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Building Confidence One Backpack at a Time

C2C Backpack A Thon

Starting the year off right can be as simple as having a pair of confidence-boosting sneakers or a backpack full of brand-new pencils, pens, and paper.

But for families struggling to pay for housing and food, school supplies can be an unaffordable necessity.

On August 10, Cradles to Crayons hosted its 10th annual Backpack-A-Thon at Lincoln Financial Field, in partnership with the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. Over the course of just two hours, 600 volunteers filled 30,000 backpacks, assembly-line style, with new school supplies. Read more

Federal Cuts Threaten to Defund Programs That Help Pennsylvania Families

Proposed federal budget cuts threaten to defund programs that help children and families meet basic needs or recover after a difficult life event. On Friday, April 21, Sen. Bob Casey joined advocates and community members at Calvary United Methodist Church in Philadelphia to discuss how these cuts could impact millions of Pennsylvanians.

Casey said, “What some extreme members of Congress want to do is cut basic programs in ways we have never seen before, so wealthy Americans get more of a tax break.” He pointed out that the Trump administration’s proposed repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was “a big tax cut bill” that would Read more

Quaker Education: In Pursuit of a More Equitable Future

Providing children with a high-quality and equitable education is often treated as a problem for parents, teachers, and administrators rather than a joy. Quaker schools, in sharp contrast, energetically approach the puzzle of how to educate children with diverse gifts and from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds.

Quakers, who believed people should be free to worship on their own terms, came to America in 1682 to escape religious persecution in Europe. In 1689, the Religious Society of Friends founded the first Quaker school, Philadelphia’s William Penn Charter School, which continues to operate today. Read more

Kids and Politics in the Year of Disruption

Can self-interest align with group interests to create a better world for kids? This was one of the larger questions that guided a recent discussion, Kids and Politics in the Year of Disruption, held at the University of Pennsylvania Law School on February 1.

Co-sponsored by Child’s World America and the Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice, and Research, the event brought together local Philadelphia researchers, educators, health professionals, and community members interested in promoting children’s well-being under the Trump administration. Read more

Court Appointed Special Advocates Help Foster Kids Fight Education Inequality

On January 27, 2017, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Philadelphia gathered attorneys, child welfare professionals, and volunteers at Berger & Montague P.C. for a talk about the educational challenges vulnerable children in foster care face—and why there is cause for hope.

CASA Philadelphia trains and supports community volunteers to become sworn officers of the court to advocate for the safety, stability, health, and well-being of abused and neglected children in the foster care system. School stability is one such right that may get lost in the shuffle of more pressing concerns. Children who are removed from a parent or moved around in the foster care system may be transferred from a familiar school to one in which they have no connection and where their needs fail to be met. Read more

Seen but Not Heard: Children in the 2016 Election

At a Trump rally in January, a girls’ musical trio, The U.S.A. Freedom Kids, gyrated on stage and denounced “enemies of freedom.” The youngest member was 8 years old.

At a rally in New Mexico, a child held a sign as big as she was, printed with words she likely could not spell: “I am not a rapist or a drug dealer.”

And a photo of a young boy and girl holding a “Fuck Donald Trump” sign, likely a manipulated image, went viral in March.

Yet in the discourse surrounding the approaching election, there is little mention in the media of the needs and challenges of America’s youngest citizens. News outlets reported at length on the crying baby Trump “kicked out” of a rally and the 10-year-old boy who yelled, about Clinton, “Take that bitch down,” but almost nothing has been said about the school readiness gap or the one in five American children who live in poverty. Read more

Local Nonprofit Helps Young Readers Go for the Gold

Philadelphia Reading Olympics photo

While athletes from around the world compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics, preparations for a much different Olympics are taking place in Philadelphia. Philadelphia READS, an independent nonprofit serving thousands of urban children, organizes an annual Reading Olympics that encourages kids to strengthen their literacy skills. Instead of the high jump or the 200-meter freestyle, kids read a list of assigned books and compete to answer Jeopardy-style questions that test their reading comprehension and analysis.

Philadelphia Reads LogoThe Reading Olympics is a creative attempt to solve a longstanding and intractable problem: getting kids reading at grade level by the time they enter fourth grade. Read more

Getting Kids to Read Over the Summer Takes a Village

Kids on lawn reading Harry Potter

What adults might not remember about the long, carefree summer days of youth is how much they forgot between June and September. In fact, the typical child experiences a three-month loss in reading achievement known as the “summer slide.”

Philadelphia Foundation LogoOn July 21st, Philadelphia-area children’s advocates, organizers, and nonprofits gathered at the Philadelphia Foundation for a conversation on how to promote childhood literacy by working collaboratively.

The prospect of using summer as an opportunity to hone literacy skills might induce groans from most kids, but solutions to the “summer slide” can actually be entertaining. Read more

“Race Gap” Hurts American Children According to Children’s Budget Review

Photo of children's hands as a team over a globe

When it comes to government spending on children, race matters. In a 2016 review of the federal children’s budget, a growing racial divide was named as one of the largest issues facing American kids.

Demographer Dr. William Frey, who was present at the Children’s Budget Summit in Washington, D.C., hosted by the nonpartisan advocacy group First Focus, stated that America’s diversity explosion is “bigger than the Baby Boom.” By 2050, the United States will be home to more African-Americans, Latinos, and Asian-Americans than whites. In fact, since 2011, more babies from minority populations have been born in the United States than white babies, a demographic reversal that is likely here to stay.

Children of color are the future of the United States. But will they have access to the education and resources they need to reach their potential? Read more

Time for a Game Changer: Playgrounds Fight to Stay Relevant to Kids and Parents

Stroll through your local playground on a summer day and take note of what’s missing: swings, seesaws, jungle gyms, and, all too often, children.

Whether kept indoors by structured activities, parental fears, or the allure of Xbox and air conditioning, kids today enjoy less free-range play than their parents. And given that the effects of play deprivation extend from ADHD to lack of empathy, carving out the time and space for play could be as important to future generations as protecting our wild spaces and natural resources.

Playgrounds are an important community partner in the fight for children’s right to play, but only if they can hold their own in a sea of other options. The first step? Battling the boring. Read more

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