Blog

Wrapping Up Our Last Week of the Semester

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As the school year comes to a close, we are finishing up the last week of our Homework Help and Tutoring program until fall. As we wrap up, we are providing pizza and drinks to show our appreciation for all of our students’ terrific efforts at each site, as well as handing out certificates to students to acknowledge their successful completion of our program.

And, believe us, as the test results come pouring in, we see more and more how their hard work has paid off this year!

We are also doing a grand drawing of all the stars of the month at each site, and the winner will receive a summer pail of goodies, which includes passes to the Discovery Museum!

We just want our students to realize how important their efforts throughout the school year are to us, and we eagerly await seeing them again in the fall.

Money Matters

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As you all know, we at Andson are all about financial literacy and are dedicated to our mission of ensuring that our youth are financially literate! We love it when we find others with the same mission.

The article, “Teaching Financial Literacy, Starting With Teens,” in The Wall Street Journal discusses how Charles Schwab’s daughter, Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, emphasizes the importance of educating youth about finances.

According to this article, “It’s no secret that financial literacy is rampant in the U.S., where less than one-third of the population can correctly answer questions on interest rates, inflation and diversification, according to a study by Annamaria Lusardi of the George Washington University School of Business.”

It also points out that “only 17 states require high-school students to study personal finance.”

Ms. Schwab-Pomerantz, like us, promotes teaching our youth to be financially literate and says that it is vital for money management skills to be learned and developed at an early age.

She has focused her resources on educating teens specifically about the importance of being financially literate, and has joined forces with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to accomplish this endeavor.

In order to ensure that financial literacy programs do, indeed, make a noticeable impact on youth, she conducted a year-long study on her Money Matters program, in order to, “ensure we were making a good investment and we’re having an impact.”

The results of the study were promising:

“At the start of the program, just 47% of participants understood the importance of paying yourself first, or automatically saving 10% of what you earn. By the end, 71% understood.”

Damon Williams, senior vice president and chief educational and youth-development officer for the Boys & Girls Clubs, agrees with the importance of financial literacy programs. “The Money Matters curriculum provides them with the knowledge they want but have nowhere else to get,” he said.

It’s awesome to know that we have partners out there who deeply care about our youth and their futures as well.

To read more about this, go to http://online.wsj.com/news/article_email/SB10001424052702304640104579487533888321814-lMyQjAxMTA0MDEwMjExNDIyWj.

 

Going Above and Beyond

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As the school year comes to a close, we want to give a shout out to one of many extremely exceptional tutors, Loretta Lee at the Agassi Boys & Girls Club. Our kids at Agassi typically receive a Three Square Meal at 5:30; however, many students are hungry prior to that time due to their long school days.

Loretta and her husband have an outreach program, and she offered to bring daily snacks in for the students. So, they have been graciously providing a nutritious snack for the students after Homework Help time.

Thank you Loretta for going out of your way to be thoughtful and ensuring that our kids never go without a snack.

You go above and beyond just being a tutor to them.

Testing Time

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It’s that time again – time for our third and last Aimsweb test this school year! Although our kids might not be too thrilled about it, we certainly are because it’s from these tests that we are able to find out how far our kids have come - academically, that is. A year-end assessment is critical to meeting our goals, so it’s vital to our continued success.

Students complete the Aimsweb math portion first, as a group, and the one-on-one reading test second.   Depending upon group size, the testing process takes from 30 minutes to one hour.  In an effort to maintain testing consistency, we conduct the testing at our tutoring locations.

Our kids will be elated to know yesterday was the last day of testing, as it lasted from April 23rd to May 7th, but the actual tutoring and homework help will last until May 15th.

Now it’s time for us to do our part and calculate those results, so that we can continue to successfully monitor our students’ improvement and use these results to improve our program to ensure they get the best tutoring come fall.

 

 

Faces of the Future

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As you know, our goal at Andson is to improve academic achievement and financial literacy among at-risk youth in Southern Nevada. For the past four years, we have been delivering programs that help kids learn the skills they need to succeed in today’s world. Our  upcoming  Faces of the Future breakfast is a unique and inspiring opportunity to bring together community members who would like to learn more about us, and make a difference in our  students’  academic success!

On May 21st, at this one hour breakfast we will share information, expertise, and insights, while addressing the importance and need for supplementary educational programs for our at-risk students in Clark County.  Amongst our elite speakers that morning will be Nevada State Treasurer Kate Marshall, Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky, and Steve Schorr, who currently serves on the Governor's Task Force on Early Childhood Education!

We are honored to have these enthusiastic speakers attend our breakfast and are eager to hear what they have to say!

April Tutor of the Month

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Congratulations Pam Charles, April’s “Tutor of the Month!” Pam has been working with kindergarteners and 1st graders at the Boyd Boys & Girls Club since the beginning of the school year, and she says she has really enjoyed working with them, especially because they are so cute, full of energy, and learn so quickly. Pam can see a huge difference in her students’ skill level between the beginning of the year and now!

One thing that really stands out about Pam is the quote that’s listed on the bottom of her email.

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t…you’re right. –Henry Ford

She explains she chose this quote because she is a stronge believer that our attitudes affect everything we do in life, from teaching goals to personal goals.

As Pam put it, “If we think we can make a difference we will, and conversely, if we think we won’t make a difference, we won’t.”

Well said, Pam! And keep believing that you make a difference, because you do!

 

GiVe

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We at Andson believe in actively participating in our communities outside of work. Despite our busy fast-paced lives, it is vital that we take time to look outside of our own little bubbles and into the world beyond, making sure that we give to others.

Our Academic Program Director, Leslie DeVore is one such example of how we strive to incorporate giving into our lives.

Starting in 2007, Leslie and a group of women in Green Valley formed a group known as GiVe, merely a group of friends trying to make a difference in their community one gift at a time.

Their mission is to “inspire, educate and encourage women to take an active role in the community by pooling their charitable gifts to improve the lives of Henderson residents.” Once a month they give a gift to recognize someone, to help out someone, or to further a worthwhile project.

In April they chose to donate $600 to Andson to be used for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Henderson! This money will go toward hiring CCSD teachers and tutors, as well as purchasing academic supplies.

Andson is among the many organizations and charities that they have generously gifted, including HopeLink, Basic High School Special Needs, and Candlelighters.

Groups like GiVe show how easy it is to just take a moment and give back to others. We should all take part in striving for a better tomorrow.

Do You Ever Get The Urge To Splurge?

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If you’re a super saver, or attempt to save money, more often than not you might feel guilty when you spend it on something that’s not necessary. Saving money can be super stressful when you’re trying to live off an extremely tight budget. Has anyone ever told you that once in a while it’s important to allow yourself to splurge, even though the ultimate goal is still to save?

According to the finance blog Wise Bread, here are a few reasons why you should splurge once in a while:

In order to stay focused and on track with your savings goals, you need positive reinforcement. However, only give yourself this reinforcement when you have cut down on debt and are meeting your savings goals. Don’t be afraid to reward yourself for your financial accomplishments!

When you’re on a tight budget and are saving as much money as possible, lots of “fun” things get cut out of your daily routine, which can be monotonous. Rewarding yourself once in a while for meeting your goals breaks up the monotony. As the blog also says, spending a little money on something that you normally wouldn’t one day would most likely make your day more memorable, and “having those memories is definitely worth the money spent.”

Lastly, keep in mind that some splurges can and will have long term benefits! Think about it. Sometimes spending money on something better quality (like  a purse, shoes, or an appliance) will have long term benefits, as it will last much longer than something that not only costs less, but that is also more cheaply made!

Everyone needs a “fun fund” to spend and not feel guilty about.

Just set a limit for you “fun fund,” and only reward yourself after you meet a goal/goals.

 

Just remember….sometimes it’s ok to splurge when you get the urge!

To read more about this, go to http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-allow-yourself-splurges

Good Debt vs. Bad Debt

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So I’m sure that you already know, and that countless people have told you, that debt is “bad,” to avoid debt, and that it will “ruin your life,” and so on and so forth. However, sometimes debt can help you reach your goals.

According to the blog, “The Good, The Bad, And The Indebted,” on the website $alt, there is such a thing as "good” debt, as opposed to “bad” debt.

Skeptical?

Keep reading.

The blog says, “Your lenders consider 'bad' debt to be not getting paid back their money. ‘Good’ debt was when they received their money with interest. Of course, things aren’t nearly that simple.”

It goes on to say that rather, “good” debt is an investment that generates long-term value. You “grow” your money…and invest in your future! (Student loans are an example of this.)

Another example of good debt is a home mortgage, “and anything else that has the potential to grow.”

An example of acquiring “bad” debt would be buying items that “have little or no return, despite a hefty price tag,” like electronics, clothes, and eating out.

These items (or eating out) will never go up in value after you spend your money on them.

Just be careful and selective of what you choose to spend your money on, and put lots of thought into what you do decide acquire debt over (if you do decide to).

Here are things to keep in mind when you find something that you feel compelled to buy:

- Do you have cash to pay for this, or only credit? If only credit, can you wait until you have cash?

- If you decide to use credit to buy something, remember that if you pay it off over time, it will acquire interest.

- How long will it take you to pay it off, and what will its value be to you at that time (will it be a car that enables you to get to work, or another device that will have a newer version by then that you’ll want)?

- No matter how you pay for things, always track what you spend your money on!

Most importantly, when you make purchases with credit think about the difference between whether those purchases will benefit you in the long run, or just add to your stress because they are “bad” debt.

To read more, go to https://www.saltmoney.org/content/media/Article/the-good-the-bad-and-the-indebted/_/R-101-8049

 

National Financial Educators Day

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Tomorrow, April 25th, is National Financial Educators Day, and our own Co-Founder and Program Developer Anthony McTaggart is one of the two educators being recognized in Nevada on this day! How exciting!

According to the National Financial Educators Council website, this day celebrates, “…those individuals who are working to improve the financial capabilities of people in their communities.”

Therefore, this day not only recognizes “traditional educators,” but anyone who participates in educating others about finances!

We want to especially say thank you to everyone tutor, aide, volunteer, concerned parent, and donor out there who has helped our mission of educating youth in Southern Nevada about financial literacy.

To learn more about this as well as ways to get involved and make an impact in your community, go to http://www.financialeducatorscouncil.org/

To Our Terrific Tutors And Aides

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As Andson's Homework Help and Tutoring program comes to an end, we want to let everyone know how much we appreciate our 45 amazing tutors and aides!  

To our tutors and aides,

After putting in a full day at school or at your other job, you continually show up on time, four days a week, wearing big smiles, and carrying an abundant bag of teacher-tricks.

You pinpoint the children's deficiencies and bring effective and creative teaching strategies to their groups.

You work diligently with kids of many ages, big and small, happy and sad, rain or shine, on good days and bad, at a variety of locations, helping them achieve their goals and stay on track.

You send out progress reports, write daily tutor notes, acknowledge students of the month, and help our kids achieve those precious "a-ha" moments.

You wipe noses, hand out treats, listen to tall tales, hold little hands, kiss boo-boos, and sternly say, "sit up straight in your seat" at least 50 times an hour.

Mostly importantly, you establish positive relationships with your students in a healthy environment.  You work hard so that no child gets behind in school.  You impart KNOWLEDGE, which we all know creates empowered, confident and successful adults. What could be more important than that?

 

Thank you!!

Andson's Founder/CEO Being Honored at "Moms Rock"

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As Mother’s Day approaches, we proudly  announce that Andson’s Founder/CEO, Sonia McTaggart-Anderson, will be honored at the 10th "Moms Rock" Mother’s Day Tea & Brunch, hosted by St. Jude’s Ranch for Children. The fun filled event will be held on Saturday May 10th, at the JW Marriott Resort & Spa, benefitting Child Focus, a program of St. Jude’s Ranch for Children.

Join us as we continue in our quest towards improving the lives of thousands of children across the valley.

For more information, please contact Veronica Huening at:    VHuening@STjudesranch.org

 

Project Connect on Friday

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We’re having another Project Connect this Friday! What’s even more exciting is that it’s not only a Project Connect, but it’s also a tutor appreciation party!

As we’ll be springing into summer soon and the semester will be wrapping up, we want our tutors, and all of our supporters, to know how much we appreciate them.

So we hope that you will all make time to come down to McFaddens at Town Square, because starting at 4 o’clock we’re all going to eat, drink, connect, and celebrate!

We can’t wait to see you there and hope that you’ll have time to stop by.

So be there at the square!

We Love This Letter

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How many of you daydream of the day that your kids will tell you they are craving broccoli over ice cream, or yearn for the day when your youngsters will voluntarily choose schoolwork over their toys? How many of you fantasize about getting your kids to do things that are good for them that they just don’t want to do, without having to wrestle them to the ground or threaten their TV privileges?

Well, this dream came true for the tutors at the Gulbis Boys & Girls Club when one little girl wrote Andson a letter in which she said, “Tutoring was so fun. I’d rather be in tutoring all day than go to Wet and Wild.”

That’s what we love to hear here at Andson, that through our hard work, devotion and perseverance with these kids we are making a lasting impact in their lives! We love it when they love their tutoring sessions!

Oh yeah, the student also mentioned, “I loved the treats you gave us at tutoring that one day.”

…nothing wrong with a little incentive!

 

Miracle Mile Money

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Well, we got oodles and oodles of wet coins from the Miracle Mile Shops, $3,031.01 to be exact! Thank you Miracle Mile for choosing us for March’s donation of coins from the fountain and indoor rainstorm at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino!

Also, we want to give a shout out to each and every one of you who took the time to toss your coins into the fountain and contribute to our cause!

We received six five-gallon buckets full of coins (and other interesting odds and ends).

We can’t wait to put this money to use in our Adopt-A-Student Program, and we’re sure the kids can’t wait as well.

College Students - Starving Students or Financial Role Models?

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There are financial benefits to living like college students, and we could learn a few things from them. How in the world, you might ask, are college students to be looked at as financial role models? When most people think of college students, they think of starving, desperate young people who can usually be found slurping down some ramen noodles off of a folding table (which is usually one of the only pieces of furniture you’ll find in their living space).

According to the article on Lifehacker, “The Practical Benefits of Living Like a College Student,” we should take a closer look at college students’ habits and traits.

College students are always out there being “busy learning, growing, and transitioning,” and they have some “highly effective habits” when it comes to money, even though these habits usually stem from just pure necessity.

A few habits that college students have that we could learn from are their eating habits, their constant openness to learning and growing, and that they tend to embrace experiences over possessions.

Think about it.

Although college students are forced out of necessity to eat and cook at home a lot, this is one easy way to save money. Just because you start making more money doesn’t mean that you can’t still cook in order to save that money. I mean, come on. How much do you spend on eating out each week? And if you cut that habit out for a while, how much would you be able to save for your next vacation?

Another point talked about is that college is a time of continual growth and many changes. After college, people get more settled, more set in their  ways, and are far less open to opportunity and change – which can make it very, very hard to change financial habits once they are established, especially bad ones. Going back to that state of mind where you are open to change and growth would have countless benefits when trying to readjust your finances.

Lastly, let’s face it, college students, most of the time, are just plain broke. However, for most students, their focus isn’t on attaining an abundance of material possessions at the moment, but rather an abundance of experiences. What an awesome state of mind to have! What if we we’re more focused on new experiences and meeting new people rather than always needing the newest versions of everything!?

Anyways, those are a few things to think about especially this month, Financial Literacy Month! The next time you see a college student maybe you’ll see one of these traits and think about how you can apply it to your own life, rather than just seeing a broke student slurping down some ramen noodles!

To read more about this, go to http://lifehacker.com/the-practical-benefits-of-living-like-a-college-student-1553814909

 

 

 

We're Excited to Add to Our Team

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We just hired a new site-coordinator, Nevena Cvijetic, who has been with us for about two weeks. She oversees two of our sites, Agassi and Silver Pines, and told us that she is extremely enthusiastic about her new position, as well as those she works with. When I became a member of the Andson Academic team, I knew that it would be a fulfilling position – I just wasn't aware of how much.

I knew that Andson Academics provides a high-quality tutoring program that encourages young students to become effective learners, but I wasn't prepared to see how much passion and heart our tutors and staff bring into this program.

Tutors such as DeAnn Sheehan, who brings in various games each day for her students, create innovate ways to strengthen students math and reading skills, while awarding good behavior.

Tutors such as Angela Wilborn, Jessica Webb, and Loretta Lee show us that this program isn't limited to only academics – they create a positive environment in which their students feel safe and important.

The student’s progress and excitement towards learning is a clear indicator that the hard work of our tutors pays off.

Andson’s remarkable staff and volunteers show, through their incredible effort, that they want each individual child to progress in all areas of life.

It is a great honor to have the opportunity to work for an organization whose members believe in making a positive difference in their community and working towards something greater than themselves.

We are excited to have Nevena join our team, as her enthusiasm is proving to be contagious!

 

March Tutor of the Month - Karen Hipsher

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Karen Hipsher is our “Tutor of the Month” for March! Currently a teacher at C C Ronnow Elementary, she’s been a teacher for 7 years now. She teaches 3rd grade science (her favorite subject) and social studies as well as a 1st grade class and a kindergarten class.

She can’t stand calculus and is so thankful that she doesn’t have to teach it!

Her favorite hobbies are reading and beachcombing, something she dreams of doing more.

She was asked what she likes most about working with Andson. She replied, “I love that I’ve had an opportunity to work with so many fun and caring people. I’ve never worked with a more appreciative group.”

We love working with you too, Karen!

Carrying Out Our Mission

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We received this letter from Margarita Gamboa, Principal of Sunrise Acres Elementary School: Greetings Andson Foundation and City of Las Vegas Safe Key,

We would like to thank you for the opportunity you have provided to our students. Through the partnership between the Andson Foundation and Safe Key our students have been able to increase homework completion and academic learning time.

I walk through the Multi-Purpose Room every afternoon and see students grouped in 3’s and 4’s at tables around the room playing board games or physical games where social skills are emphasized, which is just what our students need. The significance of what these children are experiencing daily will assist our students in establishing positive relationships with adults and peers!

This program and the simple act of playing a board game with others has provided our students experiences that they otherwise may not get. They were taking turns, applying math skills and socially engaging in safe, risk-free recreation.

My visits to the library during homework help has been nothing short of amazing! To be able to provide our struggling third graders additional time and help on daily homework, that is an extension of what they are learning in their classrooms, has helped to increase the rate of homework completion, increase mastery and focus, and academic learning time for them.

We are so proud of our tutoring team, the recreation staff, and our students for all the effort each has made in making this program a success.

Most of all, we thank you! Without the Andson Foundation and City of Las Vegas Safe Key, this would not have been possible. You make a difference in children’s lives everyday!

We are grateful for our staff and students who are actively involved in our mission and whose incredible efforts and hard work are definitely noticed.