Day camps become ‘the best part’ of a BCC summer

BCC residents see Harper’s Ferry and West River, host Baltimore campers

DSC_0005The Board of Child Care (BCC) partnered with the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church (BWC). The two organizations are trading the use of their respective facilities to benefit Baltimore city youth affected by violence as well as foster care youth BCC serves.

BCC hosted BWC campers to the Baltimore campus July 13 and 20 and Aug. 2 and 4. Participants from the West River UMC camps, which include youth from Baltimore city United Methodist Churches, ranged between 15 and 20 campers each day. Campers enjoyed the use of BCC’s recreational facilities like the teambuilding ropes course, indoor basketball gym, outdoor pool, and the on-grounds skateboard park.
In return, BWC hosted 36 BCC program participants to West River – a 45-acre facility on West River just 20 minutes from Annapolis – Aug. 10. Another 20 visited Camp Manidoken, a 300-acre camp featuring an 842-foot zip line – bordering the Potomac River and C&O Canal near Frederick August 17.

These sites are part of Camp LIFE, the camping and retreats ministry of the BWC. Their facilities include opportunities for archery, boating, camping, ropes courses, and swimming.

Additionally, 14 BCC participants in Baltimore joined 12 participants from BCC’s West Virginia campus in Martinsburg at Cunningham Falls outside of Frederick for a fun day of similar recreation.

“The opportunity to give children an experience with nature is one that speaks to our mission with the community and as care givers,” BCC President and CEO Laurie Anne Spagnola said. “Underserved children rarely enjoy these opportunities, and it’s our responsibility to broaden their horizons.”

Since 2006, BWC and BCC have shared the mission of broadening life experiences for traditionally underserved children by presenting safer options for summer recreation.

BWC operates a summer program that provides a free camp experience for Baltimore city youth through city-based United Methodist churches. The Board of Child Care provides therapeutic, residential facilities for children and young adults in the foster care system.

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BCC now offering trauma-informed training to community

Directors, trainers and staff will help community parents, and first responders mirror informed response techniques

With the goal of teaching the community how to utilize the same techniques Board of Child Care staff employ with program participants, BCC is now teaching Trauma Informed Care (TIC) training techniques.

The idea was hatched at BCC’s Eastern Shore campus in Denton, MD. Realizing the community lacked trauma-informed provider training, Karen McGee, BCC’s Director of Operations in Denton, responded by convening a training event June 30 to provide practical information and strategies for our community partners.

“This training was well received by all who attended and really shed light on how trauma can effect everyday life and behaviors,” McGee said. “The takeaway responses that were shared at the end of the training event were a testament to the need for this type of training.”

BCC’s Baltimore campus followed Denton’s lead, offering the training to campus staff, so they in turn could teach members of the Baltimore-based communities they same techniques. TIC is part of the Child Welfare Trauma Training toolkit, from the California Evidence Based Clearinghouse (CEBC).

“What makes this significant is it increases the chances of reunification by teaching what we know to the parents and caregivers,” said BCC President and CEO Laurie Anne Spagnola. “The ultimate goal of all of this is to enhance safety, promote permanency within the homes of the children we serve and keep families together.”

The topics presented will also include emotional competence and using consequences, and new techniques and skills to help prevent and de-escalate crises will be demonstrated and then practiced.

** Editor’s Note: The original version of this report, published Aug. 25, 2016, identified  Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) instead of Trauma Informed Care (TIC). Keywords regrets the error. 

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Moving Up and celebrating NAEYC in DC

BCC’s Early Learning Program recognizes participants, new accreditation

Backpacks5At some point, all children are asked what they want to be when they grow up.

So when BCC President and CEO Laurie Anne Spagnola heard so many of the children participating in BCC’s Early Learning Program identify as future police and firefighters, she marched along to the beat.

“All of us adults are going to be in good hands when we get older with all these first responders around us,” Spagnola said July during BCC’s Moving Up ceremony July 29 in the District of Columbia.

The presentation included celebration for the Jellyfish, a group of 16 children three years old and under, and the Whales, 16 children three years old and over. Over 100 parents, friends and other family members packed the classroom for the two celebrations.

Mayra Ramirez, lead teacher for the Jellyfish, and Juliet Price, lead teacher for the Whales, were lauded for their efforts through the year.

All participants in the ceremonies received a backpack with stickers, crayons, bubbles and either a book to read or a book to color, courtesy of Bethany UMC in Ellicott City and coordinated by Rev. Dr. Stacey Nickerson.

Krystina Johnson, Asst. Program Director, presented certificates to the children. Because the DC operation has a significant waitlist, there’s no drop-off expected from the program’s current enrollment of 72 participants.

“We’re fortunate to enjoy the luxury of a waitlist, but it speaks to the outstanding job our staff does in creating value in attending Board of Child Care’s ELP for the children and parents we serve,” Johnson said.

The breakdown of DC enrollees include 57 percent from private pay and 43 percent from subsidy vouches from the Dept. of Health and Human Services.

The DC staff also celebrated accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) – the nation’s leading organization of early childhood centers – July 28. A celebration dinner was held for staff. The NAEYC certificate, conferred June 6, 2016, is valid through July 1, 2021.

BCC earned outstanding scores within the 10 NAEYC program standards the ELP was judged and evaluated upon. NAEYC awarded BCC 100 percent marks in five categories, 96 percent or better in two other standards, giving BCC a mean score of 95.8.

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Sprint Tech Day dials up career opportunities

Simple idea turns into helping BCC youth experiencing path towards a corporate career

Logo_of_SprintIt started as a passing idea to help underserved teenagers and young adults in Baltimore. As a store manager for the wireless provider Sprint, Richard Barlione had the desire to offer knowledge and training to repair broken phones, as a skill to market for future job opportunities.

On July 21, 10 youth from BCC’s Baltimore campus earned certificates for participating in Sprint’s Tech Boot Camp at the company’s downtown Baltimore store in the city’s Inner Harbor.

Barlione was inspired to start this program through Ricky Ventures Enterprise, a local nonprofit serving Baltimore’s youth.

Joined by a similar number of Morgan State University students, BCC participants paired in teams of three and four, tasked with putting a business model together quickly and then prepare to present to their peers. During another session, kids had was to learn some of the functionality of the phone by taking pictures and creating hashtags.

Catonsville Store Manager Devon Brown spoke to the kids regarding the technical aspect of the business, including the costs associated with repairing and swapping devices. Kareem Garrison, Sprint’s Business Solutions Account executive, explained how he began his career as a sales representative before a promotion to a store manager, and now runs his own division for Sprint selling Business Accounts.

BCC resident Michael C. won an iPad mini for his contribution to Sprint Tech Day, and then announced he would give the gift to his younger sister because, “she needs it for school.” Brian Hedlun, president of the Washington, D.C, Baltimore and Virginia region, gave out brand new Bluetooth headphone sets to three other BCC participants.

“It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve done in a long time,” Barlione said. “We’re thrilled about the turnout and excited to see the potential in so many of these young adults.”

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