Saturday, November 29, 2014

The spirit of the season

Thank you to Mrs. Lisa  Bek-Gram for the link to this video. It embodies the spirit of the holidays

The Story of the Advent Calendar

By Professor Carol on Nov 29, 2014 03:00 am
Lucerne Advent Calendar – Paula Funnell (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
You see them in gift shops and book stores. Some are in cardboard frames with pieces of chocolate behind each colorful door. Others are flannel or quilted, with little pockets holding puffy decorations. They might take up the whole side of a building. Whether rectangular, shaped like a Christmas tree, or die-cut as a gingerbread house, the Advent Calendar provides a tangible way for a child to anticipate Christmas.
But where does the idea come from? Not surprisingly, Germany, the home of so many Christmas traditions.
The earliest reference to a handmade Advent calendar seems to be 1851. But earlier traditions included lighting a new candle for each day, hanging up a picture daily, or making a new chalk mark on a door.
The first commercially printed Advent calendar dates probably back to a printer in Hamburg in 1902. Sources then reference a Schwabian printer named Gerhard Lang who, in 1908, fashioned little pictures to adhere to each date of a calendar. Lang’s involvement continued, and in the 1920s his firm Reichhold & Lang (Munich) printed calendars with little doors that opened. The Sankt Johannis Printing Company is credited with adding Bible verses in the 1930s.
But with the horrors of WWII, such lovely items disappeared, if for no other reason, the paper shortage.
Immediately after the war, the Stuttgart firm of Sellmer-Verlag (Sellmer Publishers) began printing Advent Calendars once again. Richard Sellmer needed a license from the U.S. Government to obtain the paper. Imagine how the reappearance of these beautiful items cheered a war-torn population.
Sellmer-Verlag proudly continues to produce Advent Calendars. Their selection is dazzling, plus they have an on-line history of Advent calendars, including the first one published by Sellmer in the United States, in 1947. You can also watch videos of their production process.
Most Advent Calendars have slots for 24 “days.” But the Advent Season is often longer. It begins on the 4th Sunday before Christmas and ends onDecember 24th. This year, that means November 30. Hey, that’s tomorrow!
Let’s do it together – a daily Advent Calendar right here online beginningtomorrow. We’ll look at the arts, history, and traditions that take us to Christmas. Please join me. Add your email below and we will deliver it daily to your inbox.

The post The Story of the Advent Calendar appeared first on Professor Carol.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Peace Day, September 21,2014 @ Casady School


Family Volunteer Day is Saturday, November 22

Family Volunteer Day is a day of service that demonstrates and celebrates the power of families who volunteer together, supporting their neighborhoods, communities and the world. Family Volunteer Day is held on the November 22, before Thanksgiving to kick-off the holiday season with giving and service. 

To get your family ready, read a three-part "Families and Volunteering" blog series filled with tips and tricks for families who want to get involved together in their communities. Parents from across the country offered advice and stories about how they help their kids make a difference in the world. Also check out "Tips for Parents of Young Children" for ideas how to get kids involved early in life. 

Sidney Jones
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Sidney is an amazing senior at Casady School in Oklahoma City.  When she was a freshman she had the vision to start a "unique" youth board for Oklahoma City teens, Youth LEAD (Leaders Engaging Across Differences), an identity and diversity education youth board by teens, for teens.  

Kindness Pass it On:  Placemats for Children's Hospital
The seed for the idea was planted at a National Service-Learning Conference where the Shinnyo-en Foundation advocated for the creation of interfaith service youth boards across the nation.
Sidney was, at first, the only Casady teen interested in spending time involved in discussions to create a teen board focused on developing facilitation skills of difficult conversations, exploring personal identities and enhancing understanding of the cultural diversity in the teen tapestry of Oklahoma City.  Her interest connected to a youth from Heritage Hall High School, Sam K'15. and a teen from Douglas High School, Dane N.'15.  This small group of teens found fertile ground with organizations of similar vision, Casady School Service-Learning, the YMCA Youth Initiatives of Greater Oklahoma City, the Respect Diversity Foundation, CAIR of Oklahoma City, Mercy School Institute and Youth LEAD, Sharon.  

After a couple of years of organizing and planning, Sidney attended her first Youth LEAD, Sharon TIDE conference in Boston.  Her enthusiasm to create a Youth LEAD OKC (YLOKC) grew. Sidney and the small committee of teens launched YLOKC in April 2013 after a training by Tabitha May Tolub, CEO of Roots and Wings.  

In the first year of operations Sidney helped organize, facilitated, and/or participated in the following YLOKC projects: A summer break clean-up of farm fields after the F-5 tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma.  Sidney worked with teens from Oklahoma and across the USA.  The project was a collaboration with a grassroots movement, Field of Teams and was facilitated by Cyclone peer Youth Leader Yogaish K.   Then, youth LEADers facilitated a debate featuring two Oklahoma political leaders on pro and con considerations about building storm shelters for public schools in Oklahoma City.  The debate was facilitated by Sidney's Cyclone peer, Natasha S'14.   The next project brought awareness of the lack of educational dreams of US migrant workers' children.  YLEADers facilitated a discussion of  the documentary "La Cosecha" at Douglas High School.  The facilitators of the discussion came from different schools including Sidney's Cyclone peer and YAC Peace Team member, Ananya B'17.

 Youth LEADers then provided the workshop "I AM" which focused on stereotypes for middle school age at Boys and Girls Club.  The workshop was facilitated by Sidney's Cyclone Youth LEAD peer, Jack B.  The 2014-2015 school year began with YLEADers creating a yearly schedule and marketing materials to recruit new members.  The kick-off activity was a meal and fiesta @ OK Kids Korral where youth leaders prepared and shared a Mexican meal, photo booth, Spanish and Middle Eastern dancing, and making pinwheels for peace to plant at gardens to raise awareness of the 21st of September, International Day of Peace with children undergoing oncology treatment at near by hospitals and their families.  The activity was facilitated by the YLOKC planning committee led by Sidney's peer Cyclone Youth Leader, and YAC Peace Team member, Johnny L.'17.    

After a lock-in at Camp Fire USA where Youth LEADers learned how to facilitate like a rock star from Tabitha, Sidney emerged as the leader of the planning committee.  She is facilitating the organization and transportation of teens to a cultural fest for the children of Positive Tomorrows, the Oklahoma City school for homeless children.  Youth LEADers will feature India, Japan, Spanish speaking countries, and the Middle East with interactive booths about the heritage of their roots.  They will share donated foods, age-appropiate cultural aspects, as well as provide goodie bags with books donated by the Come and Read with Me Program of the Metropolitan Library Systems for 50 children to read during the holidays.  The activity will take place December 18, 2014.

Sidney's interest in an "Out of the Box" idea has created an empowering youth board that focuses on teens as resources of positive change with service-learning projects where teens own the planning, implementation and facilitation of activities as well as the success or failure of their actions.  Win to Win initiatives in which teens know the transforming power of being agents of compassion, kindness and service. 

Sidney is also the Co-President of the Casady YAC, (Youth Acting in the Community)  which she has led since her freshman year.  She is an active volunteer in her church, an skillful rancher, a gifted quilter, and an inclusive and supportive friend.

"Here's Hope" - Little Big Town

"Everywhere, everybody needs a neighbor
Showing up when times get hard
But there's friends of sons and daughters
Saying grace without
supper in your backyard
Who doesn't wanna be a hero?
Here's to going to bed not hungry
Here's to changing the story
Here's to bigger hearts and brighter days"
Thank you to YSA's Funding Partners who make our work possible:

Michael Minks
Director of Communications & Development, YSA (Youth Service America)
Article about Sidney Jones by Carmen Clay, Director of Service-Learning, Casady School; Youth LEAD OKC Adult Mentor

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Food Drive 2014 ends

 "Do the Right Thing Food Drive" 
4,456 cans and $135


High School






YAC, YLOKC-Casady, YAC'S Peace Team Connected
International Compassion Games Cyclones' Action

Peace Team member motivates high school teens to donate
Middle Division students motivate peers to donate
Lower Division donors pause for a picture
Primary Division donors take donations to the Food Bank trailer
Peace Team Member leads the PD Hope Trail to the Food Bank trailer

To give peace a chance-Hunger makes animals out of men- members of the Peace Team (Miranda, Johnny, Ananya, Sidney,and Turner) facilitated and supported the efforts of the service club, YAC  (Youth Acting in the Community) promoting a different kind of Food Drive the week starting on 10/31 and ending on 11/7/2014.   YAC's motto was: "Donate to end hunger in Oklahoma because it is the right thing to do."  The Food Drive was also Cyclones action during the Compassion Games International.  The games called for schools to promote acts of kindness, compassion and service on campuses around the world.

The 9th grade English teachers promoted learning about food insecurity in Oklahoma City with materials from the Food Bank.  The freshmen connected short story about hunger to their hunger simulation.  Father Blizzard read at Calvert hunger statistics provided by the government class and an English teacher challenge her classes to bring more cans than the 30 she personally brought.

The freshman YAC leadership sponsored, "Give without expecting anything in return."  YAC was inspired by a story told at a YAC meeting by an English teacher, Mrs. Stephanie Crossno.  Mrs. Crossno stated that a New York firefighter who helped at the bombing and died on September 11th,  came with $20  in his pocket and left OKC with the same $20 in his pocket.  Due to the generosity of heart of Oklahomans supporting his "human efforts" after the OKC bombing, that gesture became the "Oklahoma Standard" for the firefighter.  Mrs. Crossno stated, I know Cyclones care.  We just need a clear goal and reminders.

The YAC freshman organizers of the drive had a creative campaign of #30/6//26000 cans."  Sara wrote a letter to parents. Kira created a reminder flyer for other divisions Safra made a "lend a can" thank you sticker, and Miriam and Safra created a network of YAC members who helped made and decorate boxes as well as greeted and thanked early morning donors in all divisions and helped count cans.

The goal was to collect the most cans possible.  Monetary donations were also welcome because $1= 5 meals with the Food Bank .  If every student from k-12th brought one can a day, representing a mere one can per day of the month, or 6 cans every day of the food drive, or 30 cans one day of the drive, Casady could donate a huge number of cans to help feed 110,000 Oklahomans in need of food weekly.

Members of the YAC Peace team, Johnny, Ananya, Sidney and Miranda guided the ninth grade drive facilitators.  They also brought cans and were on duty motivating others to donate at different divisions. Kathy brought cans and Turner, Ananya and Sara organized an online reminder application, "celly," with limited success. YAC reminded peers with a"home made" chain of # Bring 30 cans  they placed in lockers and on backpacks the day before the drive ended.

At a reflective YAC moment, the freshman leaders of the drive in the Upper Division, Safra and Mariam stated that they were encouraged by the response, especially  the first days because, although they designed a sticker to thank donors, most did not even the stickers since "doing the right thing" was reward enough.  Next year, the freshman leaders suggested for YAC to continue the standard promoted this year, "Do the right thing Food Drive."

The Food Drive Team


Thursday, November 6, 2014

November 6 Results of the Food Drive

High School : 1071, includes $30  donation  5 day total   1,662

Middle Division 4 day total 1,264

Lower Division:  5 day total: 469

Primary 4 Day total:  166

All Division Total for November 6:  3,561

November 5th Results

Primary:  111 cans

Lower:  313 cans

Middle: 803 cans

High School: 591 cans

Total for all divisions:  1,818 cans

Freshmen English Classes learn about Food Insecurity with Food Bank Program

SNAP Office
Food Pantry

Grocery Store

SNAP Waiting Area

Freshmen follow scenarios

At the Grocery Store