Wisdom “Laddo” Mulefu has become something of a hero at EDC. Depending on who you talk to, he’s the boy who traveled countless miles just to find a school that would enroll him … the boy who wouldn’t take “no” for an answer … the boy whose wholesale love of education blossomed before our very eyes.
Have you ever wondered why a cake rises? How the bubbles get in the soda bottle? What makes a bathtub boat float or sink? If you answered “yes” to any of these, you’re in good company. Educators from around the country recently gathered at the Children’s Museum in Boston to investigate questions like these, part of a national initiative to bring high-quality, hands-on science to thousands of children in afterschool programs around the country.
A national initiative led by EDC’s Center for Science Education (CSE) and Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS) in Berkeley, California, has recruited community program leaders across the country to help them implement high quality science and engineering activities in afterschool programs.
When Trevor Dudley saw that the architectural plans for a new school in Kampala, Uganda, had no athletic field or recreational facilities, he decided to intervene. Bucking the prevailing opinion that sports were a distraction that had no place in the world of learning; Dudley set out to show the positive impact athletics could have on children and communities. A native of England, Dudley has lived in Africa for 25 years, 18 of them in Uganda, working as a construction consultant.
EQUIP3/Haitian Out-of-School Youth Livelihood Initiative, or IDEJEN as the project is known locally, operates twelve youth centers. Each center provides 50 students between the ages of 15-20 with an education in basic reading, writing, and mathematics. Students also receive lessons in health, nutrition, conflict-resolution, and other life-skills. In addition, they learn a marketable trade such as sewing, woodworking, auto mechanics, handcrafts, hotel services, or agricultural businesses.
At a time when many schools are being pushed to narrow their focus and concentrate on core academic subjects like reading and mathematics, afterschool programs are being pulled in a dozen different directions. Program directors wrestle with a range of questions as they try to meet the diverse needs of funders, parents, and the young people they serve. Should afterschool time be an extension of school, focused on tutoring and homework help? Or a break from school, focused on sports, fitness, arts, and hobbies?
Bernie Zubrowski has spent much of his professional life devising
ways to educate young people when they are out in the world, away from
the classroom. In more than 23 years with Boston’s Children’s Museum
and other museums in the United States, Great Britain, India, Sweden,
and Bahrain—and in several EDC projects—Zubrowski’s quest has led him
to design activities that illuminate scientific principles with very
Every other Monday night, in a temporary office located in the Waltham (Mass.) Hospital, a one-of-a-kind Board of Directors convenes. The issues before the board on this night are typical of many social service agencies: the cost of tuition for the workshops they offer; the success of recent outreach efforts; the development of parent councils in the local schools; the new accounting software. But the board itself isn’t at all typical.
For EDC Senior Vice President Vivian Guilfoy, who has spent more than a decade working in the fields of community technology and youth development, one of the signs of progress is a blurring of boundaries. “The days of distinction between formal and informal education have come to an end,” says Guilfoy, director of EDC’s Center for Education, Employment, and Community (CEEC).
Middle school students in ScienceQuest, an afterschool science program offered in six low-income Boston neighborhoods, celebrated their research projects and unveiled Web sites they created about them at a party hosted by Millennium Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge July 26.