Holiday Wish 2011…A Heartwarming Success!

Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go.

-Mother Teresa

In mid December, we had the pleasure of hosting over 60 children and their caregivers in a fun filled day at the Friends and Family Neighborhood Center. In addition to picking up their gifts, families were invited to snap a picture together, take part in activities, and share cookies and cider with each other.

Check out some of the photos from the event!

Friends Outside and all of the children sponsored this season give our deepest thanks and gratitude to everyone who helped make this season brighter for those impacted by incarceration. Thanks to our sponsors, over 60 children in our community received not only what money bought them but a wonderful memory to hold on to and the knowledge they are not alone and deserve more out of life.

Children’s Activities: November 2011

Each month, we send new ideas and activities to the Children’s Program Coordinators at each of the Visitor Centers. These activities address the unique needs of children impacted by incarceration and aim to give children ways to process emotions.

Preschoolers: Exploring My Pyramid for Kids

 Purpose: To expose children to healthy habits, including a balanced diet and exercise

Materials:

  1. My Pyramid sheet
  2. Butcher or Construction Paper in various colors
  3. Magazines
  4. Glue

Method:

  1. Create a wall sized My Pyramid. Be sure to proportion and label each section
  2. Converse with children about My Pyramid. Ask them what they see!
    1. What types of food go with each group?
    2. What are your favorite foods?
    3. What do the stairs represent?
    4. Why are some portions of My Pyramid larger than others? (MATH CONCEPT!)
  3. Give magazines to children to cut out food items and types of exercise (on-going project…does not have to be completed in one day)
  4. Give children their own My Pyramid to take with them

***Note: if a wall sized My Pyramid is not possible, refer to empty My Pyramid sheet

Result:

Preschoolers love bright colors and group participation. With an on-going project, they can see what their peers before them have charted. They gain an understanding about healthy body habits such as a balanced diet and exercise.

Aside from the nutrition aspect, this is an opportunity for math skills. They will analyze information presented on a chart, conceptualize a complex item as a whole and then as parts, understand symbols, and use thinking skills to categorize.

Teens: Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic

Purpose: To create an Emergency Plan in case of Zombie Apocalypse (or a hurricane, earthquake, etc)

Materials:

  1. Zombie Preparedness Comic
  2. Emergency Preparedness Checklist
  3. Pencils/Pens

Method:

  1. Refer teens to the Zombie Pandemic Comic
  2. Ask teens what their household’s Emergency Plan is
    1. If they have one, help them analyze it against the FEMA Checklist
  3. Give them an Emergency Preparedness Checklist sheet

Result:

The CDC created this campaign to raise awareness through a popular concept. The point is that ANY sort of emergency situation could arise and each household should have a plan on hand (just as each VC does). The goal is for a family to create and practice the plan together.

All Ages: Listening to Communicate and Barriers to Communication

Purpose: To discuss active listening techniques such as Open vs Closed Ended Questions and Paraphrasing

Materials:

  1. None

Method:

  1. Ask children:
    1. How do you know someone is listening to you?
    2. How does it make you feel when you feel listened to?
    3. How do you know when someone isn’t listening to you?
    4. How does it make you feel when you aren’t listened to?
  2. For younger children, try:
    1. Put on Your Listening Ears – Say dramatically “I have something important to tell you. Can anyone tell me what type of ears we need to wear in the museum?” When the  preschooler says “Listening ears” say “OK, let’s put on our listening ears. I think that mine are in my shoe (or some other funny place).” Then dramatically pretend to pull them out of your shoe and put them on. Have the preschooler find their listening ears and pretend to put them on. You can also do this with walking feet or inside voice. The trick is to be as silly and dramatic as possible. If your child forgets their manners during the situation whisper to them “You must have put your listening ears back in your belly button when I wasn’t looking. Let’s find them again and put them back on.”

Result:

Children will recognize active listening skills, which will improve communication skills with others.


Dia De Los Muertos: A Community Healing and Cultural Ceremony

Friends Outside joins Fathers & Families Coalition of San Joaquin County in support of community healing and cultural recognition at the Dia De Los Muertos ceremony November 2nd, 2011.

We invite you to this important event as community partners and members:

• Honor and recognize those who have lost their lives to violence.
• Create a space for healing and recovery from violence.
• Take a community wide stand for peace.

The ceremony will begin with a blessing at 4:00 PM at the Catholic Cemetery located on 719 Harding Way Stockton, CA 95205.

A procession will follow promptly at 5PM to Oak Park for a silent candlelight vigil and creation of a community alter. There will be free food, Cultural Dancers, Native American Drummers, Storytellers and a community healing activity.  Please feel free to disseminate widely!

For additional information please call Samuel Nuñez at (209) 941-0701 or by email at snunez@ffsj.org.

October’s Activities!

Each month, we send new ideas and activities to the Children’s Program Coordinators at each of the Visitor Centers. These activities address the unique needs of children impacted by incarceration and aim to give children ways to process emotions.

Toddlers: Emotion Recognition

 Purpose: Engage parents and toddlers in recognizing and responding to expressions

MaterialsEmotion Flashcards

Method:

  1. Create a set of flashcards for each family (so they can take them home)
  2. Parents show the cards to the toddler and ask:
    1. Can you show me a “happy” face?
    2. Which face do you like best?
    3. How are you feeling right now?

Result:

One of the main toddler goals is to recognize and appropriately communicate/express emotions. Toddlers are just learning to express themselves with words and still use many facial expressions to communicate their feelings and needs. Flashcards and parental engagement can assist them in learning the words that go with emotions and expressions.

Tweens: Cyberbullying: Who, Me? Why Should I Care

 Purpose:

  • Analyze online behaviors that could be considered cyberbullying.
  • Generate multiple solutions and actions that bystanders can take to improve a cyberbullying situation.
  • Practice peer mentoring for cyberbullying prevention.

Materials:

  1. Worksheets
  2. Writing Materials
  3. Construction Paper

Method:

Part 1: What’s the Problem?

  • Distribute the activity sheets. Have participants read the scenario about Kevin, José, and the video-sharing Web site.
  • Have participants write their answers to the two questions under What’s the Problem? Look for responses that indicate students’ understanding that both events are embarrassing, but that embarrassing someone in school exposes him to an immediate peer group, while embarrassing him on a World Wide Web site exposes him to ridicule by the entire school plus hundreds of millions of strangers.
  • Have participants tell their own stories without using actual names.
    • Ask: Have you ever witnessed kids posting or sending photos or videos in order to embarrass someone? What happened? Why?

Part 2: Think About It

  • Have participants read the Think About It section on the activity sheets. Point out that sometimes when people believe they cannot be seen or found out, they do things that they would never do in a face-to-face situation.
    • Ask: Who is doing the cyberbullying in this story? Is it only José? What about the boys in school who helped him upload the video to the Web site? What about the people who posted nasty comments? What about the people who viewed the video? Encourage students to decide for themselves and support their reasoning.
  • Have participants use drawing paper and markers to create a visual map showing all the players in this event. Participants may choose to show a labeled web, use concentric circles, or draw something more representational. Allow participants to share their maps with their parents and others.

Part 3: Find Solutions

  • Have participants discuss their solutions. Look for solutions that show empathy for Kevin and discuss the rights and responsibilities of being citizens of a worldwide community.
  • Make sure participants understand that those people who posted cruel comments were just as guilty of being bullies as the boys who originally uploaded the video were.
  • Discuss with participants how trusted adults could help, including asking a guidance counselor to talk to Kevin, a technology teacher to investigate whether it would be possible to remove the video from the site, and a school principal to try to enforce school bullying rules.
  • Have participants add to their concept map drawings, clearly labeling their proposed solutions.

Result:

Tweens learn about communication and collaboration, to interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts or others employing a variety of digital environments and media. They learn to communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.

Tweens also take digital citizenship, that is: advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology. They also exhibit leadership for digital citizenship.

All Ages: Body Beautiful

Purpose: For youth to identify and share positive traits they possess

Materials:

  1. Body Template
  2. Markers/pens/crayons
  3. Scissors

Method:

  1. Give each participant a body template
  2. Encourage them to label each part of their body with a positive thing they can do
    1. Arms: Give Hugs
    2. Brain: Helps with Homework
    3. Legs: Runs Quickly
    4. Heart: Caring friend
  3. Allow them to share with their family and others

Results:

In a time when body issues are on the rise, even the youngest of children have body image issues. Children will see focus on the positive traits they and others have.

 

 

Helping Children Understand Incarceration

Did you know that one in forty children in the US has a parent who is incarcerated? That nine percent of the children in California have a parent in the criminal justice system? These children often face confusion, loss, grief, and poor academic performance and need support to understand what “incarceration” truly means to them.

Friends Outside partnered with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to give caregivers the words and ways to open communication about incarceration.

 

 

 

How To Explain Jails and Prisons to Children is an easy to read guide which helps define terms associated with incarceration, addresses emotions, gives resources, and has answers to a child’s commonly asked questions. It is designed to be read by the caregiver and child together.

 

 

As an agency who sees the effects of incarceration on families and communities daily, we are passionate about lessening the impact of incarceration on children and their caregivers. If you or someone you know could use this tool, please forward this post or download and distribute as necessary.

For additional insight, check out a similar project sponsored by 4theloveofkids: