Thursday, February 20, 2014

Jumping Out On Faith

When I graduated from the University of Minnesota, one of my hardest decisions was moving to Georgia on pure faith and hope. I had no job lined up, I barely knew anyone, and for the first time in my life I did not have school to fall back on.   But when I learned about the opportunity to work as an Americorps member through Raising Expectations, a place where I would have the chance to influence and teach underserved students, it solidified my decision to jump out on faith and move to Georgia. 
When I arrived at Raising Expectations, I was pleased to walk into an environment where I was received with open arms.   I have the pleasure of working with some of the most talented and hardworking women I have ever seen.  It is rare to find a group of people who are so dedicated and believe in what they do so much that they are willing to go above and beyond the call of duty.
I have always known that no matter what I did, I wanted to work with children.  I wasn’t exactly sure how that path would begin for me but being a part of Raising Expectations has provided me with the opportunity to really dig in and begin working in my career path.
I am here to be that shoulder to lean on, that coach and that motivator that some kids may not experience with anyone else.  Raising Expectations has opened my eyes to what true strength and courage looks like in children. I can only hope that my time here will change the children as much as they have changed me.

                                                                                                     By: Jaleice Johnson



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Life on the Other Side of Raising Expectations

People always say, "There are two sides to every story". Well with the Raising Expectations story, there are two sides to the journey. As a former student and mentee, I only saw the student's perspective. This perspective consisted of field trips, getting homework done (most expeditiously), "Take A Student to College Day", Poetry, Community Service, but most of all, always staying involved in activities that allowed students to raise the bar.

Now that I work with Raising Expectations, I get to see a glimpse of the business side of the journey. The side that works from 8am until; and when I say until, I mean until everything is completed and every child is home safely. One time, that "until" ran up to 10:00pm. The side that focuses on the students’ success by creating engaging lesson plans and school visits to check on our students’ grades and conduct. The side that partners with parents, teachers and community agencies to enrich the students’ lives and the community as a whole.

I work in an office with a group of women that exude so much leadership, wisdom, poise, and determination that in the four months I have been with Raising Expectations I have grown as a person. Learning and seeing this other side of the journey, has definitely opened my eyes to see how much work, energy, time, and stress goes on behind the scenes. Raising Expectations' journey has changed lives and affected so many people along the way. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to share this journey with Raising Expectations this year, allowing me to see the ins and outs of the organization from the other side.

                                                        By: Shekinah Lewis

Learn more about our work by engaging and sharing with us on our website through facebook and other social media tools.  

Thursday, January 9, 2014

My Americorps Experience at Raising Expectations

Making the decision to come to Raising Expectations (RE), by way of AmeriCorps, was a hard life-changing decision. Before beginning my service at RE I was attending graduate school at Mercer University majoring in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. But after several months at Raising Expectations, I can say that my decision was well worth it.

My experience at RE thus far has been one of the most wonderful, yet heart wrenching ever. The team of women that I work with are absolutely awesome! There are challenges, but we always overcome them. I love my team. We work hard and have fun at the same time. My students have definitely grown on me. At first it was challenging, but now that we have gotten to know each other, it is going great. I find myself thinking about them and doing things for them on my off time. 

This past Friday, I had to pick up some of my students parents for a parent-teacher conference. It was a humbling yet a touching experience that brought me to tears. To see where the kids are growing up,  makes me appreciate my life even more.  It also strengthens my desire to help them raise their expectations of themselves, and become a product of their dreams and not their environment. 

By: Tay Williamson

Friday, February 8, 2013

Youthful Energy Required! Meet Ms. Ava

The relationship between Raising Expectations and me did not occur by happenstance. No, this relationship was definitely by divine intervention orchestrated by Jesus and all his disciples. I say this because I was always the person who said that I did not like children and that I would never have any of my own. Granted, I was in high school when I made those statements, but I believed them. I was a freshman at Spelman College when Shayla Wilson and Jessica Williams approached me at the college’s volunteer fair. “You should join RE. It’s a mentoring and tutoring program,” said Jessica. Shayla chimed in with a “you need your six hours of community service for the semester, so this is where you should get them.” Honest truth, the latter statement was what reeled me in. My first day at RE was….interesting. I had never had experience in working with children, but with Maria and Tangee’s guidance I was able to quickly shade my inexperience and efficiently assist LaSheeba with her homework. By the end of programming, I was hooked. RE was where I belonged. For the rest of my undergraduate career I didn’t just consider RE as a place where I racked up on community service hours (2.5 hours/day X 3 to 5/days a week X 4 academic years….you do the math!).  I considered it a place of refuge. I would come to Raising Expectations on days that weren’t assigned to me because being there with the children allowed me to release my stresses from school and I was able to, at least, provide them with some relief from the stresses they were experiencing at home, at school, and in the community. I was able to establish meaningful relationships with my mentees as well as gain some wonderful friendships with other mentors. Upon my return to RE as a staff member in August of 2011, I didn’t have any anxieties about not being able to successfully and skillfully do my job. I had 4 years of teaching, mentoring, tutoring, counseling, parenting, social work, psychiatry, and mediation under my belt. The only difference now is that I’m on the payroll.
by: Ava Hanks

Monday, May 7, 2012

10 Years Later..our Partnership Continues

2012 marks RE’s 10th year in partnership with Breakthrough Atlanta, a tuition-free program that works with middle school children with a six-week academic summer program for rising 7th and 8th graders that encourages academic success. We are proud to announce that 8 RE students that attend Kennedy Middle School have been accepted and will plunge into the challenge of using their summer time off, as time on, in preparation for the upcoming school year. In addition, throughout the school year, the students meet up for Saturday workshops throughout the year that focus on academic empowerment, preparing them for transitioning into high school and helping the high school students prepare for college. Beginning in January our students started their application process which consisted of two essays, an extensive application and several short answers questions. In the end, each student had to participate in an interview at the Breakthrough Atlanta offices at the Lovett School. To prepare RE students for these critical interviews, staff members held mock interviews with them one week prior to their big day. And now we are proud to introduce our new class of BA students: DaeJour, Daylon, Kel'vadiea, Markala, Montravious, Nayya, Renard, and Tionne for their admission into this wonderful opportunity and we know that this summer they will excel!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Black Excellence

Never brought into the Light
But trust me, we won’t go down without a fight
Because being Black is having pride in our race
Not being mad at the white man’s face

Stolen from the motherland, and
Stripped from our cultures
Our history disappearing like meat eaten by a vulture

But at last, we prevail
And we’re here to tell our tale
Being Black is being blessed
It’s God himself putting us to the test
Like the CRCT, making sure we exceed

So if you haven’t met a real black person yet
You have now,
Cause you’ve met

Nayya Greaves
RE 6th grader

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cavalia: A First for Most!

Raising Expectations works hard to bring new and unique opportunities to the youth we serve through our Social Discovery programs. Before Christmas Cavalia donated some great tickets for their Oddyseo performance. For most of our youth seeing this amazing show with horses, acrobats and performers from all over the world, was a first. Here are just a few of the comments they shared about their experience at Cavalia:

On a scale of 1-5, how much did you enjoy this fieldtrip? why?
"5, I loved it!"
"I've never seen a horse up close."
"The show and horses made me feel calm."
"I loved the acrobats and the tricks the horses did."

Have you ever been to a show like this before?
All responses were a no. These are the windows we have to change a child's perspective and view about what is possible in the future.

How did the show make you feel?
" I was in a fantasy"
"relaxed and calm"
"curious and excited"

Describe this show in 3 words.
amazing, extraordinary, fantastic
vivid, impressive, fun
outstanding, tremendous, exciting
fantastic, incredible, interesting