box...
Checkout Our New Website!
Click below to see our new look! We have made it easier to navigate, and have more improvements to come!
Quality Program Training Series Has Begun!
The start of the Quality Program Training series kicked off today! Having challenges with an aspect of your program? Looking for ways to increase student engagement? Want to learn how to increase the quality of your program and communicate it with schools?
If you are interested in joining this 5 part series - let us know this week! These online training modules examine the aspects of quality programming and how to effectively communicate the great things you do!
Each session can be registered for separately or as a series and is Set 2 Oregon Registry training as well as available for PSU Continuing Education credit. Have questions or want to know more about the training? Give us a call today!
Click here to register for the Quality Standards Modules!
January looks to be a strong kick off for sustainability planning in each of the districts we are partnering with. There have been some exciting developments and each district is making progress as this New Year begins. Along with sustainability meetings, districts have been supporting OregonASK's efforts to gather the parents' perspective through local focus groups that will be analyzed and reported back to participants in February. Though we see that each district, community, and engagement approach is unique, we also see the collective need for after school support is spreading and work to build capacity for all programs across the state.
Over the winter break, Salem Keizer Education Foundation (SKEF) held a Winter Lunch Program, which served food, provided fun games and gave out free books! The program was available and free to all children and students ages 1-18 regardless of family income. SKEF will be holding their first Afterschool Alliance (AA) meeting on January 8th to re-engage their AA members and continue the next steps of their sustainability plan. Additionally, SKEF is planning to expand their services and provide the Enrichment Academy at Forest Ridge and Hayesville elementary school, and they are thrilled to have received extra funding for their school gardens!
The Forest Grove Community Learning Center (CLC), in partnership with OregonASK, held a parent focus group and had a successful turnout. The Forest Grove Sustainability Team will meet in mid-January to finalize their mission and vision statement. Wonderful news from Forest Grove NAMS CLC Program Director: Thomas found a volunteer grant writer who will be working with the team to help sustain CLC for the future years!
Later this month, Metropolitan Family Services in North Clackamas will be holding their second Local Sustainability Team meeting where they plan to determine short-term goals and develop strategies to help narrow the gap in funding.
In Sheridan, OregonASK will be holding a parent focus group and will be sharing the results in February.
In December, Eugene coordinator, Sharon Tabor, received news from the Eugene Education Foundation that they would be the first official donor for the 2013-2014 school year. Eugene is in the fifth and final year of their 21st CCLC grant and is working hard to build the necessary connections to support their program when the grant is gone. This one donation does not fund the entire program, but it is one of the many sources that will help create a sustainable program. Eugene will take this good news to their January sustainability meeting as they discuss the plans for their Development Coordinator position that will be spearheading sustainability plans this spring.
Medford's Kids Unlimited will host their first Sustainability meeting Saturday January 8th, a four hour retreat that will take them through the first three stages of the planning process, in hopes of enacting the plan before funding ends in June.
Falls City, Mapleton and Florence will be meeting in January to finalize outreach plans for the spring; each creating their own materials to highlight the programs and share with local communities and businesses the benefits of after school programs.
Looking for Youth Mini-Keynotes!
My Future - My Choice are searching for two youth 19 or younger to deliver a mini keynote speech at this year's Adolescent Sexuality Conference. They are asking youth across Oregon to submit 5 minute speeches (written or video) on "What I would like everyone to know about youth and sexual health." Selected youth will receive free registration to the conference as well as two free nights at a hotel in Seaside for themselves and a chaperone. Click here
for the contest guidelines and more information. Submission deadline is February 20, 2013. See flyer below!
Grant Funds Available to Help Feed Kids In Afterschool Settings!
Oregon has one-time grant funds available to help expand the At-Risk Afterschool Meal
and Snack Program (AMSP). Currently, more than one-third of these funds have been
awarded to program sponsors across the state to help fund start-up or program expansion expenses.
Requests for funds can be up to $10,000 per organization. Applications are being received until February 28, 2013, or until all grant funds have been expended (submit your application soon!).
The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) Child Nutrition Programs has contracted with Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon to administer the grants and provide outreach support to sponsors.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.