Our Children Spring 2015

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Halifax’s Family Magazine



Spring 2015

Happy campers

How summer camp shapes kids’ character, independence

Facing fears

Help your child cope with anxiety

Enter our poetry

contest! page 11

Family ties

Military families find ways to keep in touch during deployment lessons in labels    •    book reviews    •    face to face

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* Campground Store * Arcade * Daily Activities * Cabins * Canteen * * Themed Weekends * Wifi * Nature Trail * Jumping Pillows * Kids Zone * YOGI BEAR and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © Hanna-Barbera.


Fueling kids’ minds through food literacy. We know that health, nutrition and learning are linked. Children and youth who are food literate are more likely to go on to be healthier adults because they have the knowledge, habits and essential life skills that will enable them to make healthy food choices throughout their lives. Let’s make the healthy choice the easy choice!

Elwin LeRoux, Superintendent of the Halifax Regional School Board, shares more knowledge on food literacy in his column on page 35.

Discover. The Difference. at Bayside Camp this summer! Sun-soaked, carefree summer days with friends old and new await you at Bayside. More than 10 camps to choose from for all ages and over 30 activities to experience and enjoy.

Online at baysidecamp.org

Register online or by calling Cheryl at (902) 868-CAMP.

BaysideCamp @BaysideCamp #DiscoverTheDifference


New c for our

Read and get active this summer!

SpellRead is a game changer, and with lots of physical activity included, this day camp is a winner! Join Halifax Learning's SpellRead and recreation summer camps this July and August. Full days from 8:30-4:30. Limited space available. Please call Eryn at 453-4113 for a full camp itinerary or email: information@halifaxlearning.com

453-4113 • www.halifaxlearning.com • Multiple Locations


Spring 2015

11 New contest: Encourage your kids to enter our poetry contest.

features 14 Family ties When a loved one is deployed, military families can find different ways to keep in touch, cope and keep busy

18 Happy campers Summer camp helps build kids’ confidence, character and independence

24 Facing fears How parents can recognize the signs and find strategies to help their children deal with anxiety

28 Label literacy It’s easier than you think to understand nutrition labels on food packaging

Happy campers How this summer rite of passage makes for independent, adventurous kids.


departments 09 Editor’s note 11 Contest Is your child a poet and you know it?

12 First Bell Events, new products and services, trends and more

30 Face to face Parker Murchison beat cancer and now uses his voice to share his story of a new perspective and inspiration

32 Passages of parenthood 35 Superintendent’s message 38 Book reviews

Our Children | Spring 2015

contest: Ready, set, read! Get your class together r new reading contest and win a party!




On our cover For many kids, summer camp means more than getting fresh air and learning to canoe. This rite of passage creates independent kids who take on new experiences.

AQUA ADVENTURE CAMP SWIM LESSON CAMP ULTIMATE CAMP All camps are for those who have completed grade primary to 12 years of age. Early drop off and late pickup available. There is a 10% discount to a 2nd child of the same family!

For a complete description and schedule, please visit our website or phone us at 902-869-4141!

REGISTER TODAY! www.thestadium.ca

Photo: Brigadoon Village

Publisher Patty Baxter

Senior Editor Trevor J. Adams

Editor Suzanne Rent Contributing Editor Janice Hudson Graphic Design Gwen North

Production Coordinator Stephanie Peters

Printing Advocate Printing & Publishing Contributors Jill Chandler Edie Shaw-Ewald Elwin LeRoux Sarah Sawler Jaime Sexton For advertising sales contact: Angela Faulkner Tel. 902-420-9943 afaulkner@metroguide.ca

Our Children | Spring 2015

For editorial and subscription enquiries: Tel. 902-420-9943 Fax 902-429-9058 publishers@metroguide.ca 2882 Gottingen Street Halifax, Nova Scotia B3K 3E2 www.metroguidepublishing.ca www.ourchildrenmagazine.ca


This Summer Engage With Art

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior written consent of the publisher. Return undeliverable addresses to Metro Guide Publishing at the address above.



902 424 5280


info.desk@novascotia.ca ArtGalleryNS artgalleryofnovascotia.ca

Our Children is a Metro Guide publication.



Suzanne Rent, Editor

On Facebook: Our Children Magazine

On Twitter: @Suzanne_Rent @OurChildrenMag

Thank you for being a friend A few months ago, I had dinner with friends that I’ve known since we were in elementary school. I’m in my mid-40s, so I’ll let you do the math on the length of those friendships. We hung out until our early 20s, when careers, education, marriages and kids put us on different paths. But once every year or so, we take a break from our lives and get together for some nostalgic laughs, usually at an all-you-can-eat buffet, a tradition dating back to our teen years. There’s no doubt we’ve seen each other through fun times, bad times and, most certainly, awkward times. But at this age, we all have a solid perspective on where we’ve been and where we’re going, even if we’re all going different ways. When I go to my 12-year-old daughter’s parentteacher meetings, her teachers always mention how she has great friends. I’m just as pleased to hear this news as I am hearing about how well she’s doing in any given subject. The friendships we make in our early and formative years are important because these are people who knew us when we were still learning about ourselves, each other and our place in the world. They’re friends who saw us grow

and learn. We were there to lean on each other, even in situations we now regard as trivial. These kinds of friendships are even more important now, as we count amongst our friends the virtual kind with whom we may never connect on a real, personal basis. Sometimes the most important lessons learned in school are from the friendships we develop. My school-age friends and I may only connect with each other once a year or less, but each meeting is one of laughs and reminiscing. And while we look back on how far we’ve come, I think somehow we all remain a little the same at the core. In this issue, we learn about summer camps, what kids learn when they attend one, and how families can help deal with the separation. (And, of course, summer camps are also a great place to meet lifelong friends). See page 18. On page 24, Sarah Sawler has a story on helping your child with anxiety. And our latest student correspondent, Jaime Sexton, shares how her family copes when her dad is deployed overseas. Read her story on page 14. As always, send your story ideas or comments to me at srent@metroguide.ca.

Act now for September admission

Limited space available in Pre-primary & Primary classes Our school September curriculum includes art, music, 2015

Your next great choice

& French!


Primary matters. You already know that thoughtful investment in a child’s early years is invaluable. Our small Primary class and enriched curriculum allow our teachers to challenge and support each child during this important transition from preschool to elementary grades. It is the perfect environment for attending to the basics and igniting a love of learning that lasts a lifetime. Find out about our enriched curriculum and our visit-for-a-day—a gentle introduction for new students.

(902) 423-9777 HalifaxIndependentSchool.ca @hfxindependent 3331 Connaught Ave, Halifax HIS_OurChildren_05_2015.indd 1

Our Children | Spring 2015


9 2015-04-29 2:07 PM

GET OUT & GET ACTIVE Enjoy soccer, swimming, or plan a summer activity. There is something for everyone, so get out and get active. For more information, visithalifax.ca/rec, follow us on Twitter @hfxrec, call 902.490.6666, or visit your local recreation community centre.

Celebrating super teachers! Congratulations to Mrs. McInnis, a Grade 5/6 teacher at Portland Estates Elementary in Dartmouth, who was the winner of our We Love Our Teachers contest. Mrs. McInnis was nominated for the prize by current student Quinna Langdon. In her nomination, Quinna said, “I can’t imagine that there is a better teacher on the planet than Mrs. McInnis.” Mrs. McInnis won a night’s stay for two with breakfast and spa treatment at the Atlantica Hotel and Marina at Oak Island. Thank you to all the students and parents who nominated teachers!

NEW contest

Your child is a poet and you know it! We want to read your child’s original poems! Encourage your kids to write about whatever interests them: friends, summertime, life or anything at all. Three winners (Grades Primary to 2; Grades 3 to 4, Grades 5 to 6) will each receive a prize from Nimbus Publishing and the opportunity to read their poem at Word on the Street festival in


Email poems to srent@metroguide.ca or via snail mail: Our Children, 2882 Gottingen Street Halifax, N.S. B3K 3E2.

Deadline: August 15, 2015

Our Children | Spring 2015



First Bell


and fun in the sun

Summer learning research shows that students who learn over the summer have a considerable advantage. By maintaining learning, students avoid the summer brain drain, and don’t fall behind in major subject areas such as math, reading and comprehension, keeping them on track academically and giving them a boost for the fall. Learn more about Oxford Learning’s summer camps that can help keep your children’s learning fresh and fun. Camps include those focusing on sports and fitness, arts and crafts, exploration and the amazing race. Visit www.oxfordlearning.com or call 902-443-4484 for the Halifax location or 902-405-4116 for the Bedford location.

Where kids come to play

Our Children | Spring 2015

Hop, Skip, Jump Indoor Place Space is Nova Scotia’s newest and largest indoor play space, perfect for dropin play, birthday parties and daycare outings.


Edgett Dance Centre has 55 years of experience with children’s programs for ages six and up. Co-ordination, cooperation and courtesy are benefits of dance.

Encouraging active self-directed play for children 12 years of age and under, the facility offers a 3,500-square-foot, three-level, multi-colour play structure, a toddler section, three birthday party rooms and a café.

Learning to jive or lindy is a physical activity, involving music and other youth of the same age. Special equipment is not required. Parents, grandparents or guardians are occasionally involved in the class.

Located at 10–100 Susie Lake Crescent in Bayers Lake, the facility is open daily.

Enrol now for Saturday classes in the Bedford space and find out about the threeday summer camp, or how to get the first four weeks of lessons for free. 902-455-1924 or www.edgettdance.ca

For more information, visit hopskipjump.ca.

Get on the dance floor!

Special Cunard Exhibit at the Maritime Museum

From his experience with privateers, trading tea between Halifax and China, and building lighthouses, to becoming one of the most successful businesspeople in the world, you’ll see how he helped to revolutionize the speed and safety of travel by sea. Visitors will be able to send messages throughout the museum and around the world with voice-pipe communication and wireless radio, in addition to working with huge steam engine models. For more information, visit maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca.

Spa days for kids Everyone loves a spa day. But a new youth kindness spa in Bedford is dedicated to youth ages six to 16, giving them a place to unwind, relax and be young. The spa menu includes facials, brow waxing, ear piercing, manicures, pedicures and nail art. There are also yoga classes: Check out the Yogi Bears sessions for kids age six to nine or the Wild Warriors class for youth age eight to 12. Book a spa party for you and your friends. Choose from the Sparkle Party of the Shimmer Party and receive spa treatments and access to the party room. For more information, visit www.spadeeda.com or call 902-407-1899.

A summer to learn! Halifax Learning’s SpellRead program has shown strong results across demographics for two decades. Its upcoming summer camps build strong reading foundations with eight hours of weekly instruction. Campers also take part in excursions to engaging places like the Discovery Centre, the Natural History Museum, the new Halifax Public Library, Citadel Hill and Centennial Pool. Inhouse activities range from yoga to arts and crafts. There are even visits from a therapy dog. To learn more about camps or to register, contact Eryn Steele at 902-225-1861 or information@halifaxlearning.com.

Our Children | Spring 2015

Starting on July 10, families can explore the world of Haligonian Samuel Cunard and the story and history of his vision leading to the Cunard cruise line you see in our harbour today.


Family ties

Photo: Elizabeth Sexton

When a loved one is deployed, military families can find different ways to stay in touch, cope and keep busy

By Jamie Sexton, Student Correspondent

Our Children | Spring 2015

My dad Kyle Sexton works in the navy and he goes away a lot. He has gone to a couple of places like New York, Haiti and Africa. But the most recent place he has been is Afghanistan. He went for a year and that was when we missed him the most, so we made scrapbooks with pictures of him with us inside. We also used Skype and texted him whenever we could, but I still felt really sad and missed him so much.


“One of the hardest parts of the job is knowing that you’re missing important events in your kids’ lives,” says my dad about his deployments. My dad is an engineering officer and has been in this position for 12 years. While he has been on his work trips he has missed us a lot. But he said that friends from the military come with him or he meets new friends there. There are lots of things to do while he is relaxing like watching TV, fencing, bingo or running in the ship gym. To contact us or other people he misses, he calls on the cell phone, emails or uses Skype. But it’s hard because of the time difference. We send packages to him and he likes to get stuff that’s hard to find where he is like his favourite toothpaste, soap and

our crafts and doodles, too. A lot of people who are deployed have families, too, so everyone tries to be nice to each other. But one thing is for sure, all family members have a hard time when someone goes away. My mom was also sad that my dad went away, but she was also lonely. She had more work to do because he was away. She became more independent because she had to learn more things. To take her mind off of it she sewed. To keep our minds off it she came up with fun activities for us to do. Again, everybody misses the person that goes away. “Deployment is not something you have to get over or get through; it’s a way of life and you have to learn to incorporate it because it happens again and again,” says my mom, Elizabeth. Natasha DeCoste from the Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC) is a youth and family coordinator and has been in that position for six years. The MFRC started off in 1985 with a small building. Over the years, the MFRC has helped families when loved ones have gone away and to build support. “I grew up in a military family, too, so I can bring my experience and share it with them,” she says. “I understand what it’s like.”



Kindermusik, Strings, Winds, Music Theatre, Suzuki Institute, Cello

Photo: Contributed by Elizabeth Sexton

Children’s Dance Camps, Ballet Class all ages, Dance Intensive

Opposite page: Student correspondent Jaime Sexton displays the scrapbook she created before her father, Kyle, was deployed to Afghanistan. Above: Jaime Sexton and her family, mom, Elizabeth, Dad, Kyle and sisters, Taylor and Alexis.

The MFRC teaches coping skills and resilience. They bring together military families who are going through deployment so they can talk about their experiences.

The MFRC has an area of deployment services that plans activities for the families. They can be social activities like a spa day or bowling. These are times when the families can get to know each other and share experiences. They also have children’s workshops to help children through deployment. The children get to talk and express their feelings, which is important to do. There are also times when the commander of the ship will speak to a room of families. This allows the families to see what the ship is doing, which helps everyone to feel connected. The technology we have today helps us cope with family members being away. Using Skype when you talk to them lets you see them moving and you can also hear them so

Our Children | Spring 2015

“You can talk about how hard it is when someone goes away, and it’s sad, but you also feel proud of them and you’re excited when they come home,” Ms. DeCoste says. “Or you might be nervous when they come home because you’ve grown up so much and there’s a new person in the house again and you have to start routines all over again.”


it’s more real and like they are there. If you text or email you can send pictures to show if you’ve grown, got a new haircut, or if you got a new baby sister or brother. My grandmother had a father in the military and once he went away her family couldn’t contact him at all until he got home. There was no email and she couldn’t even phone him; all she could do was send letters and sometimes they didn’t reach him. When my dad went away we could use email and Skype. We used my mom’s tablet as much as we could to talk to him during the day and every evening to say goodnight. If Skype didn’t work we emailed him. Sometimes we would get an email from him a few minutes later and sometimes we would have to wait a few days.

Better Coaches, Better Kids ...all year long

Our Children | Spring 2015

Register now for Sportball programs in Halifax!


More sports, More skills, More fun for 16mos-12yrs Visit Sportball.ca for schedules and registration novascotia@sportball.ca 902.478.1115 | /SportballATL


Natasha recommends that you try to keep busy with a hobby or something new that you can share with your mom or dad when they call. It’s important to express your feelings by doing something like journaling, writing stories, drawing or playing music. I created a scrapbook as a hobby and also to express my feelings. My dad helped me put some pictures of us doing things together in it. Each page had a different theme and was specially decorated. I felt good when I looked at the pictures because it reminded me of my dad. My advice to other kids is to find something to do to keep yourself together. Jaime Sexton is nine years old and in Grade 4 at Central Spryfield Elementary.

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Cover Story


Photo: Big Cove YMCA

Our Children | Spring 2015



Summer camp helps kids build confidence, character and independence By Suzanne Rent Lisa MacDonald cried on the drive home after dropping off her son Adam for summer camp at the Brigadoon Village in South Alton. She was worried. Just the year before when he was 10, doctors diagnosed Adam with kidney disease. His life after that diagnosis revolved around medication, checkups, chemo, new diets and limitations on his activities. A week at summer camp would mean a week away from that routine—a week of worry for MacDonald.

But when she went to get Adam, he quickly relieved her fears. “When I picked him up he said, ‘Mom, that was the best thing ever!’” MacDonald recalls. Adam had spent his time swimming, playing archery, boating and making friends. “I think the biggest thing they gain is a sense of normalcy,” says David McKeage, executive director of Brigadoon Village, a camp designed for kids like Adam who have chronic illnesses. “In so many cases, they have to sit out or they

may have a scar no one else has or a regime no one else has. By having a program like ours, they meet people like themselves.” Summer camp is a rite of passage for many kids. But it’s more than just roasting marshmallows, singing around the campfire, sleeping in leaky tents and writing homesick-induced letters. For many kids, and even their parents, summer camps have positive effects that can last well beyond the summer months. Friendships are one of the key elements of the summer camp experience and in many cases those friendships last a lifetime. Brigadoon offers many kids their first chance to meet other kids with chronic illnesses outside a clinic setting. “They are drawn to one another, they teach one another, they do it all,” McKeage says. “To a large degree, Brigadoon is just a backdrop.”

Opposite page: Making new friends is just one of the benefits of going to summer camp. Top and bottom: Being outside and exploring nature gives kids a sense of independence and adventure.

Photos: Big Cove YMCA

Mike LeDuc, the executive director at Big Cove YMCA, knows about the friendships first hand. He went to summer camps as a kid and says most of the groomsmen at his

Our Children | Spring 2015

The same is true of traditional camp experiences like the one kids experience at Big Cove YMCA, the oldest camp in the country. There, kids canoe, swim, take part in teambuilding initiatives and explore trails in the forest through interpretative hikes.


wedding were friends he met there. “The friends that I made at camp were far stronger,” LeDuc says. “It comes from living with them 24 hours a day, even if it’s only for a week.”

Mount Traber Bible Camp A non-denominational camp dedicated to developing Christian character and leadership skills in youth.

That experience of spending all their time with the same people has another effect on children.

• 3D Archery • Swimming • Horses • Petting farm

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LeDuc says camp offers a chance for kids to come out of their shells. Over the years, after a week of camp wraps up, he’s seen kids standing taller, with shoulders back, pulling back their hair from their face. Many kids go home unrecognizable to their parents. “There are so many parents that contact me after camp and say, ‘What did you do to my children?’” LeDuc says. “When they leave camp and are together as a group and the counsellor is making their food as a group on the fire, and you are living in that little micro site, they really bond. That’s when they really end up doing things they never thought they could do.”

Our Children | Spring 2015

MacDonald says she noticed a change in Adam, too. He took part in archery, canoeing and even live theatre, which he’d never explored before his time at camp. His grades have also improved since his diagnosis and he’s at the top of his class. “I knew he was amazing, but he was never the adventurous type,” she says. “Now he’s ready to take on the world.”


For some kids, even day camping experiences during the summer can have a positive effect. Nancy Walker founded the Ben James Autism Summer Camp 13 years ago. Named after her son Ben, the camp offers programming for people aged six to 21 who are on the autism spectrum. There is a one-to-one camp-tocounsellor ratio here, so the kids get a lot of attention. Like at other camps, these kids go swimming, take part in community outings and do arts and crafts. While these kids return home after the day ends, Walker says parents notice a


Photo: Brigadoon Village

REGISTER TODAY! CAMPS START JUNE 29. Including Fairytales & Legends, Mystery Theatre, Magic for Performance & more!

Top: Adam MacDonald, right, has been attending Brigadoon Village summer camp since 2011. His mom, Lisa, says for one week he forgets about his illness and gets to be an adventurous kid. Bottom: Canoeing remains a staple activity at most summer camps.

Our Children | Spring 2015

Photo: Big Cove YMCA



Join us this summer for a week to remember! CPF Nova Scotia French Camps FRANCO FORUM St. Pierre, France, Ages 14-18 yrs, July 3-8

SEA KAYAK ADVENTURE CAMP Magdalen Islands, Québec, Ages 12-16 yrs, July 12-18

NAUTICAL CAMP Magdalen Islands, Québec, CAMP FRANTASTIQUE Ages 12-16 yrs, July 12-18 Barton, Digby County, Ages 10-14 years, August 3-7

CAMP DE LA BAIE E Sambro Head, HRM, M, Ages 10-15 yrs, August 24-29

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difference in their kids, too. “Parents have always said to us, day in and day out, they are tired at night, they are happy,” Walker says. “Social workers will say the same thing… less challenges over the summer. It’s a breath of fresh air.” When camp is over, many kids take home their newfound confidence. LeDuc says kids will often suggest outings for their families. They willingly take part in chores and often do better in school. Families, he says, become stronger because of these kids’ experiences at camp. “That is one of the most rewarding things I hear,” LeDuc says. McKeage agrees. “Stronger children result in stronger families,” he says. “Stronger families result in stronger communities.”

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Our Children | Spring 2015

Ear Piercing Manicures Pedicures Facials


Workshops Spa Parties Waxing Yoga

Make kindness a way of life not just a random act


Walker says she saw the change in her own son, now 25, when he went to camp as a kid. “I’ve seen all the things he can do without me,” Walker says. “He can grow and learn and adapt and be safe. I think the camp is an opportunity for parents to learn that and it’s just another stepping stone for all of us.” In the day of social media and digital technology, the camp experience is a crucial one for kids to get them back to basics and nature. In many of the camps, including Brigadoon and Big Cove YMCA, campers and even staff have to unplug from their devices. Cellphones are permitted only for emergencies. “It’s always been important, but now more than ever we are having conversations with parents about how much screen time children are having in a day—how much we all have in a day, actually,” LeDuc says. All of the programming at Big Cove YMCA is outside. Travelling from one cabin to another or to the washroom or kitchen requires the kids to step outside. All the activities, including

Photos: Big Cove YMCA

Photo: Brigadoon Village

hiking, swimming and overnight explorations, are outside. “There’s a constant interaction with nature,” LeDuc says. When summer is over, many kids and even the parents stay in touch over the year, before the following summer arrives. While Big Cove YMCA encourages unplugging at camp, families are encouraged to stay in touch via social media throughout the school year. The same is true of Brigadoon, which even organizes reunion nights for campers and parents.

Kids who meet at summer camp often form lifelong friendships and stay in touch during the rest of the year.

MacDonald says Adam’s week at camp is a week she devotes to herself. She also connects with her daughter. But what is gone now is the worry she had after that first time she dropped off Adam at Brigadoon. “I’ve gone from being the parent thinking, ‘I can’t do this,’ to the one thinking, ‘Please go and have fun!’” she says. For kids with illnesses or special needs, a camp experience is often the first time they’ve been away from their child. “A lot of feedback I’ve got is they come home, they are dirty, scraped up…and they didn’t break,” says McKeage. But parents also learn that in many cases, their children can take care of themselves and it’s a step toward independence. “I think that is a big benefit for the parents to see that,” McKeage says. This year, Adam is heading to Brigadoon in August. Already he’s looking forward to reconnecting with friends, counsellors and staff, including one of his favourite people, the chef who cooks the camp dinners. “He can’t wait to get there again,” MacDonald says.

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Our Children | Spring 2015

Parents also benefit from the summer camp experience. Parents realize they can be away from the kids. “That’s the huge spinoff,” McKeage says. “The kids get back and the parents realize they can do stuff on their own and they can do stuff without their kids. Some of these parents have never even left their kids with a babysitter.” Those changes, McKeage says, have a huge impact on families.





How parents can recognize the signs and find strategies to help their children deal with anxiety

By Sarah Sawler *Editor’s Note: To protect the privacy of the child mentioned in this article, we’ve changed the names of both the parent and the child. An experienced mother of four, Ann* first noticed something was amiss when at the age of three, her second-oldest child, Chase*, began “shepherding” his siblings around stores.

Our Children | Spring 2015

“When we went somewhere in public, I wasn’t holding hands with everyone or using a walking rope; I would just tell them to follow me,” says Ann. “And, of course, as the adult, I was watching to see where they were. But if I got too far away from any of the kids, Chase would freak out. That was the first sign of anxiety that seemed excessive for his age.”


There were other situations in which Chase became anxious. The first time, he was in nursery school, playing a game of Duck, Duck, Goose. When he was tagged “goose,” the children began to cheer him on, shouting, “Run, run, run, Chase!” He froze and burst into tears. “Another time,” Ann says, “we were playing video games in the living room with family friends and he beat the level. When everyone cheered for him, he burst into tears and wouldn’t touch the video game again.” Although no one really knows what causes this kind of anxiety, it’s common. According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada, about 12 per cent of all Canadians

suffer from anxiety. It’s also the most common psychological problem in children. Child psychologist Christine Chambers works with children who suffer from both generalized anxiety and more specific fears. She says one of the toughest challenges for parents is figuring out when they need to get outside help, because everyone experiences anxiety sometimes. “It’s a really tough call because it’s normal to feel anxious in certain situations,” says Chambers. “It’s normal for kids to feel anxious about starting a new school or trying new things. In psychology, we say that when it’s interfering with your child’s life or your family’s life, you may need help.” According to Chambers, there are a few other signs that parents should watch for. Your child may be irritable, seem anxious a lot of the time, have trouble sleeping with restlessness or lack of concentration during the day, or begin to avoid specific activities or people that make them anxious. “Avoidance is sort of a short-term strategy for dealing with being anxious,” says Chambers. “They say to themselves, ‘Well, if I just avoid the thing that makes me anxious I won’t have to deal with that.’ But that actually makes anxiety worse in the long run.” And according to Chambers, anxiety can look a little bit different in each person. “Some kids just get really quiet when they’re anxious, and the quiet kids are sometimes the ones who get overlooked,” she says. “When kids are actively

showing their distress by misbehaving, having trouble sitting still or having attention problems, that’s very obvious.” There are also many different types of anxiety. They include social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, obsessivecompulsive disorder, specific phobias, generalized anxiety disorder and separation anxiety. “Generalized anxiety is the most common anxiety disorder,” says Chambers. “That’s where kids worry excessively about lots of things. It could be school, family members or the future. We also see obsessivecompulsive disorder, and phobias— really intense fears of things like dogs, heights or needles. Then, of course, there’s also social anxiety where kids feel nervous in front of other people. And panic attacks. Those are rarer in children but they do happen.”

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There are also a number of strategies that parents can use at home to help ease anxiety. “One of the things we talk to parents about is recognizing the anxiety,” Bagnell says. “Younger kids will call it a ‘worry’ or ‘fear,’ but getting them to recognize feelings in their body or a stomach ache before they start something and telling them, ‘That’s your anxiety and it will get better if you keep doing what you’re doing’

Our Children | Spring 2015

Anxiety is highly treatable and there are plenty of places to find help in HRM. Alexa Bagnell is the co-founder of the IWK’s Cool Kids program, a group therapy program for elementary-aged children with anxiety. Over a course of 10 weeks, parents and children meet in separate groups to learn strategies for dealing with anxiety, and their feedback reports have shown that families who attend at least eight sessions report better functioning by the end of the group.


WALK-IN CLINICS 6 locations to serve you in HRM with evening and weekend hours! One number for ALL locations 902-420-6060 For details visit thefamilyfocus.ca

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will help. She suggests teaching your child how to relax their muscles and calm their brain and body down by breathing deeply. She also suggests helping children face their fears in a gradual way, instead of throwing them into situations full force or letting them avoid them entirely. If children are really scared, simply let them take it one step at a time. Let them take a small step toward the thing that they need to do, and then praise them for the attempt and for being brave. Then gradually make the steps increasingly challenging until you reach the ultimate goal. There is also private counseling available through the IWK or one of the province’s many private practice psychologists. Parents can call a mobile crisis line after hours or in emergencies. According to Bagnell, the mobile crisis line works with anxiety cases a lot, providing on-telephone support to parents across the province. They can also help with emergencies. Parents can self-refer to the Cool Kids program by calling 902-464-4110. Call the mobile crisis service at 1-888-429-8167.

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Our Children | Spring 2015



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JULY 8–12, 2015






Label literacy It’s easier than you think to understand the nutrition labels on food packaging

By Edie Shaw-Ewald Does reading nutrition labels rank highly on your list of common frustrations? It helps to keep a keen eye and a sense of humour while grocery shopping for your family.

Our Children | Spring 2015

Grocery stores offer an average of more than 35,000 food choices per store on their shelves. Many of them boast of containing real fruit, essential nutrients, trendy super foods or healthy fats. Many others brag about not containing nutrients, minerals or stimulants—for example, products that are fat free, have no added sugar, are caffeine free or calorie free. This is one of the ironies of our food-confused world; that we sometimes buy food products for what they do not contain.


The most direct route to making surefire healthy choices is to stick with foods without complicated labels and fancy packaging. Foods that simply speak for themselves such as vegetables, fruits, plain meats, chicken, fish, eggs, beans, lentils and whole grains. But even the most natural home cooks use some convenience foods now and then. I admit, I really don’t enjoy reading and comparing nutrition facts panels on foods. That is why I like to share a three-step process that makes it easy. Teach your children these tips and you will have lots of help with grocery shopping Ignore the front of the package The front of the box or bag is part of the marketing and

advertising for the product. The name and tag line may sound healthy, but that doesn’t mean it is. For example, a product with the word “nutri” will immediately make us think of nutrition and whole grains. That sure is a healthy handle for a product made up of flour, sugar and oil. Breakfast cookies and biscuits are new products on the shelves. The website for one of these products says to find them in the cookie aisle. See what I mean about keeping your sense of humour? Read the ingredient list Before you start doing calculations and comparisons of grams of fat, sugar, sodium and fibre, look at what the food product is made of. If it appears that you need a chemistry degree to understand the ingredients, you should put it back on the shelf and consider an alternative. Focus in on the first three or four ingredients, as these will be in the highest amount in the food product. If a form of sugar is in the first four ingredients, that’s a sign to put it back on the shelf. Those little fruity snacks may look like a half-decent recess snack because they are “made with real fruit,” but take a look at the ingredient list to see fruit concentrate followed by corn syrup, sugar and corn starch. Real fruit contains real fruit. Look at the nutrition facts table If the food made it past the ingredient list test, then take a look at the nutrition facts table. Note the serving size on which the information is based. Compare this serving size to the amount that you or your family member would eat. If the

serving size is one cup, but your usual intake is two cups, then you need to double the amounts of calories and nutrients on the label. Many of the nutrients have the percentage of daily value (%DV) for an average adult. In general, five per cent is considered a little and 15 per cent is a lot of a particular nutrient. Aim to keep the saturated fat and sodium under five per cent. Aim high for vitamins, minerals and fibre. This is where label reading can turn tedious. Stay focused on what you are most interested in for this food product. For example, for a pasta sauce you will want to focus on the sodium content. For a cereal you will want to focus on the fibre. Use the nutrition facts table to compare between options. Unfortunately, the grams of natural sugar in foods such as fruit and milk are not separated from added sugar on the label. Remember to read the ingredient list and look for forms of added sugar.

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Our Children | Spring 2015

Edie Shaw-Ewald is a registered dietitian with Atlantic Superstore in Tantallon, Sackville and Elmsdale. Edie.Shaw-Ewald@Loblaw.ca


Face to face

A voice after

cancer Photo: Brenda Murchison

Parker Murchison beat leukemia and now shares his story of perspective and inspiration Parker Murchison, front right, with his brother, Carter, at left, and parents, Brenda and Bruce.

By Suzanne Rent Parker Murchison was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in the summer of 2010 when he was eight years old. After 12 rounds of chemo, surgeries and more, he’s cancer free. And he’s found a new perspective and gift.

Our Children | Spring 2015

During his treatments, Parker become a speaker for the IWK Foundation, often taking part in radiothons and other events, sharing his youthful perspective.


In 2014, he was invited to the first annual Sackville High School Dance Marathon, which was raising funds for kids at the IWK. Someone recorded that one enthusiastic speech. Parker sent the video and a long letter to organizers of We Day, after asking his mother for the email. On November 29, 2014, Parker got his wish and took the stage at We Day, sharing with thousands of kids his story of cancer, and learning to find a voice. Our Children recently spoke with Parker and his mom, Brenda, about how they dealt with his diagnosis and treatment, and what speaking about his disease taught them.

How did you find out Parker had cancer? BM: It was the summer of 2010 and right when school ended and his teacher kept saying there was something wrong with him. We did get him checked; he had an infection he couldn’t get rid of. And then eventually after quite a few doctors’ appointments, one sent us to the IWK for bloodwork and that’s how we found out. Parker, what was your reaction when you learned you had cancer? PM: When I first found out about it, and I heard the word leukemia, I actually laughed because I thought it was a funny word. But then my parents told me I had cancer and I started crying. At first, it wasn’t a very good reaction for a couple of days, but then I got over it. We went to the next step basically which was getting cured. What would you tell parents who have just learned their child has cancer? BM: We had a really great doctor. For us it was really positive. I was very strict about who was allowed around Parker because I didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for us. I didn’t want anything negative. We had a lot of positive one-liners in his room. The doctor said not many parents approach it that way. We knew his [cancer] had a cure so it was easier to cope. Everybody said our attitude and the fact we let Parker go swimming, go to school, play sports, football, he played everything. I was so scared deep down, but something inside me said stay positive and let him do things and rise about the fear. What did it mean to you, Parker, to still be able to do those things? PM: It meant a lot because it made me feel like I didn’t have cancer but more like I was a normal kid. The experience of going to sports makes you feel like you’re getting better, you’re getting stronger after a bit. How did Parker get into motivational speaking? BM: The IWK [Foundation] approached the oncology department and asked if they had anybody [to share their story] and Parker came up right away in their conversation. It’s rare they get a child so young who can speak so well and who isn’t shy. Not many families are willing to tell their stories; it’s hard, especially if you’re in treatment. I’ve had to cancel a couple because he was not having a great day. We were always willing. Then you went to the Sackville High School dance marathon. PM: That was the stepping stone to We Day. I even showed the video of me speaking there in the email to We Day. BM: For both Bruce and I, it was part of his healing. Once he discovered he could speak—we wouldn’t have known that for another decade, at least—we realized this is a great distraction. PM: It gives you something to do.

WILDLIFE ADVENTURE How did you approach We Day? BM: He came up to me one day and said, “I really want to speak on the We Day stage.” I said, “Okay, write them a letter.” And he asked how to do that, so I called the IWK Foundation to see if they had an email. We got an email and he sent it.


What was the message you wanted to share at We Day? PM: I wanted to tell the kids they can do anything. Whatever they want they can ask for help in the right places and they can get you to where your dream is. That was one of the first speeches I was nervous for. When I first went out and saw everyone there, I thought, “Oh my God, I’m speaking at We Day.” What did having cancer teach you about yourself? PM: It taught me to dream, to know that I can set a goal for myself and reach that goal, and even surpass it. And anyone can. What would you tell other kids with cancer, who are going through treatment now or they just found out? PM: Just to be positive and to live life to the fullest because life doesn’t have as much meaning if you don’t have fun, if you don’t have a good time and you’re not happy. So do things you love to do and be positive and think about what you’re going to do after treatment and when you’re fully healthy. Set goals for yourself and surpass those goals and dream.

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How do you think cancer has changed Parker? BM: It was tough, but I think it turned out to be a great gift. I think he sees he can get over adversity. Hopefully, in the future he knows and has learned if you put your heart into it and work at getting better, don’t worry about failing or something major happening to him because he got over cancer. Do you want to speak at We Day again? PM: Having one chance to speak and hopefully inspire that many kids to do something amazing and dream, that is once in a lifetime. I am happy. That’s one of the greatest things I’ve done in my entire life.






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Our Children | Spring 2015

What do you think of Parker speaking at We Day and these other events? BM: I think it’s such a great opportunity for him. I think he’s really finding out a lot about himself early in his life. We’ve always been big on exposing the kids to as much as we could and meeting people who were successful but to realize they are normal and just like the rest of us and to not put them on pedestals. For me, We Day was once in a lifetime and there was no way we were going to pass that up. We were going to make that happen.



passages of parenthood

The lessons Photos: Jill Chandler

of loss

How grief helped one mom change, let go, lighten up and find an attitude of gratitude By Jill Chandler I am many things: a daughter, sister, friend, listener, sometimes a comedian, a singer-songwriter and a planner. A mother… A single mother… A widow. Yes, I just said that. I have three beautiful kids. Rowan, now eight, is a strong-willed, spirited guy, with a deep sense of understanding. He can be feisty, he can be challenging and he can be so loving that it hurts. He doesn’t know it, but he has often been my life raft.

Our Children | Spring 2015

Cooper, now six, is so cuddly. I call him my lap dog. He is funny, silly, so nurturing. He, too, can be challenging, but when he is on side, there is no greater ally.


Darcy, who is three, prefers to be naked, runs around the house singing everything from “Let It Go” to AC/DC’s “TNT.” She is argumentative (she’s three) dramatic, and a force to be reckoned with. And when she runs to me, I am reminded of why I am here because, after all, I am still here. Like everybody, we have special dates, memorable dates: birthdays, anniversaries, and “firsts.” But we have a few other dates that have impacted our lives so significantly it’s hard for me to find words.

May 19, 2013 My husband Donald returned home after being away for four weeks. He was a photographer and often travelled for work on crazy adventures (like to the North Pole). I was tired. I had been with my three kids (then one, four and six) for a month on my own. And I was mad at him. He left me to go to work—with these crazies—and he forgot to call from the ship to wish me a Happy Mother’s Day. But instead of coming home ready to help and give me a break, he returned home so tired, he could hardly keep his eyes open. May 20, 2013 I took him to the ER. Something was wrong, but I wasn’t sure what. He had a series of tests and they sent us home. Perhaps it was a bad virus? I felt a bit relieved but still unsettled. They had said if anything changed to bring him back in. May 22, 2013 Something changed. He fell in the shower and seemed to have trouble walking back to the bedroom. I called my brother and sister-in-law to come watch the kids. We got to the Dartmouth General just before 11 p.m. He vomited in the waiting room and they took us right in. They wheeled him away for a CAT scan. Within what seemed like only moments, a doctor walked in the room and pointed at me and motioned for me

to follow. I did. He then motioned for me to sit. I did. I knew this was bad. I could feel panic in every part of my body. He then said, “It’s not good. It’s really not good. We have found multiple white spots on his brain.” I stared in confusion thinking, “What is this person saying to me? WTF are white spots?” Finally, I said the words out loud, “Cancer? Are you telling me Donald has cancer in his brain?” He nodded with a yes. I will never forget that moment. That moment changed everything. July 9, 2013 Donald died from melanoma that had metastasized to his brain, after having been diagnosed only six weeks before. Six weeks of sadness, confusion, hurt, pain, watching my husband deteriorate and forget everything from how to use the Keurig to his daughter’s name. Six weeks of saying goodbye to the love of my life who, because of his illness, didn’t know that goodbye was inevitable. On the day he died, I sat with him in the hospital room. He asked me how I was doing. And fighting back tears, I said, “I am sad. How are you?” He replied, “Happy, as long as I am with you.” We are now at the 20-month mark. Twenty months since I lost my best friend and since my kids lost the best Dad in the world.

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We are doing okay. Our normal has shifted. Our days have happiness, sadness and craziness, just like everybody else’s days. But, I think, if nothing else, I have a broadened perspective.

Opposite page: Jill Chandler with eldest son, Rowan. Above: Jill’s daughter, Darcy, who is three. Far right, Rowan with younger brother, Cooper.

Loss has opened my eyes.

I used to complain about things, small things and dumb things. I do that less now. It’s pointless and robs me of some of the joy I might find in each day. The saying “energy flows where attention goes” is true. Be careful in your thinking. I used to wish time away. I can’t wait until he is potty trained, I can’t wait until she sleeps through the night. I now realize that every moment (even the hard ones) is a privilege. Live with an attitude of gratitude. I used to be a planner, often looking forward to the next thing: a new job, a weekend getaway, and a much-needed

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Our Children | Spring 2015

I used to strive to be the perfect parent (I wasn’t). But I tried. I was hard on myself. I do that much less now. So should you. Perfect parenting doesn’t exist. It’s a journey. Do your best for that day, forgive yourself and have faith that you’ll get to do it again the next day.






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Our Children | Spring 2015

AT L A N T I C A O A K I S L A N D . C O M


date night. In looking back, I wish I could have had more moments of being content. Life and joy do exist in the ordinary. Be present. I used to take everything so seriously: a call home from school or a forgotten library book had me feeling like I had screwed up. I am learning to ease up and take things less seriously. Lighten up! And finally, and most importantly, love the ones you’re with. When not up to her eyeballs in spilled Cheerios, laundry and general silliness, Jill Chandler works in public relations and marketing in the event industry. She is also a singer-songwriter, with years of dinner theatre experience and often calls on her improv training to assist in many parenting moments. Jill hopes to focus more on her music, her family’s well being and continuing to find joy in the ordinary.



By Elwin LeRoux, Superintendent During my visits to schools, I see many innovative examples of how teachers are incorporating food literacy into various subject areas to meet curriculum outcomes. In other words, they’re using healthy food as a means to teach math, literacy, art and even technology skills. What exactly is food literacy? Search for Nourish Nova Scotia’s video on food literacy on YouTube. Food literacy is the understanding of how our food choices impact our health, the environment, the community and the economy. Food literacy is about learning to cook and prepare nutritious meals. Food literacy is the understanding that buying locally sourced produce is the better choice, not only because it hasn’t travelled from afar, but because it supports the community farmer and the local economy. Like learning to read or solve math problems, food literacy is a skill that needs to be taught from a young age. Children and youth who are food literate are more likely to go on to be healthier adults because they have the knowledge, habits and essential life skills that will enable them to make healthy food choices throughout their lives. Food is more than just feeding kids. It’s about fueling their minds. Think of it this way: students who are food literate know how to fish, as the old saying goes. So what does teaching food literacy and curriculum outcomes look like in Grade Primary? In Cindy Ng-Ivanoff’s class at Basinview Drive Community School, it looks delicious! Ms. Ng-Ivanoff regularly uses nutritious, age-appropriate food preparation to engage students in their learning. Recently, she taught students how to make granola and a yogurt parfait.

Planting a garden at school is a great way to teach kids about food literacy. School gardens can also be used in lessons about math and science.

Learn more about Ms. Ng-Ivanoff’s approach to engaging students through food preparation by watching their video on YouTube. Simply search for Health, Learning & Technology at Basinview Community School. Students also used iPads to capture their experience and make a how-to video to share their learning with fellow students, their parents/guardians, families and grandparents. Search for the Young Chefs of Basinview Community School on YouTube to watch the video. Another great example of food literacy programming in the Halifax Regional School Board is the edible school garden program. Our school nutritionist supports garden programs with grants, professional development and curriculum resources for elementary, junior and senior high schools. Currently, there are more than 25 gardens growing edible plants at HRSB schools, with more expected this year. Each garden is unique and reflects the diversity of the school community. There are fruit and vegetable gardens, sunflower gardens, salsa gardens, herb gardens, soup gardens, pumpkin patches and more. Now that spring is (finally!) here, students, staff and volunteers will start to prepare gardens for planting. Outdoor school gardens give students the hands-on opportunity to plant seeds and watch them grow into fruit and vegetables that they can eat and enjoy. Many schools use harvest time to create a school-wide meal to celebrate the success of their garden as well as their growing knowledge of local food. School gardens align with and enrich curriculum outcomes for math, language arts, science, social studies, physical education, family studies, healthy living and art. At the same

Our Children | Spring 2015

Teachers are finding innovative ways to tie food growing, cooking into curriculum

Photo: HRSB

Learning food literacy


time, students are more likely to expand their palates and try the fruits (and vegetables) of their labour. Research also indicates that school food gardens contribute to increased student achievement, engagement and self-confidence. There is something to be said for allowing a child to care for and nurture the growth of a plant.

Photo: HRSB

We know that health, nutrition and learning are all linked. Healthy, nourished students who feel safe at school are better able to learn, perform academically and attend school more regularly, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. That’s why as a society—right down to the school setting—it’s important to make the healthy choice the easy choice. To learn more about food literacy and other health initiatives in HRSB, follow @HRSBhealthpromo on Twitter. Elwin LeRoux is the superintendent of the Halifax Regional School Board. Follow him on Twitter @ElwinLeRoux







Our Children | Spring 2015





These young chefs from Basinview Drive Community School in Bedford learned about food literacy and curriculum outcomes in a cooking class taught by their teacher, Ms. Ng-Invanoff.

OPENS JULY 10, 2015


Celebrate the history of Haligonian Samuel Cunard, his vision and legacy and the history of the Cunard Line ships. Join us for special programs, demonstrations and interactive play using telegraph and radio technology and communication devices that changed the world!

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THE LION’S MANE Science in the Serengeti Summer 2015



Our Children | Spring 2015

book reviews


By Trevor J. Adams

Birchtown and the Black Loyalists

Be a Beach Detective

How to Raise a Wild Child

By Wanda Lauren Taylor Nimbus Publishing Ages 8 to 12

By Peggy Kochanoff Nimbus Publishing Ages 6 to 10

By Scott D. Sampson Thomas Allen & Son Parents’ Pick

Nova Scotia’s rich black history doesn’t deserve to be relegated to the month of February, for perusal once a year. This easy-reading, accessible book brings that history alive, sharing the stories of Nova Scotia’s Black Loyalists (freed slaves who helped build this province). An accomplished writer and educator, Taylor knows how to craft a lively and relatable story, full of adventure, tragedy and triumph. This book doesn’t shirk from the horrors of the slave trade that brought the Black Loyalists to their eventual new home, nor does it wallow in them. Complemented with illustrations and historic photos, this book introduces kids to historical heroes they’ve never heard of, and adds an important chapter to Nova Scotia’s saga.

If you’ve spent your whole life near the coast, you may not realize how lucky we Maritimers are— hundreds of kilometres of shoreline nearby, every beach a teeming world demonstrating the power of nature, the cycle of life. Be a Beach Detective is the perfect book to help kids realize that, and it’s hard to imagine anyone but Peggy Kochanoff could have a written it. A biologist and artist, she combines scientific knowledge with detailed illustrations, walking readers through the mysteries of the shoreline. She explores the curious life of barnacles, the dozens of types of seaweed, the overlooked beauty of jellyfish and much more. A curious kid could happily spend a summer at the beach with the book, and learn something new every day.

According to the David Suzuki Foundation, almost three-quarters of Canadian kids are spending less (sometimes a lot less) than an hour a day outside. If you want to raise kids who are environmentally conscious and in tune with the world around them, that’s a real problem. This book, from the host of the acclaimed PBS kids’ show Dinosaur Train, can help. Drawing on vast research in the latest psychology, neuroscience, biology and education, Sampson offers a detailed (but easy to follow) stepby-step guide for fostering a love of nature. Whether you live out in the country or in inner urbania, his book is a handy resource, chock full of activities, anecdotes and success stories.

A wish come true

Allie Campbell was in Grade 11 and looking forward to a class trip to Africa when her young life took a different turn. She had just left competitive paddling, a sport she practiced since she was 10. The then 17 year old found what she thought was a muscle knot in her neck and credited it to the exertion of paddling. But her doctor wasn’t convinced. After blood work and biopsies, that knot turned out to be Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The cancer was found on both sides of Allie’s neck, her chest and just below her diaphragm. Chemotherapy treatment would start almost right away. “There were so many tests, I almost knew,” Allie recalls. “You don’t think it’s going to happen to you,” says Allie’s mom, Muriel MacKay, a cancer survivor herself. Allie was also devastated that she had to cancel her trip to Africa that was to happen just weeks after treatment started. But the mom of her best friend suggested she look into Children’s Wish Foundation. Allie was still 17, just under the cut-off date of 18 to receive a wish from the organization that grants wishes to children with illnesses. With the help of her friend’s mom, Allie applied for a wish: a trip to Africa to help build a school, the same trip she was to take with her school. As a Plan B, she asked to visit an elephant orphanage. In June 2014, Allie’s wish was granted. Children’s Wish, with the help of Me to We, an organization that is part of Free the Children and We Day, organized for Allie and her family, including her mom, sister Abbey and stepdad, a trip to visit Kenya. They left the day after Allie graduated from high school. “It was an absolute privilege and surprise to go on the same trip that I had to cancel due to my diagnoses the year before,” she says. In Kenya, Allie and her family got to build a school for girls training in trades. They learned how to do traditional beadwork, took lessons in Swahili from Maasai warriors and went on safaris. Allie also had a chance to meet girls her age and they shared much in common: talk of boyfriends, favourite studies and plans for the future. Allie even got her Plan B wish. During the trip to the airport on the way home, they stopped into the

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which takes care of orphaned elephants. While she was in remission when she went to Kenya, the wish was an important part of her treatment. “The process of what I was going to do [in Africa] took my mind off being sick,” she says, adding she was constantly checking her itinerary and researching what she’d actually do while in Kenya. “On those really rough days, it was really nice to have something to look forward to when this is done.” “She was courage and grace,” recalls Muriel of Allie’s attitude during treatment, “and it really is my privilege to be her mom.” Now 19 and studying business at Mount Saint Vincent University, Allie has been in remission for about a year and a half. She says she has a different perspective on cancer and has even found the good in her illness. “I don’t get stressed out about the little things I used to get stressed out about,” she says. “And how important it is to have your family by your side.” She says she realizes how fortunate she is, recalling how she even tried to carry heavy buckets of water on her head like the young moms in Kenya do five times a day. “Those things are heavy!” Allie exclaims. “I was struggling.” She now volunteers with Children’s Wish and Me to We, and hopes to start a group at her school to help raise funds for both organizations. Allie and her mom say they are grateful to Children’s Wish for giving their family something so valuable in the healing process. “It was an experience for all four of us,” Muriel says. “We couldn’t be more proud as parents. And I think it brought us closer together. And we were close to begin with.” They encourage others to give back and help an organization that gives much to families like theirs. “Children’s Wish is an incredible organization,” Muriel continues. “I didn’t realize how many wishes they granted until Allie was granted a wish. After participating in Exile Island (one of their biggest fundraisers), my takeaway was, you get so much more back by giving, your heart will be full. When you see the smile on those wee faces, it’s a warmth like no other. Even a lottery win wouldn’t feel as rewarding.”


Red Door supplies these accessories, all designed and produced in Nova Scotia, which are used to help raise funds for Children’s Wish. Groups and individuals can help sell these products to raise funds to grant a child’s wish. Organizations can purchases these items wholesale for their own fundraising efforts or resell in their stores. A company logo can be added, often at no cost. For more information, contact Sylvia Noble at 902-719-4391 or sylvia@glo-nat.com.

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