Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Why I'm Building ALMas

Because at the end of second-quarter of my second-year in college, two (whom I presume are) close friends of mine told me something that shook me to my core and made me re-evaluate what I was doing with my life:

"Marvin, you're not a leader."
And it is not out of hate, nor out of want to prove the contrary to them or to myself, that I push forward now to build and create ALMas.


I do it because God has given me talents to use for His work and benevolence.  And that requires me to lead.  To take the stage and do something right for once.

And really, it comes down to Lincoln's view on life:

"When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion."

There comes a time when a man sees himself for who he is.  At is at this point when he can decide to stay the same or change for the better.

Monday, September 24, 2012


YES YES YES YES! Met with Molly Thayer, Director of Literacy for the Urban Education Institute (UEI). And guess what? 

Got a commitment from the UEI to train students participating in my club to administer and teach according to the UEI’s comprehensive STEP education evaluation for children in Chicago schools! ROCK ON!

Getting closer to the dream.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Por Que Campesino Soy

Inspired by Neruda's Here I Love You

Here I Love You in the Sun's Nettle and Tatter

Over the tattered shade of leaves and branch,
the sea of fauna and flora breathe and sway,
the white sun's rays pierce and play,

'til the wind settles
and the ray nettles
in mine eye--

'nd you arrive,
your hand raised
o'er mine eye
to my heart staid--

stopped still
in a longing shade

'til the shade waves
and the tatter meddles,
a single leaf, to unsettle
the nettle ray,

breathing and heaving
the almond mends
much as it bends

'nd gone they are
your hands in the sea
hidden in the tatters
on the ground, scripted.

Sometimes the tattered shades wake me up in the early mornings--and even my soul is turned to mud.

Here I love you through the trees, the sun, and the dirt.
I love you still among these hidden things.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Just about to give up--and then...!

After a somewhat demoralizing day of learning that there's so much research and literature on ELL teaching, I felt like throwing in the towel.  Like I couldn't get this done.  That I just couldn't do this.

And then Melissa, Community Chair from OLAS responds to e-mail after a month.  That should help me get volunteers.

Her e-mail was a message from God.  I don't know why, but I was just worried I wouldn't be able to get this thing going--with all the materials and planning.

But I got this.  I want to do this.  ALMas is going to happen, in one way or another.

I've got the contacts; I'm building collaboratives and human capital; I'm putting in the elbow grease (and now I have to more than ever with the amount of reading I now just learned I have to do).

Next steps:

Go to Richard J. Daley Elementary tomorrow and find an ESL teacher and ask for contact information as well as the teacher's lesson plans so I can start structuring the afterschool program around it.

That's what I call working around obstacles.  Forget teacher's strike.  I need to get in contact with that school's ESL teacher(s), SO I DAMN WILL.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Goals Achieved for ALMas so far

  1. Recruited 1st Advisory Board Member
  2. Contacted Richard M. Daley Elementary and submitted proposal
  3. Scheduled meetings with a few after school programs
  4. Found ELL book with curriculums, materials for instruction--and it's all evidence-based!
  5. Reading and creating lesson plans with the ELL book
  6. Close to successfully recruiting Academic Advisor for ALMas, maybe Professor Janet Sedlar
  7. Found out my neighbor has contacts that have contacts in Chicago doing exactly what what ALMas does!  He's going to hook me up with them!
  8. Recruited my bro (well, sis, I guess?) Emily Kratz to get involved with ALMas
    • She'll help with assessment of children's capabilities
  9. Figured out I'll focus on ELL K-1st grade instruction only
What needs to be done still:
  1. Recruit more advisory board members (slowly but surely)
  2. Begin planning and creating recruitment materials/presentations for spanish-speaking students
  3. Create list of materials needed for curriculum (on-going)
  4. Contact some peeps in Texas and mentioned in the book about already established curriculums that can be adapted to an afterschool setting
  5. Hear back from Richard M. Daley Elementary (the teacher's strike is preventing me from doing so!     :[  I am not happy about that.  The principal and administrators are busy, obviously  But I'll call them again this week to see what can be done and the progress.
  6. Apply for Registered Student Organization (RSO) status
  7. Meet up with an ESL teacher (Quinn's contact comes to mind.  Time to set up a meeting.)