As you can tell from the sporadic postings here I was never really able to get into blogging. We have chosen Facebook updates as our preferred method of communication. There is a lot of good information on what we have done in the past contained in this blog so we will be leaving up for you to look at but for current information check us out on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/ABLE-Families/346103858609
I decided to start off 2013 by resurrecting the ABLE Families blog. There are a lot of great things going on around here and I really do need to share them with you. Blogging doesn’t come naturally to me but my excitement about the good things happening at ABLE Families does. Here are some pictures from the past year:
Thanks for checking in with us. I promise to update you regularly.
We have started a new year of afterschool with a brand new staff and many new children. Here’s a picture of our new staff receiving some in service training on child development and behavior. We are proud to have Kay Bowen, Gina Pirozzi, Becky Mills, and Josie Spurlock working with our children this year.
We are also pleased to be able to continue dulcimer lessons this year thanks to the generosity of the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences of West Virginia. Bob Webb will be coming to afterschool each Wednesday to teach dulcimer to our students. Bob helped out with our Make Your Own Dulcimer Music Camp this summer and the students are pleased to have him back.
I knew I hadn’t posted in a while but was surprised to realize how long it has been. The lack of posting doesn’t mean that nothing is going on around here. Quite the opposite there has been quite a bit of activity. Let me try to catch you up!
Our last camp for the summer was swim camp. As always it was our most popular camp. It is a fun camp for the children but as you know here at ABLE Families we are all about education, so half of the day is spent in swimming and diving lessons while the other half is spent on fun and games in the water.
Every year we finish up our summer camp season by having a Family Fun Day at WaterWays Park. We had twenty families signed up to join us this year but a rainy morning kept some people away. After an hour-long downpour at lunch time the skies finally cleared and everyone had a fun afternoon.
Summer camps aren’t the only activity going on around here. Our MIHOW program has been quite busy as well. We are working in collaboration with the State of West Virginia, Marshall University, Vanderbilt University, and New River Health Center to kick off a three-year random control group study of the effectiveness of the MIHOW program. This is a very important research study that could open up many avenues for the MIHOW program both here and around the country. There have been many conference calls and meetings around the design and implementation of the research study.
Speaking of the MIHOW program we are part of a state-wide coalition of in home family education programs called Partners in Community Outreach. Last week I participated in a two-day strategic planning meeting for Partners in Community Outreach. This organization has been highly effective in educating people around the state of the benefits of in home family education. It has also been very effective in helping legislatures understand the importance of funding these programs.
As the new school year begins we are in the midst of staff changes around here. Jimmy Owsley has joined us a our new Adult Education tutor. Gina Pirozzi has joined us as our new Education Coordinator overseeing both After School and Adult Education. Molly Lueken who has served as our Education Coordinator for the past year is leaving us tomorrow. We are in the process of hiring two new After School Facilitators. We will be having a staff meeting tomorrow so I can get everyone’s picture and get the website updated. Check it out next week and it should be up to date.
That’s all for now. I will be posting on a regular basis again starting tomorrow.
Another great week of summer camp is over. This week our students traveled the galaxy with a little help from our friends at the East Kentucky Science Center in Prestonsburg, KY. Staff members from the Science center came out to ABLE Families on Tuesday to talk with our children and then on Friday we took our children to the Science Center. The rest of the weeks activities were directed by our wonderful staff. You never know which of these young children might grow up to be an astronaut and travel to Mars.
Kyle Lueken just left my office after coming in to tell me that he has finished with the playground. There are still a couple of small details for us to finish up, like adding more wood chips under the play equipment, but we are no longer in need of a project manager to oversee it. We are most grateful to Kyle for all of his efforts to bring this dream to reality. We are also grateful to our friends at Christian Appalachian Project for volunteering to help out with the project and letting Kyle borrow equipment and take time off from his volunteer duties over there. We can hardly wait for after school to start back up so we can enjoy watching the children play, and learn in their new area. It is hard to do justice to the playground in pictures. It contains a play structure, a map area, monkey bars, chalkboard, rain barrel, flower beds, and basketball area. It is so much nicer than our concrete slab with a tether ball pole in the middle. Once again thanks to everyone who was involved in this project, all the volunteers both local and far away, and all of the donors who gave specifically to the playground fund. We thank Kyle and wish him good luck as he moves on from his time at Christian Appalachian Project. We will miss you. May God bless you.
This week our children have been learning all about theater. They have learned the vocabulary of theater, the art of pantomime, how to apply make-up, and how to make props and costumes. Oh, and of course, they also learned their lines. This week contained several highlights. On Tuesday afternoon the children received a backstage tour of the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg, KY. Later that same evening they enjoyed the musical Annie performed at the outdoor theater in Jenny Wiley State Park. Although it was a late night for the children (and the staff) the truly enjoyed the experience. It was the first play many of the children had seen. It was even the first time that some of our staff had seen Annie. On Friday afternoon the culmination of all of the efforts of the week was the performance of the skits for friends and family. We had a packed house to watch the children perform the skits they had practiced all week. There were a lot of very proud parents and relatives in the audience.
This project is being presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations do not necessarily represent those of the West Virginia Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Every couple of months we provide a special treat for some of the moms in our MIHOW program. We take them to get their hair done, then out to eat at a local Mexican restaurant, then over to a major retailer to get something special just for themselves. We try to give all of our moms a chance for this treatment sometime during the three years they are on the program. Today we treated six moms to a day out just for themselves.
We had a week off from summer camps last week due to the holiday but we are back at it this week. We are taking the children out to Laurel Lake Wildlife Management Area for a week of Survivor Camp. So far the children have learned how to safely build a fire, how to tie knots, and how to use a compass. We have a large camp this week with 30 children registered so we are very grateful to have the assistance of a work group from St. Joseph’s Academy, Baton Rouge LA. There are 10 junior and senior young women as well as two faculty members with us this week. St Joseph’s Academy is another ministry sponsored by the Congregation of St. Joseph. We are very happy to have this group with us. They are doing a wonderful job of helping keeping everyone safe and having fun.