• Raising a Reader fuels family literacy at BBK’s Family Enrichment Night

    Gaby - Made In BBK! As part of an ongoing commitment to family literacy, BBK has been exploring opportunities to integrate literacy development into our family engagement activities. Toward this end, Raising a Reader (RAR) was featured as the guest host for this month’s Family Enrichment Night (FEN). Over thirty parents and children attended the event last night, which featured a bilingual reader’s theater with RAR’s hallmark Red Bag, craft stations for families to create reading buddies, and books which children then took home.

    One parent shared this sentiment via written survey at the conclusion of last night’s FEN: “I think reading with our children is extremely important because it develops relationships, language and it opens their imagination to a new world.”

    We’re thrilled to partner with RAR in creating additional literacy development opportunities within BBK’s parent education and family engagement programming. Stay tuned for more great stories!

    Story time!

    Reading BuddyRAR Books

  • Building Blocks for Kids Collaborative and Children’s Fairyland Partner to Support Iron Triangle Families

    Building Blocks for Kids Collaborative and Children’s Fairyland in Oakland are planning to deepen their partnership with exciting new offerings for families in the Iron Triangle. Children’s Fairyland in Oakland will continue to periodically support all expense paid field trips for BBK Zone families, but a second collaboration will provide ongoing opportunities for a group of parents enrolled in the 22-week parenting series, Nurturing Parenting.

    Together, BBK and Children’s Fairyland are offering participating parents and children three customized, interactive, and interrelated sessions that focus on developing and supporting early literacy. The sessions will emphasize the importance of talking, reading, and singing with children and provide tips for enhancing interactions between parents and children. The collaboration will also draw upon a myriad of in-house resources at Children’s Fairyland, including a horticulturalist, animal behaviorist, and other fantastic supports to make reading fun and relevant, not to mention goats and ponies!

    Fairyland 1 Fairyland 6 Fairyland 5 Fairyland 2

  • Summer Lunch in the Park Kicks-off with Zumba

    20140707_110525BBK’s Summer Lunch Program distributes free healthy meals at the Belding Garcia Park Monday through Friday until August 15th. Children have the option of choosing from a selection of great meals including ham and cheese sandwiches, pasta salads, crackers and cheese, tuna sandwiches, breads and dipping sauces, salads, fresh fruits, and more. Lunches are given out from 11:00 am-1:00 pm while other activities are going on at the park.

    Today was a very exciting day at at the park. Children were involved in  many fun games and activities including badminton, board games, jump rope, and more. While the kids were playing, I noticed a little girl, Brandy, playing golf along the side of a t-ball game. After playing a quick game of kickball, I asked her,” What was the most exciting part of your day?” With a huge grin on her face, she said,”Coming here.”

    Many of the kids attending the Summer Lunch and Sports and Fitness Program enjoyed playing with the kites.  Since today was such a windy day, the kites were a huge success.  Pamela, a summer intern at BBK, who spent most of the day untangling the kites said, ”Although it was stressful, I enjoyed making the kids happy.”

    As our summer program continues, parents become more excited for the activities held at the Summer Lunch and Sports and Fitness Program. More and more parents are showing up each time an activity is held. The Zumba class with Willa Willis seems to be the most popular. Parents come every Wednesday and Friday from 11:00am to 12:00pm, and on Mondays from 10:30am to 11:30 am.  We have even had a gentleman doing Zumba!

    A variety of healthy lunches were given out this week including sandwiches, veggie plates, salads, and fresh fruit. Parents are also be provided with healthy snacks to nourish them while doing their activities. Giving out healthy snacks to the parents sets a great example for the children at the park.

    Editor’s Note: this post is part of a series produced by the BBK Richmond Collaborative’s Summer interns. These blog posts report on the activities the interns led for school-aged youth in Richmond during July, 2014.

  • New Porta Potty at the Summer Lunch Program

    pottyWe’ve recently gotten a large Porta Potty with a handwashing station for the summer program at Belding Garcia Park. The families at the park love the new Potty.  It makes staying at the park much easier.  Special thanks to the City of Richmond Parks & Recreation Department, and especially Alicia Nightengale, for providing us with the beautiful Porta Potty. It is really appreciated and is getting great use!

    Families around the Iron Triangle are invited to come to the Belding Garcia Park to
    participate in our Summer Lunch and Sports and Fitness Program. Come enjoy lunch and our activities Monday through Friday from from 11:00 am to 1:00pm.

    Today was also Zumba Day. The parents and the teenagers had a great time dancing the day away, while at the same time, getting a great workout. Yoga was also a hit, a relaxing exercise that brought all the parents together. Rich City Rides came to the park and did a mini bike ride around Belding Garcia Park.  Helmets were given out while bikes were getting fixed.

    Families around the Iron Triangle are invited to come to the Belding Garcia Park to participate in our Summer Lunch and Sports and Fitness Program. Come enjoy our activities Monday through Friday from 11:00 am to 1:00pm.

    Editor’s Note: this post is part of a series produced by the BBK Richmond Collaborative’s summer interns. These blog posts report on the activities the interns led for school-aged youth in Richmond during July, 2014.

  • Reflections from Summer Intern Tamara

     

    What are things at the park that have caught my attention?

    Well, first off, the numbers of people who attend the Summer Lunch and Sports and Fitness Program. It seems that more families come on days with scheduled activities such as Zumba and Yoga.  On those days, the number of people double versus the days with no scheduled activities. I’ve also noticed the choices the kids make when it comes to choosing their lunches. The kids seem to like sandwiches the most out of all of the choices they can make for their lunches.

    What do I like most about the Program?

    I like how involved the parents are with the program. The parents participate in games and passing lunch out, and more.

    What have I learned from being in the Summer Lunch and Sports and Fitness Program?

    I have learned how important this program is to some families. The kids that come to the park get to burn off some energy and have a meal. That gives parents a little free time to relax or do fun activities.  No child’s summer is being wasted.

    Families around the Iron Triangle are invited to come to the Belding Garcia Park to
    participate in our Summer Lunch and Sports and Fitness Program. Come enjoy our activities Monday through Friday from 11:00 am to 1:00pm.

    Editor’s Note: this post is part of a series produced by the BBK Richmond Collaborative’s summer interns. These blog posts report on the activities the interns led for school-aged youth in Richmond during July, 2014.

    Yoga in Belding Garcia Park

    Yoga in Belding Garcia Park

  • New Activity in the Park: Martial Arts

    20140725_112546A new free activity is coming to the park for parents and kids. Check out our new Martial Arts class! The class is being held at the Belding Garcia Park starting Thursday, July 24 from 11am to 12pm. Come in loose workout clothes and sneakers. It will be a great workout.  The class will meet on Tuesday, July 29, Thursday, July 31, Monday, August 4, Tuesday, August 12, and Thursday, August 14.  Come join us!

    When interviewing one of the kids who participates in the Summer Lunch and Sports and Fitness Program, Leslie told me the main reason she loves coming to the park is because she gets to hang out with her friends. Her answer to my question caught my attention because she was so excited when telling me.

    As the program continues, faces are becoming more familiar. It’s like the park has regulars and they come all the time. Then it’s the people who come sometimes. Families who come on a regular basis say that they come to let the kids have fun and get a lunch instead of being in the house all day. It is something fun to do during the summer.

    Families around the Iron Triangle are invited to come to the Belding Garcia Park to
    participate in our Summer Lunch and Sports and Fitness Program. Come enjoy our activities Monday through Friday from 11:00 am to 1:00pm.

    Editor’s Note: this post is part of a series produced by the BBK Richmond Collaborative’s summer interns. These blog posts report on the activities the interns led for school-aged youth in Richmond during July, 2014.

  • Parents Lead The Way

    Parents Lead the Way Developing Activities at Belding Garcia Park

    Parent leaders, in partnership with the City of Richmond Parks and Recreation, are taking the initiative to bring organized summer sports and fitness activities to Belding Garcia Park, located at 15th and Coalinga. Parents had previously expressed concerns about safety and maintenance at Belding Garcia Park, prompting Building Blocks for Kids Collaborative to organize a community discussion. A wonderful group effort by BBK Collaborative members, including parents and the City of Richmond Police Department, resulted in the implementation of a Neighborhood Park Watch training. BBK Collaborative parent leaders participated in the training, planned activities for Belding Garcia Park, led decision-making efforts, presented ideas to the BBK Health and Wellness working group, and finally began implementing activities this summer.

    With support from BBK backbone staff and volunteers, newly implemented activities include kite flying, hula hooping, jump roping, volleyball, children’s bowling, yoga, kickball, soccer, and obstacle courses. With the introduction of sports equipment and more active games like flag football and softball, the number of participants and lunches served continues to increase. These activities are provided in conjunction with the West Contra Costa Unified School District Summer Meal Program occurring throughout Richmond. Lunches will be served from 11am-1pm on weekdays throughout the summer until August 15th. It is free for all children and youth under the age of 18.

    Zumba started on July 7th and will continue until August 25th. It occurs on Mondays at 10:30am and Wednesdays and Fridays at 11am. Youth Enrichment Strategies (YES), Rich City Rides, and Girl Scouts have been out at Belding Garcia Park to support the Summer Lunch Program and parent-led activities. Rich City Rides provided free bike repair services and will provide upcoming information about group rides.

  • Coro Youth Fellows and Summer Volunteer Support Community Efforts at BBK

    For the second consecutive year, Building Blocks for Kids Collaborative is working in partnership with the Coro Youth Fellows Program. Tamara Jones is a student at Pinole Valley High School and Pamela Patino is a student at Pittsburg High School. As Coro Youth Fellows, Ms. Jones and Ms. Patino will participate in experiential learning and training to develop leadership and civic engagement skills. At BBK, they will support projects related to the summer programming at Belding Garcia Park and they will also construct a history of BBK to be published and shared. Recently, the Youth Fellows took a field trip to learn about the Iron Triangle community.

    Tamara-parkToday’s little field trip consisted of stopping at three places within the Iron Triangle. The three places we stopped at were: Pogo Park, the Coronado YMCA, and the Greenway. Although they were all really fun, the most exciting place was Pogo Park. At Pogo Park we got on the Zip-line. Very scary, but it gave me an exciting rush. I haven’t had that much fun since elementary school. This little trip inspired me to do better in my community. Seeing all the kids together being active brought joy to my heart. Definitely an exciting day.

    – Written by Tamara Jones, Coro Youth Fellow. Tamara attends Pinole Valley High School.

    Pamela-parkDuring our little field trip we visited a few different locations in Richmond’s Iron Triangle. We visited Pogo Park, YMCA, and the Greenway. My favorite part of the trip was the Greenway because I had no idea you could create such beautiful scenery in a biking trail! There is a trail in the city I live in, but it is plain and it is filled with dried up grass. Walking through this path inspired me to start planting my plant for my upcoming A.P Biology class. The effort everyone put in to create this is inspiring, and I hope it grows and thrives into something even more magical than it already is.

    – Written by Pamela Patino, Coro Youth Fellow. Pamela attends Pittsburg High School.

    Valerie Jameson, a recent University of California, Berkeley graduate, is volunteering with BBK Collaborative this summer to develop a training session for Iron Triangle parents. The training will address issues in education and highlight how school districts operate and function.

  • Promoting Health and Fitness at the Center for Health and Healing

    The BBK Center for Health and Healing is now being utilized for a wide variety of free community health and fitness classes. Weekly fitness classes are managed by Richmond Main Street Initiative and include Bellydance for Wellness by Raks Africa, Martial Arts with Master Taylor and Zumba with instructors Willa ‘Bontle’ Willis and Helen Vaughn. Free, on-site developmentally appropriate childcare is provided for Zumba participants.

    Here’s a short video from local news site Richmond Confidential covering the Zumba classes:

  • Building Blocks for Kids Collaborative Offers Nurturing Parenting Course

    BBK offers periodic parent education opportunities to be held at the Center for Health and Healing. The upcoming Nurturing Parenting series will be facilitated by the Child Abuse Prevention Council, a BBK member organization. The Nurturing Parenting classes begin on July 14th, 2014 and continue for 22 weeks, convening Monday evenings from 5:30-7:30pm. The class is free and dinner and child care are provided.

    The class focuses on family instruction – for both parents and other family caregivers of children 0-5 and there is a special, complementary program for the children. The curriculum promotes child wellbeing and reduces risk factors for child abuse. Nurturing Parenting instructors include Sonya Smith-Hodge from the Youth Service Bureau and Lakisha Hill, a long-time parent educator at BBK. The class will also include three free specially arranged trips to Fairyland!

    BBK will be offering a second session of the same series beginning in January 2015.

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