Tuesday, November 12, 2013

43 Green Notebooks

Recently I was working for a not-for-profit which had a grant that placed them at a high school. Recruitment of 43 students seemed quite challenging.  When I went to the school to speak to the team I had a very thorough brainstorm and came up with some very effective ideas for recruitment and retention. I've worked with kids, high students mostly for the past 20 years of my life. It's basically second nature to me.  My last name is Aponte which translates to "A Bridge." It's in my DNA to make connections, to create possibilities.

One of the great ideas I shared was having the students do free writes at the start of every meeting. A brainstorm is a sharing of ideas with neither judgement nor qualification so the wilder the ideas the greater the brainstorm.  My idea wasn't new in anyway, Julia Cameron writes about it in her book, "The Artist's Way." That's just one example of how it isn't new but it was a new concept to this particular group of folks.  I said we can get cool notebooks and have the students journal.  It's always a wonderful exercise to write down your feelings or experience when starting a new endeavor.  The grant is about working with high school freshmen to make sure the transition into the high school world is successful and that they feel supported. One of the main goals is to successfully be promoted to the tenth grade, for the students to triumphantly pass the ninth grade.  Free writing and/or journaling would be quite appropriate, fun and it would measure growth as well. So the concept was  multi-purposed. 

Nevertheless, I met with them talked about some other ideas and then went about my work business, which took me out of the school and to the office to be the Executive Assistant to the Director.  The Director is quite creative and has been in business for over 25 years. She is a leader in her own right.  She hired me to be her part time assistant but what she called me was her, "CATCHER." She shared how she had lots of activities on her plate, many goals, lots of balls in the air so-to-speak so she needed a catcher.  One of my responsibilities was to get this particular program off the ground by creating the workscope, organizing the schedule, meeting with school staff, and interviewing the folks in charge and then I passed it on to the coordinator we hired who would be in charge at the school.  So you see I had this minor connection with the high school program.

The holidays were around the corner and I was planning a Halloween Party for my son and our friends. I stopped in a Discount Outlet to find inexpensive Halloween decorations or something fun and I found some very cool green composition notebooks.  Without hesitation I purchased 43 of these notebooks for the kids.

I thought I could have the coordinator of the program make up some cool labels with the name of the program and the company and then give one to each student. Imagine the possibilities.

Due to other work responsibilities I hadn't taken the notebooks to the folks who would administer their use. I am not working with the agency anymore and in the trunk of my car I have 42 green composition notebooks (I gave one to my high school aged niece on Halloween as her Trick_or_Treat gift).  Yesterday when I was organizing some paperwork I found the receipt, thankfully.  Now I can go back and return them but it makes me sad that neither students nor I, will have this experience. 42 notebooks, I think I will only return 30 of them...

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Thank you for reading and sharing.


In possibility.
Julie Jewels

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