Blue Ridge CTC student tutors are education majors who are taking a class that requires at least ten hours of face-to-face experience with at-risk youth. The Blue Ridge CTC students will provide one to two hours tutoring weekly from October through December. Cumulatively over 200 hours of tutoring will be provided for the approximately 25 young adults living at BCC’s WV programs.
This is the first partnership between BCC and Blue Ridge CTC. Orientation for the 18 Blue Ridge CTC student tutors took place September 26 at BCC. The student tutors received a tour of the campus and an overview of the therapy and programing offered by BCC.
“It is absolutely wonderful to have tutors coming in to help our youth,” said Jackie Columbia, Director of WV Operations for BCC. “We hope that Blue Ridge CTC will make tutoring at BCC part of the curriculum each year. It is such a wonderful resource for our youth especially so early in the school year. It really gives them some momentum and confidence heading into the second semester.”
BCC has two program locations in Martinsburg, WV and both serve foster care youth in WV. On the larger campus, youth live and go to school on the property. At the group homes, youth attend public school during the day. Blue Ridge CTC student tutors will volunteer at both program locations.
BCC staff share best practices and lessons learned
On October 6, 2016, BCC’s Director of Training, Monte Ephraim LCSW-C, and Shawn Elbert, BCC’s Baltimore Spiritual Life Coordinator, represented the Board of Child Care by presenting at the 36th Annual MARFY Conference.
Participant were introduced to The Child Welfare Trauma Training Toolkit (CWTTT), which is an evidence-based toolkit designed to teach basic knowledge, skills, and values about working with children who are in the child welfare system and who have experienced traumatic events.
The toolkit teaches strategies for using trauma-informed child welfare practice to enhance the safety, permanency, and well-being of children and families who are involved in the child welfare system. Participants had an opportunity to review the toolkit and the applicable benefits to their own work. The presentation also discussed how to infuse trauma-informed care into an organization and make it a focus for each staff working with youth.
Shawn and Monte will be also be presenting at the Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) Conference on October 27th. Their session will focus on Mental Health First Aid, of which Shawn and Monte are certified trainers.
Hunt is a born and raised Washington, D.C. native with a passion for working with young children. She received her associate’s degree in child development from Southeastern University. Hunt became a teacher in 2006 at BCC’s Early Learning Program (Washington, D.C.).
Q. Have you always known you wanted to work with young children? A. Absolutely. In high school, I was a tutor in an aftercare program, and from them on always had a passion to work with young children. When I graduated from Southeastern, I went to work at a childcare center right away. Four years later, I joined BCC and have been here ever since.
Q. DC uses a mixed income model in its classrooms. How does that work? A. A little over half of the children at the DC ELP are utilizing a voucher from the District of Columbia to cover tuition. The remainder of the families pay privately. I really like this model because it encourages an exchange of culture. Traditions such as clothing, language, and observed holidays all shine through in the classroom. It is a special moment when you see that the kids are learning from each other.
Q. You mentioned you had a “shadow” with you from day one. Who was following you around? A. My first day at BCC was also the first day for an adorable little one-year-old toddler. I just so happened to be the first person she met when she came to the center. She must have seen my “I’m new here too” glow because she followed me around all the time after that!
Q. Leaving their parents is tough for some children. What do you do to help them adjust? A. You absolutely need to be compassionate and remember that every child will adjust differently. The DC program serves kids from six weeks up through five year olds, but all of them need a lot of nurturing at this stage in their lives.
Q. How have early learning programs changed since you graduated from school? A. I think the whole industry of childcare is changing and I am glad to be at a place where an actual curriculum is used. [Ed. Note: the curriculum the DC ELP uses is called the Creative Curriculum]. I learn a lot from it. I like all the ideas it gives me for how to manage my classroom and the actual resource cards, books, and learning tools are great. I also recently attended Quality Improvement Network’s (QIN) almost yearlong training in early childhood development and really took a lot away from that.
[Ed. Note: The Quality Improvement network is a consortium of early learning providers in DC working to improve access to quality early childhood education. Ashely completed eight, 3-hour sessions over the past year that were offered by QIN. Some of the modules covered included classroom management strategies and student-teacher interaction techniques.]
Q. We heard you took away more than a certificate of completion after the QIN training. What was it? A. I was honored to be selected by my fellow classmates as the winner of the “QIN Spirit” award!