February/March 2024

Dear Reader,

THE TIME IS NOW!  No matter if you are an out-of-school time parent, provider, or supporter of WCK’s mission – we ask for your participation today.

Parents – If your child is currently attending any afterschool care somewhere in Washington County, please complete our parent survey
Providers – Please complete the training survey
Everyone – Save the Date for our 2024 Reach for the Stars Event at the new location – The Reser Center in Beaverton!

Please enjoy the rest of our newsletter which includes opportunities and resources for the entire Washington County community.

Larry Crepeaux
Executive Director
larry@washingtoncountykids.org

Parents!  

Our first-ever survey of afterschool parents is live!

We need the help of all parents in Washington County to gather data about afterschool participation.  The survey responses will help strengthen our mission to increase funding and support for out-of-school-time programs that enable success for children and youth in Washington County.
The survey should take approximately 2 minutes to finish.


Provider Spotlight:  The Shadow Project
The Shadow Project is a Portland based nonprofit that partners with educators to make school more accessible and engaging for children with learning challenges like dyslexia, ADHD, autism, and trauma. They are currently partnered with 58 schools and have served over 17,000 students in Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington since 2003.

The Shadow Project serves schools through three programs: Their Goal Setting Program provides special education teachers a goal setting curriculum and resources to motivate, engage and celebrate students. Reading Mentors pairs emerging readers with a dedicated mentor to set weekly reading goals and cutting-edge audiovisual reading technology. SuperSensory Spaces are installed in schools to provide a structured, proactive approach to student mental and emotional health through sensory tools.

Outside the school year, The Shadow Project provides their Summer Goal Setting program to parents and caregivers. The Summer Goal Setting program is a free online program for children with learning challenges, ages 5-13, that helps caregivers support their child’s confidence, attention, and motivation through goal setting resources and access to rewards in their online “Shadow Store” filled with books, art supplies, LEGOs, and more.

To learn more about them, check out their website with information on their school programs. To get more information about their Summer Goal Setting Program and other news, sign up for their newsletter. 


Provider Spotlight:  Art World School
Art World School is a skill-based art school established in 1997 with an After School Program that focuses on teaching students art skills and techniques through professional step by step instruction, practice, and creation of artwork that combines instruction with the student’s own creativity. Students can take individual classes or a full day program, with pick-up service available from nearby schools. Art World School has opened a bigger new location in West Union Village, in the Bethany area, in March 2024. New students are welcome to take a trial class to experience what Art World School has to offer. Art World’s after school program offers drawing and painting, clay and pottery, arts and crafts, calligraphy, and 3D art classes. Each day and each class involves a different project with different age groups. Art World School’s motto is “Be inspired, learn life long skills, create something new”.

Providers!

Help guide our program for 2024!
We need your input on subjects relevant to OST provider needs and parents too! Please take a couple of minutes now to complete the short survey below.

Training Topic Input  

Provider Resources
As a provider, are you looking for new ways to keep your kids engaged and learning?  The Mizzen website is a great resource for content and curriculum ideas with easy to copy modules on topics from social emotional learning through STEAM activities. The latest addition is a 3-part module on learning through jazz called “The Big Easy.”
A local artist, Cindy Peterson, is available to provide fun classes for kids in watercolor, mixed media collage, and making journals.  She also teaches classes at Colours Art in downtown Hillsboro.
The Wallace Foundation has just published a report on how out-of-school time (OST) programs measure their impact.  The summary is available and the full report can also be downloaded.

Next, please join the next FOCUS ZOOM conversation on Friday, April 26th from 10-11am as we Focus on you!
Afterschool or summer providers, please consider joining any (or all) of our monthly Focus on Providers events!  These informal one-hour Zoom discussions about what Providers are facing and accomplishing in our county including networking, resource sharing, and community development opportunities.
Hosted by Larry Crepeaux, Executive Director

Art is cool!

Thank you for everyone who participated in the 2024 Afterschool is Cool Poster Contest and especially those that attended the event at the Walters Cultural Center.


The community response was incredible with over 170 poster entries!  Congrats to everyone be sure to check out all the submissions HERE!

Judges for the contest were Washington County Commissioner Jerry Willey and local well-known artists, Elizabeth Higgins and Ed Labadie. 

Congratulations!
Kindergarten + Elementary Division
1st – Charlotte | The Student Stop
2nd – Achayahun | Art World School
3rd – Navira | Art World School
Middle + High Division
1st – Ayushka | Art World School
2ns – Chloe | Art World School
3rd – Nia Klein | Art World School

Thanks to our volunteers, judges, kids and every afterschool provider who helped make this event successful.
Adelante Chicas
Art World School
Champions
Good Neighbor Center
The Student Stop
Thrives – Cedar Hills, Conestoga, Garden Home

Please watch for upcoming announcements (new location, expanded divisions) about the 2025 event!

KATIE’S KORNER:  Katie Riley, President

Exciting Updates and Follow Ups

Time is whisking us rapidly into the future!  Our “Afterschool is Cool” Poster Contest showcase was terrific!  We had so much fun receiving 170 posters and having the finalist posters on display.  We really enjoyed having a large turnout of kids and their parents at the Walters Center!  ALL of the posters are still on display on our website—you don’t want to miss them.

But no sooner than that event was completed than we started planning for our amazing new gala!  If you haven’t been to an event at the new Patricia Reser Center for the Arts in Beaverton, or even if you have attended other events there, now is the time to plan to attend our gala at the Reser on June 6th!  Volunteers are already collecting great new items for our silent auction, and we will have many surprises throughout the evening.

We are also in the midst of planning for the 2024 Parent Speaker Series and provider trainings.  Keep tuned in to hear about great topics—behavior issues are always a challenge, and we will definitely be addressing those concerns.

Last month I reported on the potential for a ballot initiative for PreK4All in Washington County and wanted to add an update.  A recent poll commissioned by the Washington County Chamber of Commerce found that respondents are largely against voting for such a measure.  Respondents were very concerned about the need for more support for county services and thought that businesses and people with higher incomes should pay a larger share than they do currently.

On behalf of Washington County Kids and our dedication to increase access to out of school time programs, I have been participating in the legislative session to support a bill (HB 4082) introduced by State Representative Susan McLain.  The bill has been enacted and signed by the Governor.  It will provide $30 million in funding for summer learning this year and a workgroup to plan for future afterschool and summer needs.  Allocations have been made to the school districts with the largest populations of students in need and the school districts have been notified of procedures to apply for the funds.

Katie
Board President & Founder
katie@washingtoncountykids.org

PS:  Movie Recommendation
Have you seen Origin yet?   This academy-award winning movie is now showing on Amazon Prime for $5.99 rental. Totally worth the price.  Very moving story of how Caste was written by Isabel Wilkerson and brings home the message fully of how important it is to treat everyone with respect. 

IMPROVING SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING

Helping your child build resilience to weather the onslaught of competing information and pressures is a difficult task.  No one is required to take a parenting class before they become a parent and often it is unclear how you can best guide your child to have good mental health.  Here are a few tips that might help smooth that process (National Afterschool Association).

Kids who can describe their feelings are often able to control them more easily.  It helps them have an “Emotional Vocabular.”  You can help a child or youth by encouraging them to name their feelings at the time.  You can also model that behavior yourself. If you are angry about something, you can say what is making you angry and what you are going to do about it.  If it is not appropriate to describe your feelings at the time due to the effect on yourself or others, you can take the child aside later and discuss what happened, how you felt, and why you decided to do what you did.  If the child or youth is not able to describe their feelings, you can offer a suggestion like, “It looks like you are pretty upset.  Can we talk about it?”

Another way to develop resilience is to encourage positive self-talk.  It is easy to get into a pattern of criticizing oneself and apologizing, even when there is no personal fault.  Praising a child or youth for positive actions and encouraging them to feel pride in what they do and who they are can help them feel good about themselves.  Having a positive self-image helps people bounce back when there are rough times.  If you can encourage a child or youth to find activities that make them feel positive toward themselves or can show their skills to others; it can make a huge difference in seeing themselves as worthy in the eyes of others.

The ”Reset and Relax” technique is recommended as a method to allow people to gather their thoughts, manage their feelings, and take appropriate positive action.  The technique is summarized as:

Reset: Determine what is truly bothering you.
Relax: Calm your mind and body

You can be instrumental in letting a child know that their feelings are normal and help them stop and think about the situation and how they feel about it. If they can take a few deep breaths, it can allow them the opportunity to calm down and think rationally about what has happened and how to frame it within their experience, what actions they can take, and the possible consequences of each action.  The ability to choose their next action calmly for a positive outcome is a very empowering experience.

Your guidance in helping a child or youth develop positive social-emotional learning can put them on the path to a rewarding future.

PARENTS:  Resources & Connections

$ Talking Money with Kids $
Need some help in getting your kids to be more financially responsible?  An excellent resource for parents is available through a YouTube video developed by the Harvard Graduate School of Education. They summarize the Key Takeaways:

  • Seize the moment to talk about money with kids from the car seat onwards. Financial literacy starts in the home and then school.
  • Every money conversation sends a message to kids about values. Frugality is fine but explain the reason and purpose.
  • Manage college expectations based on your family’s income. Start conversations early about your ability and willingness to pay.

Parent Supports
Need support paying for child care? Check out how to qualify for programs here.

Dad’s groups
Dads of young children have groups to share their experiences.

Health Coverage
Are you losing Oregon Health Plan coverage or need to update your eligibility?  Check out this information.

Your Kid and Substance Abuse
Do you think (or know) that your child is using substances that they shouldn’t be using?  A new article,  ‘Stepping in When your Child is Using Substances,” has some useful tips for parents and other caregivers to assess the situation and engage in helpful conversation to deter further use.  The Partnership to End Addiction has a step-by-step approach to answer questions and help you take action.  The article and other useful information are included in the
Resource section of our website.

Two new Resources for Parents/Guardians
We have added two new resources to the Washington County Kids website
Resource section for parents and guardians.  In the mental health section, an article from Harvard Graduate School of Education describes how parents can educate their teens about preventing negative thinking when they are on social media.  Another link in the substance use area provides great information from Washington County on Opioids and Overdose Prevention.  In addition, there are lots of other helpful resources on our website!

REMINDER:  ELECTION SEASON YOUTH OPPORTUNITIES

Student Mock Election Opportunity
by League of Women Voters of Oregon

Parents:  We hope you can share this civics education opportunity with the public, private, charter, and home-school educators of your children to encourage new and future voters to feel confident about making well-informed decisions when casting their ballot.  We invite families and their educators to enroll students in the League of Women Voters of Oregon Student Mock Election (OSME).  The League is a trusted, non-partisan voice in developing materials educators can use to teach students about the voting process.  All of us know how important civics education is in preparing our students to become engaged citizens.  Through participation in OSME, students recognize the real-world relevance of civics education and are encouraged to become lifelong voters.
  
The League of Women Voters of Oregon (LWVOR) has run Oregon Student Mock Elections for over two decades, winning five national awards and many friends, including our very own Oregon Department of Education.  As a nonpartisan organization, the League never supports or opposes any candidate or political party.

REGISTRATION IS FREE!
To participate in the May 2024 primary mock election, educators can register at  www.lwvor.org/mock-election.  Participating Oregon students will have the same opportunity as registered Oregon Primary Election voters to cast May primary votes for nonpartisan, statewide offices and ballot measures.  LWVOR will create mock ballots, forms for registering classes and reporting results, and curricular support materials. In response to teacher requests, LWVOR may be able to create customized ballots, including a local (county or city) ballot option.
Educators have year-round access to up-to-date LWVOR Civics Education curriculum materials, including two new lesson plans that are specific to the Oregon Primary Election. Schools and educators can choose their voting day between May 5th  and 10th.  Results will be released to the public on May 17, 2024.

To learn more, or dive into the award-winning curriculum and other civic resources available year-round, visit the League of Women Voters of Oregon website, www.lwvor.org/civics.

Thank you for teaching new and future Oregonian voters how to participate in their democracy!

The Oregon Student Mock Election Team
mockelection@lwvor.org

Temporary Employment Opportunity

The Washington County Elections Office is looking for temporary workers for the May and November 2024 elections.  This is a great opportunity for students as young as 16 and others to be employed in the election process.  Check out their website for further details.