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September 16, 2010

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September 16, 2010

As a Special Education teacher, I have always felt that the public school system, in order to save money, has concentrated only on academic curricula, not addressing the whole child and their preparation to be fully-functioning citizens. SFK addresses the missing component, exposing students to the social, emotional and life skills necessary to be successful in the real world. I have worked as a teacher's aide in some of their classrooms and found the program to be fun, easy to understand and the information to be extremely valuable. Their teachers are well-trained and their relationship with the classroom teacher leads to the inclusion of the material into the regular school curriculum. Several classroom teachers have told me that they love the program and have seen vast differences in their students' peer relationships, self-esteem and classroom demeanor greatly improve after their exposure to the program. My hope is that before long, all schools will offer the SFK program.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

See above review.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would like to see the SFK program available to all children, all around the world.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the commitment of the staff and volunteers. It is obviously a labor of love.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

warm, friendly, helpful and committed.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

expand its program around the world.

Ways to make it better...

n/a

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

having enough financial resources to fully expand their program.

One thing I'd also say is that...

this program gives me hope for the future.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

September 16, 2010

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September 16, 2010

I have always loved kids and had been searching for volunteer opportunities. I became aware of the SFK program and after a meeting they had for all potential volunteers, realized this was what I had been waiting for. I was fortunate enough to be involved with SFK Outreach program and volunteered with the kids every Sunday for over 5 years. At first, I was most excited to be there to help show the kids all the wonderful things SFK has to offer. How it can help change their lives, become loving and kinder people and give them tools to make better choices in any given situation. But I must confess, within the first month, I was the one learning from them! The appreciation they had for what they were being taught, the empowerment they felt over their own lives, only served to remind ME to live a kinder life. To see a child come to class for the first time, shy, quiet and nervous sitting in the back of the room and then to see how they had evolved over time, into a child that felt secure and could stand up in front of all the other kids to give a speech, act out a skit, share something they learned, and to be proud of who they were was beyond amazing. To hear from a 13 year old girl, that used to believe the only way to protect herself was with her fists and hurtful words, who would yell at her mother and other kids at school, realize that there is a better way to resolve things and use the tools that were taught was not only life changing for her, but for me as well. I also cannot say enough about the fantastic group of teachers that are a part of SFK. These are people that are not just giving of their time, but giving of their heart. They made every volunteer feel as if they were the most important person on earth and were always welcoming our suggestions. We were a team. And that also translated to how they dealt with the kids. The level of respect they showed the children was beautiful to see. Some of these children came from a tough neighborhood and broken homes overcoming so many obstacles daily, situations you cannot imagine. The respect they were given helped to give them self esteem and to realize they are valued and loved and can achieve anything they want. I was helping a 9 year old boy answer some questions we had given them the first day of class so we could learn a bit more about them. One of the questions was what do you wish for. This was about 6 years ago but I've never forgotten his response. After he thought for a moment he said, "to live in a safe neighborhood". Now, how many of us would respond that way to the same question? While there was nothing I could do to change his living situation, what we could do and did do, was give him tools to better handle what he was going thru. What they were taught informed every aspect of their lives. To hear them tell stories of how they shared what they learned at SFK with their friends, and how excited they were in being able to do that was so amazing. Because they became teachers as well without even realizing it. What a glorious world we would live in if we all realized the importance of being kind, of sharing and of also accepting responsibilities for our own actions. These are just some of the things the children were taught. I am so proud to say that I was a part of SFK and was a part of bringing such a positive, life changing program into the lives of these children.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my every day life. See my review above for more details.

More feedback...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

September 15, 2010

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September 15, 2010

"When I started volunteering as an SFK Facilitator, I was teaching the concepts that I learned but along the way something that I cannot explain happen. I felt that I grew in a strange way. Like if I had an organ around me that expanded and then suddenly, I experienced a jump in understanding. After that, I found myself explaining the concepts of the Opponent, Effort, Cause/Effect with such clarity in an effortless way that I can truly say that no other job has provided me with such an awareness and understanding of Life than working with kids." Paloma Vidal

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

September 15, 2010

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September 15, 2010

My challenge was to teach public speaking to students, their parents, their grandparents and other family members at the same time in one classroom. The curriculum had to capture the imagination and interest of everyone from ages 6 to 76 and many in the audience were Spanish speaking and of course I didn't speak a word of Spanish. To put it bluntly, I was scared because I had to use an interpreter in order to communicate with the parents and grandparents. SFK's curriculum is all about conquering fears so I put my personal fears aside and worked with three colleagues to develop a theme for the class that would motivate everyone to stick with the ten week class until the end. We created our own version of 'Oscar Night' where each student would be a star and have an opportunity to get up on stage and give their speech. We enticed the students by offering them Star treatment like make-up and hair touch-ups, an opportunity to walk down the red carpet to take photos, and invited special guests from the Hollywood acting community. We were delighted with the results ... 100% participation. Everyone from ages 6 to 76 got up on the stage and gave their speeches and the smiles of achievement and accomplishment were amazing. Grandparents motivated their grandchildren by being willing to get up on the stage and give their speeches. It became a fantastic event to improved family dynamics, create more sharing and caring within the family, and everyone felt special and like a 'Hollywood Star.' A few months later we did an assessment of the event and found that the event had a profound effect on many of the participants. For example some of the students gained the courage to run for offices at their school; some students decided to join their school's debate team; some thought about pursuing their dream of becoming a lawyer or teacher or going into the theatre. What everyone learned was caring and sharing and treating others with human dignity brings happiness and joy and a strong sense of personal purpose. Public Speaking which previously was considered a FEAR was transformed into a personal Self-Esteem GROWTH EXPERIENCE. SFK consistently creates opportunities for Volunteers which are unusual, rewarding as well as challenging. SFK creates success for their teaching team, the students and the Volunteers.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've personally experienced the results of this organization by volunteering and supporting the group since it first got started in Los Angeles. SFK has now become global.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would encourage them to grow and branch out to more school districts in the USA because there is a need for programs which teach students to treat others with human dignity.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is meeting people from all over the world who come to be trained at SFK headquarters in Los Angeles.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were professionals willing to give something back to the community by giving service and sharing their talent and skill.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could set up programs in 'hot spots' where problems are intense and war is ongoing. By having SFK in some of these areas the children could learn new techniques of how to solve problems rather than war.

Ways to make it better...

My experience would have been better if I had more time to Volunteer. I am involved in international affairs so I am always travelling overseas, therefore my schedule does not allow for consistent day to day volunteering.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

In my opinion the biggest challenges facing this organization are a shortage of teachers trained in the SFK methodology.

One thing I'd also say is that...

One thing I'd like to say is that what they lack in money or funds, they make up by their unending enthusiasm, desire, and fortitude to give their best and to be the best in their field.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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