NCBC Masthead

New Online Training for Affiliates
Slated to Launch in January 2017

   Organizations and individuals who want to start a Next Chapter Book Club will soon have a new option for meeting the training requirement.

   Although live training workshops will still be offered, an online video presentation (hosted by Central Ohio veteran broadcaster Shawn Ireland) is expected to be a popular alternative, according to Susan Berg, Executive Director of Next Chapter Book Club.

       Shawn Ireland hosts the training video

  "Online delivery of our training content is really a necessity now.  A growing number of organizations from distant states and international locations want to join the NCBC Affiliate network, but the round-trip travel to and from Ohio is not always practical for a half-day training session," said Susan. 

   The new four-hour video, which will be available January 1, 2017, is divided into shorter modules which can be watched consecutively, or in multiple sessions over a 30-day period.

The new training option is priced at $350

    A test is administered at the end of each module and a 30-minute follow-up telephone consultation is included in the $350 price.

   The content is primarily intended for the person designated as the NCBC Program Coordinator, but can also be viewed by others within the Affiliate organization.  
A shorter one-hour training video for Facilitators will be made available at no cost for one year to new Affiliates.  After that, they can access the content for $25.

   "In addition to greater convenience and affordability, this new method of content delivery and testing will improve the consistency and quality of our training and ensure program integrity," said NCBC Founder Dr. Thomas Fish.

Enroll and Pay by Dec. 31 - SAVE $50

A Perennial Club Favorite:  

Lucky Dogs, Lost Hats, and Dating Don'ts

   The book with the quirky title and grinning dog has garnered many fans since it was published by Bethseda, MD-based Woodbine House in 2012.

  Co-authors Dr. Thomas Fish, founder of Next Chapter Book Club, and Jillian Ober (both with The Ohio State University's Nisonger Center for Excellence in Disabilities) provide some interesting insights into this unique and engaging book:

What was the impetus for writing the Lucky Dogs book?  
Tom:  We felt compelled to write Lucky Dogs because there is a lack of reading material written in simple language for an adult audience.  Most books in the Hi-Lo fiction genre (high interest, low reading level) is written for children and teens. Consequently, the characters are predominantly youngsters, talking animals and super-heroes.  Lucky Dogs offers NCBC members 14 short stories with a variety of adult characters and plot lines they can relate to.
Co-Authors Tom Fish and Jillian Ober

Describe the process you used to select story topics.  
Jillian: We initially anticipated writing short stories about employment, health and wellness, and other 'practical' topics. But the feedback we received from focus group participants told us that NCBC members are much more interested in reading about relationships and common life experiences.  For example, they want stories about adults -- including some with disabilities -- falling in and out of love, struggling with roommates, or simply having a bad hair day!
Is one story in particular a favorite among club members?  If so, which one and why?  
Jillian:  To date, the most popular story appears to be "Adventures in Camping." Members enjoy reading about the challenges and sometimes humorous encounters associated with camping in the great outdoors. They also respond favorably to the two romantic relationships explored in the story.  One of those is between two young adults with developmental disabilities.

What kind of reactions do members typically have as they read the stories?
Jillian: There's a lot of laughter and nodding heads.  Members seem to relate to the stories and understand what the characters are going through. 

Why is Lucky Dogs a good resource as a first book for launching a new club?
Tom:  This book gives NCBC members and other adults with developmental disabilities permission to share a variety of ideas, opinions and experiences in a supportive group setting.  The topics are relevant to the lives of NCBC members and the text is simple and accessible to the vast majority.  Short stories allow most clubs to complete an entire story within one club session.  And the discussion questions at the end of each story help the club to reflect on what they just read.

Are there any plans in the works for writing another book?  
Tom:  Oh, it's definitely being considered!
NCBC members from AHRC-New York City proudly display their hand-made bookmarks
           Photo on Right:  Karen Zuckerman

   There are 10 Next Chapter Book Clubs operating in and around the Big Apple thanks to the initiative and persistence of Karen Zuckerman, Director of Volunteer Services and Corporate Engagement at AHRC-New York City.  The agency, which is headquartered in Manhattan, annually serves 15,000 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout five boroughs.

   Karen, who just celebrated her one-year anniversary with AHRC this summer, had only been on board a few months when someone called her office and mentioned the Next Chapter Book Club program.

   "I immediately looked up the website and was very intrigued.  I belong to two book clubs myself, so I know how much fun they can be.  I was convinced this would be a great fit for our agency.  And as it has turned out, this program has definitely surpassed all my expectations," said Karen.

   "This program has definitely surpassed all my expectations."
                             - Karen Zuckerman

   The clubs meet in a variety of public places, including a Barnes & Noble in lower Manhattan's Union Square and the New York Public Library.  This summer, Karen hosted a party in Central Park that brought 65 members of the various clubs together for the first time to meet each other.
   Karen admits that she wasn't sure if the members would be comfortable meeting new people in a party setting.  But she was quickly put at ease when she realized what they shared in common -- a love of books.

   "Members of one club came wearing pirate hats and carrying other pirate props because they were reading Treasure Island. That really broke the ice," said Karen. She could also see that the weekly club meetings were improving the social skills of the members. "They easily socialized with each other.  They wanted to talk about the books they were reading," she said.

   In fact, they were so engrossed in sharing thoughts about Treasure Island that they became oblivious to the pizza that was being delivered during their conversation.
 A facilitator assists a book club member
   “I enjoyed reading Treasure Island,” club member Juan Reynoso said. “I had a good time reading about the boats, pirates and sailors. I liked learning that pirates were really bad guys!”

   At one point, Karen skillfully shifted the conversation and focus toward the gold treasure in the book and said that "treasures and gold" can be all sorts of things that are deeply valued. The group caught on to her intent and one member said:  "My mother is my gold."

Club Member Q&A: Bryan Williams
   Bryan Williams, age 47 of Brooklyn, NY, was a 22-year-old student at Cincinnati's Xavier University when a car accident left him with a traumatic brain injury and unable to walk.  He recently joined a Next Chapter Book Club that meets at the Barnes & Noble in lower Manhattan's Union Square.  His club just started reading Call of the Wild by Jack London.

Q:   Besides reading, what do you enjoy most about your book club?
A:   I like helping others when they aren't sure of a word or if they don't understand something.  It makes me feel good.  It's the best feeling to help others.  It keeps me sharp, too!

Q:   What do you think of Call of the Wild so far?
A:   I remember reading it years ago when I was in school.  I liked it then and I like it now.  There are some really good adventures in it.

Q:   What kinds of things do you do on weekends?
A:  I like to sleep in and then watch basketball on TV.  My favorite team, of course, is the Xavier Musketeers!

Q:  Who do you admire most?
A:   My mom. She passed away a couple of years ago. She was a single mother raising me in New York City.  She sent me to college at Xavier and then stood by me after the accident.  No one will ever replace her in my life.


Bookmark AmazonSmile to Support NCBC

  AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support Next Chapter Book Club every time you shop, at no cost to you. Please consider bookmarking this link so you can ensure that NCBC receives a donation from Amazon of 0.5% of your purchase price every time you shop. (Chapters Ahead is the legal name of NCBC.)

Be Part of Our New Training Video

   We would love to include a very short video clip of your club in our new Affiliate Training video. Only clips that are less than 20 seconds will be considered.  Be creative in what you capture and then e-mail the clip to us by November 15th.


Let's Express Gratitude to Facilitators and Host Site Managers 
   Thanksgiving is the perfect time to say "thank you" to volunteer club facilitators, as well as the host site managers who extend their hospitality each time your club gathers at their establishment. Please consider expressing your appreciation with a card signed by all the members and maybe even a gift of a T-shirt, backpack or water bottle from our online store.

Coming Soon: An Easy Way to Manage Your Club Data

   Strong programs and organizations have up-to-date information that's easy to input and access. NCBC Program Coordinators will soon be able to log-in to their Affiliate's page in our NEON system to enter, store and view all data in one convenient and confidential place. Stay tuned for more details.


A Great Place to Visit - The NCBC Affiliate Forum

   Our private Affiliate Forum is a wonderful place to meet other Program Coordinators and Facilitators to share advice and support.  If you haven't visited the site yet, please click here to request login credentials -- and then post an introduction!  

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