Around Town: April 15-17

Welcome to a pleasant spring weekend, Washington! Why not spend it with one (or more) of our non-profits? Such as …

The Theatre Lab School of the Dramatic Arts (733 8th Street NW)

Rags, the dynamic Broadway musical by Stephen Schwartz, Charles Strouse, and Joseph Stein, opens this Friday at 8:00 PM with an extremely talented young cast. Performances continue on Saturday & Sunday and you can nab tickets here.

Literacy Council of Northern Virginia (at the James Lee Community Center, 2855 Annandale Road, Falls Church)

Interested in becoming an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) tutor and spreading literacy in the Northern Virginia area? Sign up for a training session, starting this Saturday from 9:30 – 3:30 PM.

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Dr. Sidney Harman

Industrialist, audio pioneer, dedicated philanthropist, and founder of the Catalogue, Dr. Sidney Harman died on April 12 in Washington, following a battle with acute myeloid leukemia. He was Executive Chairman of Newsweek and Chairman of the Academy for Polymathic Study at the University of Southern California. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Catalogue in Dr. Harman’s honor. Continue reading

In The News …

Good morning, folks. Here comes Wednesday’s bundle of news items …

Finalists for the Washington Post Award for Excellence in Non-profit Management – Many congratulations to Horton’s Kids, Prince George’s Child Resource Center, and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, all of whom were announced as finalists by the Center for Non-Profit Advancement this past Monday. According to their press release, “The Award Selection Committee judges applicant organizations in the areas of fiscal management, information and communication, organizational development, people development, planning, resource development, risk management, and use of technology.” The winning non-profit will “receive a $10,000 grant and a scholarship for one person to attend the Georgetown University Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership?s Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program.”

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Question for the Day (cont)

Rereading yesterday’s post just now, the following statistic kept leaping out at me:

Studies dating to the 1960s have suggested that children’s experiences inside the classroom are responsible for as little as 20 percent of their overall educational development.

20 percent. For all the focus placed upon on test scores and grading and ranking, the success of a particular student relies (by 80 percent) on factors that their school never sees — of which they might not even be aware. CFP Executive Director Barbara Harman made a key point in her response to the NY Times article yesterday:

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Question for the Day

From the “The Fragile Success of School Reform in the Bronx,” NY Times, April 6, 2011:

Upon arrival at [Middle School] 223, students pass through a gantlet of smiling teachers. [Principal Ramon] Gonzalez requires that faculty members stand outside their doors at the start of the school day, part of his effort to set the school off from the grim streets surrounding it. “In our location, kids have to want to come to school,” he says. “This is a very sick district. Tuberculosis, AIDS, asthma rates, homeless shelters, mental-health needs — you name the physical or social ill, and we’re near the top for the city. Which means that when our kids come to school in the morning, when they come through that door, we have to welcome them.”

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Around Town: April 9-10

TGIF! So where are you in the mood to go this weekend?

Into the outdoors …

You actually have two great opportunities to beautify our nearby rivers: Potomac Conservancy hosts the 23rd Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup, organized by the Alice Ferguson Foundation, on Saturday at 9:00 AM in Cabin John. Up in Poolesville, Potomac Riverkeeper will hold Riley’s Lock Cleanup, also at 9:00 AM on Saturday.

And for the speed demons among you, the interactive Art & Go Seek Scaveger Hunt begins at CHAW at 8:30 AM on Saturday; teams of two to six people will race around the neighborhood in search of answers to questions about art, history, and notorious people. Sign up here! Similarly, Cakes for Cause‘s Sweetest Race in Town 5K begins at 8:00 AM on Sunday in downtown Frederick, MD. There will be cupcakes at the finish — enough said.

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7 Question – Sonia Quinonez (SCAN of Northern Virginia)

Greetings! Let’s welcome to “7 Questions” … Sonia Quinonez, Executive Director of SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now) of Northern Virginia. Last year alone, 7000 children were reported as victims of abuse in Virginia and SCAN is there to stand up for them, offering parental support groups and education and producing creative public awareness initiatives. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, so this is an ideal time to learn more about SCAN’s essential work in our region.

1. What was your most interesting recent project, initiative, partnership, or event?

SCAN of Northern Virginia just hosted our annual Allies in Prevention Awards Luncheon last Friday. It was a wonderful gathering of some 190 advocates for children — from front-line child protective services workers to elected officials. We honored five inspiring individuals, who have demonstrated exemplary commitment to improving the lives of children and strengthening families. Leon Harris of WJLA/ABC7 was a delightful emcee introducing us to the Ally Award winners. From a foster parent to a probation officer to a Deputy Director of Community and Human Services, each of the honorees has demonstrated a lifetime of commitment to protecting the most vulnerable children in our community. Our keynote speaker, Christine James-Brown, CEO of the Child Welfare League of America, engaged us in reflections on national advocacy efforts to focus anew on child welfare and the responsibility and accountability each of us has for playing our role in the systems that support families. It was truly an inspiring event.

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In The News …

Welcome to the first Wednesday of the (hopefully not too) rainy month! We have a bundle of CFP non-profit news coming your way …

Congratulations to five non-profit leaders — Last night, the winners of the 2010 Exponent Awards were honored by the Meyer Foundation. And of those winners, four are the leaders of CFP non-profits: Jean-Michel Giraud of Community Council for the Homeless at Friendship Place, Layli Miller-Muro of Tahirih Justice Center, Scott Schenkelberg of Miriam’s Kitchen (check out his “7 Questions” interview!), and Adam Tenner of Metro TeenAIDS. Many, many congratulations! You can also check out the Washington Post’s earlier coverage of the award announcement.

Being Bilingual May Boost Your Brain Power — Check out this cool discussion of bilingual families from Monday’s Morning Edition: “Judy and Paul Szentkiralyi both grew up bilingual in the US, speaking Hungarian with their families and English with their peers. When they first started dating, they spoke English [but] when things turned serious they did something unusual — they decided to switch to Hungarian” for their children. Additionally, several CFP non-profits, such as the Latin American Montessori Bilingual PCS, are also strong evidence for the power in bilingual education!

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Pictures for the Day

Today, catch a glimpse into … Community Help In Music Education (CHIME), which reaches students in 80 DC public schools, teaching them about the music of different cultures and inviting them to experience new instruments for the first time.

In the spring, CHIME brings twenty-two Music Around the World programs to five schools. In the first two photos, kids in kindergarten through 2nd grade take part in world musician Bill Jenkins “Latin Percussion” program and form a cha-cha rhythm band! In the third, Tom Teasley teaches 3rd through 5th graders all about digital music.

(photo by Beki Radovinovic)

(photo by Beki Radovinovic)

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Numbers for the Day

Of the 50 million students currently in American public schools, only 18% have access to dance education. (National Dance Education Association)

Of those students, only 7% are taught by a certified dance specialist, rather than a sports coach or general educator. (American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance)

Most dancers begin training between the ages of 5 and 15 and many have their first professional audition before they turn 18. (Bureau of Labor Statistics: Dances and Choreographers)

In sum? Kids get serious about dance early and get hooked earlier than that, even if they don’t intend to pursue a full-time dance career. And as the NDEO reports, “participation in high-quality arts education programs nurtures persistence, resilience, [and] achievement” in numerous arenas. Yet many students never have the chance to carve out a space on the dance stage.

… So this “Numbers for the Day” is dedicated to CFP’s innovative dance companies and movement-focused non-profits, who keep that stage alive and accessible.