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City Council OKs Permits for Green Carts after Key Rally

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The push for healthful eating has gotten an important boost from the New York City Council. The Council voted on February 27th to create 1,000 permits for street vendors to set up green carts in low-income neighborhoods to sell fresh fruits and vegetables.

Children’s Aid Responds to the Crisis in Haiti

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The Children’s Aid Society extends our deepest sympathies to the people of Haiti. Our hearts go out to the children and families struggling to survive in the wake of the devastating earthquake. The pain and suffering we see chronicled in the news each day is almost unimaginable. Children’s Aid Society has a proud tradition of providing assistance to families in need, whether in the aftermath of September 11th or Hurricane Katrina.

Congratulations on Your Engagement

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A recent study entitled A Report on the 2007 and 2008 High School Survey of Student Engagement provides some distressing news about the state of American high schools, alongside interesting grist for youth workers’ planning mills. First the headlines:

Minding Our Peas and Cukes

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Several years ago, when foundations and policymakers discovered the obesity crisis in our country – seemingly overnight – I thought we were witnessing just another fad. I mean, hadn’t we all been aware for quite a while that a lot of people were overweight? So why the sudden alarm bells over what seemed like the status quo?

But recent research has confirmed the need for those alarm bells, and youth workers should be among the first responders.

Aching for Adults

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At a recent dropout prevention conference in New York state, a panel of five teenagers shared their ideas about what it would take to help all students succeed in school. One of these young people stands out most dramatically in my mind, mainly because of the juxtaposition between how he appeared and what he said.

What Youth Programs Teach

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At a recent session of a youth development program, during a Mad Libs activity that served as an icebreaker, one of the simple warm-up questions generated a disturbing response. Young people were asked to name a course they take in school. After a couple of usual answers (“math,” “social studies”), someone shouted, “test prep.” All of the kids agreed that this was indeed a course at their schools.

Competence is Cool

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Interest in after-school programs for high schoolers is growing around the country, and in many quarters. Several recent national conferences have focused on the topic, as have a number of reports. While there are several reasons for this emerging attention, the single biggest factor is probably our nation’s collective, dismal record on high school graduation.

That record includes the following statistics:

Alice In Wonderland - Spring 2008

Friday, April 25, 2008 - Saturday, May 17, 2008

An outrageous Pop-Up adaptation of the Lewis Carroll classic. Imagine Alice, 7 years old, born and raised in today’s Greenwich Village, New York City. From the moment she wakes up until she rests her weary head, her parents over schedule and manage her day. With Architecture, Piano, Book Club, French and Ballet classes overwhelming her, Alice has forgotten what it is like to be a child and simply play. Will her journey through Wonderland help her reclaim her childhood or is Alice destined to become an adult way before her time?

Let’s Stress the Fun in Fundamental

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Everyone knows that reading is fundamental; we even have a national organization by that name. Yet a recent report from the National Endowment for the Arts, “To Read or Not to Read,” makes the case in no uncertain terms that we are quickly becoming a nation of non-readers.

While this study points to negative trends among older readers, it calls particular attention to adolescent literacy:

Not Déjà Vu All Over Again

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A smart person once observed that opportunity resides at the intersection of need and capacity. I thought of this adage recently as I read two seemingly disparate documents: a report prepared by the Next Generation Youth Work Coalition focusing on current work force challenges in the youth development field (“Growing the Next Generation of Youth Professionals: Workforce Opportunities and Challenges”), and a new book by Marc Freedman titled Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life.

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