Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Day in the Life of a Children's Choice Kid

We wanted to know what it was like to spend the day as a Children's Choice kid.    

Marli, a 5th grader,  graciously let us follow her around for one afternoon.   You can see the many activities she did that day, such as a lottery drawing, practicing for a talent show, and hanging out in the older kids area.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Kym’s Sandwich Sushi

We had a great time making, plating and garnishing our very own sandwich sushi. Everyone had the chance to design and construct their own sushi roll based on their individual tastes, likes, and dislikes. Many voiced ideas about other ingredients one could use inside the sushi roll and everyone was excited to repeat their experience at home. Parents were also pleasantly surprised to see their children so excited about making a healthy snack or lunch for themselves. We also loved hearing one of the children explaining to their parents the nuances of aesthetics in terms of plating and garnishing, “Just like in a restaurant!” Sandwich Sushi was a success on all counts! 

See below for recipe. 

Sandwich Sushi:

1 Tortilla
1 Cream Cheese Packet (or 3 TBS)
1 piece deli ham (or sandwich meat of your choice)
1 shredded carrot
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
1 lettuce leaf
1 cucumber, sliced length wise
Cilantro (for garnish)

Slice 1 inch strip off the end of the tortilla, to make a straight edge. Spread tortilla with cream cheese, place ham, lettuce, cucumber, carrot and red bell pepper on opposite end of tortilla from straight edge, Tightly roll tortilla toward straight edge. Slice ½ inch pieces of “sushi” from the now rolled “sushi roll”. Plate sushi pieces on a plate and garnish with cilantro. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

How to Earn Money Having Fun!

Let’s face it, finding a job is hard.  It’s even more difficult to find a good job that actually makes a positive difference in your life and the lives of others.  But at Children’s Choice they have a secret strategy for keeping their employees happy.  You want to know the secret?  It’s simple.

They value their employees.

It’s not just my opinion that Children’s Choice is one of the best places to work. Children’s Choice has been awarded by the Albuquerque Journal 3 years in a row for being a Top Workplace for Small Businesses in New Mexico.

Here are just some of the many reason why Children’s Choice is one of the best places to work at in New Mexico.

  1. It makes a positive difference. 
CC (Children’s Choice) is a before and after-school program that offers a safe place for kids to go when they aren’t in school.  Not only is it a model of quality for after-school care, it is Nationally Accredited.   Additionally, many former CC kids have shared stories about their experiences in our program and attribute a part of their success to those experiences and their relationships with CC staff.

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  1. It’s all about the...
Randomly ask a CC staff person CC to finish this phrase, “It’s  about the…” and without hesitation they will shout “RELATIONSHIPS!”  This is because CC highly values the interactions between kids, staff, and families.  

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CC focuses on positive and meaningful interactions.  It’s the only time during the day when adults can spend significant time with kids in a small setting, doing fun, enriching activities.  Staff are trained to pay attention to kids needs and teach positive social interactions.  These are life long skills that children and adults need to achieve success in life.
  1. You feel appreciated and valued. 
At CC, staff is always highly valued.  Part-time employees get 8 paid holidays, and 9 paid holidays your second year.  Full time staff has access to health, dental and vision care, as well as a 401K with 7% matching, life insurance, and 10 days paid leave every year.

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Not only that, Children’s Choice makes over 70 hours of paid training available each year.  Mike and Chelsea Ashcraft, the CEOs of Children’s Choice, travel the country to provide training at conferences and other after-school programs.  But more importantly, they train their own staff.   CC, unlike most businesses, allows staff to learn the philosophies and values directly from the founders, and if you have any questions you can ask them directly.

  1. It’s a lot of FUN!
Children’s Choice is a place where play is required.   After-School should be a time when kids can be themselves, so we encourage staff to play.  Not only that, we go on fields trips, do fun activities, and have enrichment clubs.  

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You can bring your passion to CC.  Staff get to make their own curriculum and bring in their interests and talents to share with the kids.  This means that if you’re into cooking, you can teach a group of kids how to cook.  If you’re into science, you can do a science project with the kids.  If you like music, you can start your own band with the kids.  A big part of the CC is the experience we create, and we always want to the experience to be FUN!

5. The company’s values align with yours. 
At the end of the day, it’s what you want that really matters.  There are a ton of jobs that you can get that won’t listen to you, or take in consideration what your needs are.  But at Children’s Choice we know the key to our success is having a staff that we value.

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If you want to learn more, or want to apply to Children’s Choice go to

By Chris Walsh
Follow mikeafterschool on Twitter