Category Archives: Kids
When the Berkeley school district added two new kindergarten classes – one to Cragmont school and one to Malcolm X — just before school began, some parents were concerned about what impact the move would have on the schools, which, they said, were neither spacious nor overstaffed. In an opinion piece published on Berkeleyside, Joshua Room, former President of the PTA at Malcolm X, asked why the district couldn’t plan ahead better. Quite a few readers agreed with him.
In fact, this year’s incoming kindergarten class is smaller than last year’s class. The squeeze is instead coming from the fairly new – and growing — transitional kindergarten program, required by state law. And the BUSD admissions office said it was well aware of the crunch coming.
“I knew we needed more classrooms back in February,” said Francisco Martinez, district admissions director. But over the course of the spring, plans about where to put the transitional kindergarten classrooms went through several shifts. … Continue reading »
Jay-Z and Beyoncé are working out their relationship problems. The celebrities — impersonated uncannily by two 17-year-olds — are pretty angry at each other. But eventually they restore their romance, thanks to the help of an articulate 16-year-old mediator.
Mediation role-playing is just one sliver of the Summer Legal Fellowship Program at the Center for Youth Development Through Law. Each summer, the non-profit offers 30 disadvantaged youth from Berkeley, Oakland and Richmond paid internships and training in law and leadership.
This year’s program ended with a graduation ceremony last week. The teenagers worked hard until the end, juggling their internships at various government agencies and non-profits, attending college prep and constitutional law classes, and preparing their resumes for mock job interviews. … Continue reading »
It started when Manuel Buendía began taking his young sons to San Pablo Park in Berkeley to teach them to box. Soon others wanted to join in, and now Buendía runs an informal, free boxing training program for any young person who shows interest.
Buendía hopes the sessions are helping some of the participants stay out of trouble. As he says in the video above, “Instead of them fighting out on the street, they should bring it here. Here in the park, right? They can take their anger out here, with boxing.”
Last Thursday afternoon, 40-some kids sprinted around Willard Park, capturing flags and thwacking tether balls. That’s the typical scene at the park most summer afternoons, where the campers at Berkeley Day Camp’s extended care program keep busy until their parents come pick them up.
Recreation services like the popular day camp claimed a good chunk of the $12.2 million that the city spent on children last year, according to a brand new report that details — for the first time ever, according to the city — the funding spent on children’s programs and services in 2013. … Continue reading »
For teenagers in America, getting a driver’s license is a crucial rite of passage into young adulthood. But for their parents, it is yet another source of anxiety, and for good reason. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers. That is why the California Highway Patrol offers Start Smart, a free program providing lessons on safe driving for teens.
Sean Wilkenfeld is the Oakland-area CHP spokesman and a local Start Smart instructor. Once a month, he invites teenagers and their parents to come into the CHP’s Oakland office for a two-hour session on safe driving.
The list of topics he covers is extensive and includes instruction on collision avoidance, the dangers of distracted driving, seatbelt use, how to check tire pressure and the differences between parent and teenage licenses. Most important about the course, though, is the dialogue it creates between teens and police officers, according to Wilkenfeld.
“What it boils down to is the chance for teens to interact with a police officer, ask questions that they may have heard theories about, and get the real answers,” Wilkenfeld said. … Continue reading »
After the Berkeley Tuolumne Camp was destroyed in the August 2013 Rim Fire, the city created a “new” family camp at its Echo Lake camp. Families who had spent summers up near Yosemite have had to adjust to the new camp high in the Sierra Nevada mountains. How do the camps compare?
Berkeleyside contributor Mary Flaherty returned recently, and, for the most part, liked the new location.
“I really wasn’t sure whether I wanted to go to Berkeley’s Echo Lake Camp when I signed up,” said Flaherty. “My family had attended Tuolumne Camp for seven years and loved it more every year. We were heartbroken when it burned. Our experience at Echo Lake Camp was very different from Tuolumne – and yet the same in so many ways. “Out of body experience” my daughter called it, as we arrived in camp. I did miss the Tuolumne River a lot – but the incredible view helped make up for that. … Continue reading »
Nearly 10 months after it closed in order for necessary sewer work to be done, Tilden’s much-loved Little Farm has reopened to the public. The park’s vintage merry-go-round is also spinning again, after being taken over by new management.
The timeline for the sewer construction project was originally five months, but the scope of the work became increasingly large, said David Zuckermann, Supervising Naturalist at East Bay Regional Parks District.
“We originally thought we would be reopening in February,” he said. “But then we had to keep extending that month by month.”
Zuckermann said that it was only when crews began trenching the area that the scale of the job became apparent. “The sewer system is as old as the park, and Tilden, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, is one of the three original East Bay parks,” he said. (The other two are Sibley and Lake Temescal.)
During the work, several areas other than the farm were also closed, including Indian Camp parking lot, picnic area, play structure and restroom, and the Big Leaf picnic area and restroom. … Continue reading »
Berkeley 7th graders Jane Yarnell and Sam Schickler and their Black Pine Circle School science teacher Christine Mytko will attend the first-ever White House Maker Faire today as “honored guests.”
The Maker Faire, described on the Maker Media website as “the greatest show (and tell) on earth,” is a gathering of hobbyists and professionals interested in hands-on, do-it-yourself crafts, often involving technology. … Continue reading »
Patterson is on a mission to increase childhood literacy and to help kids find books that will make them love reading. He created the grant program to strengthen independent bookstores to help them compete against chains and on-line book retailing. … Continue reading »
Four years ago Armando Maravilla came out of Longfellow Middle school a C-student. Due to graduate from Berkeley High School next week, Maravilla is now heading to San Francisco State University, planning to study psychology.
How he got from there to here has a lot to do with the Bridge Program at Berkeley High, he believes.
The Bridge Program takes C-students from middle school – about 30 every year — and offers them summer programs, afterschool homework support, and lots of advice, nagging and hand-holding by dedicated teachers. The goal is to keep those C students from slipping, and hopefully make them B and A students.
“It felt helpful – all the advice, the summer programs, the information — how you’re supposed to talk to teachers,” said Maravilla. … Continue reading »
A year ago, Kyle Evans and his family were sleeping in motel rooms and, at times, their car. Despite his circumstances, Evans focused on keeping his grades up and being a role model for his younger sister. He had to forgo various activities enjoyed by his peers, as his family didn’t have the money to pay for them. He managed to keep a positive perspective and achieve success despite the odds.
“Adversity is a chance to find the God in you,” said Evans, who has been accepted to Brown University and plans to become a doctor. “It makes you a stronger person.”
Evans is one of 20 youth who will be honored Thursday at the first annual “Rising Stars” gala, put on by local advocacy organization Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS) to recognize youth for achievement in the face of adversity. The group is also raising money this week for a scholarship fund for award recipients; scroll down for details.
Above is a picture of 6-year-old Baylor Fredrickson, from the little league team I coached last season — the Red Wings we were called. Our team stayed together this year, but without Baylor. Baylor just vanished, which was a mystery, because a) he played with such enthusiasm, and b) we loved him and we thought he loved us back. Plus he was tough and smart: a born catcher. I just learned why Baylor Fredrickson didn’t show up for opening day: he has cancer.
For Baylor to survive he needs to find a bone marrow transplant. To receive a bone marrow transplant he needs a bone marrow donor, in the next three months. This I just learned from Baylor’s mother, Shari Fredrickson. “PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE,” she wrote to me, “reach far and wide to get our plea heard. When he says things like, ‘When do you think I’ll be able to come home for good?’ or ‘I can’t wait to go play laser tag when I’m better, can we?’ I don’t really know what to say. As a parent you want to give your child the world. To give them the opportunity to achieve whatever their hearts desire. I just want to give him his life.” … Continue reading »
Controversial new language in the contracts of teachers who work at schools that come under the jurisdiction of the Oakland Diocese has provoked an outcry in the East Bay Catholic education community.
The language, which was added by Oakland’s recently appointed Bishop Michael Barber, pertains to how teachers conduct themselves in their personal lives. It asks them to pledge to conform to church teachings outside the workplace, and is seen by many as targeting non-heterosexual teachers. The move has prompted some teachers to resign, rather than sign the contract, which, the Diocese says, is mandatory. … Continue reading »