Saturday, April 28, 2007

Volunteer for Volunteering

Volunteer for Volunteering Table at Half Price Books
Today we hosted a table on volunteering at the Half Price Books flagship store on Northwest Highway. Our goal was to share information on AmeriCorps, HIPPY and Meet Up's volunteering group. We're looking for volunteers who want to make a difference, whether on a one day event or an ongoing committment.

THANKS to volunteers who came out from Meet Up: Faith (pictured above right) and Ruth; and from Richardson HIPPY (Yaneth and Kit), and to Half Price Books for giving us this opportunity! Over 60 million volunteers invested time in the public good sometime last year, according to Department of Labor statistics (

HIPPY is rooted in the volunteer movement. Historically, our program was established by the volunteer organization National Council of Jewish Women ( both at the international, national (US) and at a local level here in Dallas, Austin, Houston, Irving, Richardson and Grand Prairie. AmeriCorps ( has further deepened our volunteer roots and has integrated a volunteer component into our program. Our HIPPY parents are challenged to each volunteer a minimum of 20 hours each school year. And now we're connected with Meet Up, an online social network that brings together people with common interests both online as well as face to face. We're part of the Non Profit Meetup ( and this event was our first collaboration together.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

South / West Regional Conference

(Opening Reception at Medrano Elementary)

We just finished hosting the 1st South/West Regional HIPPY Conference here in Dallas. Over 100 coordinators from Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana and Texas came together to learn and share best practices. Some conference highlights include:
  • Two strands of sessions: Sustainability and Program Management
  • Texas presenters from our HIPPY programs, Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA), Fiesta Foods, University of North Texas, Dallas ISD and more
  • A Table Talk session where participants got to share information on a particular topic and pick up ideas and a handout
  • A fantastic opening reception at a local Dallas ISD and HIPPY school--Medrano Elementary. We had HIPPY children from 6 different elementary schools performing as well as a home visitor from Irving, the Alabama Dream Girls and students from Booker T. Washington High School
  • General sessions on parent involvement as well as A Place of Our Own
  • A moving and motivating closing session with Donna Padron Haddock
  • Super hospitality bags chock full of goodies from Fiesta, Verizon, IDRA, and many other organizations.

The conference was truly a group effort, by the five state HIPPY offices. It was a pleasure to work with such a talented and creative team.

Monday, April 16, 2007

What Are We Building?

Statue honoring the Civilian Conservation Corps workers who built the waterfall, lodge, cabins and welcome center at Devil's Den State Park, Arkansas
In 50 years, the children we are serving this year will be parents of teenagers or maybe even grandparents! Remembering how their own parents worked with them will ensure that they work with their own children. Our legacy is to create a generational cycle of school readiness, school success and parent involvement. There will be no statue, only a new generation of hope.
I went to Devil's Den in April as part of our annual family tradition of camping on Spring Break. As always we had a great time! The facilities at Devil's Den are more than 50 years old and are not only "still standing" but are still beautiful and strong! The workers who built this facility are now in their 70's and older (if they were in their 20's then). I always enjoy visiting sites that were improved by the Civilian Conservation Corps. I feel a special afinity to the CCC because it's a precursor to the Peace Corps and later AmeriCorps which HIPPY is so closely linked with now. This statue made me reflect on what our legacy will be in 50 years and how proud I am to be doing work that will leave such a mark.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Gearing Up for the Big Finish!

Our last big event of the program year is coming up, the HIPPY Regional Conference, which we are hosting here in Dallas. After that, we will be winding the year down with many smaller efforts, including on-site visits to each of our programs, finishing up evaluation efforts for the year, and a volunteer development event held in collaboration with Half Price Books and Meet Up. Yesterday we had our last all-member event with HIPPYCorps members from across the state joining together via video conference to celebrate and share succees stories of their parent involvement efforts for the year. Here's some of what they shared:

  • Volunteering hours have increased this year because members are role modeling volunteer activities in the school, and are giving parents ideas and motivation each week during the home visits.
  • At one school in Austin where there was very little volunteering, three of our HIPPY moms started going in once a week and having coffee at the school then volunteering. Their energy drew the interest of other parents and now the group has grown.
  • A cluster of 4 HIPPY moms at another school are volunteering FULL TIME at their schools now.
  • Special projects with parents included a book drive and distribution in Snyder, a health fair in Irving, and a book fair in Richardson.
Very soon we'll start sending out thank yous to each of our parents who completed 20+ hours of volunteering this school year.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Robin Hood Marketing

Katya Andresen, author of Robin Hood Marketing, spent a half day with HIPPY state directors from Arkansas, Colorado, Nevada and Florida. The day started with networking and professional development among the group, with excellent input from Colorado Parent Child Initiative board member Erica McIntire, Senior Vice-President of Marketing / Communications, at Vectra Bank Colorado. By days end, we had identified ways to hone our message and focus our communication efforts. We plan on working together on shared projects such as materials for parents to work with their children, sharing success stories and increasing our professional knowledge in the area of marking and public relations. We identified another book we'd like to read and discuss together, "Made to Stick" by Chip and Dan Heath. I'll keep you posted on what I learn next!