Explore the Teen Brain

Martha McCormickCoaching for Growth, Social Justice2 Comments

I became fascinated with brain research more than 20 years ago when science began to really get inside the human brain and explore it. I’ve done my best to keep up over the years as more and more information is added to the body of knowledge. Right now I’m planning a mind mapping workshop; this technique of visual note taking … Read

Run Like a Kenyan

Martha McCormickSocial JusticeLeave a Comment

How hard would it be to make a living running marathons? Salina Kosgei has done so since she was 16 years old, and won the 2009 Boston Marathon by 1 second. She trains hard, several times a day, and at 33, knows she won’t be able to run forever. She thinks of returning to prison work so she can be … Read

Develop Young Voices

Martha McCormickSocial Justice1 Comment

Providing opportunities for making choices and speaking out are critical components of a model positive youth development program. But it’s challenging to do this with a large group of kids who may want to go in 30 different directions. These skills and qualities empower youth to plan for groups they belong to and for   advisory councils and committees. Make sure … Read

Bust the Cliques

Martha McCormickSocial JusticeLeave a Comment

Cliques, gossip, put downs and relational aggression continue as difficulties for the girls’ groups. On the spring survey, about half the girls said gossip and put downs happen at least sometimes in their groups, and only about half the girls say they are stopped when they do happen. In 2007, I worked with a small group of 7th grade girls at Brody Middle … Read

Learn about Women’s History

Martha McCormickSocial Justice2 Comments

Even though I’ve been around for several decades, I’m still sometimes surprised by how much I DON’T KNOW about the part women have played in history and the evolution of women’s rights around the globe. Right now I’m reading a book called Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. It has some pretty excruciating descriptions of foot binding and the second … Read

Celebrate Justice!

Martha McCormickSocial Justice3 Comments

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

“I do believe there are gender and ethnic stereotypes that propel people to assumptions about what they expected me to be,” these words from Sonia Sotomayor, our newest Supreme Court Justice, encapsulate the reasons for Chrysalis After-School. Girls need to overcome those assumptions and women need to challenge them! So many articles have been written about how she has overcome … Read

Connect Service to Life

Martha McCormickSocial JusticeLeave a Comment

Processing the experience is a core component of an effective service learning experience. You can process in a group or have group members create journals or portfolios. The questions here can be used for any of those methods; choose the ones that will help your group members internalize their service learning experience. This first group of questions will help reflect … Read

Process in Concentric Circles

Martha McCormickSocial JusticeLeave a Comment

Concentric Circles works great both for processing and for getting your group to get to know each other. I’ve used it many times to create “teachable moments.” As a processing technique, it’s a good illustration that the facilitators don’t always have to be part of the processing discussion for it to be effective. When I heard this in a Matty … Read

Who Says Kids are Apathetic???!!!!

Martha McCormickSocial JusticeLeave a Comment

Thousands of teen volunteers contribute more than 1.7 million hours of service each year in west central Florida through ManaTEENS! Two sisters, who were 12 and 17 years old then, started the organization in 1994. It’s grown into the largest locally based teen volunteer initiative in the United States! Their president spoke at the Youth Service Institute I attended in October 2008. When I … Read

Backward Planning

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Here is another group process for committees or small groups to use once they’ve decided on an activity. They start with the final activity, event or outcome and work backwards to define the steps toward accomplishing it. The group members have paper and markers, at least one sheet for each step of the process needed to accomplish the activity. They … Read