Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Take Stock in Children is built on a foundation of volunteer mentors, so we all know volunteerism can change a life, check out all of these other reasons to consider engaging in community service!
  1. See the world:

    Some of the poorest countries that are the most in need of help also happen to be some of the most breathtaking places in the world. The mountains of Nepal, the lush jungles of Costa Rica, the wide expanses of Kenya are just a few of the lush vistas available to you.
  2. Volunteers are needed in this economy:

    A recession hits charitable groups doubly hard, as people need more help but volunteers have less time and resources to give. Although the numbers are beginning to come back up, the recession is far from over, unemployment remains high, and the need for workers lingers.
  3. Help your resume:

    The job market being what it is, volunteer experience can make great material for improving a resume and helping yourself stand out. More employers are saying they're interested in employees with volunteer experience. And who knows? You might land a job with the nonprofit you volunteer with!
  4. Find your calling:

    High school and college grads who aren't sure what they want to do with their lives are often advised to take an internship somewhere to get a feel for life in a certain line of work. Volunteering can serve the same purpose. You may find your passion is helping people.
  5. Build lifelong friendships:

    Serving alongside people has a way of forming special bonds that can last for years. Especially if your volunteering takes you to a third world country, the newness and uncertainty of the environment encourages you to find similarity with your fellow volunteers, which builds a basis for friendships that can last a lifetime.
  6. Gain valuable experience:

    There are so many different ways to volunteer, the skills that can be learned in the process are countless. Whether you volunteer as a firefighter or a camp counselor, you'll gain valuable knowledge about the world and about yourself that can be applied anywhere.
  7. It's a great way to make contacts:

    You never know whom you'll run into when volunteering. The connections you make with fellow volunteers could prove invaluable when you return to the search for a job. It's just one more reason it pays to be nice to everyone.
  8. It can change your outlook on life:

    Volunteering is probably the best way to break yourself out of your comfort zone and show you what life is like for many people. Doing so can change your views on a number of important social issues, like welfare, public health care, education, and more.
  9. Learn about your community:

    In an era of customizable and portable technology, it's easy to create a little bubble for yourself, iPod blaring in your ears while you surf Facebook on your phone. Whether you recognize it or not, you're part of a community, and volunteering requires you to unplug and connect with those around you.
  10. Have your student loan forgiven:

    For certain federal student loans, the government will agree to cancel all or a part of the loan in exchange for the student performing volunteer work. The work must be done with approved groups like AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, or Volunteers in Service to America.
  11. Learn a foreign language:

    Anyone who has tried to pick up a second language will tell you there's no quicker way to become fluent than by immersing yourself in a culture where that language, and nothing but that language, is spoken. Volunteering abroad is the perfect time to learn a foreign tongue.
  12. Get motivated:

    Maybe you just haven't felt motivated to get to work now that college is over. Since objects in motion tend to stay in motion, getting off the couch and volunteering is a good way to build some momentum that can carry you into your working career.
  13. Find inspiration:

    Say you're volunteering by digging a well in Africa and the brilliant idea for well construction hits you. There's no telling what kind of inspiration you can get while giving your time. Or maybe the inspiration you get will just be a better appreciation for wildlife, people, or America.
  14. It's the right thing to do:

     It's simply the right thing to do!
We hope you will consider the benefits of volunteerism, whether it is to build your resume, enrich your life, or to enrich the lives of those around you - service is of importance to us all.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

American Graduate: Let's Make it Happen!

Take Stock in Children is proud to partner with WLRN, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and Miami-Dade Public Schools to present the American Graduate series at middle schools throughout Dade County.  American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen” is a multi-year public media initiative, supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, to help local communities identify and implement solutions to the high school dropout crisis.  Beginning in the 6th grade, they follow students through high school graduation, to battle high school dropout rates and promote the importance of graduation.
Throughout the month of October Take Stock in Children’s Director of Alumni Affairs, Helen Quinn, and AmeriCorps College Success Coaches, Allison Whitcomb and Nyame Fawohodie, have been attending the presentations at different middle schools, wherein Ms. Quinn has presented on “Creating a Healthy Environment,” using Take Stock in Children’s educational module on bullying.  Students are given pre and post surveys to gauge their knowledge about bullying before and after the presentations, and we have found that student’s knowledge jumps about 10% after the presentation, revealing the effectiveness of the program.
The presentations also feature City Year members who talk to students about college life, emphasizing the growth and opportunities that are to be had after high school graduation.  And finally, the American Graduate presentations have featured notable Music Executive, Nelson Santiago who has worked with artists like Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Wisin y Yandel.  Mr. Santiago has shown students that through dedication and by surrounding yourself with positive people, you can achieve success. 

American Graduate focuses on shifting our language from if a student graduates to when a student graduates; it is no longer an option for these students, it is a necessity, and through partnerships and collaborations from communities, we can work towards a better future for our young people.
Check out these videos, one from a Take Stock in Children student, Tahrell, and one from his mentor, Principal Vicari.  The videos illustrate the important roles that mentoring and Take Stock in Children have in getting students on the track towards graduation.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

10 Habits of Highly Effective Students

As the school year is getting under way, an important subject to address is that of successful study habits! The following are 10 habits of highly effective students.* With hard work and dedication, any student can be successful!

1. Don't try cram all your studying into one session.

Successful students typically space their work out over shorter periods of time and rarely try to cram all of their studying into just one or two sessions. If you want to become a successful student then you need to learn to be consistent in your studies and to have regular, yet shorter, study periods.

2. Plan when you're going to study.

Successful students schedule specific times throughout the week when they are going to complete their studying -- and then they stick with their schedule. Students who study sporadically and on a whim typically do not perform as well as students who have a set study schedule.

3. Study at the same time.

Not only is it important that you plan when you're going to study, but that you also create a consistent, daily study routine. When you study at the same time each day and each week your studying will become a regular part of your life. You'll be mentally and emotionally more prepared for each study session and each study session will become more productive.

4. Each study time should have a specific goal.

Simply studying without direction is not effective. You need to know exactly what you need to accomplish during each study session. Before you start studying set a study session goal that supports your overall academic goal (i.e. memorize 30 vocabulary words in order to ace the vocabulary section on an upcoming Spanish test.)

5. Never procrastinate your planned study session.

It's very easy, and common, to put off your study session because of lack of interest in the subject because you have other things you need to get done first or because you find the assignment difficult. Successful students do not procrastinate studying. If you procrastinate your study session, your studying will become much less effective and you may not get everything accomplished that you need to. Procrastination also leads to rushing, and rushing may lead to errors.

6. Start with the most difficult subject first.

As your most difficult assignment or subject will require the most effort and mental energy, you should start with it first. Once you've completed the most difficult work it will be much easier to complete the rest of your work. Starting with the most difficult work will greatly improve the effectiveness of your study sessions and your academic performance.

7. Always review your notes before starting an assignment.

Obviously, before you can review your notes you must first have notes! Always make sure to take good, thorough notes in class. Before you start each study session and before you start a particular assignment, review your notes thoroughly to make sure you know how to complete the assignment correctly.

8. Make sure you're not disturbed while studying

When you're disturbed while you're studying you (1) lose your train of thought and (2) you get distracted -- both of which will lead to very ineffective studying. Before you start studying find a quiet place where you won't be disturbed (that means studying on the couch in front of the TV is probably not the best place!)

9. Use study groups effectively

Ever heard the phrase "two heads are better than one"? Well this can be especially true when it comes to studying. Working in groups enables you to (1) get help from other students when you're struggling to understand a concept, (2) complete assignments more quickly, and (3) teach others whereby helping both the other student and yourself to internalize the subject matter. However, study groups can become very ineffective if they're not structured and if groups members come unprepared. Effective students use study groups effectively.

10. Review your notes, schoolwork and other class materials over the weekend.

Successful students review what they've learned during the week over the weekend. This way they're well prepared to continue learning new concepts at the beginning of each week that build upon previous coursework and knowledge acquired the previous week.

*Based on an article from Education Matters.

Monday, October 1, 2012

American Graduate

Helen Quinn (first on the right), Director of Take Stock in Children Alumni Affairs and AmeriCorps PATEM, presented at a recent WLRN American Graduate school visit at North Dade Middle School in Miami!  The American Graduate series will continue throughout the month of October, so stay tuned for more updates!