News & Views

Wobbly Bot Workshop with Sam Brenner

October 30, 2017


During the evening of Friday, October 13th, Crispus Attucks held a workshop led by local teen and self-taught tech entrepreneur Sam Brenner. Brenner guided youth from CA’s Rising STARS and Early Learning Center through the process of building his own miniature robot toy that he calls a “Wobbly Bot.” The key parts include a toothbrush head, a few pieces of double-sided foam tape and a small motor to power the device and make it vibrate. The workshop not only provided the kids with a fun, educational activity, it also proved to be a great opportunity to tie in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) programming. Check out these photos from the evening!


Engaging Body & Mind With Clay at the Active Living Center

October 30, 2017

Our Active Living Center is more than just a place for senior citizens to spend their time. A major focus of ALC programming is keeping seniors active and healthy, just as its name suggests. So when our friends at Creative York approached us for a partnership focused on embracing aging, we jumped at the opportunity! Thanks to a grant they received from the York County Community Foundation, the seniors at our ALC have been engaging their hands and minds with clay art (and creating some real masterpieces) every second and fourth Tuesday of the month since early September.

The benefits of these ongoing workshops, taught by Creative York resident artist and teacher Stephanie, are twofold. First, using their hands to work the clay has been therapeutic for some of the senior participants who suffer from arthritis and other conditions. Caroline Smith (pictured right), for example, has been wearing a wrist brace to ease an injury. Although she felt some cramps in her hand during the first clay workshop, Smith hopes that working with clay on a regular basis will help her work through the issue and avoid physical therapy. Other seniors had to rest their hands every now and then on the first day of workshops but were optimistic about the long-term health benefits.

Plus, the clay workshops allow for plenty of creative expression among the seniors, a major factor in keeping their minds active and engaged. In the sessions, Stephanie gets them started on a general shape (e.g. a bowl, or, recently, a seasonally-appropriate pumpkin) and offers design suggestions and technical expertise, but the seniors are free to explore their own ideas with tools and glazes. Stephanie taught Ms. Smith how to mold and attach a clay fish (Smith is a Pisces!) and a “C” for her name to her bowl!

Once Stephanie has fired the pieces in a kiln, she returns them to their sculptors to keep and use. It is wonderful to watch our seniors get creative and each design unique pieces reflective of their personalities!



Cheering him on: Southside Steppers perform at charity fundraiser

October 27, 2017

The Southside Steppers and their coach Selena Dickson pose with Kyrie (blue shirt) and some friends. Look at those warm smiles!

On October 7, at Hoffer Park in Middletown, PA, Crispus Attucks’ girls step team, the Southside Steppers, had the honor of performing at a community fundraiser for Kyrie, a seven-year-old boy who recently had open heart surgery. Kyrie’s surgery was successful, and he experienced minimal complications, so this event served as a great opportunity to lift spirits and celebrate! Our step team, along with various other performers—the PA Dynasty Cheer Team, Tha’ Maniacz Youth Dance Group, and Middletown singer Charles Lee—were at the event helping to raise money for Kyrie’s medical expenses while also increasing awareness for children’s heart disease.

Catherine Peay, the fundraiser’s organizer, had heard of Crispus Attucks and the Southside Steppers through a friend, and the rest is history. According to Peay, our team “did a FANTASTIC job,” and they were a hit all around, especially with the guest of honor Kyrie!

Following his surgery and fundraiser, Kyrie is in good spirits and health and has been very

Kyrie with Ms. Selena, aka Ms. Frog.

active as he returns to life as a normal kid. “You would never know he had open heart surgery in March,” Peay said.

A Passion for Changing Lives

September 28, 2017

A new school year brought us some fresh faces. We’re grateful for our passionate volunteers and staff from around the community who are changing lives every day!

Jerry Tran joins us as our Social Media & Communications Intern in the Development Department. He’s a senior at York College majoring in professional writing and minoring in creative writing. A York native, he brings his experience in digital media, graphic design, and public relations to help the department promote all that CA does!






David Newby (left), Jarred Grimes (middle), and Michael Kitchen (right) all joined the Charter School staff and fit in perfectly with the CA culture!

Mr. Newby joins us as a science teacher, having made a complete career switch from the insurance industry. Mr. Newby was formerly with Kelly & Associates Insurance Group in Maryland.

As one of several Charter School case workers, Mr. Grimes manages the individual cases of a number of Charter School students. He comes from Gaudenzia, a rehabilitation center for mental health and substance abuse treatment, where he worked with young men to help them overcome their illnesses.

Mr. Kitchen is CA’s new In-School Suspension Monitor. He previously worked at Silver Oak Academy in Maryland as a life skills and health/P.E. teacher. He also worked as an independent living counselor, so he brings plenty of experience to his new position at CA!

Not All Heroes Wear Capes: Joel Miranda’s Charter School visit

September 28, 2017

This past August, 90 students filled the Crispus Attucks gym for Mental Toughness training. Preceding every new school year at the Crispus Attucks Charter School, students must participate in two weeks of these mental and physical exercises. Based off the YouthBuild model with which the school is affiliated and led by Aaron Beard, they’re designed to instill teamwork, discipline, and determination in students to prepare them for the coming year and, ultimately, life after graduation.

This year, students were visited by YouthBuild’s Senior Director for Leadership Development Joel Miranda. Like many of the Charter School students, he’s faced his fair share of adversity, and he worked hard to overcome it, partially in thanks to his involvement with YouthBuild.

“As I learned to love myself, I learned to love others,” Miranda said. A career at YouthBuild allowed him to improve himself, which in turn helped him impact and uplift others.

Miranda spoke to youth at CACS about what it means to be a real-life superhero: “All the young people I’ve met are superheroes. You are superheroes who haven’t found their powers yet. The world can make you live in fear and keep you from developing your superpower, but you must overcome this.”

Here are his tips for finding your superpower:

  • Costume: How do you show up?
    • Presentation in different settings matters.
  • Headquarters: How are you investing in yourself?
    • The goal should be how to become a better person.
  • Catch phrase: How are you communicating?
    • Be conscientious of the language you’re using in various situations.
  • Tools/Gadgets: What do you need and what is at your disposal?
  • League/Group: Who are you associating with?
    • Surround yourself with people who are good for your development & growth.
    • Miranda asked how many know friends or family who are in jail because of their friends. Many raised their hands.
  • Adversaries/Weaknesses: What’s getting in your way? And how do you get past it?
    • Need to be aware of these
    • Examples given by students: racism as an idea, a boyfriend/girlfriend, or even yourself if you lack willpower or are filled with self-doubt
  • Superpower: What do you have to offer this world?
    • What do you have inside you to help change the community?

Bridging The Gap: A Community Effort

September 27, 2017

At Crispus Attucks, we actively pursue stronger relationships between police and the community through various initiatives. Regular events like the Sheriff’s Program during the Rising STARS Afterschool Program brings in members from law enforcement to speak to youth to promote two-way dialogue and active discussion. At our Annual Meeting this past March, we recognized three local officers for their work in “bridging the gap” between police and the people they serve.
We vowed to work together to keep the conversation going to improve relationships. So, we were encouraged to see these efforts being made outside of CA, too, as evidenced by a recent encounter by one of our staff. Here’s the story:

Officer Cory Landis with neighborhood youth on a summer evening

A few weeks ago, Charter School staff member & long-time CA-er Val Foreman was riding her bike around her neighborhood when an inspiring sight caught her eye: she saw a group of youth gathered around a police car. The officer was showing them the lights on his car and handing out stickers, and the kids were loving it! The encounter was totally unplanned and by chance, and Val was heartened to see a positive police-community relationship blossoming before her eyes–she had to take some photos and do some more digging! Val found out the officer is Cory Landis with Springettsbury Township Police Department. It’s one thing to SAY we will work together with police…it’s another to SEE it happening right before your eyes!

Police vehicles are fascinating!

VIDEO: Our Summer Youth Employment Program was a Huge Success this Year!

September 27, 2017

This year, the Helping Youth Prepare for Employment program had over 170 youth participants working at various sites scattered across York County. They were paid for their hard work, and got great experience in work etiquette, individual duty and job responsibility. Although the program has been around for years, this year it was particularly successful!

Thank you to the United Way of York County for helping fund the program and its success.

New Faces, Same Passion: Help us welcome these new CA employees!

August 25, 2017

After spending a summer as a work site supervisor in the Summer Work Experience Program, Amy Doll (pictured left) joins CA officially in September as a career advisor in the Center for Employment & Training. Having recently graduated from York College with a sociology degree, Amy, a Hanover native, learned about CA when her college advisor sent her information about the summer position. She hasn’t looked back since! As a supervisor of youth working in the Salem Square neighborhood of York, Amy saw firsthand what CA is all about: people who care about their community and work to make it better. Her role as a career advisor will entail going to high schools around York County and working with youth to help them find employment. When asked what she enjoys most about working at CA, Amy replied, “Everything!”

Denise Wible (pictured right) joined CA in mid-July as the new administrative assistant at the Crispus Attucks Charter School. A Spring Grove resident with four sons all in their 20s, Denise comes to us after a long career in the healthcare industry, having specialized in elder care. Looking to change directions in life, Denise sought a new job where she felt like she could make a difference, and she says she feels like she’s doing just that at CA. Now that the school year has started up, Denise says she’s enjoying getting to interact with students more, even if that means things in the office are a little more hectic. She loves all the staff she’s met so far, so despite the crazy days, it’s all worth it to Denise.

Putting it all in perspective: Summer Work Experience participants visit the Holocaust Museum

August 25, 2017

To cap off a productive, fulfilling summer, with new friends and new skills, youth in the Center for Employment & Training’s Summer Work Experience Program–over 100 of them!–traveled to Washington, D.C. for the day on August 3.

The trip wasn’t all fun and games, though. Aside from seeing monuments and city sites, the young people visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. It was a sobering experience, helping to put into perspective a part of history about which many of them knew very little.

The goal of the museum visit was to drive home the message that words and actions carry power, Mike Barba, CET’s Business Manager said. Barba’s hope was that by seeing the tragedies of the Holocaust up close like that, the youth would see the importance of that message as it relates to racial and ethnic tensions that still exist in society today.

As they rode back to York on the buses, youth were reflective about what they had just experienced. The jarring imagery and original artifacts were eye-opening and intense, particularly the large pit of tattered and worn shoes that were collected from those in concentration camps. Jasmine, Kaylah, Daniel, and Reggie all sat near each other on the ride home discussing what they had seen and learned. They were all aware of the Holocaust, but visiting the museum helped them understand it better. They realized that it is their responsibilities to help combat discrimination and celebrate differences among people.

Luckily for them, their participation in the Summer Work Experience Program had already given them a great headstart in that mission.


Reflective Quotes from Our Students

“The museum was both educational and emotionally moving. The images, videos and objects held years of history and are a living example of how hatred and racism can have an impact on so many lives. They will be forever imprinted on my mind.” -Kaylah Grant

“The Holocaust Memorial Museum showed me that I should be grateful. I have gone through a lot in life, but I am grateful that I have a life and it wasn’t stolen from me.” -Aaliyiah Moye-Tan

“I can’t even begin to try to understand how it feels to be ripped from the life you knew and forced into the concentration camps.” – Julian Foulk


Holocaust Memorial Museum Handouts

Each of our students received an ID card chronicling the experiences of people who lived in Europe during the Holocaust. These cards are designed to help personalize the historical events of the time.


Gaining Career Skills & Having Fun this Summer at CA

July 25, 2017
Summer Work Experience Program orientation
Summer Work Experience Program orientation
Around 160 youth have been placed at nearly 50 sites around York. They receive a wage and gain valuable job skills!
A York library is one of the work sites!
Another work site, a garden on Cottage Hill Rd. in York, grows food for the York Fresh Foods Fund.
Through various partnerships, the Center for Employment and Training has set up work sites all around York!
Some youth work in larger groups at sites, while other sites are just one-position jobs.
Learning the ropes!
CET's Summer Work Experience program wouldn't be possible without its dedicated staff!
Working hard and playing hard! Youth participate in team-building exercises and go on educational field trips, too.
They recently spent the day at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster.
The goal of the summer program is to give the youth experiences they might not be afforded otherwise!
Plus, they make some great friends and meet some important mentors!

With partnerships all over the city and county, from Harrisburg Area Community College’s York campus to the York City Fire Dept., nearly 150 youth ages 14-18 are gaining job skills, earning money, and having fun, enriching summers! Check out this slideshow for some highlights!


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