Fall Newsletter 2017

published by Matthew Smith

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Learn about the success of the 2016/17 Life Skills Education program at McAdory Middle School and hear about new schools and community partners joining the program in 2017/18
In This Issue:
Life Skills Education Program Expansion
Fall, 2017
Welcome to the Fall Issue of 2017!
Hello Friends!

Matthew here, excited to give you an update on what's been happening over the last few months at ACE. 

Summer was a time of proud reflection and thoughtful planning as we looked back on accomplishments and evaluated the success of our programs. We've added three new team members this fall and we're gearing up for program expansion coming in January of next year. Since our humble beginnings in 2015, ACE has grown exponentially in our ability to serve the Greater Birmingham community. My favorite example to share of this is the growth of our in-class programs which have expanded 
from one volunteer facilitator and fifteen students in 2016 to having engaged over 25 volunteers and delivered social and emotional programming to over 1,500 students since January of 2017. THAT IS INCREDIBLE!

The ACE Teacher Training initiative continues to grow as well and since our last newsletter, we have delivered training on Social and Emotional Learning to educators at the Cahaba Environmental Center, the McDowell Farm school, and the Alabama School of Fine Arts. Community Outreach is running steady. We continue to provide monthly Self-Care workshops for LGBTQ youth at the Magic City Acceptance Center in Birmingham and, through a partnership with UAB, we are hosting three CommuniSafe roundtable events this month in the communities of Fairfield, Southside, and Huffman.

All of this success is only possible because of your support and in this season of gratitude, we reach out to say THANK YOU! Whether you are a volunteer, a financial supporter, or a community collaborator, it is your dedication that is making our communities safer, healthier, and happier. 

We are honored to partner with you in investing in the mental, social and emotional well-being of our communities. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any thoughts you have on how ACE can better serve you and yours. With much gratitude and love, Matthew Smith, Co-founder & Executive Director [email protected]
Meet Jade and Andrea
Ways to support
Life-Skills Library
Get to know our AmeriCorps team members
New and easy ways to support Social and Emotional Learning.
Sharpen your Life-Skills with this Social & Emotional Learning tidbit.
ACE is gearing up for our third year of Life Skills Education programming at McAdory Middle School and we are proud to announce that in spring of 2018 we will be expanding the program to include the Alabama School of Fine Arts and all three elementary schools in the Fairfield school system. 

We have analyzed the data from the 2017 program and can confirm that students at McAdory made significant improvement across all measured social and emotional learning objectives. We are excited to bring that same progress to ASFA and Fairfield.

The success of this program is possible because of the incredible dedication of our volunteers. If you can commit two hours per week for nine weeks to facilitating Life Skills Education in a school, click the button to the left to apply to be a volunteer for the 2018 program. The program runs from January to March and we would love to have you join the team!
Andrea Miller, Amber James, Brittany Mumpower, Sarah Henderson, Sonia Crist, April Petty, Jonisha Rice, Cindy Gage, Meloni Hinson, Raine Aslan     Shanda Nicholson Thank you, thank you, thank you!
2017 McAdory Life Skills Education Volunteers
We are excited to have Andrea and Jade on as Program Specialists for McAdory Middle School and Fairfield Elementary schools, respectively. They are AmeriCorps members serving through the YWCA's "Building Communities, Bettering Lives" 2017-2018 program.

Andrea graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a degree in Mass Communications in 2015. She was the first volunteer in the Life Skills Education Program in 2016 and continued volunteering in 2017 at McAdory Middle School. She's an advocate for human rights, is interested in politics, loves to sing, and plays roller derby on Birmingham's Tragic City Rollers team.

Jade graduated from the University of Montevallo in 2015 with a degree in Psychology and is now a graduate student in the counseling program at UM. This is her first year serving with ACE as one of the Life Skills Education Program Specialist. She is an advocate for mental health awareness and heavily involved in youth programming, such as mentoring with Girls Inc. Her free time is spent hanging out with her nephew, impromptu car concerts, and reading dystopian novels.

We are so grateful to have these two on our team!

Jade Lee (left) and Andrea Miller (right), AmeriCorps Members and Program Specialists for the Life Skills Education program
Support While You Shop
Buy products from many of your favorite stores right on the ACE website! Participating stores include Amazon, AutoZone, FedEx, Target, American Eagle, and many more!
Become a Monthly Donor
As a Monthly Donor, you provide ongoing support to our team with a regular monthly gift. It's simple. Each month your contribution is transferred from your credit card or bank account to ACE. You can increase, decrease, or suspend your gift amount at any time using your personal donation management link.
Planet Fundraiser is a Birmingham based app that allows you to support ACE through everyday purchases at local stores you already love. All you have to do is download the app and take a picture of the receipt after you make a purchase!
Starting the day after Thanksgiving, you can pamper yourself or give the gift of health and relaxation to someone you love while supporting ACE at the same time! Our friends at Alternative Pain Management will be donating a portion of all gift certificate sales from November 24th to December 24th. 

Have you ever experienced a conflict? Of course you have; we all have. There are steps to dealing with a conflict whether it be with your friends, family, or someone you don’t know. 

Seven tips for managing conflict:
1.   Identify the source of the conflict.

Where did it arise from and who should you talk to in order to resolve the conflict?

2.   Identify the needs and wants of the two parties.

Do you just want something or do you actually need it?

3.   Say what you mean.

Communicate responsibly using I-statements and avoiding generalizations, name-calling, and stereotypes.

4.   Use anger management techniques to control emotions.

If the conflict in question is making you emotional, use techniques like counting to ten before responding in order to calm yourself so that you can communicate responsibly.

5.   Look for common ground with the other person.

Sometimes you may think with a “me vs. them” mindset. Instead, find common ground with the other person so that you can better understand their needs or wants.

6.   Work toward a win-win situation, and find a solution that isacceptable to both parties.

If you can find a middle ground, it is better to try to find a win-win situation than to create win-lose or lose-lose situations.

7.   If no acceptable resolution can be found, bring in a mediator.

Remember that these steps are what YOU can do in order to resolve a conflict; the other side of the conflict you cannot control and it is up to you to decide whether or not it’s important to resolve the conflict.

Join as a Volunteer
Volunteers are essential for the work we do at ACE. We have a wide range of service opportunities including office administrative tasks, event planning and support, committee service, in-class program facilitation, and more. Join today to stay up to date on how you can make a difference!
Sign Up as an Educator
Empowering local educators to incorporate SEL in the classroom is a pivotal step in ensuring the social and emotional well-being of our communities. Sign up as an educator to receive info on upcoming workshops and events. We are here for YOU!
Your contributions make ACE possible. Social and Emotional Learning has proven to make a positive difference in communities all over the world and now is the time to bring those positive outcomes home. Join us by donating now. No amount is too big or too small.
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That's it for now. Feel free to leave comments on our Facebook and Twitter, let us know what you think and what you'd like to see from ACE! We are so excited to be working with you to ensure a brighter future through Social and Emotional Learning!
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