Tag Archive | "Cezanne Allen"

oar lock

Link Crew Coming for BHS Freshmen (Has Nothing to Do with Rowing)

This Tuesday and Wednesday, August 18 and 19, Link Crew is coming to Bainbridge High School. No oar locks will be involved. Instead, 70 peer mentors will be trained to help incoming freshmen navigate the sometimes rougher waters of high school.

Link Crew is a program of the Boomerang Project, a Santa Cruz-based company with the goal of making “schools great, safe, and connected places for kids to learn.” The purpose of the Link Crew program is to welcome freshmen and make them “feel comfortable throughout the first year of their high school experience.” The creators of the program claim the program increases school safety, reduces the incidence of bullying, increases attendance, decreases discipline referrals, and improves academic performance. Their website explains that “Through this program, freshmen learn that people at school care about them and their success and leaders experience increased self esteem as well as overall character development.”

Bainbridge Youth Services engaged the support of incoming BHS principal Duane Fish for this year’s pilot program and then paid to send Katie Leigh, who is the BHS National Honor Society liaison, health teacher, and Leadership Class teacher, to California this summer for formal training in the Link Crew methodology. Leigh will lead the program along with Cezanne Allen of the BI Healthy Youth Alliance and Charisa Moore, a BHS Science teacher (and Bainbridge Island Rowing Masters Team member).

Link Crew is a year-long program based on four elements:

  • High School Orientation. Link Leaders and freshmen start building the mentor relationship and freshmen receive information about how to be successful in high school.
  • Academic Follow Ups. Link Leaders support freshman academic success and character development through structured classroom visits.
  • Social Follow Ups. Link Leaders and freshmen connect outside the classroom at social events to increase student engagement and promote positive school climate.
  • Leader Initiated Contacts. Link Leaders connect with their freshmen on a more individual basis.

The student peer mentors who applied to the program had to fill out a comprehensive application form outlining why they thought they were strong leaders and why they wanted to lead this program. Then each applicant’s six teachers had to sign off on the application to indicate the student’s strong candidacy.

Once the peer mentors are trained in team building and leadership techniques, they will be assigned in pairs to teams of 10 incoming freshmen. All freshman will then participate in the Link Crew orientation day on Friday, August 21, from 11-3. BYS Executive Director Marina Cofer-Wildsmith said they are calling the orientation the Spartan Start Up.

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Photo courtesy of ben britten.

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Healthy Youth Summit

Third Healthy Youth Summit Focused on Who Bainbridge Kids Are, Not Just What They Do

Marina Cofer-Wildsmith, Executive Director of Bainbridge Youth Services, sees the three Bainbridge Island Healthy Youth Summits that have been held so far as a way to tackle a very real problem in our community: Surveys and focus groups of Bainbridge Island teens show high levels of stress and pressure to succeed, and many young people report a community culture that values what kids achieve more than who they are. This last Saturday, March 15, over 100 young people, parents, and community leaders including the Mayor and the School District Superintendent gathered at the Bainbridge High School Commons to identify ways our community can celebrate who kids are and not just what they do.

Cofer-Wildsmith said, “We wanted the community to be aware of the current behaviors and sentiments of our youth and begin to identify ways that we, as a community, need to shift our own thinking and our own behaviors.” Cezanne Allen, Board Chair for Raising Resilience, put it another way: “If it takes a village to raise a child, what does the village need to look like?”

Healthy Youth SummitOne idea that emerged from summit participants was to provide mentorship for young people. The opening speaker, school consultant and international speaker Clay Roberts, addressed that idea in his presentation “Take a Moment, Make a Difference.” He asked people to reflect on their own childhoods to recall adults making a difference to them. Each participant then made a commitment to develop a deeper relationship with kids they know.

Another idea that came up was to create a community table with shared meals and conversation between adults and young people.

Co-facilitators Doug Nathan and recent BHS graduate Carolyn Milander guided 18 participant groups in generating a statement of beliefs about young people. Allen said that of all the work that came out of the summits she was “most proud of the aspirational values our community articulated”:

  • We believe kids thrive in school and life when valued for who they are, not just for what they achieve.  Their well-being depends on the development of caring relationships that nurture mind, body, and spirit.
  • We believe children and teens are valued assets of our island, capable of significant contributions to our community. We aim for our young people to feel known and respected.
  • We believe that happiness (a life of meaning and purpose) is the key to success; success is not the key to happiness.
  • We believe in helping youth discover, explore, and develop their unique passions and interests and connect to their own aspirations for improving the world.
  • We believe it takes a community working together to allow all children to reach their full potential.
  • We believe in education that combines high academic standards with real world learning, meaningful service, and creative self-expression.
  • We believe in fostering the inner resources and abilities youth need to lead productive and flourishing lives in the 21st century.

The three Healthy Youth Summits were the work of a partnership of organizations: Bainbridge Youth Services, Raising Resilience, Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island, and the Bainbridge Island School District. The organizations plan to continue to support the outcomes of the summits via a Facebook page. Another community summit is planned for next year. To see videos of past summits, visit www.bihealthyyouth.org.

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 Photos by Quentin Wildsmith.

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Healthy Youth Summit

The Bainbridge Healthy Youth Revolution Continues This Weekend: Inspiring You and Your Youths

Don’t worry if you missed Part I. This Saturday, January 11, you will have another chance to experience the Healthy Youth revolution that started November 2 at Bainbridge High School, when about 200 parents, educators, other professionals, and community members met to generate questions that matter to us as a community in the area of raising physically and emotionally healthy kids. Part II will begin the exploration of those questions, which have been synthesized into three main topics.

Co-organizers Cezanne Allen, the Board Chair of Raising Resilience, and Marina Cofer-Wildsmith, the Executive Director of Bainbridge Youth Services, want the community to understand that a kid’s well-being is not just about academic achievement. Understanding that reality matters on an island where we have some of the highest high school academic achievement scores in the state but we also face challenges, like bullying, limited public transportation, and a large population of commuting parents.

This second summit will be facilitated by Doug Nathan, a professional facilitator, and Marilyn Price-Mitchell, Ph.D., a developmental psychologist and researcher in the field of positive youth development and youth civic engagement. About the summit, Price-Mitchell said, “I believe there is genuine enthusiasm brewing . . . to dig more deeply into what matters for Island youth.”

You can catch up on what you missed at the November summit by watching Price-Mitchell’s keynote speech:

A third summit is scheduled for March 15th, 2014. The focus of that summit will be action planning. Participants will be invited to work on community-generated projects that interest them, take leadership roles, network, form partnerships, and become involved in new and collaborative ways to support youth.

BainbridgeHealthyYouthSummitCofer-Wildsmith summarized the three-part summit process: “We see a common vision emerging after the January Summit. This vision will be one that the community has created together and therefore embraces. And, by the end of the third Summit, we expect to have a group of inspired and motivated citizens ready to implement action steps to make Bainbridge a healthier place for kids to grow and thrive.”

The second summit will be held January 11 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Bainbridge High School Commons. Additional information and online registration can be found on the Bainbridge Healthy Youth Summit website. The Bainbridge Island Youth Summit is the result of a partnership between Bainbridge Youth Services, Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island, Raising Resilience, and the Bainbridge Island School District. Funding has been provided by all partner organizations as well as the Bainbridge Community Foundation. Registration and participation are free thanks to donations from community organizations and individuals.

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Photos by Taya Hall.

Posted in Community, Don't Miss This 3, Kids, OrganizationsComments (1)

Bainbridge Healthy Youth Summit

First Bainbridge Healthy Youth Summit Draws a Crowd of Focused Parents and Other Community Members

This past Saturday, November 2, about 170 grownups filled The Commons at Bainbridge High School to talk about kids. Four organizations—Bainbridge Youth Services, Raising Resilience, Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island, and the Bainbridge Island School District—joined forces to organize the summit with the goal of improving the well-being of young people. This first of three scheduled summits focused on information sharing in the context of raising healthy kids.

The keynote speaker, Marilyn Price-Mitchell, is an expert on positive youth development. She co-founded the National ParentNet Association, which fosters family-school-community partnership for advancing student learning and achievement. She also writes a blog, Roots of Action, for K-12 parents, teachers, and mentors, and she writes a column about adolescent psychology for Psychology Today. Price-Mitchell was also the keynote speaker at the October 30 Bainbridge Youth Services’ first Bringing Hope Breakfast Benefit at Wing Point Country and Golf Club, which raised $24,000.

Bainbridge Healthy Youth Summit At Saturday’s summit, Stephen Hung, a Rotarian on Bainbridge Island, shared key data sources in five categories—Law & Safety, Emotional Health, Physical Health, Substance Use, and Norms & Relationships—for participants to use in small groups to generate questions. The data included The Washington State Healthy Youth Survey, which is designed to assess current student behavioral patterns and social attitudes from 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students every two years; a Bainbridge Healthy Youth Summit survey completed by 300 9th through 12th graders conducted in October 2013; Center for Education Effectiveness data from January 2013; and data points submitted by local city government, local nonprofits, and Kitsap County government agencies. From their examination of the data, the small groups brought up related questions such as “How do we shift the cultural norm of seeing a college degree from a prestigious school as the only path to success?” and “How can we help our kids set social and emotional goals earlier in life?”

Bainbridge Healthy Youth SummitCezanne Allen, the Board Chair for Raising Resilience, said, “Now that we have generated the questions that we want to address, our next two discussions will move the conversation from sharing and reviewing data to envisioning what we want for our children, and then initiating specific actions to achieve the stronger, healthier youth development outcomes we desire as a community.” The next two Healthy Youth Summit meetings will be January 11 and March 15, 2014, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., again at the Bainbridge High School Commons.

Photos by Taya Hall.

Posted in Community, Kids, Organizations, Popular 1Comments (0)

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