June 2019  

This August's newsletter is all about successfully taking on new challenges to meet needs. Luckily, this is something that CORA's staff know a lot about! From taking on a new summer camp site at St. Martin de Porres, with a only a few weeks' notice, to kicking off our much anticipated Alternative Peer Group at The Bridge Way School, CORA employees exhibit that same passion that Sr. Charity showed for pushing the limits to ensure high quality service delivery to unmet needs.

I hope all of our employees enjoyed summer fun and relaxation with their families, but you wouldn't know they took a break at all, based on the progress and hustle I've witnessed over the past couple of months. Most recently, the 11th Annual CORA for Kids Golf Classic displayed the incredible team spirit of the CORA community. It was wonderful to see so many dedicated staff, volunteers and partners working together to support CORA's children and families!

As we transition from summer mode into another school year, I thank you for your ongoing connection to CORA as we adapt and expand. We depend on our entire network to serve our client families and couldn't provide the quality and comprehensive resources we offer them without your time, effort and generosity.

I hope you'll enjoy the enclosed information about how to get your kids ready for the transition from summer to a new academic year. Some of CORA's transitions into the new school year include introducing our services to numerous new schools and afterschool program sites, the Champions for Children celebration on Dec. 3, 2019, and the opening of Early Years Huntingdon Mills in Jan. 2020.

Thanks for all you do to ensure that the services we provide, to each family we encounter, are that much better.

AnnMarie Schultz, President & CEO
It's Always Sunny at YouthCOR Summer Camp!

Many kids and counselors fondly remember the original CAMP CORA which ran from 1978-2004. Thousands of kids attended summer camp on our old grounds during those years, swimming in the pools, playing basketball, tennis and lots of other recreational activities, and chasing the infamous ground hog that always seemed to resurface. 

Today CORA hosts 6 different summer camps at schools across the city. YouthCOR serves about 500 children from kindergarten through 8th grade at Loesche, Pollock, Spruance, St. Martin de Porres, Thurgood Marshall and Northwood.  This summer, YouthCOR campers have set forth on a Safari Adventure with fun-filled days complete with STEM/STEAM learning, African Folktales, Social-Emotional Learning activities, Art, African Dance, Drumming, Drama, Culinary Arts, Sports and Splish-Splashy water fun!  The Middle School students are not just concentrating on summer fun; they are future focused with a summer that has included social activism on a global level, as well as Career planning and College visits.  Their summer wouldn't be complete without a trip to the Philadelphia zoo and a Six Flags Great Adventure and Safari. 

Rob McElhenney, and his wife Kaitlin Olsen, make a gift to YouthCOR each year to support children whose families can't afford to send them to summer camp. Rob, who is honorary co-chair of CORA's annual golf outing, attended and worked for CAMP CORA and is proud to pay it forward and make a similar experience possible to a current CORA kid! While Rob couldn't attend the tournament this year, his father Bob McElhenney participated along with CORA board member John Mapes. We are grateful each of their ongoing commitments of time, energy and expertise to CORA!
If you're interested in helping CORA make services available to families that don't have the means, visit our website and make a gift to ensure it's always sunny at CORA, or email and let us know how you'd like to help CORA help more kids!      

Learning Through Summer Play

As a child, you may recall playing games of hide and seek, tag and jumping rope. Perhaps, you may remember arguing over stickball or creating imaginary worlds, building forts and putting on plays.  From long summer days to a few hours after school, kid-organized play probably filled much of your free time.

When we think of play, we realize that it comes in many forms and that it cannot be narrowly described as one specific activity. In social play, children play with one another or with adults. In independent play, children play by themselves and in guided play, children play within a context that adults have setup. Ben Mardell, a researcher, educator, and expert on play and development, says that "any activity can be play or not play. The secret sauce is playfulness".

Children gain many benefits from play due to its multi-faceted nature.  These benefits are just as valid for a preschooler as they are for middle-schoolers.   In "Towards the Pedagogy of Play", a working paper from Project Zero at Harvard's Graduate School of Education, Ben Mardell and others explain some of the advantages of learning through play.  Read more here. 

Article submitted by Donna Bullard - CORA Occupational Therapist 

School Success Starts in the Summer

young-girl-studying.jpg As the long summer of fun stretches ahead... at least until August, some parents will begin to realize that the start to a new grade brings new expectations and academic demands. How can everyone best prepare?

Encourage healthy routines that lead to student success even when school isn't in session! Don't wait for the school year to emphasize the importance of sleep, nutrition, exercise, and even reading and math practice through everyday activities. 

It is possible to have a smooth transition into school if you keep a few simple things in mind: meet your child's physical needs, prepare them academically, and keep the lines of communication open.  Read more here.

Article submitted by Jill Van Rawley - CORA Educator

Is My Child Ready for School -
Physically, Cognitively, and Emotionally?

Kindergarten can be a scary transition for kids and parents alike.  Nearly every parent wonders, "Is my child ready?"  No matter where we choose to educate our children, we all want to be assured that they are where they need to be physically, cognitively and emotionally.

Let's face it, kindergarten isn't what it used to be. Right or wrong, it is the world we live in and there are heightened expectations for students entering kindergarten. The following list is intended to help you prepare your child, in a variety of developmental areas, to make the transition to kindergarten as smooth and possible. 

Just 15-20 minutes of playing with your child each day can make a world of difference!

Physical Development (Gross and Fine Motor)
  • Give your child plenty of opportunities for outdoor play:running, jumping and climbing.
  • Teach your child to write his/her name and to recognize the spelling of his/her name. To start, write his/her name using a highlighter and encourage him/her to trace over it. Be sure that he/she forms the letters from top to the bottom.
  • Play with playdough or clay regularly. Roll, squish, stamp and even cut it!Teach your child to use child-safe scissors to cut out various shapes and creative arts and crafts projects.
Cognitive Development
  • Have your child help you sort items according to color, size, and shape (blocks, toys, and other household items work well).
  • Practice counting aloud to 20, play games with rhyming words, and identifying colors.
  • Talk about positional and directional concepts like up/down, over/under, in/out, behind/in front of, top/bottom, beside/between, off/on, stop/go.
  • Talk about opposite words such as big/little, empty/full, slow/fast.
Language Development
  • Read to your child for a combined total of AT LEAST 20 minutes each day.
  • After reading, ask your child to recall the events in the story.
  • Give your child plenty of opportunities to draw pictures of things around them.
Creative Arts
  • Always encourage pretend play and occasionally join your child in his/her fantasy world.
  • Use a variety of materials to let your child, paint, draw and explore!
Social/Emotional Development
  • Encourage your child to persist in tasks when encountering a problem by giving him/her tasks slightly above his/her current ability level. When your child cannot find a solution on his/her own, encourage him/her to calmly ask for help.
  • Play board games to practice turn-taking and how to handle winning or losing.
  • Tell your child you expect him/her to clean up after play.
  • For peer socialization, children need to interact with other children at playgrounds, parks and sports teams.
Common Requests from Teachers
  • Teach children how put on their coats, jackets, and/or sweaters.
  • Have your child practice using a zipper.
  • Reinforce using manners like saying "please" and "thank you." 
  • Encourage independence in the bathroom. For example cleaning themselves and washing their hands with soap.
  • Teach children how to open juice box, water bottle and thermos.
  • Help them to know when to ask for help when needed.
One of the best ways to prepare your child for kindergarten is through play, real-life experiences, and simple conversation.

Article submitted by MaryAnn Donnelly - CORA Counselor

On behalf of the 20,000 children and families we serve each year, we  THANK YOU for supporting the 11th Annual CORA for KIDS Golf Classic at the Philadelphia Cricket Club! Special thanks goes out to all of our awesome golf sponsors, from hole sponsors to auction donors, to those who purchased multiple foursomes!  

Everyone enjoyed the day so much that we already booked next year - save the date -  June 1, 2020 - or register now to reserve your spot. 

Thanks to our 2019 Community Partners!

CORA hosts three large fundraising events, and many small events each year, to engage CORA's partners and enhance our ongoing work to support families and strengthen communities.   NFP, Plumbers Local 690, Univest and Iron Hill partner with CORA as year long sponsors to ensure our continued and consistent success.
Dana Brown and Ray Naes from Univest Bank visited Early Years Fox Chase to meet some of the children that benefit from their investment.

Matt Butchin and the Iron Hill Huntingdon Valley team presented a check to CORA from the proceeds from the triple chocolate hill dessert.
CORA Community Partner Sponsorship begin at $5,000 annually. 

CORA Services
8540 Verree Road
Philadelphia, PA 19111

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