Friday, September 16, 2011

Phone Conversations

It’s that time of year where DinoMights begins preparing for another season of hockey. In and amongst the chaos of organizing equipment, recruiting volunteers, and making the season schedule we try and call a handful of our kids to and see how their school year has started.

The calls don’t typically last long and consist mostly of the kids answering the following questions with one word responses: “How is school going?” “Do you like your teacher?” “What is your favorite subject right now?”

One phone call, however, turned into a phone call beyond just checking in.

On occasion we have students in DinoMights going to schools that are not the appropriate learning environment for them. We have one kid, in particular, that Scott and Eric worked with last year to help him find a more suitable high school that will help him be more successful with his education. So as Scott got on the phone and found out that he was not going to the school they helped him transfer to, I got to hear Scott’s half of the conversation. It’s conversations like these that make me proud to be a part of DinoMights.

Scott was angry and disappointed. It was an anger and disappointment, though, that came out of a genuine love for the kid. There was a clear passion in his voice that could only exist out of a deep sense of care for him. As Scott questioned him about his current situation, why he wasn’t going to the other school, and if he’d prefer to transfer, the DinoMight insisted that he will be able to succeed at the school he is at instead of transferring. At one point in the conversation I heard Scott say, “I will not sit back and watch you fall through the cracks. I am here for you, and I do believe you can succeed, so if this school is not helping you succeed I WILL intervene."

When Minneapolis has a 4year graduation rate of 49%, these issues become serious. DinoMights acknowledges the statistics, but we see our kids individually. They aren’t just statistics to us, we don’t just want them to “beat” the statistics. We want our kids to grow into adults and have the opportunities to be what they want to be “when they grow up.” We want our kids to make dreams for their lives and see that they are possible to achieve. We want our kids to know that they have choices. Choices to succeed, choices to learn, choices to become who they are.

In the words of E.E. Cummings, “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” We want to help them gain that courage and support them in their journey. Scott’s conversation was an example of that.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Vlog 5!!

Here is the link for the 5th video blog! Dinos went to camp :)

Welcome Jensine!

Hello! I’m a new face around here and I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Jensine Pulford and I am here as one of the new program assistants. I have just recently returned to Minneapolis after having spent the last five years teaching abroad in both Guatemala and Jalisco, Mexico. It was a difficult decision to move back, but it has been so much fun getting to know this awesome city all over again. I had forgotten how much I appreciate its unique and beautiful mix of people and culture. And, it is home of the DinoMights!!! I am excited to be here and I am thankful for this brilliant opportunity to be blessed by and to serve with the Dinos! I look forward to meet and build relationships with the Dino community, to be apart of its growth and to see the many ways it will grow me as well. Blessings to you,


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Trike-A-Thon Video!

Here is the link to the youtube video for the trike race for those of you who have been eager to see it!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Making Friends

Last week was DinoMights’ annual Power Camp, our week long academic camp focusing on nutrition. Personally, I find this week incredibly stressful and I will openly admit that I am far greater at playing games and being active with kids than sitting them down and having them read and write and listen. For this, I admire all teachers out there. However, though stressful, there were moments this week that were encouraging and uplifting. One story, in particular, I am eager to share with you all.

Giselle is one of our middle school girls. She joined DinoMights last year as a Polar. Her mom would drive her and her brother to and from practice so her interactions with other fellow DinoMights and coaches were at the ice rink. Every early Wednesday morning I would find her standing next to her mom and I would say, “Good morning Giselle! How are you?” Her answer was often mouthing, “Good.” There may have been noise that came out, but not audible to the human ear. See, Giselle is painstakingly shy. One time I was in her elementary school with Eric and saw her helping out her teacher and I yelled, “Hey Giselle!!” She looked at me with a blank face. I was almost worried I had the wrong girl and asked Eric, “That is Giselle, right??” It was, and I’m sure some people can relate to that level of shyness. So you can imagine how difficult it may be for her to make friends when saying “hello” and “good” are difficult.
So throughout the season we were all waiting to see which group of friends she would find her niche with. But it never really happened...until this week. This week I noticed after being teamed up with two other girls for camp, Guadalupe and Jennifer, that she began sitting with them before we started camp and at the gathering time when we ended. On the last day we went to a water park. Jennifer and Guadalupe were girls I coached last year, so they often came up with Giselle to chat with me… and believe it or not… Giselle was the most chatty. From not really knowing what her voice sounded like to having my ear talked off (GLADLY!) was more than a huge step. And right as we were leaving for the day Guadalupe put her arm around Giselle and told me, “I’m bringing Giselle to the water park on Sunday.”
Giselle found her niche. She found her voice. She found her comfort here at DinoMights. These are the stories we cherish. We aim for Social Excellence by fostering a safe environment to make friends. This is one of those success stories.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


So that was quick, I know but here is the link to our 2nd Video Blog highlighting our day at the NHL clinic. It was kind of a big deal...

Introduction to DinoMight VIDEO Blogs

Here is the YouTube link for the very first VIDEO blog. Keep your eyes out for more to come in the near future! Yay Dinos!