2009 TAP Scholarship Award Seeking Entries

The 2009 TAP Award, a scholarship program and one-time grant opportunity for outstanding professionals and philanthropists, is accepting applications for the Fall 2009 award.

From the scholarship information page:

The TAP Award is a scholarship program and one-time award granted to one or more individuals based on academic excellence, community service, demonstrated professionalism, and dedication to post-secondary education and philanthropy.

The goal of this program is to assist future professionals and philanthropists in obtaining an undergraduate or graduate degree that will allow the winners to continue in pursuing these ideals.

Professionalism, as we will define it for the purpose of this award, is independent of career field. It is a mind-set, a way of thinking and behaving both in and out of the public eye that defines a person. A restaurant cook may be every bit as "professional" as a doctor or lawyer. Applicants must demonstrate, in their own words, why they consider themselves to be professionals.

Philanthropy, as we will define it, is not about writing a check to a charity. As considered for this award, philanthropy embodies a true spirit of giving and giving back. No money needs to have changed hands for the successful applicant. Rather, applicants must demonstrate how, through 100 hours or more of community or volunteer service, they have helped to enrich the lives of others. Again, applicants must prove to us how they have themselves lived as philanthropists and will continue to do so.

Undergraduate members of The Aspiring Professional may begin completing their 2009 Application immediately. Applications must be finalized by June 15, 2009.

More information about the 2009 TAP Award may be found at:

Girls Write Now To Celebrate "Girls Write Now Day" on March 8th

Girls Write Now (GWN), New York's premier creative writing and mentoring organization for high school girls, announced its annual commemoration of "Girls Write Now Day," a local celebration of International Women's Day. On Sunday, March 8, join participants in the program for an afternoon with young women writers and the writers who inspire them -- featuring Annette Gordon-Reed, 2008 National Book Award Winner for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, and Marlon James, critically acclaimed author of The Book of Night Women -- at the New School University's Theresa Lang Community & Student Center (Arnhold Hall, Second Floor), located at 55 West 13th Street (between Fifth & Sixth Avenues). The event will take place from 4-6PM, and a $10-20 donation to Girls Write Now for admission is suggested (although no one will be turned away at the door for lack of funds). This program is sponsored by the New School Diversity Committee and the Bachelor's Program of the New School for General Studies.

Girls Write Now Day, a local celebration of International Women's Day, highlights the creative work and life-changing relationships that form over the course of a Girls Write Now season, and will feature collaborative or complementary works that will be read by a mentor-mentee pair together. The New York Times recently praised Girls Write Now for its transformative power in the lives of young local writers: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/14/nyregion/14writers.html

"This is a wonderful opportunity to see the Girls Write Now community in action," said Maya Nussbaum, Executive Director of Girls Write Now.

Website: http://www.girlswritenow.org/

Empowering Writing Workshops For Teens & At-Risk Youth

Adrienne Nadeau, a nationally touring spoken word artist, created The Warrior Woman, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to bringing teens and at-risk youth a means of artistic expression through empowering writing workshops. She's joined forces with local artists and community organizations to bring spoken word poetry to students in Tampa Bay and beyond.

This year the Florida school budget was cut by over $300 million. School administrators are desperately trying to keep cuts out of the classroom but, despite research that proves exposure to the arts results in higher GPA and lower drop-out rates, art programs are often the first thing eliminated.

In the face of such severe budget cuts, The Warrior Woman, Inc. launched the "36 Schools" Project. Teaching artists will travel into three-dozen worthy educational institutions and present spoken word poetry programs at no cost to the school. With this program, the organization has found a way to keep creative programming in the schools, without breaking the budget.

Spoken word poetry is a dynamic art form that combines traditional poetry, theatre, and hip-hop, creating a genre that is both contemporary and academically viable. Peppered with slang and pop culture references, teens get so caught up in the excitement they don't realize that they're learning about metaphor, meter, and rhyme. In addition they're told about the benefits of artistic expression and the importance of creative catharsis. The Warrior Woman, Inc. is currently booking shows for April-- which is National Poetry Month and the perfect opportunity to get teens excited about writing.

Adrienne Nadeau, a teaching artist for Ruth Eckerd Hall, created this organization to get teens excited about poetry. Clearly, her goal is being met as Jeff Morganstein, a former teacher and current Pasco school administrator claims: "My students were inspired by her presentation and the relationship between language and creativity." Sandra Kauffer, a teacher at Palm Harbor University High School claimed: "Adrienne Nadeau is the most engaging and interesting speaker I have had the pleasure to know."

In addition, Adrienne Nadeau is planning the "Slam In The Summer" Project, a weeklong creative summer camp for under-privileged teens. The Warrior Woman, Inc. has also partnered with Lizz Straight Ministries to visit correctional facilities in March for Women's History Month. The Studio @620 will present a play by Ms. Nadeau in May as a fundraising event.

Website: http://www.thewarriorwoman.org/

Alibris Presents Libraries with a $3,000 Collection Award

Alibris, the Internet's premier independent marketplace for sellers of new and used books, music, and movies, has named the Wapello School District in Wapello, Iowa, and the Mark Twain School and Academy in Detroit, Michigan, as co-winners of the 2009 Alibris Collection Award.

This is the sixth consecutive year that Alibris for Libraries has provided a $3,000 book grant to help supply underfunded libraries with much-needed materials. Libraries turn to Alibris to expand their collections every year, and Alibris for Libraries has now contributed $18,000 worth of valuable library materials since the award's inception.

The award was announced on Monday, January 26, 2009, during the American Library Association's Midwinter Meeting in Denver, Colorado.

In the summer of 2008, a flood of historic proportions hit the southeast Iowa community of Louisa County, leaving the entire town of Oakville and the rural area of Wapello devastated. Due to the lack of available housing within the Wapello School District, which services both of these communities, many families were forced to relocate. The situation caused a decline in school enrollment and a cut in state funding totaling more than $250,000 for the 2008-2009 school year alone.

"Webster's dictionary defines a flood as 'an outpouring of considerable extent or a great stream of something that flows in a steady course.' And in order to restore morale and bring encouragement and hope back to the student body and staff, we would like to 'flood' our library with a collection of new, historical-fiction books," said Lori Doolin, Media Specialist, Wapello Jr./Sr. High School. "The social studies teachers, 7th-12th grade, all require their students to read historical fiction books, and many of the upperclassmen have already read the majority of historical fiction books in the School Library, so we would like to give the students additional books to choose from. Happily, Alibris has hundreds of appropriate titles from which to choose."

Meanwhile, at the Mark Twain School and Academy in Detroit, "many of our students have never been beyond the boundaries of their immediate neighborhood, and we're trying to prepare them for an increasingly global economy with an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program," said Madeleine Karcz, IB Coordinator at the school. "In order to teach and assess the IB Learner Profile--a guideline for the type of learner we hope to send on to higher education--we must build a library of story books. It is our belief that the Alibris Collection Award will allow our students to read more and become kinder, more caring, and more respectful individuals, capable of making the world a better place. We truly appreciate the generous support from Alibris."

The two recipients were chosen from more than 100 qualified applicants, who each created online Alibris wishlists of desired books. The award jury included Toni Garvey, Director, Phoenix Public Library; Dr. Mark Sandler, Director, Center for Library Initiatives at the Committee on Institutional Cooperation; Dr. Lynn Sutton, Library Director, Wake Forest University; Jack Walsdorf, retired bookseller and book scholar; Dr. Richard Weatherford, Co-Founder of Alibris; and the members of the Alibris for Libraries Advisory Board.

Alibris looks forward to helping all libraries promote their Alibris wishlists to patrons, donors, alumni, and other constituents who may well be in the position to invest in their community by supplying much-needed books to libraries who generously share them with readers.

Complete details of the award may be found at the Alibris for Libraries Web site.

Free Online Literacy Activities Celebrate Lincoln

As the nation celebrates the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth, the National Center for Family Literacy has created free online education materials for families.

"This free tool for families will enliven the history and learning experiences about Abraham Lincoln," said Sharon Darling, president & founder of NCFL. "And it will improve family literacy skills at the same time. It's only fitting that this celebration includes these critical skills because President Lincoln's own stepmother couldn't read."

The materials were created after one of NCFL's literacy specialists took her grandson to visit Lincoln's birthplace near Hodgenville, Ky. They were developed with funding from Verizon Foundation.

They can be incorporated into a trip to Lincoln's birthplace or the many other communities that have ties to the 16th President. In addition, the materials can be used for virtual trips to those communities and to enhance a trip to the local library.

The parent toolbox, "Happy Birthday, President Lincoln," includes a:

* Video designed to be a parent-child virtual field trip to Lincoln's birthplace;
* Family scrapbook chronicling the trip with still photos and descriptions;
* How-to guide on educational activities for parents to do for their children before, during and after their trip. This guide can be used for other family trips as well;
* Timeline of Lincoln's life;
* Birthday Celebrations in the 1800s; and
* "Let's Visit the Library" feature, which includes a list of resources to explore further on Lincoln.

The tools can be found at www.thinkfinity.org/feature_list.aspx?feature=Lincoln.

NSHMBA Seeks Increase in Scholarship Applications, Awards

Each year, the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) provides financial assistance to talented Hispanics pursuing a graduate management education. Through the organization's scholarship program, NSHMBA grants annual awards of $5,000-$10,000 for full-time graduate students and $2,500 for those pursuing their degree through part-time study.

"For the past 20 years, the National Society of Hispanic MBAs has been instrumental in helping Hispanics continue their education and actively pursue masters' of business administration degrees," said Lourdes M. Hassler, NSHMBA CEO. "These students will have a profound effect on the future landscape of business schools and corporations as we see them graduate and move on to promising careers."

In 2008, NSHMBA awarded over $1.4 million to 216 students for the 2008-2009 academic year. These 216 scholarship recipients were selected on the basis of academic achievement, work experience, financial need, personal statements, community service, letters of recommendation, and NSHMBA ambassadorship. They currently attend graduate schools at 83 universities across America.

NSHMBA continues to promote higher education in the Hispanic community through the generosity of the organization's members, corporate sponsors and university partners that support its scholarship program. The scholarship program is currently accepting applications for the 2009-2010 school year. Applications and additional information about the program are available at on the organization's website at http://www.nshmba.org/fa/. The application deadline is April 30, 2009.

Book Publishing -- Is Your Child the Next Best-Selling Author?

Book publishing for children, meaning kids becoming published book authors, is showing great promise as the next opportunity for success through book publishing.

Since 9-year-old book author, Alec Greven's book, "How to Talk to Girls," was released in late November of 2008 by Harper-Collins, it created a wave of interest and awe to adults and children of all ages.

A trend in book publishing for kids is already in motion. We are starting to see more books come out BY KIDS, FOR KIDS, such as McKay Hatch's book, "THE NO CUSSING CLUB," which was recently released and received almost instant interest and recognition. McKay, age 14, has appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Dr. Phil," "The Early Show," "Good Morning America" and many news shows. And already, close to 30,000 kids have formed "No Cussing Clubs" throughout the country and in several countries abroad.

In a recent interview with professional book writer, Robert S. Nahas, he stated, "In a tough economy as the one we are enduring, opportunities such as this one should not be ignored." He was asked: Will it be short-lived? "Maybe. Not likely. Who cares?" Nahas continues, "At present, it's an opportunity. Should we look a gift horse in the mouth or get into action? One thing can be counted on; those who do something now and remain productive can make their mark and set themselves up for a lifetime of great success." R.S. Nahas is the owner of WriterServices.net -- a literary services company for aspiring book authors.

Alec Greven already has two more books under his belt: "How to Talk to Moms" and "How to Talk to Dads." Albeit only 9 years of age, no one can question this young man's current success and potential for a lifetime of prosperity.

"This is incredible inspiration for our youth. President Obama's message," Nahas continues, "has been one of HOPE, to look for OPPORTUNITY and CHANGE the way things are, for the better. And no more resounding message has resulted from this historic presidential election than I CAN DO ANYTHING I PUT MYSELF UP TO."

Nahas claims that the secret to success for a child author is to have a great message of hope, inspiration and/or courage and ethical fortitude. Any parent will validate the fact that children have a tendency to buck the helpful guidance of their parents. As far as kids go, peer pressure has always been a major influence to childhood behavior. Sadly, it leans heavily towards the negative, immoral and even illegal end of the scale.

"Books FROM KIDS, TO KIDS is the greatest idea since sliced bread," says Nahas, "when such books offer honest, helpful information to support children in their formative years. For one thing, they can help balance the moral scale, if not tilt it in the favorable direction altogether."

Another secret, Nahas claims, to the success of a child author is to make sure that one's manuscript is professionally written, edited and proofread. Just as important, a solid query letter and a strong book proposal need to be created by a professional writer who specializes in these kinds of documents. They are what will gain interest from agents and publishers. If writing the book is a challenge, so too can you find a reputable professional book writer to help write your child's book.

"The truth is," Nahas continued excitedly, "opportunity awaits ALL CHILDREN who wish to share a worthy message and offer valuable information to their peers. With this wave of book publishing, 'peer pressure' could take on a whole new meaning."

Whether this is a short-lived trend or new venue for book publishing, one can't discount the immediate successes of these two child authors. Will more children make it as well? Time will tell.

Source: http://www.writerservices.net/

Search Invites Kids Ages 6-12 to Create a New Friend for Arthur

Calling all ARTHUR fans! Do you have an idea for a new friend for Arthur, D.W. or Buster? Well, here's your chance to create a character for Elwood City. ARTHUR, the award-winning PBS KIDS GO! television series, and CVS Caremark All Kids Can, a program dedicated to making life easier for kids with disabilities, have teamed up to announce the "ARTHUR/All Kids Can Character Search"!

The "ARTHUR/All Kids Can Character Search" invites children ages 6-12 to send in their ideas for a new character for Arthur. And not just any character--one who can show that having a unique ability, character trait, or disability might make life a little bit different, but not any less fun. Kids need to mail in their entries, and include a drawing of their character and a description of what makes them special, by March 31, 2009. The child with the selected idea, along with their character, will be featured in a live-action segment on the ARTHUR show. In addition, he or she will receive a visit from ARTHUR creator and author Marc Brown at the child's school, local library, or PBS member station.

The character search is designed to educate children about the importance of inclusion and how children of all abilities can play together. It also encourages parents and children to think about what life is like for someone they know who has a disability.

"We're looking for an exciting new character, who can show the gang in Elwood City that children come in all shapes, sizes and abilities," said ARTHUR Senior Producer Jacqui Deegan. "Over the years, ARTHUR has helped children to embrace other kids' unique characteristics as well as their own, and this new character will continue that tradition."

CVS Caremark All Kids Can supports programs and services that help children with disabilities learn, play, and succeed in life. For over 11 years, ARTHUR has celebrated the importance of friendship and the value of accepting and including kids with different abilities from all walks of life. For instance, Buster shows that kids with asthma can do just about anything, Marina shows her friends what it's like to be blind, George succeeds as a student with dyslexia, and Carl—in an upcoming season—will share what it's like to have autism.

The selected character will be chosen by a panel of judges including the producers of the ARTHUR show, and colleagues from CVS Caremark All Kids Can. The panel includes Tolon Brown from Marc Brown Studios; Terri Mauro, About.com's Guide to Parenting Special Needs; Matt Cavedon from Boundless Playgrounds; Katy Beh Neas, Vice President of Government Relations for Easter Seals; and Susan Kane, Editor-in-Chief of Parenting magazine. Nine additional finalists will receive prize packages including CVS gift cards and ARTHUR merchandise.

Fans can visit www.pbskidsgo.org/arthur/allkidscan to download the entry form. Entries must be postmarked by March 31, 2009.

New Tutorial Aid Helps In Completing 2009 Grant Applications

Local governments and community groups eligible for funding from EPA's Community Action for a Renewed Environment ( CARE ) program are being alerted to a new online tutorial aid that offers help in completing their 2009 grant applications.

The 2009 CARE Grant Writing Tutorial, created for EPA by the contractor Three Star Enterprises, was launched online today at www.threestarenterprises.com/epa.asp

CARE is a community-based, community-driven competitive grant program designed to help communities understand and address local environmental concerns and risks from toxic pollutants. CARE grants enable eligible governments and groups to form collaborative partnerships that identify, prioritize and address such risks. CARE's long-term goal is to help communities build self-sustaining partnerships to improve overall human health and local environments.

EPA plans to award approximately $3 million in CARE grants this year.

The deadline for submitting 2009 CARE Cooperative Agreement Requests for Proposals ( RFPs ) is March 16, 2009. CARE's 2009 online tutorial takes applicants through all of the required aspects of writing a competitive grant submission. The tutorial is accessible through the direct link, or through EPA Region 7's Web site.

Google Invites Classrooms to Doodle

Today, Google announced this year's U.S. "Doodle 4 Google." The competition invites all K-12 students in the U.S. to design a Google logo inspired by the timely theme, "What I wish for the world." The winning student's doodle will be displayed on the Google homepage on May 21, 2009. The champion "doodler" will also receive a $15,000 college scholarship and a $25,000 technology grant for his/her school. This year's competition also includes a $10,000 award to recognize the school district with the greatest quality participation.

This year, Google is partnering with the Smithsonian's, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, a leader in encouraging the next generation of designers and advancing public understanding of design. After the competition concludes, the top 40 regional winners' doodles will be displayed in a national exhibit at the Cooper-Hewitt in New York City.

Students' doodles will be judged on artistic merit, creativity, representation of the theme, and other criteria. A panel of independent judges and Google employees will select the top doodles across age groups, from which the public will help select the final four. The grand prize winner will then be selected by Google and announced at an event hosted in New York City on May 20, 2009. The doodle will be featured on the Google homepage the following day.

Last year's winner was Grace Moon, a 6th grader at Canyon Middle School in Castro Valley, CA. Her winning doodle, "Up in the Clouds" was selected from over 16,000 entries submitted from across the country.

The customization of the Google logo started in 1999, and these "doodles" are now designed by a team of Google doodlers, including webmaster Dennis Hwang. The doodle team has creatively depicted worldwide events, anniversaries and holidays with doodles that incorporate the Google logo for the world to celebrate and enjoy.

Teachers can register their class online by going to www.google.com/doodle4google. Registration closes on March 17 and all entries must be postmarked by March 31.

When Young Children Conquer Their Own Forms Of Reading And Writing

Elisabeth Bjorklund has analysed the context in which children use narrative picture books and text-based material. In addition she has studied the kind of interaction that takes place when children are engaged in literacy in telling, reading and writing and she also shows the content of children's communication.

The material for the study is comprised of video recordings of children in a pre-school. The children are aged from eighteen months to three years old.

The results reveal that the children's narratives, reading and writing involve more than simply turning the pages and pointing and looking at pictures, and that the children are constantly engaged in their literacy in a variety of ways. Some of the children themselves underscore the fact that it is a question precisely of literacy when they say "I am reading" or "it says there".

"The children view themselves as readers or writers, rather than being involved in mimicry or play. In other words, they have the skills and maturity to achieve a lot all by themselves," says Elisabeth Björklund.

Two overarching forms emerge to describe the content of children's literacy. One is telling and the other is reading and drawing/writing. In-depth analysis reveals that the children themselves both construct their own knowledge of narrative and create their own manifesto of literacy. The children emphasize what they are doing by expressing and defining themselves as both readers and writers/drawers.

"My real interest is not focussed on the fact that small children should learn to read and write at an early age, but is rather directed at what they actually do in terms of activities and actions that involve writing and reading," says Elisabeth Björklund.

She feels that when it comes to the youngest children, the significance of literacy should be reconsidered as knowledge about children's linguistic development alone is not sufficient to capture the entire breadth of the process.

"Another conclusion is that storytelling and reading and writing in the broader sense have a distinct place in children's everyday lives. This is clearly conveyed to the surroundings in the way in which they participate, contribute, create meaningful contexts, interact and communicate," says Elisabeth Björklund, who has been working within teacher training at the University of Gävle for 30 years.

http:// http://www.gu.se/

Tips for Parents to Help Children Develop Strong Reading Habits

Reading as a family activity is less important to Canadian and U.S. parents when compared to other listed activities according to a recent online survey.

"With just under half of Canada's population considered to possess below-standard literacy skills, parents need to make daily reading a priority for themselves and their children. Our society cannot afford a generation that doesn't enjoy reading," says Dr. Donna McGhie-Richmond, education specialist for Kumon Math and Reading Centres. "Reading as a family drives home the need for literacy at every age."

The survey for Kumon, conducted by Harris Interactive, found that activities such as playing outside, watching a movie and eating together were more important to today's families than reading together.

Nevertheless, 96 percent of parents recognize the importance of having strong reading skills for school and as an adult.

"The study suggests that parents do value reading but have difficulty incorporating it into their families' lives," says Dr. McGhie-Richmond. "Spending as little as 15 minutes a day reading together helps children of any age improve literacy, analytical and lifelong learning skills while fostering a love for the English language."

Getting a child to read can be challenging, but parents can learn new ways to make it fun and enjoyable. Dr. McGhie-Richmond offers the following low-cost tips to help parents promote literacy at home.

1) Bring reading home - Create a reading area in your house that has comfortable furniture, good lighting and most importantly, books. Stock this area with books that you and your children will enjoy, such as how-to books, mysteries, comedies, reference books or even comic books. Look for books that the whole family can enjoy reading together. The local library, used book stores and yard sales are great places to find books.

2) Start a book club - Start a parent/child book club to motivate your child to read with their friends. Parents can learn more about their child's interests and children will get more comfortable reading and sharing in front of peers.

3) Read the book, watch the movie and discuss - Watch a movie based on a book you have read. It gives children and adults an opportunity to discuss the content, dilemmas and moral implications of the story. Also consider reading a book based on a movie your child enjoys. It can provide additional information while revisiting the tale in a different format. This combination sharpens both comprehension and decoding abilities, two of the most important skills for learning.

4) Physical Reading - Make reading a part of your outdoor playtime. Read to your child and ask him or her to act out what he or she has just heard. Older children can read a play and then perform it for the family. These practices help foster a genuine interest in reading and can strengthen your child's comprehension and analytical skills.

5) Read and Explore - Turn family day trips or local excursions into a fun learning opportunity. Have each family member choose an area attraction that they would like to visit. Have older children read about the area and play tour guide for the day. For younger children, choose a book that brings the destination to life. For example, if you are visiting Ottawa, our nation's capital, choose a children's book about the many prime minister's who helped shape this country.

6) Play games that involve reading - Games bring reading for fun into your child's life. Play the child-friendly version of your favorite trivia game and ask your child to keep the cards that have information in which she took interest. Later, your family can make a trip to the library together to find a book on the topic.

Need help selecting books that appeal to your child's interests or reading ability? Kumon Math and Reading Centres offer a free Kumon Recommended Reading List, which includes a range of 350 titles for any reading level. Students can find books on anything from sports to science or adventure books. A number of books have multicultural themes. The list also highlights a section of books that are perfect for parents to read aloud with their younger children. Stop by a local Kumon Centre for your copy. For locations, visit http://www.kumon.com/ or call 800-ABC-MATH.