Summer of 2021 was…

…what? Based on a book or film you came across? We would like to know as we gear up for coming back to school, the Woodbridge Library Media Center would like your recommendations – please comment and let us know!

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Five Weeks of Your Life…

…what is possible? In Five Weeks? With months of being isolated, restricted, confined to video as your closest friend – and having a small window of reprieve?

Sometimes the best way to tell you, is to SHOW you. Tonight, it was difficult to explain the emotions and proud of feelings of hearing and seeing students go out of their comfort zone and step into wet bogs, forests, streams, dark woods, insect-filled areas, and the students that could not attend events because they were the primary caregiver of their family and they STILL, from HOME, contributed to the overall task from that same, same environment that had been bearing down on them for months of the year?

“Mr. Brake, I have never been beyond this corner in Seaford?”

“Wait, you have never, ever walked past this corner onto Main Street of Seaford, ever?”

“No! – this is amazing!” – as we were sitting in a restaurant, I pondered how much what many would consider a basic meal, meant to this student, and being on a part of the street they have NEVER been until now, never having seen anything past a specific corner of Seaford? EVER?- This struck me deep and I felt pretty sure, if one person, every person in a community like Seaford, would show any young person that had never had the basic experiences that most take for granted every day – how many more dreamers, creators, and innovators would we have in our community that would take the town by storm and recreate itself?

Unless there is the belief from the leaders, public figures, and a majority of community members in youth, many youth that feel they do not have anything to offer and – poof! an open window appears where they feel things they have never felt, been places they never felt they had the right or way to find – then their lives changing change each of ours.

I am so proud of the risks these students from Math and Science that decided to do a work study that they did not even know if they would be able to take on due to COVID, let alone LOSING THEIR FIRST TWO WEEKS due to rain, and yet, they persevered and showed they had a courage that many will never realize. Without the Math & Science and Classic Upward Bound Programs, in this small window, this would have never happened.

I am hoping others will see what is possible when youth are pushed to the forefront and their dreams become part of our own for the community we live in.

And what about the amazing state employees that believed in these youth and showed up for them to lead them through discoveries that they never thought they would see?

Heroes are among us, and I hope these students will find more.

Five Weeks and here as well as a pdf:

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Obsession Over the Green

Okay. THIS time, no reference to money. Let’s discuss the obsession with lawns.

Honestly, if I saw more merit and benefit to the expanse of lawn in front of my house, beside my house, behind my house, I’d settle on this topic. But I realized, thanks to the encouragement of the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance, there is an even more beneficial reason for having space, and I ran with it.

On June 4th I had decided to take up the bargain to install a Butterfly garden and replace sod in front of my current yard. Sod. That word kind of still makes me cringe, due to the intensity of the job ahead.

Lisa Wool, Sydney Williams, Max Horan, Will Meadows, Robin Weber (Americorps Member) and Meagan Lukehart (Also a member of the Dean’s List of Salisbury University in 2020!) descended miraculously at my residence and worked like crazy, in the dead of the heat to take mounds of sod out and replace with hundreds of pollinator plants.

(And yes, that stack of Hungry Howies? – WELL DESERVED)

What looked like sprouts of asparasgus now are reining in insects, pollinators, and butterflies than I have ever seen. Yesterday I was able to see three monarchs at the same time dancing among the milkweed.

The PR…

…of this type needs to be amplified even more and create more long term effects than bringing in chemicals to maintain a prized lawn – and offers opportunities for youth in the communities to enhance their communities.

I am so appreciative of the ability for the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance to allow this to happen, and less for me, but more for what it can do, if all commit to doing their portion share their portion of residential land to contribute to the very pieces of the environment we so need!

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Blending In or Standing Out in a Difficult Time?

It all comes down to this –  you either stand out with a voice or you blend in with the noise,with these tools and examining the Habits of Mind, Classic Upward Bound and Youth Voices combined to give you a platform, now and into the future, to stand out rather than blend in.

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Kumo…what? Kumospace!!!!

Adding Kumospace into the mix for Classic Upward Bound, Why? Paul explains …

Which room… Classic Upward Bound had options…

But the beach is always nice…

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NowComment? Versus

In digging deeper into a new tool such as Now Comment – Paul explains what does for the student opposes to looking at

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Literally just that – Paul Allison explains why matter to Youth today all over the U.S. – in our case – why it matters to Classic Upward Bound in the summer of 2021 !

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320Success seems to be connected with action. 1Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they never quit. 1

422Efficacious people stick to a task until it is completed. 1They don’t give up easily. 1They are able to analyze a problem, and they develop a system, structure, or strategy to attack it. They have a repertoire of alternative strategies for problem solving, and they employ a whole range of these strategies. They collect evidence to indicate their problem-solving strategy is working, and if one strategy doesn’t work, they know how to back up and try another. They recognize when a theory or an idea must be rejected and another employed. They have systematic methods for analyzing a problem, which include knowing how to begin, what steps must be performed, what data must be generated or collected, and what resources are available to assist. Because they are able to sustain a problem-solving process over time, they are comfortable with ambiguous situations.

1023Students often give up when they don’t immediately know the answer to a problem. 3They sometimes crumple their papers and throw them away, exclaiming “I can’t do this!” or “It’s too hard!” Sometimes they write down any answer to get the task over with as quickly as possible. 1Some of these students have attention deficits. 1They have difficulty staying focused for any length of time; they are easily distracted, or they lack the ability to analyze a problem and develop a system, structure, or strategy of attack. 3They may give up because they have a limited repertoire of problem-solving strategies, and thus they have few alternatives if their first strategy doesn’t work. 

The above is from an article titled, Learning and Leading with Habits of Mind, Chapter 2. Describing the Habits of Mind by Arthur L. Costa that we use in a program of, and can annotate among other high school students and teachers.

After a really really bad night of Wriggley being tended to at the ER in Salisbury, MD, coming through like a champ, and me exhausted, I woke up and examined these habits of mind:

and realized two groups of people came to MY MIND (see what I did there?) Classic Upward Bound students and Cross Country runners. I often see many that are not able to see past today, even tomorrow if they are lucky. But when they catch a glimpse of what the future could bring, (which is a hard thing to change their scope of vision) they become a better runner, student, and shaker and mover.

I could say more, but do not need to, despite 1001 things that often consume our lives, this one quality out of 16 is one of the most enduring and can change a person. I admire that in the students and athletes that keep up the good fight and persist.

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You Miss It Before You Even Realize You Did.

Often. there are days that exist that I have so many thoughts and reflections, it is impossible to put them into words, impossible to formulate how to get it just right in stating how you are feelings.

Oddly, these are the same days that I am overwhelmed with driver after driver not using their turn signal (ESP in driving must be a thing), letting people in front of you without ever a thank you or acknowledgement wave, the days I get calls to help others with tasks that they easily can find out in a few minutes (we’ve all had those) – and of course the just “Murphy’s Law” events that manage to pile up one after one after one.

I have taken to just dropping everything, leaving it all behind, and piling the canines into the vehicle and heading to the beach. I have done this for the last four days and see the need to do so for the next five easily. During these great escapes that are badly needed – I have come to realize so many things and just let the things I needed to say settle down into some brief simplicties.

So many individuals miss the simple things in life like simply hearing the silence of the wind, the trees, the birds, the wind, the water, the tide, and so many very specific sounds due to the noise they continue to make themselves, and round themselves.

So many individuals miss the simple things in life like simply hearing the silence of the wind, the trees, the birds, the wind, the water, the tide, and so many very specific sounds due to the noise they continue to make themselves, and round themselves.

So many individuals miss the simple things in life like simply hearing the silence of the wind, the trees, the birds, the wind, the water, the tide, and so many very specific sounds due to the noise they continue to make themselves, and round themselves. I see them missing it before they even realize the did. Yet they do not even realize what they are missing at all.

The individuals that ride my back bumper pushing me to hurry, hurry, hurry, (metaphorically and in reality) could indeed make you do that very thing, or you can just let those actions roll over you and forcefully ride over you and refuse to let your time be hijacked into the faster timezone that you care to be in, so you will not miss the details that many others miss.

I see this reflected in the scramble to work work work tirelessly for that almighty dollar, and the stress that the economy has put on families to make that priority one. From experience of someone who worked 2- 4 jobs at the same time from high school easily into my 40’s, I do not remember a single moment of the weeks I tried to achieve my highest number of hours for that almighty dollar.

Yet, I still remember some of the quietest, most still moments where I just observed, listened, and took ion what was happening around me, letting me work put my own pace and resisting against the tide of a pace that seemed to catch everyone up in a pace that was expected, and never allowed for reflection, internal peace, a sense of satisfaction.

I find myself more and more willing to build in moments of the day, be it a 20 to 40 minute break, to mornings, evenings, weekend afternoons – that allow nothing but time for me to let me thoughts settle to a lower point – where I can see, reflect on, and feel them – opposed to caught up in a speed race of a moment a minute and then over.

I am grateful for a period in my life where I was able to realize that what was much more important than the number of things I could check off a never ending to do list, was the value of slowly and carefully putting tasks in front of me that I wanted needed, and along the way helping others see a better me in letting my interests also become part of their interests.

There, as I am finding out, is always going to be time to fill in all the time in a day with things that are deemed valuable now, the question is how valuable will those tasks be when I look back 10 years later – and often I am finding in some of those instances, not enough to want me to miss the opportunity I have sitting right in front of me.

If we do not stop to take that picture we thing might be a great shot, take the time to listen to someone when they have something important on their mind, say hello to the person next to you just because, or simply allow yourself to get to know more about what makes you, yourself happy, there is a good chance there are even limited chances to do so in the future as that mentality becomes your new “normal.”

There are so many no guarantees that come with short sighted vision and goals, and often with long sighted vision and goals, space is created to allow those moments of reflection, meditation, and just space to take a breath in and have a chance to enjoy the moment, rather than simply be able to reflect on it in the past. The best opportunities are the latter, when you discover you have the desire to carve out more permanent moments and events that you can truly can look back on and realize the value of the moments that are happening.

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To the MOON! Or to Earth?

it is interesting that Jeff Bezos thanked all the Amazon employees and customers that paid for the 10 minute flight into space and also that the overview effect, the fact that people realize the earth is fragile from a view from space, is the best way that changes people minds about how fragile the earth is.I can help anyone realize this fact if anyone wants to see several local environmental areas in our own county that are consumed by plastics, needles, fast food garbage and more. Sigh.

We have a long way to go to show politicians and those in positions of wealth of how they can better benefit the world around them.I do believe in the ability to use millions, (maybe billions) for something in discovering innovations in space travel, especially being able to reuse a craft to do so, BUT also in using such publicity for a further impact on the world’s needs now, in real time, truly combining what such an event does to bring attention to so many and use for a better use – couldn’t Amazon have created a link to this event and all who watched it, if they contributed a positive ideal for a new solution to 1 of 100 dire needs of the earth, Amazon would donate at least 1000.00 to that cause?

Connecting the dots of using publicity and the spotlight, as well as using one’s platform to benefit the world around them as well as themselves (and others) should not be out of the realm of the earth’s atmosphere, be it from a millionaire or someone barely making minimum wage – these are some of the things I think about at 4 AM 🙂

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