Tuesday, April 24, 2012

THINK Together’s Early Literacy Program partners with Red Cross to teach CPR and first-aid

AmeriCorps volunteers demonstrate first-aid techniques

On Saturday April 14, THINK Together’s Early Literacy Program partnered with the Orange County Red-Cross and hosted a community initiative certifying 83 people in CPR and first-aid.

Amy Estey, AmeriCorps member in Preparedness and Community Education and Michelle Catanzano, lead instructor of volunteers, led the training.

Five additional AmeriCorps members assisted with the training by leading small group instruction along with THINK Together AmeriCorps members providing translation.

Certifying our community residents in CPR and first-aid empowers and provides confidence to our community members in life-saving techniques.

The first session lasted from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. and the second session went from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Monday, April 23, 2012

THINK Volunteers honored by OneOC at Disneyland Hotel

Last Friday, three THINK Together volunteers were honored at ONE OC's Spirit of Volunteerism Awards ceremony at the Disneyland Hotel.  

Those honored were Diego Leonal Mateo, a volunteer at Spurgeon Intermediate in Santa Ana, Jashaun Armstrong, a volunteer at Santa Ana’s Century High School and Deanna Hernandez, an Early Literacy Program volunteer.

The Spirit of Volunteerism Awards Luncheon provides an annual forum and non-competitive opportunity to recognize individual, group and corporate team volunteers for their dedicated service to Orange County.

With volunteer, training, consulting and business services, OneOC helps Orange County’s nonprofits become as effective and efficient as they are passionate about their missions.

Congratulations to our THINK Together volunteers for this well-deserved award.

Friday, April 13, 2012

THINK Together middle school students show off their science skills

About 20 THINK Together middle school students got to take part in the Orange County Science and Engineering Fair’s annual competition, a first for the nonprofit, extended-learning program.

The student exhibits were made possible through a partnership with the Broadcom Foundation, OCSEF, Discovery Science Center, and the Santa Ana Unified and Tustin Unified school districts.

Students from Tustin Unified taking part in the exhibit included: Marissa Luna, Melody Velasco, Alessandra Ramirez, Katie Dang, Darien Lai, Kaitlyn Atkinson and Lesley Pacheco, all of Utt Middle School in Tustin.

Students from Santa Ana Unified included: Villa Intermediate students Leonardo Telez, Ashley Vega and Ernesto Bejarand, Carr Intermediate student Krisyln MacCarthy, McFadden Intermediate students Samantha Luevano, Michelle Cruz, Jennifer Cruz, Veronica Cabrera and Andrea Garcia; Lathrop Intermediate students Jordan Ortiz, Kevin Altorre, Rosa Berber, Cesar Nava, Jaclyn Cervantes and Vanessa Flores.
Katie Dang and Alessandra Ramirez from Utt created a science exhibit that examined “Which stain remover works best?” The students stained shirts with ketchup, grape juice lipstick, mustard and car oil and used a variety of stain removers.

“Mustard was the easiest,” Alessandra said. “We thought grape juice would be the easiest, but it was the hardest.”

The girls researched their project on the internet and said they found the negative and positive ions that are used to remove stains very interesting.

Statements like those make Arnold Shugarman, co-president of the Orange County Science and Engineering Fair, very happy.

“Everybody on the board cares about the kids,” he said.

Co-President Arnold Shugarman speaks with THINK students.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

BMW dealership owner Donnie Crevier one of five new members of THINK Together board

Paolo Leon is a THINK Together alum and a new member of the board of directors

THINK Together bolstered the leadership of its Board of Directors this week with the addition of five new members, including Orange County auto dealership legend Donnie Crevier, as well as executives in the dental, technology and retail food industries.
Also joining the board is the President and CEO of Smile Brands Inc. Steve Bilt, technology executive Doug Antone, Ralphs Grocery Co. executive Kendra Doyel, and Paolo Leon, a THINK Together alumni and USC graduate who is an architect with Taylor Architects, Planning & Design.  Leon will help bring the student and alumni voice to the board.
“THINK Together’s growth continues to accelerate as demand for our learning support systems increases to unparalleled levels,” said Fran Inman, THINK Together’s Board Chair. “We need to continue to evolve the Board of Directors so that it can govern, guide and help to adequately resource the organization as it scales up, while at the same time remaining connected to the communities that we serve.”  

Click here to see the full press release

Friday, March 23, 2012

Volunteers pitch in to help THINK Together with garden at Cogswell Elementary

 Community volunteers and Environmental Leadership students from El Monte High School helped the THINK Together staff and students this week with the “Hop into Spring” event at Cogswell Elementary School.
With help from Plastics Make it Possible, an American Chemistry Council initiative that highlights the many ways plastics improve lives, about 25 students volunteered at THINK Together to hang a vertical school garden called, Woolly School Pocket Garden.
Besides hanging the garden and filling the pockets up with soil, the volunteers also tended to Cogswell’s existing school garden by weeding and planting new plants. They also read spring-themed books to the THINK Together students.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

THINK Together takes part in Read Across America Day

March 2 is the birthday of beloved children’s author Theodore Geisel, also known as Dr. Seuss. To celebrate his birthday and the joy of reading, the National Education Association created Read Across America Day, where educators and community leaders mark the day by reading books to school children.

This year, THINK Together’s Sue Cornell, Chief Operations Officer, Ed Carlson, Senior Quality Assurance Coach and Jeanette Cruz, Quality Assurance Coach for Los Angeles County visited Aeolian Elementary School in Whittier on March 2 to read to the children there.

Sue was welcomed in the first-grade classroom, where she read two books to the kids. She also mentioned that she was excited to hear that she was going to read to the first-grade class because she had previously been a first-grade teacher herself. Sue brought in two of her favorite books to share.

Ed read books to the fifth-grade students. Students really enjoyed his read as did Ms. Goco the teacher. The book he read to the students was called. "Oh say can you say? "Oh my brothers! Oh my sisters! These are TERRIBLE TONGUE TWISTERS!" by Dr. Seuss.

Jeanette read to the kindergarten class in Room 1. Jeanette’s book choice was, "Hey little Ant." Students enjoyed the story and they had time for a little Q & A at the end.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

THINK Together kids learn there are many ways to stay fit and healthy

Staying healthy is a big part of THINK Together and kids in our Baldwin Park schools recently took part in several activities designed to promote healthy living.

Through the Harvest of the Month program, children at Tracy Elementary School in Baldwin Park learn about a fruit or vegetable every month. They taste it, cook it and provide samples for their parents.

At Walnut Elementary School, the children learned about nutrition and healthy behaviors in a nutrition class made possible through a partnership with Kaiser Baldwin Park.

As part of the Kaiser partnership, several college students from Cal Poly Pomona taught the children about nutrition. The college students also got a chance to teach parents about nutrition in a separate class. The partnership provides a teaching opportunity for the college students as well as a way for Kaiser to promote good nutrition.

Four Baldwin Park schools took part in jog and walkathons with the students. To encourage fitness, the kids are told to walk and jog the mileage it would take from Baldwin Park to the Mexican border. Once the kids complete that mileage in the way of walking and jogging, they get to celebrate with a healthy fiesta.  Schools taking part in the program are Elwin, Pleasant View, Walnut, and Tracy elementary schools. In conjunction with the Walkathons, students can sign up for Clever Crazes.

Clever Crazes is a non-profit online program where students can log in and register to win prizes for healthy behavior.  Select students can win Nike shoes, an iTunes gift card and pedometer. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

THINK Together volunteers help cultivate school garden at Miramonte Elementary

Several THINK Together volunteers recently offered students an opportunity to learn more about health and wellness through a school garden program.   
In October of 2010, THINK Together, along with nearly 30 volunteers from Southern California Edison, built the original design for the Miramonte garden with planting beds surrounded by bricks that were hand-painted by Miramonte students.  After clearing the sod, a lovely garden area was created where students could plant and nurture healthy foods.
Miramonte’s school garden has served as an outdoor classroom where students learn about nutrition, cooking, math, science and sustainability. Through a private donation, the new garden will also feature fruit trees including plum, apricot and peach trees.  This garden encourages environmental literacy as well as healthy living.  
“Health and Wellness is a priority for THINK Together,” said Randy Barth Founder and CEO of THINK Together.  “We are very intentional in our efforts to address childhood obesity and to provide resources to our families that can be the basis of better life.  School gardens provide a wonderful resource for learning and I am pleased that we continue to work in alignment with our schools and the community to nurture health.”

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

THINK Early Literacy kids go on Heritage Museum field trip

On Tuesday, students and parents in THINK Together’s Early Literacy Program took a field trip to Santa Ana’s Heritage Museum.

Taking the parents and students along was site coordinator Joevanie Lopez, who took his Sepulveda class. Joevanie was joined by parent trainer Maria Jimenez, child care provider Martha and three AmeriCorps members, Abigail Aleman, Alondra Castorena and Anahi Cazales.

They led 22 children (3 ½ to 5 years old) and their parents on a tour of the historic Kellogg house, dubbed “Grandpa’s House “ by tour guide, Jasmine.

The children went on a nature trail and stood on the highest non-structural point in Santa Ana (a dirt mound) before going on the tour. Jasmine than led each group of 11 children through the tour of “Grandpa’s House,” beginning with a story book reading followed by a tour of the living quarters, where children were shown the origins of the telephone and other antique household items.

They next went upstairs and were shown the children’s room, complete with toys and clothes worn by children in the 1800’s. The children were able to play dress up  and  wear the fashions of the day. The tour concluded when Jasmine spoke how orange groves were important to everyday living.

“Grandpa’s House” is surrounded by orange trees, and Jasmine cut up a few oranges to feed the families.

The museum is located at 3101 West Harvard Street in Santa Ana. For more information call 714-540-0404 or go to the website at http://heritagemuseumoc.org

About The Heritage Museum
The Heritage Museum of Orange County is one of the most interesting cultural and natural history centers in Southern California. The centerpiece of the museum, which covers nearly 12 acres in all, is a historic plaza featuring several buildings from the 1890s set amid extensive floral gardens and citrus groves. Among these is the Kellogg House, familiar to teachers and students throughout Orange County as a favorite field trip destination for nearly 25 years.  Our programming offers school children the opportunity to partake in innovative hands-on programs designed to encourage exploratory and imaginative learning. Dedicated to enhancing education, the museum has helped preserve, promote and restore the heritage of Orange County and the surrounding regions since 1985. Over the past decade, the museum has sustained itself by developing a fee-based social service enterprise, and by offering a variety of other activities including public tours, tea parties, themed fundraisers, weddings and corporate events. We are also caretakers of Santa Ana's last surviving freshwater marsh, a tiny remnant of the extensive wetlands that once existed throughout the lowlands of Orange County.

THINK Together is serious about helping kids achieve!

THINK Together is making a difference in the lives of more than 100,000 California students. The non-profit organization's trained staff, dedicated volunteers and generous donors are providing extended learning time programs (after-school, summer learning, small group tutoring, early literacy, etc.) and resources to help these kids, their families and their communities achieve. Our programs, generally free for at-risk students and low-income families, are predominately available at public school sites across Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and now Sacramento Counties.

THINK: Teaching, Helping, Inspiring & Nurturing Kids.