Tag: decker

Become a Mentor For a Local Student

January is National Mentoring Month. Middle School Matters recognizes that each student is different and therefore has individual needs in order to be successful in high school. One of the many important support services offered through the Middle School Matters program is mentoring. United Way partners with two research-based nonprofits, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas and Communities In Schools, to provide mentoring services to the students of Decker, Mendez and Webb Middle Schools. Students who are matched with a mentor see a rise in their class attendance, grades and overall satisfaction with school. In addition, adults who volunteer as a mentor see positive changes in their own lives as well. Alison, a graphic designer who has lived in Austin for two years, has learned a lot from her time mentoring. She has learned more about other cultural traditions, family dynamics, and herself. Alison has mentored Izzy, a 15-year-old student in Austin, for a little over one year. Izzy’s family originally signed her up for Big Brothers Big Sisters to help Izzy work through bullying issues and to set up a support network for her outside of school. Since Izzy and Alison have begun their journey together, Alison has noticed changes in Izzy’s behavior. “She has always been kind and caring, but had a hard time showing it before in school. Now, she is more confident in herself and able to share her creative and happy side.” Izzy and Alison first bonded over their love of art. On their first outing, Alison took […]

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Kerbey Lane Cafe Features Middle School Community Art Projects

It started with “community,” and the web grew to include “pride,” “diversity,” “friendship,” and “health.” Students at Decker Middle School drew a word web to show how ideas are connected in order to guide their planning for a community art project. Throughout the month of October, students at all three Middle School Matters campuses worked to complete 20 canvasses that illustrate varying perspectives on community. The project aimed to show students how art can be used to start a conversation or spark community change. The paintings, designed and created by Volunteer Project Leader (VPL) students will be on display at Kerbey Lane Café at the Southwest location starting on November 2nd. In VPL, students plan, implement and reflect on volunteer projects that match their interests, and the paintings show broad variations on the theme of making a positive contribution to your community. A bright nature scene reminds us to recycle, multi-colored handprints underpinning a Spanish phrase celebrate shared space, and cartoon animals promote self-acceptance with the phrase, “There’s nothing wrong with who you like. There’s nothing wrong with who you are”. By displaying student work, Kerbey Lane Café recognizes these middle school students as leaders in their community and creates an uncommon opportunity for middle school students to start a community-wide conversation. Make sure to stop by the Kerbey Lane Café on William Cannon to see the works of art for yourself, or attend our Big Game Superbowl party in February where we will auction off some of the pieces. Learn […]

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Lights On Afterschool 2015

Today is Lights On Afterschool, a nationwide event to bring awareness to the importance and positive impact that afterschool and other out-of-school time (OST) programs have on students of all ages. Research shows students participating in high-quality afterschool programs are absent from class less, behave better, receive better grades and perform better on tests compared to non-participants. Additionally, afterschool programs have shown to reduce the math achievement gap between low and high-income students and students participating in these programs overall have a lower obesity rate than non-participants. Students at the three campuses we support through our Middle School Matters program–Decker, Mendez and Webb Middle Schools–have the chance to participate in our free afterschool and summer programs to further enrich what they learn during the school day. We asked students from each campus about their experience participating in our OST programs. What do you like best about afterschool? -Hanging out with my friends -Learning new soccer tricks -Cheerleading -I can get help with homework and have fun. -It helps you do things you’ve never done before – you help the community and feel grateful for what you’ve done. -It’s not boring – it’s fun! You can go outside and play. -It’s an opportunity for us to learn about something that’s not a school subject. How has being in afterschool changed you? -It has made me more outgoing. -I have made new friends! -It’s helped me learn more about education and the community while helping others. -It’s taught me how to be […]

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