News & Updates:

Why Residential Education is Needed Now More Than Ever: 16.4 Million Children Lived in Poverty in 2010!

Statement from Executive Director, Nicholette K. Smith-Bligen

Bethesda, MD – In response to the U.S. Census report released on September 13, 2011 that found that 16.4 million children lived in poverty in 2010, Executive Director of CORE (Coalition for Residential Education), Nicholette K. Smith-Bligen is advocating for the use of residential education programs, as a viable option, to support children who live in poverty and their families. CORE, as the national voice of established and newly developing residential education programs for youth from disadvantaged backgrounds, is taking new steps to increase efforts to help more children and families across the United States.

“This report is a wake-up call for all who work in education, child welfare, social work, and public policy to identify more effective ways to address poverty among children and families, especially during this financial downturn,” said Smith-Bligen. “The data from the U.S. Census report is disheartening, but fuels CORE’s efforts to change the stark realities of poverty in America.”

The report also found that over 5.5 million children under five-years old were poor. Children of color are disproportionately affected by poverty with 4.4 million black children and 6.1 million Hispanic children were poor. In addition, five million white, non-Hispanic children were poor. Residential education is one of many essential tools for children and families in vulnerable situations to get out of poverty and work towards a future not ridden by homelessness.

“Through collaborative efforts with federal and state policymakers, we can expand our work to provide high-quality education, family-like settings while encouraging family preservation, now more than ever. We will continue to live up to our motto ‘where others see disadvantage, we see a child with promise,’ said Smith-Bligen.

Founded in 1994 and based in the Washington, DC area, Coalition for Residential Education (CORE) is the national nonprofit organization that serves children from economically and socially disadvantaged backgrounds through residential education programs. CORE passionately believes high-quality residential education should be added to the scarce options available to these children, their families, and our communities.

CORE Executive Director and Board Chair to Present at The National Independent Living Conference

For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bethesda, MD – Executive Director of the Coalition for Residential Education (CORE), Nicholette Smith-Bligen and Board Chair and Vice President of Methodist Children’s Home, Moe Dozier will give a presentation today at the 24th Annual “Growing Pains 2011” National Independent Living Conference at the Gaylord Texan Convention Center in Grapevine, TX. Smith-Bligen’s proposal, “Residential Education: A well kept secret of positive outcomes for youth” was selected by the Daniel Memorial Institute, host of the conference, aimed to help social services programs and professionals enhance their work.

“As we continue to grow and raise awareness about residential education (RE), CORE is taking new, strategic steps to highlight our member programs and generate more awareness around the life-changing impact of residential education,” said Smith-Bligen. “CORE will work to address and assuage any concerns about RE and identify more opportunities to support our members.”

This will be CORE’s first time presenting at the National Independent Living Conference, which is attended annually by youth service and independent living professionals, emancipation workers, and youth ages 15 and older. Smith-Bligen will lead the workshop with the support of Dozier, who will provide cogent comment and insight on the benefits of RE programs.

She will also make visits to Texas RE member programs, accompanied by fellow board member, Kelly Mills, who is based in Texas. In addition, she will be having meetings coordinated by Dozier with key stakeholders, leaders, and professionals working in RE.

“Together with CORE’s board, I am working to scale up efforts to advocate on behalf of our members while providing new tools to better serve economically and socially disadvantaged youth,” said Smith-Bligen.

The workshop on residential education will begin at 2:45 p.m. CDT. To get more information on the conference, please email or call (301) 656-6101.

Founded in 1994 and based in the Washington, DC area, Coalition for Residential Education (CORE) is the national nonprofit organization that serves economically and socially disadvantaged children through residential education programs. CORE passionately believes high-quality residential education should be added to the scarce options available to these children, their families, and our communities.

Message from CORE’s Executive Director

On behalf of the CORE members and our board of directors, I extend my sincere condolences to the family and staff of Peter Goldberg, president and CEO of the Alliance for Children and Families and United Neighborhood Centers of America, who passed away on August 12th.
Mr. Goldberg left an indelible mark on the communities and people he served and was truly committed to building a healthy society and quality environment for children and families to grow.

Mr. Goldberg was invested in supporting nonprofits like CORE that serve children and families through capacity building, advocacy, and providing economic empowerment. He will continue to serve as a role model for us and guide how we serve families and children.

I wish Mr. Goldberg’s family and staff consolation as they transition through this challenging time. He will truly be missed by all of us.

Deepest Regards,

Nicholette K. Smith-Bligen,
Executive Director,
Coalition for Residential Education (CORE)

Hot off the Press!

An article describing Residential Education and CORE’s advocacy trip to the Hill this past April was printed in the Associated Baptist Press this past week. Please take a look that this exciting article.

Beautification Day at Seamark Ranch!

A group of volunteers took part in a beautification day this past month at Seamark Ranch. These volunteers, all employees from Foundation Financial Group in Jacksonville painted rooms in the girls’ houses on the ranch. Foundation Financial Group also made a generous donation to Seamark Ranch.

“It is always amazing to see what one person’s vision can bring to our world,” said George Stone, senior vice president and division general manager of Foundation Financial Group in Jacksonville. “We are honored to play what part we can in helping enhance the lives of children who have found a home at Seamark Ranch.”

To see the original article, please follow this link.

Note from CORE:
CORE programs thrive with help from volunteers! Thank you Foundation Financial Group for being so generous with your time and support.

CORE is gearing up for their 2011 Leadership Institute: “Building the Next Generation of Residential Education Programs!”

We invite you, to join senior staff from other CORE member and potential member programs from across the country, on October 6-7, for the 2011 CORE Leadership Institute. This year’s institute will be hosted by the Crossnore School during the peak of the fall season in the exquisite Appalachian Mountains.

Residential education programs across the country are grappling with how to continue serving vulnerable youth and families, via residential education and in other ways, in light of today’s realities. How, exactly, are programs retooling, changing, “bending” to face these challenges? How can your program change to meet today’s demands while still staying true to its mission? How can your program move forward with less resources and still maintain its competitive edge? These questions will be the focus of most of our discussions, in addition to touring the highly regarded Crossnore School.

The leadership institute is not to be missed; past participants have benefited from the vast networking opportunities that this intimate setting has afforded. In this setting you will make valuable connections that will help you and your organization move forward while combating today’s challenges. You will find during this conference that you’re not alone in this battle; we are all in it together.

For more information on this conference, please email Aviva.

A CORE Shout-Out!

Having CORE listed on the online site is a great opportunity to get the word out about Residential Education. See what they had to say about CORE… Please follow this link to see this most recent success.

Don’t miss out: Cyberbulling webinar June 21st!

Special Agent Craig LeCadre, of the PA Attorney General’s Office, enthralled us at the 2011 National Conference, so we’ve asked him to speak to our membership again. Mr. LeCadre will be speaking about cyberbulling and sexting. Both are extremely relevant topics for many students today.

Cyberbullying is a variation of bullying utilizing technology to perpetrate harassment of one-another. How can we protect our children? How can we identify the bully, the victim, and the bystander? With so much of our childrens’ social lives occurring on the technological interface, how can we possibly find a way to protect them from hurting each other?

“Sticks and Stones” is designed to provide adults with resources to help protect children while allowing them to enjoy the benefits from technology. Mr. LeCadre provides helpful information for ensuring student safety and program liability, delivered in an entertaining manner and is knowledgeable in these subject areas. He also provides guidelines for legal responsibilities of programs in this arena.

We hope that you will be able to join us in listening to his talk. There will be time for a few questions at the end and even sporadically throughout the presentation.

The webinar will occur via our member program, Girard College, June 21st from 9:45-11:15 AM EST. The cost to each member is $60. Please follow this link to sign up for this webinar.

We look forward to your participation in this relevant event! And please do not hesitate to contact the CORE office if you have any questions.

Welcome to the CORE Community Nicholette!

The CORE Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Nicholette Smith-Bligen has been selected as the organization’s next Executive Director. Nicholette succeeds Heidi Goldsmith, our Founder and Executive Director who retired as executive director last month and has been working as a consultant for CORE since then. Heidi, who met Nicholette during the search process, had this to say about Nicholette.: “I am delighted with the selection of Nicholette as the next Executive Director of CORE. Nicholette brings a wealth of experience and expertise in child welfare issues; she is a strong advocate for children and youth, and is enthusiastic about CORE and its mission.”

Please follow this link to the full announcement letter.

Milton Hershey School Senior Performs in All-Eastern Chorus

Singing and performing in front of his peers and the public has always come easy for Milton Hershey School (MHS) Senior James Stankunas. An MHS student since his enrollment as a kindergartener, James’ passion has landed him in numerous musical performances and school drama productions, as well as a role in the motion picture, The Night Listener-all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

A high point of James’ singing career took place on Sunday, April 3, in Baltimore, when he performed for an audience of thousands as a member of the highly prestigious 2011 MENC (Music Educators’ National Conference) All-Eastern Chorus. By virtue of his performance in the 2010 Pennsylvania All-State Chorus and his second-place ranking, James was chosen to sing in this select group of the most musically talented high school students from the eastern region of the United States.

“Being selected for All-Eastern Chorus is an honor that not many choral students are able to experience. I did not expect to get chosen for the Chorus; I didn’t even think I would make it past the District level. …The fact that I made it to the highest level possible and made MHS history is mind-blowing, to say the least,” said James.

For the April performance, students prepared challenging music that they performed under the leadership of prominent conductors in this biennial event, consisting of a concert band, symphony orchestra, mixed chorus, and jazz ensemble; all organized by members of MENC.

James plans to continue his education at Berklee College of Music, MA, with a double major in Music Business and Vocal Performance.