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d n a t r a e H l u o S

FEBRuary 2014 •

Teen is sharing her story of survival to help others

Tackling Tough Topics

Talking to teens about peer pressure, dating and sex

Social Media What all parents should know

Don’t miss...

Valentine’s Day crafts Healthy Heart Tips Guide to Private Schools

Plus our monthly features... february 2014 savvy kids


In the BegInnIng… Here are two of our first clients.

20 “therapy” years Later… And here they are now, successful and happy! Allied Therapy and its staff are passionate about improving peoples’ lives. We have strived to provide the best possible care and service for all patients and their families for over 20 years. Our goal is to enable, train or retrain an individual for successful and daily living. We feel honored to be in the lives of so many families!

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Abundant Life School “Education with a Difference”

contents FEBRUARY 2014


Paige Risberg, photographed by Brian Chilson

12 “We love the convenience of having all 3 of our kids at the same school, under the care of teachers who love them and truly want them to succeed. At Abundant Life they are provided with a high quality, biblically based education.” – Joe & Holly Dunn

Little Rock teen is sharing her story as part of the 2014 Go Red for Women Survivor Gallery



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Tackling Tough Topics


Special Needs



Valentine’s Day crafts, guide to private schools and healthy heart tips.

8 Odds and Ends 10 Little hero 32 Calendar of Events 38 Eats & treats 40 Savvy project 48 Savvy arts 50 Pop topics 52 of the month 54 kids eat free

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Editor’s Letter

New Member of the Family


Monika Rued


Photo by Brian Chilson

We have some news to report over here at Savvy Kids! We are happy to announce that Monika Rued has recently joined our team as publisher. Monika has been the social media director with our parent company, Arkansas Times, for close to a year. During that time, I have often sought her help in various tech-related projects, like setting up our awesome Facebook contests. I have enjoyed getting to know her and look forward to working more closely together. Monika has a more than a decade of experience in media. She was the digital manger for KTHV-TV, Little Rock’s CBS affiliate, where she managed in addition to the news sites and social media, which evolved into reporting and producing weekly on-air family segments. I spoke to Monika about her previous experience and how excited she is to continue serving the families of central Arkansas in her new role with Savvy Kids. Here’s what she had to say: “While at KTHV, I was able to do stories and community projects that made a difference,” she said. “There are so many organizations and people on the front lines giving selflessly to improve the quality of life for families. Being able to partner with them, from stories about handling stress and celebrating the triumphs of children and programs to collecting diapers for those in need was a wonderful opportunity. “I have a 6-year-old son, Pierce, and having a connection with other parents has changed my life. Being a parent is challenging, wonderful and too many more adjectives to list. Savvy Kids is an incredible magazine. I’ve already been working with our editor, Erica, and appreciate her commitment to making Savvy not only a resource for parents but also a celebration of good news in our communities. “As publisher of Savvy Kids, I will have the opportunity once again on a broader level to connect with Arkansas families, businesses and help make a difference.” I hope you’ll all join me in welcoming Monika to our Savvy Kids family! Follow our Pins on Pinterest

Follow us on Twitter

Become A Facebook Fan

Erica Sweeney, Editor


inned It!

Dark chocolate covered fruit is simple and sweet. Recipe from Multiply Delicious. 6 | savvy k i ds February 2014

Erica Sweeney

digital media producer Bryan Moats

editorial art director Patrick Jones

account executive

Rose Gladner Lesa Thomas Ellen Weiner

production manager Weldon Wilson

advertising coordinators

Roland Gladden, Kelly Schlachter Carr,

graphic artists

Kai Caddy, Bryan Moats, Patrick Jones, Mike Spain

photographer Brian Chilson


Weldon Wilson

accounts payable Kelly Lyles

it director

Robert Curfman

billing/collections Linda Phillips

circulation director Jack Higgins


This month, we’ve pinned some cute and delicious treats to keep your heart healthy this Valentine’s Day. Check out these recipes and more at

Berry and yogurt parfaits are the perfect yearround treat. Recipe from Project Nursery.

Spread the love with frozen yogurt and fruit conversation hearts. Recipe from eHow.

All natural marshmallows are colored with beet juice and sweetened with maple syrup. Recipe from Purely Twins.

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Celebrate Black History Month February is Black History Month, and the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in downtown Little Rock is hosting a several events to celebrate. On Saturday, Feb. 1, the Foreign Tongues Poetry Troupe is partnering with the MTCC for “Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Piece.” This free poetry event starts at 6 p.m. and features youth poets from central Arkansas and 2012 national poetry slam champion, Tarriona “Tank” Ball. The center is offering a new free lunchtime series, called “It’s in the Bag,” on a variety of topics to educate, inspire and entertain. This month’s is Tuesday, Feb. 4 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Visitors should bring their lunches, but drinks will be provided. MTCC will celebrate the life of Charlotte Stephens, the first African-American teacher in the Little Rock School District, where she taught for 70 years. Stephens’ story will be brought to life through a living history presentation by Dr. Gwendolyn Twillie, former Chairwoman of the Theatre, Arts, and Dance Department at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, on Friday, Feb. 7 at 10 a.m. The event is free, but registration is required. On Saturday, Feb. 15, youngsters in grades 6-12 will compete in the Arkansas Black History Quiz Bowl. Teams will answer trivia questions about inventions, social science, famous firsts, sports, the arts, current events and entertainment. The event is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Voices Without Borders, a Little Rock-area children’s choir led by Dr. Irma Routen, will perform at the center on Thursday, Feb. 27 at 10 a.m. The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is located at 501 W. Ninth St. in downtown Little Rock. For more information about these events and others, visit or call 501-683-3593.

go online

The Library of Congress’ African American History Month website has several educational resources available for parents and teachers, including lesson plans, videos and lots more. Visit the site at


2014 January 2014

• www.savv


In our January issue, we misstated the fit to lose name of Major League Baseball player al families sha their storiesre new year arts how Travis Wood in our story about Junior to set up a trust &culture tips for finding roundup services and Deputy Baseball, which appeared on supports annual resour ce guide page 36. We are very sorry for the error. Plus ou monthlyrfea Also in the January issue, we omittures... ted Civitan Services Developmental Preschool and Therapy Services (121 Cox St., Benton; 501-776-0691) in Benton from our Special Needs Resource Guide. We apologize for leaving this organization off of our list. Make you


Work out tips, sMooth ies and Mor



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Special Needs Issue loc

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Read This

The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center has recommended three books to help youngsters learn about diversity and the history of our nation. These books are available at the center’s bookstore. The Colors of Us by Karen Katz celebrates similarities and differences in ways that are easily relatable to children. A little girl and her mom take a walk and encounter people with different skin tones, and they make beautiful comparisons. Before John Was a Jazz Giant: A Song of John Coltrane by Carole Boston Weatherford is a beautifully illustrated book about what shaped jazz legend John Coltrane, by examining the different sounds that he heard, like train whistles, gospel music and big band music. March, Book One by John Lewis, co-authored by Andrew Aydin, is the autobiography of Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis. This graphic novel is the first in a trilogy. It is illustrated by Arkansas native Nate Powell.

february 2014 savvy kids



little hero

Big Heart

ICAN! Dance: Changing lives, 45 minutes at a time Story and Photo by Callie France Sterling

Riley Strube is a 10-year-old from Cabot who has a passion for helping children with special needs. Each week she participates in ICAN! Dance, a program specifically designed for special needs children. “I am a ‘big buddy’ to a 6-year-old named Londyn Giles,” Riley said. “My ‘little buddy’ has autism and each week I help her learn dance techniques and we have fun.” ICAN! Dance is a statewide program founded by Julie Mayberry, whose daughter, Katie, has spinal bifida. Mayberry serves as the director for the program, which currently has over 50 “buddies” in Arkansas. Strube has been involved with ICAN! Dance at Centre Stage in Sherwood for four years. There are seven “little buddies” that participate at Centre Stage. Boys and girls ages 4-17 may participate. “My favorite part about ICAN! Dance is coming into the studio and watching the girls with their smiling faces,” she said. “The girls come together and learn dance experience, make friends and the ‘big buddies’ can grow and learn from the ‘little buddies’ as well.” The program at Centre Stage lasts 10 weeks. At the end of the program, the class performs a recital. Classes also perform at the Ms. Wheelchair Arkansas Pageant, Riverfest, local churches, Christmas parties and the Greek Food Fest. Annually, there is a statewide recital for all ICAN! Dance participants. “The ICAN! Dance program is the highlight of the week at my studio,” said Andrea Strube, Centre Stage owner and Riley’s mom. “I love that my daughter, Riley, and the other ‘big buddies’ get the opportunity to learn from their ‘little buddies.’ Riley has learned how to interact with all kinds of people through this program and she has learned how truly special that special needs kids really are. Riley has even learned some sign language by interacting with one of the ‘little buddies.’” In addition to participating in ICAN! Dance, Riley had the idea to sell bracelets as a fundraiser for The Crossing at Angel Court in Little Rock, which will be the first fully accessible and inclusive public park in central Arkansas. It will be located next to the ICAN! Arts and Resource Center in Little Rock. 10 | savvy k i ds February 2014

“I wanted to help with the playground and decided to raise money for it because it will help the kids with special needs, like my ‘little buddy,’” Riley Strube said. She and Mayberry designed the bracelets together on a website. They chose the colors for a special reason. “We picked the colors because they reminded us of playing outside,” Strube said. “We also picked the words for the bracelets. We thought of a lot of ideas but when we came up with ICAN Play! I knew it was the right choice.” Since the end of October, Strube has raised more than $700 for the playground’s construction. She encourages businesses to get involved if they are interested in selling the bracelets for the cause. Riley is a young girl who is making a big difference in her community and sets a good example for all. In addition to ICAN! Dance, she participates in Student Council and Builder’s Club at Cabot Middle School South. She also enjoys sewing and cooking. “As a studio owner, it is super neat to see families come together through the ICAN! Dance program,” Andrea Strube said. “It is amazing to see the reaction from parents of special needs kids when their children participate in the dances. They get to see their kids on stage during a recital and often think they won’t ever get to experience that as a parent. It is a win-win situation for everyone involved.” The ICAN! Dance program is offered throughout the state. For more information about this program and other recreational activities for children with special needs, visit or call 501-329-5459. To purchase ICAN Play! bracelets, call 501-425-3361.

february 2014 savvy kids

| 11

Heart and Soul

Little Rock teen is sharing her story and helping others as a member of the 2014 Go Red for Women Survivor Gallery By Erica Sweeney

Many teenage girls would be self-conscious of having a large scar across their chest, but not Paige Risberg. Her scar has always been a symbol of strength and a proud reminder that she survived heart surgery as a baby. When she was little, Risberg told people that her scar marked where angels kissed her to heal her heart, though she doesn’t remember saying it. While she understands why others may want to cover up their scars, the Pulaski Academy senior says her scar gives her confidence, which she is using to share her story and educate others about heart health as a member of the American Heart Association’s 2014 Go Red for Women Central Arkansas Survivor Gallery. Born on Valentine’s Day, Risberg’s mom called her their “heart baby,” a nickname that would come to have many meanings. Though she was born completely healthy, when she was only a few weeks old, Risberg became dehydrated and lethargic from vomiting. At the emergency room, she was given an IV to help her gain weight and was nearly sent home because doctors found nothing wrong. But, a neonatal doctor on duty heard a faint murmur in Risberg’s heart, which a pediatric cardiologist confirmed. She was diagnosed with ventricular septal defect (VSD), a congenital heart defect where there is a hole in the wall separating the two lower chambers of the heart. Doctors sent the family home with medication and a special formula to help Risberg grow stronger and gain weight. They had hoped to wait until she was 10 months old to operate, but when she was six months old, Risberg’s heart 12 | savvy k i ds February 2014

Photo by Brian Chilson

Paige Risberg

began to fail and surgery was done at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, where the family was living at the time. The hole in her heart, which doctors said was one of the largest they’d seen, was repaired with a patch made of Dacron. There were also two smaller holes that were not repaired during surgery because doctors said they would later heal on their own. “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about handing her to the heart surgeon,” said Gina Risberg, Paige’s mom, who calls her daughter’s survival an “amazing blessing, a miracle.” “There is hope for families when a child has heart disease or a heart defect. We have seen the miracles personally so many times, in the hospital, and with our friends and families.” Paige Risberg has never let her heart defect stop her. She was a competitive cheerleader for years, played many different sports and has even disobeyed signs prohibiting individuals with heart conditions from riding roller coasters. She was thrilled when she was named to the Survivor Gallery, because it’s an opportunity to share her story and give back to the community. The group is made up of several women of all ages who have been affected by cardiovascular disease. “It was surprising to be picked, but it’s really cool,” she said. “I know people have it worse than me and are still trying to heal. It’s very emotional for me.” Gina Risberg said the American Heart Association has always supported her family, and so they wanted to show their appreciation by getting involved over

♥ “I know people have it worse than me and are still trying to heal.”

the years. The Risbergs have participated in the Heart Walk, held each spring. Paige Risberg was part of the AHA’s 2011 Sweetheart Program, where 10th grade girls learn about health care, heart health and volunteerism. And, last year, she was nominated for the All Heart Award. She has also volunteered with the annual Arkansas Heart Ball and with the AHA on other projects since her time as a Sweetheart. Because she doesn’t remember her heart surgery, Risberg says she enjoys hearing others’ stories of survival and sharing the stories that her parents have told her over the years. As a Sweetheart, she had the chance to visit the cardiac wing at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. She said the experience was “a reality check” and helped her better understand what she went through as a baby and what it means to be a “heart survivor.” “It was a joy to watch Paige grow during her year as a Sweetheart,” said Tammy Quick, Arkansas Heart Ball director. “The American Heart Association’s research has been a part of her life since she was born, but to watch her, as a young woman, become dedicated to our mission is so inspiring.” Gina Risberg said these experiences have also taught her daughter about the world around her, a valuable lesson for all teenagers. “They need to learn that there is a world out there, see ways to help and understand how blessed they are,” she said. Though she still has a slightly leaking tricuspid valve, between the right atrium and right ventricle, Paige Risberg, who will be 18 this month, has not had any serious health problems since her surgery. Other than visiting the cardiologist every other year and taking medication before any dental appointments to ward off bacteria, she said the surgery hasn’t had much of an effect on her life. Her scar has always had a deep and powerful meaning: “I survived,” she said. “Paige is strong in lots of ways,” Gina Risberg said. “She takes things on the chin and keeps going.” In addition to volunteering with the Heart Association, Paige also volunteers a few nights a week at Young Life, a nonprofit Christian ministry for young people, where she plays music and is a leader for middle-school girls. She also plays softball for PA and is planning on a career as a music therapist. Helping people is important to her, Risberg said. She said she loves talking to younger girls who have had heart surgery and appreciates the possibility of being a role model for them. “I think my story is unique,” she said. “It’s something that not a lot of people have gone through.”

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Ways to Get Heart Healthy By Erica Sweeney

Having a healthy heart starts with a bounty of nutritious foods and lots of physical activity. Parents must lead the way to ensure that their children follow a path to a healthy heart. Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death of both men and women in this country. The growing rate of childhood obesity is one of the most pressing health issues among children today. Studies have shown that childhood obesity increases the chances of developing cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease, later in life. The American Heart Association is dedicated to helping parents promote healthy habits in children. These recommendations will put the entire family on a path to better heart health.

which studies show can combat childhood obesity. The recommended daily calorie intake varies by age and gender as kids get older and ranges from 900 calories for 1-year-olds to 1,800 calories for 14- to 18-yearold females and 2,200 for males. Each day, serve a variety of fruits and vegetables of all colors, whole wheat grains and foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, salt and added sugar. Don’t overfeed kids or force them to finish meals if they aren’t hungry.

5. Avoid Sugary Drinks & Processed Foods

1. Set an Example

When kids see adults trying to eat right and being physically active, they will take notice and likely follow suit. Make sure little ones understand that a healthy lifestyle is important to the family and show them how to put it into practice.

Drink water, 100 percent fruit juice or low-fat milk, and avoid sodas and energy drinks. While it’s likely that trips to the drive-thru can’t be eliminated entirely, choose options wisely when eating fast food: fruits over fries, skip sides altogether, and order the grilled and whole wheat items. Skip value-size menu items and even kids’ meals, which are marketed to kids and have limited choices. If your little one is eyeing the toy, it can usually be purchased separately.

2. Get Moving

6. Cook Healthy Foods

Involve children in physical activities that they actually enjoy, like swimming, biking, playing with pets or playing sports. Also, create opportunities for the whole family to enjoy a physical activity together, like going for a walk or playing outside. All kids age 2 and older should get at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every day, the AHA recommends.

3. Limit TV and Computer Time

Being sedentary is a major risk factor for childhood obesity. The AHA recommends limiting screen time, whether TV, computers or iPads, to two hours per day.

4. Follow Nutritional Guidelines for Children

The AHA recommends breastfeeding infants for the first 12 months,

Involve kids in the whole process of meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking. Teach them to read food labels, so that they understand what they are eating. Enjoy mealtime as a family, which promotes good eating habits for life and quality family time.

7. Provide Encouragement

Be positive with kids about their food and exercise choices, and set realistic goals. Small steps often build up to the greatest accomplishments. For more information about heart health for kids, visit Sources: The American Heart Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Heart Explained

Help kids understand the most important part of their body with these simple definitions of heart-related words.

The Heart

The heart is a muscle that sits in the middle of your chest between your lungs. The heart has many jobs and works harder than any other muscle in the body. It is a pump that pushes blood all over the body through tubes, called arteries and veins, which connect to other parts of the body. Arteries carry blood with oxygen and nutrients way from the heart, and veins carry blood back to the heart. To do this, the heart has its own electrical system and makes itself bigger and smaller.

Heart Facts

•A  child’s heart is about the size of their fist and weighs about as much as a soda can. • The heart pumps about 100 gallons of blood per hour. •A  child’s heart pushes blood through about 60,000 miles of blood vessels, which is long enough to circle the Earth two and a half times.

14 | savvy k i ds February 2014

• The heart beats an average of 100,000 times a day.

Heart Attack

A heart attack is when a heart stops beating properly. This happens when the heart does not get enough blood, because arteries are too clogged or narrow for the blood to get through.

Cardiac Arrest

Cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack. It is caused when the heart’s electrical system breaks, and the heart stops working

Heart Defect

A congenital heart defect is a heart problem that someone is born with. There are many types of heart defects. Some people with congenital heart defects may have holes in their hearts. Others may have parts of the heart that don’t work like they should. Sources: American Heart Association, MediKidz (Medical Information for Kids), National Geographic Kids and the Texas Heart Institute

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Loves Me, Loves Me Not Supporting kids though the ups and downs of friendship By Heidi Smith Luedtke

Driving home, you ask your kids what happened at school today. Your son mumbles, “Nothing,” in his casual, I-dare-you-to-ask-for-more information kind of way. Before you can follow up, your daughter chimes in “I hate Maddie. She told Sarah she thinks my hair is ugly, and now Sarah won’t let me sit with them at lunch. They’re not my friends anymore. I hate them both.”

Catching Kids’ Feelings Whew! When you asked your daughter about her day, you were hoping to hear she had aced her spelling test. Instead, you’re sitting in the driver’s seat wondering how to navigate a tricky emotional situation. Kids may be overwhelmed if they don’t know how to handle their feelings, so they pass them on to adults, says Lawrence Cohen, psychologist and author of Playful Parenting. This eases their distress and frees kids to explore what’s happening without getting stuck on issues they can’t solve. 16 | savvy k i ds February 2014

Parents don’t have it so easy. We may feel our kids’ pain as if it were our own, especially if their experiences cause us to revisit our own childhood turmoil, says Cohen. As parents grapple with their own feelings, they may unintentionally make things worse for kids by asking probing questions like, “Why didn’t Sarah stick up for you?” or “Did something else happen between you three?” Michael Thompson, clinical psychologist and co-author of Best Friends, Worst Enemies, calls this “interviewing for pain.” And, he says, this approach can backfire. It may cause kids to become more upset and confused instead of helping them move on. Although kids’ clashes are uncomfortable for parents, it’s best if parents support without intruding. Conflict is a crucible for social development.

Why Conflict Occurs and What Kids Learn From It We all want to feel a sense of connection to others and to be recognized as

competent, powerful individuals. Your child’s desires to sit with the cool kids at lunch, make the dance team and win an award in the science fair grow out of these needs for connection, achievement and status. The recipe for dissonance goes something like this: Create a close bond between friends, add a spirit of competitiveness and an ounce of I’mbetter-than-you-are, and voilà, you’ve got conflict. Winning friends and earning bragging rights on Super Mario aren’t incompatible goals in the long term, but on any given afternoon they can cause friction. While it’s tempting to wish for perpetual harmony, a reasonable amount of conflict is good for kids. “There’s no doubt that some of the most important lessons our kids will learn don’t happen in the classroom but with a friend or two” during playtime, says Michelle Borba, author of Nobody Likes Me, Everybody Hates Me. A child’s sense of personal identity develops as he sees himself through the eyes of his friends. When disagreements arise, kids learn to negotiate, to stand up for themselves, and to communicate their values. And when they mess up they learn to take responsibility and make apologies, reminds Borba. These social skills stick with kids into adulthood and are critical to school and career success. While parents can help kids learn from their experiences, we can’t learn these lessons for them.

How to Support Kids’ Friendship Skill-Building Getting involved in kids’ social lives can feel like stepping into a minefield – you don’t know where hot issues are buried and missteps can cause emotional explosions. Use these strategies to support your kids through trying times in social development. Create Opportunities. Kids don’t want parents to manage their social lives – that just isn’t cool. To help kids make friends parents have to be stealthy. Invite another family over for dinner and let the kids entertain themselves while the grown ups talk. They may groan initially, but they’ll rise to the occasion. Step back and let kids get acquainted through play. Share family activities often if the kids hit it off. Put Problems in Perspective. Though it’s easy to dismiss kids’ social woes as insignificant, research conducted at University of California Los Angeles shows social rejection activates the same brain areas responsible for physical pain: Being left out really does hurt. Just don’t overreact. It’s likely your child will get over the hurt, reconcile with her friend or find a new one. Check Your Expectations. Kids vary widely in how many friends they have and the depth of their relationships. “How many friends our kids have isn’t the issue,” says Borba. What matters most are your child’s feelings about himself and his relationships with peers. Friendship should be a (mostly) positive experience. Be a Sounding Board. Resist the urge to clean up your child’s friendship fallout by calling the friend’s parent or telling your child what to do. Instead, listen compassionately to what happened and absorb the weight of your child’s sadness. With your emotional support, she’ll find her own way to mend the rift. Quarrels and breakups happen, and painful feelings may linger. Often but not always – after some time or a shift in activities – kids find a way to make up. To parents, it may seem like kids break up and make up too easily. They go from best friends to worst enemies and back again before we know what’s happening. Whether friends come or go, parents can offer an accepting smile, a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. But we can’t make them empathize, sort out their feelings, force an apology, or fix their friendships. Some lessons only friends can teach. Heidi Smith Luedtke is a personality psychologist and “detachment parenting” mom who shares psychology lessons for real life at


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on Social Media Teens are saying goodbye to Facebook in favor of new apps, often staying one step ahead of their parents By Stacey Margaret Jones

Instagram, Snapchat, Pheed, Kik, Twitter, AskFM and Vine. These are the social media platforms popular with teens. Facebook is noticeably absent from this list. Research has shown what those who have teens at home may have noticed: Social media is evolving, and as older users increase on Facebook, young people are gravitating to new social media apps to keep in touch with their friends and the world around them. “Teens seem to be drifting away from Facebook for various reasons,” said Adam Benton, licensed psychologist at Arkansas Families First in North Little Rock. “The reason I hear the most from kids is that parents are using Facebook more and more.” Darlene Kirkpatrick, a teacher at Baker Interdistrict Elementary in Little Rock, who has seen kids as young as 9 using social media, said that while students may have Facebook accounts, they don’t keep them updated or don’t list reliable information there. They are saving their authentic social lives for other apps.

Apps Abound For parents trying to keep tabs on their children online, the variety of social media platforms can be intimidating. Odds are a teen may sample some and settle on those that both engage his or her interests and are used by many of his friends. “Teens typically have their preferred site, which is usually the one their friends are into,” said Benton, who noted that social media popularity often varies by school. For example, Emma Gillaspy, a student at Conway High School uses Instagram, Twitter, Vine, Tumblr and Snapchat, and Noah Lee, a freshman at Catholic High School for Boys in Little Rock, only uses Instagram. Here is a brief summary of some of the more popular social media apps among teens right now: Instagram: A photo and video sharing platform that can be directly linked to others, such as Facebook, Twitter and Kik. Tags are used to “promote” photos and insert them into conversations beyond the users’ own networks (such as 18 | savvy k i ds February 2014

#ootd—outfit of the day). Snapchat: A messaging app that is built on concealment as the software deletes the photo-text message received within up to 10 seconds. Messages can be sent to more than one recipient at once. Twitter: 140-character messages containing text or links to other content. Users select who to follow to build a personalized feed. Vine: Allows users to make and post short videos and cross-post the videos on other platforms. Kik: A messaging app that allows users to post photos, voice audio files, drawings and other content. Participants must register with a user name and can be used as an alternative to costly text messages. Pheed: A more direct competitor of Facebook and Twitter among teens, this free platform allows users to share various media and messages with a network. AskFM: A site that allows users to pose questions and nest the answers within threads. This anonymous-user site is particularly popular with teens. Tumblr: A linked blogging platform in which users can post original content and/or repost others’ content.

What’s It Good For? Lee, 14, likes social media, because it allows him to see what people are doing and what his friends “are thinking.” Gillaspy, 15, agreed, that being up-todate on her friends is what engages her, but she also likes to follow celebrities. Both psychologists interviewed for this story, Benton, and Wendy Ward, with Arkansas Children’s Hospital, agreed that it is not only all right, but also important, for teens to use social media. “Social media is a training ground for teenagers to practice navigating social interactions,” said Ward. “It’s helpful for rural kids to have social interaction and for those who move to stay connected to their former friends and communities. And it’s not just peer-to-peer, but also with grandparents and extended family members.” Ward cautioned that parents who keep teens completely off social media may be hindering their futures in business and organizational life, which rely more and more on digital social interaction.



Reasonable Precautions Because it benefits teens to be on social media, how can parents make sure their kids are realizing the good and being protected from the bad? Gillaspy said whenever she gets a new social media account, her parents create an account to follow her. Lee’s mother takes his phone from time to time without warning and goes through it to ensure that he is neither the perpetrator nor the victim of inappropriate online behavior. “Most teens can be taught to use social media responsibly just like most learn to drive responsibly,” said Benton. “Some will have fender benders along the way, but in many cases they can be seen as learning opportunities. With parental guidance and supervision, major collisions can be prevented.” Ward said that contrary to the individual apps’ user guidelines regarding age, parents should look for specific signs teens are mature enough to use social media, at least on a monitored basis: • High quality friendship skills (can translate interpersonal skills to a digital platform) • Degree of empathy (will understand how posts will impact others) • Ability to think through consequences (can forecast longer-term effects for himself and others of what is posted) New apps, those teens are drawn to, often have more lax privacy policies, said Kirkpatrick, who cautioned parents to research the privacy settings and sharing policies of each app.

Warning Signs

4t h A n n uA l

Even though parents may be working hard to monitor their kids’ usage, hardware and software, they may be nervous they are missing something that could harm their teen. Benton provided the following things to watch for in teens who are engaged with social media: • Obsessive use of social media • Isolation from family members and peers • Signs of depression, such as becoming more isolated or irritable than normal • Becoming unhappy with school, friends or activities they used to enjoy • Reports of bullying online or in person • Using the internet behind closed doors, or while others are sleeping, as if in secret • Becoming excessively defensive about parental review of social media Ward warned parents about some specific scenarios, such as teens who engage in ongoing negative commenting, kids who work out conflict publically instead of directly with the other individual, and students who find themselves interacting online beyond their usual interpersonal boundaries of behavior. Parents can help their teens by helping them define what a friend really is, and how that may differ from all the people with whom they interact on line, said Ward. Other tips from Benton include keeping computers and tablet usage in common areas, not to be used when teens are off alone; turning cell phones in every night for charging and checking; letting the child know that in order to have a phone, he or she is consenting to parental supervision; sharing accounts so anything downloaded to a teen’s phone will also go to the parent’s phone; setting appropriate use parameters, such as not using them at the dinner table; and following your kids on all social media sites. With some focus and effort, parents can do a great deal to make sure their teens are learning the ropes of appropriate and beneficial social media while not harming themselves—or others.

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Stacey Margaret Jones is a freelance writer and independent market researcher in Conway, where she lives with her husband, cat and three dogs. She is working on her master’s of fine arts in creative writing at the University of Central Arkansas.


february 2014 savvy kids

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Is Your Teen

Sexting? By Stacey Margaret Jones

One of the online dangers parents fear is “sexting,” or the sending or posting of sexually-explicit material via a digital medium. Kids may not understand the long-term consequences of sending a naked or other explicit photo of themselves to someone they thought they could trust with their privacy. This kind of posting and messaging is a predictable phenomenon as teens live out their growth and development online, but that doesn’t mean it’s OK or a kind of “victimless crime.” In fact, criminal charges can result from this behavior. But parents can help prevent such circumstances. Wendy Ward, a psychologist with Arkansas Children’s Hospital, and Adam Benton, a psychologist with Arkansas Families First, often deal with these situations in their practices and have some advice.

“Sexting reflects teens’ typical developmental interest in sexuality.” “Sexting reflects teens’ typical developmental interest in sexuality,” said Benton. “This has always been an issue for teens—it’s just in a new medium now.” “A good guideline about sexting—and all comments on social media in general—is not to put anything out there that can’t be seen by people you don’t know well,” said Ward. “Teens should ask themselves, ‘If a stranger read or saw 20 | savvy k i ds February 2014

this, would I feel uncomfortable or embarrassed?’” Another thing to consider is that digital information can so easily be shared, forwarded and reposted with people the original sender didn’t authorize or wouldn’t approve of. “Sexting is not private,” said Ward. The best prevention is for parents to lay an all-around foundation for their kids regarding sexuality and privacy. “Parents should teach boundaries and assertiveness and how to handle sexual feelings and situations,” said Benton. “They should speak openly and frequently about dating and sexuality issues, including sexting.” And when it comes to digital issues specifically, “Teens need to be taught that it is wrong for a boyfriend or anyone else to take graphic pictures of them or pressure them into sending images of themselves,” said Benton. He also said kids need to learn what to do if these things happen. What should they say? Whom should they tell? These are scenarios worth talking out with your teen. If parents find sexually-explicit posts, either from or to another child, said Ward, they should try contacting the other teen’s parents directly first. “If they can’t or if that doesn’t go well, it may be wise to involve a school principal, and in some instances, the police.” In most cases, parents will either need to block the sender or deactivate their own child’s account until he or she is older and more mature. “Parents should view sexting as evolving out of natural curiosity, but a sign they are lacking understanding and violated boundaries, and possibly laws,” said Benton. “Teens who actively engage in such activities need closer supervision until they can handle the responsibilities of social media in a healthier fashion.” Both psychologists encouraged parents to seek professional help if they are concerned or are having issues with their teens’ social media use. A mental-health professional can help facilitate discussions that intimidate parents but that may help prevent more serious behavior and possible legal issues in the future.

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Alcohol, Sex and Peer Pressure How To Tackle Tough Topics With Your Kids By Christina Katz

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When it comes to discussing difficult topics with your kids, your natural inclination may be to try to avoid the task all together. But remember, your children will pay for your hesitancy or embarrassment with a lack of awareness that they will need to make good decisions. You don’t want your child making emotion-fueled, spur-of-the-moment choices about alcohol, sex or peer pressure to try and prove something to their friends. You want them to be in the know, be prepared and know in advance where they stand on crucial decisions before they get caught in a slippery situation. While sweet, innocent naiveté might be a preferable fantasy to parents in the short run, protecting kids too much can cost them as they progress through rites of passage. How soon do your kids need to be ready to make good choices? Earlier than you may think—according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 40 percent of adolescents report drinking by eighth grade, and 55 percent report being drunk at least once by 12th grade. Kids who head off to middle school with a solid understanding of how to make good choices about alcohol, sex and peer pressure, can worry less and thrive more. According to The Mayo Clinic, sex education is a parent’s responsibility. And by reinforcing and supplementing what kids learn in school, parents can set the stage for a lifetime of healthy sexuality. Kids rely on parents to help them make good choices. Eighty percent of teens feel that parents should have a say in whether they drink or not. Be optimistic about the positive impact you can have. Information is power. It is uncommon for tweens to start having consensual sex before age 12, therefore conversations about sex need to start early—likely long before you think your child is considering the option. Ideally, you want to start presenting your child with basic information on alcohol, sex and peer pressure from a young age. The Mayo Clinic also reports that peer pressure, curiosity and loneliness can

Eighty percent of teens feel that parents should have a say in whether they drink or not. steer teenagers into early sexual activity. Therefore, do not delay. Start talking to your kids about the big three today. Here’s how:

Start Early Don’t wait until your child is facing challenges to start talking about tough topics. As soon as your child begins to read, arm her with books that tackle important topics. Girls start puberty between the ages of eight and 13, and boys start puberty between the ages of nine and fifteen. This means if you are going to get a jump on teaching kids about puberty, you will begin around the time they enter kindergarten. A little bit of information delivered gradually each year will seem much less intimidating, rather then waiting for middle school and dumping a lot of information on kids all at once. Continued on page 24


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Continued from page 23

Cover the Basics How well do you understand biology, chemistry, and sociology? When your child hits puberty, he is going to be affected physically, emotionally, and within his peer group. This is especially true if your child is the first or the last in a group of friends to hit puberty. You might need a refresher course before you feel confident holding your own in conversations with your child about challenging topics. When your child starts watching health and wellness videos in school, be sure you watch them too. You can even watch them together, if you think this will spark questions and discussion. Check in with your child’s teacher for more information on her plans.

You want kids to know you care, but you don’t want to drive them nuts.

Be Authoritative Parents who have the best results getting through to teens are authoritative rather than authoritarian, permissive or neglectful. So have thoughtful limits for your kids and express them to your kids frequently. Don’t imagine they will know what you expect unless you tell them. Studies show that parents with a permissive attitude towards drinking, combined with poor communication and unhealthy modeling, lead teens into unhealthy relationships with alcohol. Parents who provide a healthy and consistent balance of discipline and support are more likely to have teens respect their boundaries on drinking and other behaviors.

Cover New Angles Kids grow up and as they do, you will become aware of important details that you failed to cover. You talked about biological sex, but did you discuss when to have sex? Kids who know their parents discourage sex are more likely to wait. You broached the topic of alcohol, but did you get into the dangers of drugs? You don’t want your child thinking drugs are any less dangerous than alcohol. You talked about peer pressure on the playground, but what about when there is a car involved? Make sure your child will call you rather than get in the car with a drunk driver. The older kids get, the more contexts and social situations they will encounter. Keep reviewing possible scenarios with your kids so they will not be taken off guard. Teach them that it’s not only OK to say no, but that life requires us to say no sometimes in order to make the best choices for ourselves.

Keep Circling Back You are never done discussing delicate topics. For example, 80 percent of kids will try alcohol in high school but even if your child starts drinking in college or later, keep talking. She needs to know that you are consistently focused on her well-being no matter what her age. Late elementary school and middle school are important times to talk about the negative effects of over-indulging in alcohol. By the time kids become teens, they should have an in-depth understanding of the negative effects of alcohol and should know you are willing to talk more any time.

Restrict Media Images of Partying A 2010 Dartmouth Medical School study concluded that parents who steer kids clear of R-rated movies helped kids stay strong against peer pressure to drink alcohol. According to James A. Sargent, “the research to date suggests that keeping kids from R-rated movies can help keep them from drinking, smoking and doing a lot of other things that parents don’t want them to do.” In another study conducted the same year, Sargent concluded that children who watch R-rated movies become more prone to sensation-seeking and risktaking. Make sure your kids are mature enough for what they watch. If you are unsure, watch with them and set clear guidelines.

24 | savvy k i ds February 2014

Create Opportunities for Discussion Whatever you do, don’t become so fanatical about your child making good choices or she will feel this pressure and want to avoid these topics with you altogether. A relaxed, age-appropriate, multimedia approach can help keep the conversation going without you having to constantly bring up topics yourself. For family movie night, choose a film that sparks discussion or take your child to see a movie in the theatre and then discuss it over dinner afterwards. Studies have shown that parents who are concerned, engaged and speak openly about expectations help their kids make more responsible choices. You want kids to know you care, but you don’t want to drive them nuts. So don’t ban films and media altogether, just try to take an active role.

Encourage Questions If your kids come to you with questions about alcohol, sex and peer pressure, then you know you are doing a good job keeping the doors to good communication open. Thank your child for asking questions. Resist the urge to make jokes or brush off your child’s feelings. Respond to inquiries as thoughtfully as you can. You want to make sure the questions keep coming to you. Cast your vote in every potentially confusing situation. Better yet, turn the table and ask your teen what he thinks is the best choice in a situation. This is a good way to find out if she is listening or tuning you out.

Look in the Mirror Your child is going to pick up on the way you relate to your own body. Are you constantly on a diet? Typically complaining about weight you want to lose but not exercising? Do you drink soda, eat junk food and hit the fast food drive through when you are upset? Do you drink often or excessively on occasion? Kids are imitators. They will do what you do. They will act the way you act. If you say yes to every request for your time and don’t take time to take care of yourself, then your children will not learn to say no, either. How’s your sex life? How’s your drinking? How’s your ability to say no? If the answer is not good, get to work on make better choices yourself, since this is what you expect of your kids. When is your job as a choice coach done? Never. The goal for both you and your child is thoughtful responsiveness. Make sure your child has all the information she needs to get to the place where she can make conscious choices and you will sleep better tonight and every night. Author Christina Katz was a tween-teen once and thank goodness. She draws on her memories­—both happy and humiliating—to stay as far ahead of her tween daughter as she can.

k c o r B Lee

Junk food fighter! Start each day with a healthy breakfast. It gives you energy to get on your way. Eat a variety of healthy foods every day. Fruits and vegetables taste good, are good for you and there are lots to choose from. What’s your favorite?

february 2014 savvy kids

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You’re doing it wrong: Dental Health

FLOSSING Most people have been told by their dentist or dental hygienist to brush and floss at least two or three times a day. Many remember to brush, but few remember to floss. Brushing only partially removes food debris and bacterial plaques that form on teeth. Toothbrushes also do not reach all the spaces between teeth, leaving plaque and debris undisturbed in some areas and increasing the potential for decay and gum disease. Gum disease has been associated with serious diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, some respiratory diseases and cancer, so it’s important to add flossing to your daily routine. Flossing regularly, just like thoroughly and consistently bathing, decreases disease, mouth odor, and improves overall health. If running a little string between teeth on a regular basis improves one’s health, what is there to lose? This inexpensive and battery-free activity could be potentially life-changing! Dr. Wendi Gregory, Rock City Smiles 3700 S. University, Suite 19 • 501-712-5070 For more than 25 years, Dr. Gregory has provided professional family dentistry in a fun, upbeat manner. Her positive energy and passion for healthy smiles keeps her patients happy and laughing! Dr. Gregory is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry and a Arkansas State Dental Association member.

Visiting the OrthOdOntist


A common, but outdated, belief is that children shouldn’t seek orthodontic diagnosis and treatment until they have all their permanent teeth. However, this often limits orthodontists’ ability to achieve the best results. Earlier intervention allows for reducing the number of permanent tooth extractions needed and preventing more costly treatment procedures later. While every patient is different, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends children be seen by age seven, which allows orthodontists to evaluate and address common problems, like improper jaw growth, improper bite relationship, crowding teeth or problems with tooth eruption. Dental arch development (expansion) can significantly impact final facial and dental aesthetics and comfort of the bite relationship. Parents should consult their orthodontist or family dentist about when is the best time to seek treatment. This is critical to the quality of orthodontic results and ensures the development of a beautiful, functional smile.

Kids may not enjoy brushing their teeth, but it’s important and must be done at least twice daily (morning and night), to prevent tooth decay and keep a clean, healthy mouth. Kids are at high risk for tooth decay, but most decay-related issues can be tackled with proper brushing and flossing. Kids should start brushing shortly after their first few teeth come in. Until age 3-4, parents should brush their child’s teeth and always instill good brushing habits at a young age. Select toothbrushes (manual or electronic) with soft bristles. Stiff bristles can cause gums to bleed or recede even when brushing properly. While it may seem like an eternity for a child (or adult), two minutes is the ideal length of brushing time. Be sure to brush the backs of teeth and the top of the tongue. Brush back and forth, up and down and in small circles. Use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Toothbrushes, not the toothpaste, clean teeth. Remember, “Only brush the teeth you want to keep!”

Dr. David Wardlaw, Wardlaw Orthodontics 8315 Cantrell Road, Ste. 100 • Little Rock • 501-227-5757

26 | savvy k i ds February 2014

Dr. Steven Ray 11811 Hinson Road • 501-312-1127 Dr. Ray is a native of Bryant and graduate of the University of Tennessee Memphis dental school. He is a general dentist, focusing on family and cosmetic dentistry. He is a member of the American Dental Association, Arkansas State Dental Association and the Progressive Dental Learning Society.


Dr. Wardlaw is an orthodontic specialist providing treatment for children and adults in the Little Rock area since 1989. A Little Rock native, he earned his Bachelor of Science at Westminster College, graduated from the University of Missouri, Kansas City, School of Dentistry in 1987, and received his Orthodontic Degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 1989. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics.

Help Us Survive By: Vanessa Williams Moody

Day by day and night by night All they do is constantly fight Mommy is screaming for her life But daddy continues to beat her with all his might I’m just a child, what can I do? I want to help my mommy, but I’m afraid to. Will he hurt me or kill me to? Oh no Val what are we to do? David’s only three and I’m just five You’re the big sis, help us survive Mommy’s too afraid to leave this guy Please somebody help us survive Shattered glass and fallen tears Please leave momma, overcome your fears Walk away from all this madness Take us away from so much sadness I’m losing faith, I’m losing hope I don’t know how much longer I can cope Set us free once again And this time please don’t go back to him I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again Momma this cannot be our end

Everyday, this is the Mission of Women & Children First. “To empower those who have been subjected to domestic violence, and their children, to live independently and free from violence.” This poem was written by Vanessa williams moody who, as a college student, reflected on her former life as a frightened child living in Dallas in a home filled with domestic violence. Vanessa and her brother, D.J. williams, fled their terrifying environment with their mother, Vicky, and found safety at woman & children first in Little rock. Vanessa has earned her Ph.D in Physical Therapy., DJ received a B.s. degree from the U of a and plays professional football for the new England Patriots. Vicky is a senior sales representative in Little rock. They have been free from terror since the evening they fled their home 12 years ago and have fulfilled their dreams and created successful lives.

For more inFormation contact: angela mcgraw, executive Director • womEn & cHILDrEn fIrsT • P.o. Box 1954• LITTLE rock, ar 72203

february 2014 savvy kids

| 27

special needs

Getting to the


of the problem Kids with medical conditions require special care when it comes to dental health By Erica Sweeney

Many children with special needs have endless doctors’ appointments, regular therapy sessions and a long list of medications. So it’s not unusual that dental health might become secondary. Depending on an individual disability or health problem, children with special needs often have unique dental health issues, which need special care. The Arkansas Children’s Hospital Dental Clinic is the largest provider of dentistry to special needs children and individuals with severe medical conditions in the state, said Stephen Beetstra, the clinic’s assistant director. Patients must be referred by their doctors or other dentists. Beetstra said ACH is better equipped to treat patients, from babies to teens, with special needs because his staff works hand in hand with the hospital’s other medical staff. The lack of backup medical staff makes it difficult for private dental practices to treat these patients, he said. “It’s a lot of easier in our facility because we have access to our medical colleagues,” he said, explaining that many private-practice dentists would like to provide this type of care but do not have the resources. Treating patients with special needs can also take extra time, because of the nature of their conditions. “A lot of patients are orally and tactically defensive, so it’s difficult for them to tolerate regular care,” Beetstra said. For example, some patients with autism do not like to be touched and have a “low tolerance for treatment,” he said. Children who use feeding tubes have a higher risk of developing cavities because tartar builds up easily on their teeth, and those with craniofacial anomaly and cleft palates have unique treatment issues. Children with Down syndrome often have delays in their first teeth coming in. “Each child has to be treated as an individual on a case-by-case basis,” Beetstra said. However, there are several common dental health issues among children with special needs. Common Dental Health Concerns A child’s disability or medical condition can have a major overall effect on dental health. According to a resource guide provided by the Seattle Children’s Hospital Center for Children with Special Needs, these conditions can affect how teeth and oral structures grow, how calcium develops on tooth enamel, the amount of saliva produced and the types of foods a child is able to eat. When children are required to eat only soft foods and liquids, teeth, gums and the mouth’s muscles do not get the stimulation that they need. Other dental health issues for children with special needs include: • Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) – Beetstra calls this a 28 | savvy k i ds February 2014

“significant problem with special needs kids.” This condition occurs when food and stomach acid are backed up in the esophagus, and excess acid in the mouth can erode teeth. • Swallowing Dysfunction – Many patients are anxious about swallowing and are very protective of their airways, Beetstra said. So, it is common for children with some medical conditions to hold food in their mouths or cheeks, which can lead to bacteria and cavity growth. • Grinding Teeth – Most children with special needs have little control over their environments, Beetstra said, so they commonly find ways to self-stimulate. And, grinding teeth is one way, or patients may grind their teeth while sleeping. This can damage teeth over time. • Medications – The medications that children take can have a huge impact on dental health. Many contain sugar, which can increase cavities, while others have side effects like reducing the saliva that helps protect teeth. Beetstra said asthma medications are especially hard on teeth because many inhalers include a starch substitute and decrease saliva. And, some seizure medications can cause enlarged gums. He encourages parents to always rinse out a child’s mouth with water after each dose of medication to protect the teeth. Dental Health Care Plan Beetstra said providing dental care for patients with special needs is “definitely a team effort,” involving parents, dentists, dental hygienists and other health-care professionals. “Parents who understand the child’s conditions and what to do makes our job so much easier,” he said. The nature of a child’s special need can make it difficult for parents to provide simple oral care at home. Beetstra said when patients visit the ACH clinic, dental hygienists work with parents to develop a strategy for oral hygiene at home. And, being as consistent as possible makes future trips to the dentist much easier for everyone involved. The first visit to the clinic is a chance for the child to become familiar with a new setting, which can increase anxiety in children with certain conditions, he said. Beetstra and other staff at the ACH Dental Clinic have received training to care for special needs children through the Special Care Dentistry Association. He was trained in public health, and having a niece with special needs made him to want to care for this population. In his practice, he said he sees some “absolutely amazing things” on a daily basis. “At the best of times, it’s an opportunity to make a difference in special care patients’ lives,” he said.


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february 2014 savvy kids

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special needs

Forging Special Friendships

How to plan an inclusive play date By Emily Klein

We knew early on that my older daughter would be visually impaired and I was concerned how this would affect her socially. I remember confiding in her vision teacher when she was still an infant, “I just don’t want anyone to be mean to her, to make her feel less than or alone.” “Kids don’t see differences like adults do,” she assured me. “They just want to play.” As my daughter got older — and more disabilities emerged — I saw how other young children loved playing with her. Many times, they referred to her as “the baby” (even if they were the same age or younger) because she requires so much care. Kids are quite literal, though, and so they were gentle when they held her hand and laughed along with her while they sang her favorite songs. Debra McCarthy, a speech therapist in an inclusive toddler class, explains, “Little people don’t see barriers. Playing together is very natural for them.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “About one in six children in the U.S. have one or more developmental disabilities or other developmental delays.” In past generations, children with special needs were shut away in institutions or kept inside their homes. Today, these kids are much more visible. Adaptive playgrounds with modifications like wheelchair accessible ramps, swings with a safety harness and back support and activity areas for children who are visually or hearing impaired are springing up 30 | savvy k i ds February 2014

around the country and inclusion programs are integrated into many schools. Typically developing children and children with special needs are often sideby-side. So why not have play dates as well? Planning a play date with a child who has special needs may seem overwhelming, but a few simple adaptations are often all that’s needed to create a safe and fun experience. Here’s a quick primer on how to set up a successful play date with a child who has special needs: Speak With Their Parent or Caregiver All parents touch base with each other to arrange the specifics of a play date, like where to meet and at what time. Use this opportunity to get a few more details. Find out what activities the child likes and if there are any specific activities to avoid. A child with certain sensory issues, for example, may become distressed in a noisy environment. And a child nourished by a feeding tube might get bored watching your child eat a snack. If you get the sense that the parent or caregiver is nervous about the play date, invite them along. Choose the Venue Some children with physical disabilities use equipment (like walkers and standers) to be more independent. They are bulky, though, and not always easy to transport. If this is the case for your child’s friend, ask their parent if it is easier to set up the play date at their house. If you live by an adaptive playground, that could also be a great place for the kids to meet. Make Sure the Location (Wherever It Is) Is Accessible Some disabilities have specific requirements of their environment, but most are easy enough to overcome. If the child is visually impaired and the kids will be at your house, pick up any toys from the floor that the child may trip on. If the child is in wheelchair, set up an area for the kids to play on the first floor of the house to avoid stairs. Make Adjustments to the Activities as the Kids Play Do the kids want story time? Depending on the child’s disabilities, you may want to choose books with especially bright colors or that have touch and feel pages. If the kids want to play tag outside, you may choose to make the play area smaller if the child has physical challenges. Want to bake some cookies? Hand-over-hand assistance may be necessary when measuring ingredients and adding them to the bowl. Relax… and Let the Kids Play Sure, you should probably stick close by to make sure everything goes smoothly (as most parents do with any play date), but there’s no need to hover. Like my daughter’s vision teacher said, most kids just want to play. These friends will figure out what works for them. Emily Klein is a mother of two young daughters. When she is not hanging out with her girls, she spends her time writing about them. Emily writes about issues related to special needs, health and education.

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Experience the power of public education.

Pulaski County Special School District

Achievement in Action Our schools’ award-winning fine arts programs – including Mr. Hatch’s orchestra at Fuller Middle School– provide many students with scholarship opportunities or a chance to play with the Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra.

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febrUARY2014 Calendar of Events Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Piece February 1: Foreign Tongues Poetry Troupe in partnership with Mosaic Templars Cultural Center presents Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Piece. This free poetry event features youth poets from central Arkansas and 2012 national poetry slam champion, Tarriona “Tank” Ball. Event place: MTCC. Event time: 6 to 8 p.m. To reserve your free tickets, visit or call 501-683-3593. NATIVE ARKANSAS EXHIBTION February 1-28: Native Arkansas will take visitors on a tour of the state at a time when Euro-Americans began to explore the territory that eventually became Arkansas. Visitors will experience early Arkansas through the eyes of some of the first Euro-Americans to write about the state and encounter some of the native flora, fauna, and geology of the state’s five geological regions. Event place: Butler Center for Arkansas Studies (401 President Clinton Ave.). For more information, call 501-320-5700 or visit www. It’s in the Bag: Lunch ‘n Learn Series February 4: The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center’s new lunchtime series offers a variety of topics to educate, inspire and entertain. Check our website, for details about upcoming speakers. Free and open to the public. Bring your lunch and we’ll provide the drinks! Event time: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. For more information, call 501-683-3593. E-READER PETTING ZOO February 6: Librarians from the Reference Department will be offering an E-Reader Petting Zoo at a branch near you. Attendees will receive a brief introduction to the free downloadable e-book, audiobook, music and magazine services offered to CALS card holders. Following the presentation, test drive one of the many e-reader and digital media tablets compatible with those services. Event place: Thompson Library. Event time: 6 to 7:30 p.m. For more information or to reserve a spot, call 501-821-3060. Living History with Dr. Gwendolyn Twillie February 7: Join the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in celebrating the life of Charlotte Stephens, the first African-American teacher


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employed by the Little Rock School District. Stephens taught for 70 years and her inspirational story will be brought to life by Dr. Gwendolyn Twillie, former Chairwoman of the Theatre, Arts, and Dance Department at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The event is free, but registration is required. Event time: 10 to 11:30 a.m. For more information, visit, call 501-683-3592 or email Full Out Freestyle Culture Fashion Show February 7: This fashion show celebrates the launch of Spliced Ego, featuring handmade and customized pieces. The event features music, food, door prizes and more. A portion of the proceeds benefits SungateKids and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Event time: 6 to 9 p.m. Event place: University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Tickets are $12; kids age 3 and under are free. For more information, call 501-349-3296 or email CLICK, CLACK, MOO: COWS THAT TYPE February 7-9: When the cows learn to type and fowl go on strike, Farmer Brown must find a new way to get milk and eggs. “Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type” is adapted from Doreen Cronin’s original book with illustrator Betsey Lewin. Illustration by David Hohn. Event place: Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre. Show times are Fridays at 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Admission: $10 for members and $12.50 for non-members. For more information call, the Arkansas Arts Center at 501-372-4000 or visit 4th Annual Tea & Tiaras February 8: The Waner Children’s Vascular Anomaly Foundation’s (“Waner’s Kids”) 4th Annual Tea & Tiaras, a mother-daughter tea, will benefit children and families in need of financial assistance in pursuing medical treatment for vascular anomalies, many of which are life threatening. The event features tea time brunch, a runway walk by every princess in attendance, raffle and other activities. Event time: 10:30 a.m. to noon. Event place: Chenal Country Club, 10 Chenal Club Blvd. Little Rock. Miss Keta Young is the 2014 Tea Party Princess because of her courage and inspiration to others. Tickets are $40 for adults and $25 for children. For more information and to register, visit HEIFER HOUR – “17 Cows and Counting” February 8: Bring the family for a day of free, fun activities for children in kindergarten through fifth grade at Heifer Village. This month’s event is titled “17 Cows and Counting” and tells the story of Heifer International’s first shipment of 17 cows. Visitors will create a pop-up book. Event time: 11 a.m. to noon. This monthly event is the second Saturday of each month. For more information, call 501-907-2697.

FEBRUARY PARK OF THE MONTH February 8: Come enjoy a fun filled family day. All ages are welcome. Admission: Free. Event time: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Event place: Martin Street Youth Center (201 Martin Street, Jacksonville). For more information, call 501-982-4171. BEGINNERS TEA AND TATTING WORKSHOP February 8: Join a park interpreter at the Plantation Agriculture Museum State Park where you and your family can make a new memory. Tatting is an age-old, American art in lace-making that you can recreate using simple techniques with just your hands and a shuttle. Enjoy sipping an assortment of hot teas, while joining others in the frolic of tatting knotted patterns, and taking home new ideas and homemade memories. Space is limited, so pre-registration is a must. Admission: $10. Fee covers materials. Event place: Cotton Patch Gift Shop. For more information, call 501-961-1409. 26TH ANNUAL HOME AND GARDEN SEMINAR & SHOW February 8: Plants, herbs, crafts and other items for sale, distinguished speakers on various horticultural topics, “How To” sessions throughout the day, door prizes, kids’ corner and youth activities are a few of the things that you can expect at this event. Admission: free. Event place: Pine Bluff Convention Center. For more information, call 870-534-1033. LIL’ WILD ONES: NATURE STORIES AND ACTIVITIES February 8: This event will take place at the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center (602 President Clinton Ave.). Event time: 2 p.m. Arkansas used to have so many bears that it was nicknamed the bear state. Learn what happened to all those bears and how we helped them come back to the Natural State. Listen in as we explore all about these magnificent animals. Free. For more information, call 501-907-0636 ext. 104. CHOCOLATE FANTASY BALL February 8: Celebrate Valentine’s Day and give the gift of love to families served by Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas by attending the annual black tie Chocolate Fantasy Ball. Enjoy a night of sweet indulgence with dining, dancing spectacular live and silent auctions and chocolate galore! Event place: Little Rock Marriott. The chocolate-covered affair begins at 6 p.m. with a seated dinner and concludes with magnificent live entertainment. For more information, visit Tech City Exhibit Opens at MOD February 8 – May 11: The Museum of Discovery’s Tech City features 12 exhibits comprised of 20 activity stations that teaches visitors what it takes to build a city. The exhibits present challenges that can be readily solved using an engineering approach. General Admission: $10 adults; $8 ages 1-12; free under 1; members free. For more information, visit

“Is Your Child Really Fine?” Author Speaks February 9: Meet the author of “Is Your Child Really Fine?” Tracy J. Nicholas and hear her discussion about bullying. Event place: River City Coffee in Hillcrest. Event time: 2 to 4 p.m. Free. Visit for details. Danny Campbell Exhibit Opens February 13: Prominent artist and University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) art professor Danny Campbell will present his newest collection at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center.  Using his personal experience with artistic flare, Campbell collects and then transforms tire treads, automotive parts and various materials into one-of-a-kind, colorful sculptures. Campbell currently has a piece featured at MTCC as part of the Fifth Anniversary Art Collection, entitled Stirring the Soul of History, Vol. 1. This showcase of unique works of art is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. Event time: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. For more information, visit or call 501-683-3593. VALENTINE’S DINNER AT GARVAN WOODLAND GARDENS February 14: Make it a date! Treat your Valentine to a special night at the gardens with a gourmet dinner, drinks and entertainment. Last year’s banquet was a sold-out success, so make plans now to come. Call 800-366-4664 for information and reserve your tickets. VALENTINE FAIR AT OLD STATEHOUSE MUSEUM February 14: The Old State House Museum is holding a Valentine Fair. Event time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call (501) 324-9685 for more information or visit HIKES, HEARTS, AND HUGS WEEKEND February 14-16: Enjoy the newly renovated, yet historic Mather Lodge on Petit Jean Mountain and be treated to a romantic weekend. Activities such as guided trail hikes are geared toward couples. The event’s highlight is a romantic “sweethearts’ candlelight dinner.” Reservations are required. For more information, call 501727-5441. WILDWOOD’S LANTERNS FESTIVAL February 14-16: A magical evening designed to delight children and adults alike, Lanterns celebrates the first full moon of the lunar year with a profusion of lanterns, entertainment, gourmet treats and warm beverages. Lighted walking paths and fire pits along the lake lead visitors into winter woodlands to discover vistas representing a variety of eras, cultures and geographical locations, from Venice to Bavaria to the Caribbean. Admission: $10 adults, $5 for ages 6-12, 5 and under get in free. For more information, call 501-821-7275. Arkansas Black History Quiz Bowl February 15: Youngsters in grades 6 through 12 can gather a group of quickthinking friends to compete in this Black History-themed Quiz Bowl game at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. Teams of at least three players field trivia questions about inventions, social science, famous firsts, sports, the arts, current events and entertainment. Event time: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information,

visit or call 501-683-3593. VAN DAVIS 5K MEMORIAL RACE February 15: National Park Community College Foundation has organized a 5K race to benefit the Van Davis Memorial Scholarship Fund. The race route will be the same as last year, and start and finish at Whittington Park in Hot Springs. Race starts at 9 a.m. Entry fee is $25 for early registration. For more information, call 501-7606582 or visit Pops Series III: Best of Broadway February 15-16: The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra is performing its Pops Series III: Best of Broadway. Event place: Robinson Center Music Hall. Event times: 8 p.m. on Saturday; 3 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets: $18-$59; kids can attend the Sunday show free via the Entergy Kids Ticket (with paid adult admission). For more information, visit GARVAN WOODLAND GARDENS DAFFODIL DAYS February 15 - March 15: Typically around mid-February, Garvan’s thousands of sunny daffodils begin blooming. The Gardens boasts a total of around 200,000 daffodils in various shades of yellow and white. Event time: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Admission: $10 adults, $5 children ages 6-12, 5 and under get in free. Check the Gardens’ Facebook page for current photos of the bloom or call 501-262-9300 for more information. AFTER SCHOOL ANTICS February 18: After School Antics is on third Tuesday of the month from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Central Arkansas Library System. Join us as we whip up some snacks, watch movies or play with some wacky experiments. For more information, call 501-835-7756. HAIR PRESENTED BY CELEBRITY ATTRACTIONS February 18-20: This exuberant musical tells a story of the “tribe,” a group of politically active hippie teenagers of the “Age of Aquarius,” living a bohemian life in New York City and fighting against conscription into the Vietnam War. Celebrity Attractions recommends “Hair” for audiences ages 15 and over. (This is only to be used as a suggestion for you and your child; the decision to attend this show should be made by the parent or guardian.) Event place: Robinson Center Music Hall. For more information, call 501244-8800 or visit LITTLE BEGINNINGS TODDLER PROGRAM AT OLD STATE HOUSE February 19: The Old State House Museum is hosting its monthly Little Beginnings Toddler Program. The program is for children ages 2 to 4 accompanied by a parent. Each month the class highlights a different topic and promotes learning through hands-on activities, music making, movement and storytelling. Admission is free; no day care or school groups please. Event time: 10:30 to 11 a.m. Call (501) 324-9685 for more information or visit AFRICAN RHYTHMS at MOD February 20-22: Experience rich heritage and good vibrations produced by African drum master Zinse Aggine at the Museum of Discovery. Zinse, a native of Ghana, presents a cultural performance that combines movement, rhythm and the historic significance of the drum. This

music-based program teaches all aspects of culture including history, geography and social sciences in a hands-on, informal learning environment. Show times are Thursday and Friday at 2 p.m. and Saturday at 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. General Admission: $10 adults; $8 ages 1-12; free under 1; members free. For more information, visit HEART-FILLED WISH-A-THON February 21: Each February, Central Arkansas comes together to help make more wishes come true for children in their community. Tune in to The Buzz 103.7, KATV and The Point 94.1, to hear inspirational stories from wish families, volunteers and donors whose lives have been touched by a wish. Event location: The Rev Room. Event time: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, visit 2014 ARKANSAS FLOWER & GARDEN SHOW February 21-23: Walk through live indoor garden displays and view sensational floral arrangements. Get gardening tips and advice from local experts and learn about gardening at the educational presentations. Shop for your home and garden from over 100 garden-related vendors. Event time: Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Event place: Statehouse Convention Center. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for seniors 60 and older. Children 16 and under are free. A three-day parking pass may be purchased for $12. Participants may also park for free at Dickey-Stephens Park and take the shuttle provided by Arkansas Destinations for $1 round trip per adult. For the complete schedule and to purchase tickets, visit http://www. 3rd Annual Little Rock Lacrossefest February 22-23: Little Rock Lacrossefest 2014 is the largest youth lacrosse tournament in Arkansas. This free event will showcase the best youth lacrosse talent from around the region, including teams from Memphis, Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Players from fifth to 12th grade boys and girls will compete in this fast-paced, high-energy sport. Event time: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Event Location: Burns Park Soccer Complex. Email for more information. SURVIVAL SKILLS WEEKEND February 22 and 23: Start or add to your knowledge of surviving in the great outdoors. This weekend will be filled with survivor skill workshops such as map and compass, fire building and shelter building and more! Contact the park for a specific workshop schedule. Advance payment is required for in-depth workshops, other programs will be free. For more information, call Pinnacle Mountain State Park at 501-868-5806. Science after Dark “Science is for Lovers” February 26: This month, the Museum of Discovery’s Science After Dark Program is titled “Science is for Lovers.” This recurring monthly program is the last Wednesday of the month. Ages 21 and older. Event time: 6 to 8 p.m. Admission: $5 per person. Cash bar available. For more information, visit The Art of Recycling Exhibit at MOD February 26 – March 8: Check out some amazing works of art created solely from recycled

materials made by elementary students, on display at the Museum of Discovery. This exhibit is sponsored by the Pulaski County Regional Recycling and Waste Reduction District. All ages. General Admission: $10 adults; $8 ages 1-12; free under 1; members free. For more information, visit Voices Without Borders February 27: Dr. Irma Routen presents her Little Rock-area children’s choir, Voices Without Borders, live in concert at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. Event time: 10 to ll:30 a.m. For more information, visit or call 501-683-3593. LITTLE ROCK MARATHON HEALTH & FITNESS EXPO February 28 - March 2: The 12th Annual Little Rock Marathon Health & Fitness Expo will kick-off the marathon weekend Friday, February 28 and run through March 2. Event times: Friday, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Statehouse Convention Center in downtown Little Rock. Featured vendors include health, beauty, fitness, apparel, nutrition, and the course overview will be offered. Bart Yasso, Chief Running Officer of Runner’s World magazine, will be on hand to sign autographs and share his wealth of knowledge and many great stories. More than 2,000 registrants and 25,000 expo attendees are expected to attend. For more information, visit www. Recurring Events STORYTIME AT LAMAN LIBRARY Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays: Stories, activities and a craft for ages 3-5. Event time: 10 a.m. For more information, visit or call 501-758-1720. Do It! at Main Library Tuesdays: Visitors will be invited to express themselves through fashion, learn to use simple construction tools and learn to cook at the Central Arkansas Library System’s Main Library Youth Services. Event time: 4 p.m. For more information, call 501-918-3050 or visit Milam’s Homeschool Storytime Tuesdays: Story time at the Max Milam Library. Event time: 2 p.m. For more information, call 501889-2554 or visit Milam’s Pre-school Storytime Tuesdays: Preschool story time at Max Milam Library for ages 2-5. Event time: 10:30 a.m. For more information, call 501-889-2554 or visit

Wiggle Worms at MOD Tuesdays: The Museum of Discovery’s Wiggle Worms program introduces science to young explorers, ages 6 and younger, with a fun experiment. Event time: 10 to 10:30 a.m. This month’s schedule is Feb. 4 - Are Shadows Always Black?; Feb. 11 - Dancing Raisins; Feb. 18 - What’s Inside a Drop of Blood?; and, Feb. 25 - Kitchen Chemistry with Argenta Market. General Admission: $10 adults; $8 ages 1-12; free under 1; members free. For more information, visit www. TERRIFIC TUESDAY! AT LAMAN LIBRARY Tuesdays: Children of all ages will enjoy fun activities every week, including games, puzzles, crafts, bingo and more. Event time: 4:15 to 5:15 p.m. For more information, visit or call 501-758-1720. BABYTIME AT LAMAN LIBRARY Wednesdays: This lapsit program that includes action rhymes, songs and stories for ages six months to 2 years. Event time: 10 a.m. For more information, visit or call 501-758-1720. PUZZLEMANIA AT LAMAN LIBRARY Wednesdays: Puzzles for children of all ages. Event time: 4 to 6 p.m. For more information, visit or call 501-758-1720. Toddler Time at Amy Sanders Library Wednesdays: Stories and crafts for ages 1836 months at the Amy Sanders Library in Sherwood. Event Time: 10 a.m. For more information, call 501-835-7756 or visit Origami! at Main Library Wednesdays: All ages and levels are welcome. Held in the café area on the fifth floor of the Central Arkansas Library System’s Main Library. Event Time: 6 p.m. For more information, call 501-918-3000 or visit Double Digits at Main Library Thursdays: Crafts, anime club and activities for ages 10 and up, along with special guest appearances by Level 4 staff at the Central Arkansas Library System’s Main Library Youth Services. Event Time: 4 p.m. For more information, call 501-918-3050 or visit Preschool Storytime at Main Library Fridays: Stories, songs, crafts, and fun for ages 3-5 at the Central Arkansas Library System’s Main Library Youth Services. Event time: 10:30 a.m. For more information, call 501-918-3050 or visit

Storytime for Babies at Main Library Tuesdays: Interactive story time for babies 0-2 and their caregivers at the Central Arkansas Library System’s Main Library Youth Services. Event Time: 9:30 a.m. For more information, call 501-918-3050 or visit

Music and Movement at Amy Sanders Library Fridays: Singing, dancing, moving and stretching for ages 18-36 months at the Amy Sanders Library in Sherwood. Event Time: 10 a.m. For more information, call 501-835-7756 or visit

Toddler Storytime at Main Library Tuesdays: Stories, songs, and fun for 2-year-olds at the Central Arkansas Library System’s Main Library Youth Services. Event Time: 10:30 a.m. For more information, call 501-918-3050 or visit

Wii World at Main Library Fridays: Challenge friends in an hour of Wii at the the Central Arkansas Library System’s Main Library Youth Services. Event Time: 4 p.m. For more information, call 501-918-3050 or visit february 2014 savvy kids

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going private

Local private schools offer another choice in education By Erica Sweeney Better student discipline, better learning environment, smaller class sizes, improved student safety and more individualized attention to each child. These were the top five reasons parents chose private schools for their children, a recent study found. In the study, titled “More Than Scores: An Analysis of How and Why Parents Choose Private Schools,” researchers surveyed more than 750 low- and middle-income parents with children attending private schools in Georgia on scholarship under that state’s scholarship tax credit law. The Friedman Foundation released the study in November. When asked what information was most important in deciding on a private school, the parents surveyed said class size, whether the school is accredited and school curricula, the results showed. Standardized testing and test scores were the lowest ranking factors in choosing private schools. Beverly Gray, executive director of the Arkansas Nonpublic School Accrediting Association, the statewide private school accreditation authority, said when parents approach her about what to look for in a private school, she advises them to look for accreditation, curriculum and a school’s mission and philosophy. Choosing the best school for their child is an important decision that all parents make. Gray said it’s important for parents to weigh all options, and remember that private schools represent just one choice in education. “We really respect what public school systems are doing,” she said. “We look to them and work with them. It’s not public versus private. It’s being able to have the option in the way you teach, with the option of religion and faith.”

Private School Accreditation In Arkansas, private school accreditation is not mandatory, Gray said. Being accredited means that the school “has the personnel, equipment, resources and the general capability of providing those services that are needed for the education of their children,” the ANSAA website states. There are 89 ANSAA-accredited schools in the state, but many others remain unaccredited. While many regional accreditation organizations exist, Gray said parents should look for schools accredited by the statewide body. To become accredited by ANSAA, schools must spend more than a year conducting a self-study of areas, including mission statement and philosophy, school and community, board and administration, professional staff, curriculum, educational programming, instructional materials and resources, student services, physical facilities, finances and development/long-range planning. 34 | savvy k i ds February 2014

After schools submit their materials for accreditation, a team spends several days visiting the school and validating that the information is correct, Gray said. Schools must also submit an annual report and pay annual fees. Every seven years, schools must repeat the accreditation process. “It’s a big deal and takes a lot of work,” she said. Accreditation ensures that the school meets the state’s academic standards, that children could easily transition to public schools and will be ready for higher education when the time comes.

Choosing a Private School Private schools are not required to implement the same academic standards (now the Common Core) as public schools. But, Gray said many private schools often exceed state standards, and most have developed their curricula based on state and national standards. ANSAA schools are required to complete a nationally recognized standardized test at the end of each grade. Many private schools often have specific academic focus areas, like arts, community involvement or college preparation, which can appeal to parents. That’s why looking to a school’s mission is essential for parents in determining what’s best for their children, Gray said. Most private schools in Arkansas are faith-based, representing 10 different religions, but there are some which are not associated with a religion. Private schools also tend to have smaller class sizes, allowing for more individualized attention to each student. These are other factors that parents should consider in choosing a school. The cost of private school is likely one of the most important aspects that parents consider when choosing a private school. Because private schools do not get any federal or state funding, they rely on tuition and other funding sources, Gray said. Because tuition can be high, many individual private schools in the state offer financial assistance and scholarships.

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Guide to Private Schools Central Arkansas has many great private schools. In this year’s Guide to Private Schools, we’ve provided an overview of some of the options available.

Abundant Life School

9200 Hwy. 107, Sherwood (501) 835-3120 Abundant Life School’s motto is “Education with a Difference.” The school offers an accelerated curriculum in the core subjects, as well as, technology, fine arts and physical education, with classes beginning with a 4-year-old PreK. A full or half-day class is offered in both PreK4 and kindergarten. Before and after school child care is available. Middle-school students attend eight classes per day, including electives and an enrichment technology class. Abundant Life School offers an expanded high school curriculum with AP and online courses. Students regularly score above state and national averages on the ACT. Conveniently located and serving the central Arkansas area, Abundant Life School offers a warm, wholesome environment. The 37-year-old school continues with the belief that children are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. The school excels in preparing young men and women to become stewards of the Lord, to serve Him with their time, education and future careers. Currently enrolling students in PreK4-12th grades for the 2014-15 school year. Download an application form at the school’s website.

Agape Academy

701 Napa Valley Drive, Little Rock (501) 225-0068 Agape Academy is a dually-accredited, private Christian school, endorsed by the International Christian Accrediting Association (ICAA) and AdvancedEd. We offer preschool and elementary with small class sizes, and formal instruction begins at the earliest levels. Before and after school care is also available. A state-of-the-art computer lab, foreign language classes, student leadership, journalism and physical education, combined 36 | savvy k i ds February 2014

with our dedicated staff of certified teachers, help us provide quality care and education for our students. The deadline for fall enrollment is Aug. 1.

The Anthony School 7700 Ohio St., Little Rock (501) 225-6629

Founded in 1944, The Anthony School is the oldest non-sectarian independent school in Arkansas. Curriculum is advanced at all levels and has been designed to provide continuity in the development of skills and knowledge from early childhood through early adolescence. As a result, Anthony graduates excel in private and public high schools throughout the community. All school policies are based on the right of every student to learn and every teacher to teach in an atmosphere of mutual respect. Small class sizes allow students to develop and use strong speaking and leadership skills in the classroom and ensure that each student receives adequate personal attention. Students flourish academically as well as socially with extracurricular activities, including student council, Tech Club, Art Club, National Junior Honor Society, basketball, volleyball, track, golf, tennis, soccer and gymnastics. Students participate in art exhibits, science and literary competitions and volunteer opportunities. All first and second grade students take violin, and all students take part in theatrical productions. Please contact Ann Vanhook at or visit for admissions information.

Arkansas Baptist

Lower School: 62 Pleasant Valley Drive, Little Rock (501) 227-7070 Upper School: 8400 Ranch Blvd., Little Rock (501) 868-5121

Administration Office: (501) 227-7077 At Arkansas Baptist, we know that when talking about Christian schooling not everyone defines it the same way. It is not just a prayer tacked on at the beginning of class, but a careful view of how faith can permeate everything that you do in the classroom and beyond. For more than three decades, our vision has been to provide a quality Christian school focused on academic and Christian excellence. Lower school students learn in a nurturing environment, in which instruction is enhanced with individualized attention. Students in grades 1-6 consistently score at or above the 80th percentile nationally on standardized tests. Upper school students benefit from a college preparatory curriculum, focused on imparting wisdom, knowledge and understanding, where both AP and concurrent college credit courses are available. All students are provided a full range of extracurricular activities, including state championship sport teams. Open enrollment for fall begins Feb. 13. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Avilla Christian Academy 302 Avilla East, Alexander (501) 408-4631

At Avilla Christian Academy, we strongly believe in meeting the individual needs of every student. We strive to train for excellence in faith, academics, relationships and discipline. Our curriculum is college preparatory; our teachers are certified; and, our school is state and nationally accredited. Why decide between a great education and a stable, loving environment? Send them to ACA where you will find both! Now enrolling for the 2014-15 school year. SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

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Eats & treats

For the

Mouths of Babes South on Main thoughtfully prepares top quality meals for youngsters Story and Photos by Daniel Walker All children’s menus are not created equal. Most parents who’ve spent enough time in restaurants with their kids are probably already aware of this. At most establishments, the kids’ menu is merely an afterthought—an obligatory inclusion that’s typically made up of uninspired, often unappetizing items meant to appeal to the simple tastes of a child. While it’s true that most children don’t have the palates they will likely develop with age, there’s no reason a kids’ menu can’t introduce them to exceptional quality, and thoughtfully presented food. South on Main is, undisputedly, one of the most exciting restaurant openings in Little Rock in years. But upon visiting, one may not immediately recognize the place as a good place to feed their kids. South on Main walks that fine line between classy and casual—it’s a place diners feel comfortable, but also cared for and waited upon with attentiveness and professionalism. The children’s menu at South on Main was developed by chef Phillip Schaaf in conjunction with some very discerning diners—his two daughters, Charleigh, 7, and Spencer, 4. “As a father and a chef, it was important for me to create a kids’ menu that reflected the same ideals that our regular menu upholds, but at the same time allow the children that visit the restaurant to have a nice meal on their own,” Schaaf says. Chicken tenders and soup of the day South on Main’s children’s menu is a mix of familiar menu items and some refreshing, less-commonly seen dishes. Charleigh insisted that the “Kids Steak” be put on the menu. Schaaf says, “She gets sad when we go out to eat and she can’t have a steak like Ham Meltdown, with a side of macaroni and cheese 38 | savvy k i ds February 2014

South on Main’s hand-cut fries

daddy makes at home.” The “Ham Meltdown” is a nicely prepared hot ham and cheese sandwich, buttered and griddled. It comes out crispy on the outside and packed with melted, gooey cheese seeping through multiple layers of salty ham. Schaaf says this sandwich is more than just a ham and cheese sandwich to him. “It reaches back into my childhood memories of getting griddled ham sandwiches from my grandfather’s Dairy Bar in Grenada, Mississippi. My kids gave it the meltdown moniker, which fits for several reasons.” The chicken fingers are on a whole other level when compared to what you might find on kids’ menus elsewhere. As Schaaf says, “chicken tenders are near obligatory, but we treat them with care, using the same Falling Sky Farms chicken and seasonal vegetables also used in our adult menu.” They’re incredibly juicy and flavorful, and as good as just about anything you’ll find on the grown-up’s side of the menu. Side dishes come with each plate. You’ll find their house macaroni and cheese, a rich and creamy soup of the day served with their grilled cheese, and house-made potato chips fried fresh to order. There aren’t many restaurants that are able to boast a chef-inspired menu. But as most folks in Little Rock know, South on Main is no ordinary restaurant. In the relatively short time it’s been open, it’s made a sizeable impact on the dining scene in this city. It’s refreshing to know that the care and attention they put into each facet of South on Main the restaurant also extends to their 1304 Main St., Little Rock options for budding young food 501-244-9660 lovers.

Daniel Walker is a resident physician in dermatology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and a freelance food writer and blogger for the Arkansas Times. He and his wife have two kids, Max and Vivian, and live in Little Rock.

that student success is the only option.

Central’s 2013-2014 National Merit Semifinalists (in alpha order): Walter E. Bass, Mackenzie M. Bodie, James N. Burrow, Kiran Chakka, Ankita Das, Jessica L. Haley, Alena D. Higgins, James. D. Hill, Nathanael Y. Ji, Farhan Kawsar*, Allison D. Light, Melinda Lue*, William E. Nicholson, Jacob D. Oldham, Esther C. Park, Ayesha R. Patel, Kaitlyn E. Perreault, Will P. Richardson, Ayush Saraswat, Danyai Smani, Alden K. Walters, Yuxiu Wang*, Evan T. Yi and Alexander Zhang (* not pictured)

Parkview’s 2013-14 National Merit Semi-Finalists, from left: Seniors Leila Kerr, Yongrak Kim, Deborah Rookey, and William Stewart

Little Rock Central High School has a long and established record of academic excellence. Central consistently produces the largest class of National Merit Semifinalists in Arkansas. This year Central produced its largest group of semifinalists, 24 students, since the National Merit Scholarship Corporation began testing and recognizing students in 1956. Parkview Arts and Science Magnet High School also experienced an outstanding year with four semifinalists. Plus, Parkview is the only high school in Pulaski County awarded “Achieving” status by the Arkansas Department of Education. More Advanced Placement Opportunities Central and Parkview lead the District in the number of students enrolled and succeeding in Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Central offers 31 AP courses and Parkview offers 26


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Paper Hearts Spread the love with homemade Valentines By Kim Doughty

Get crafty this Valentine’s Day and make your own cards with a little special surprise. Honey sticks, pencils and candy attached to paper hearts with a personalized message make great Valentines for classmates, teachers and grandparents. This project is simple enough for even the littlest ones to make.

What you need • Red and pink card stock or construction paper • Scissors • Tape • Pencil for tracing • Honey sticks, pixie sticks, pencils or other stick candies to use as arrows

Directions 1. Use a piece of construction paper to cut out two heart shapes. Cut one bigger and one a little smaller. The easiest way to do this is by folding the piece of paper in half, and then cutting half a heart. You can use these two hearts as your stencils. 2. Use your heart stencils to trace out heart shapes on your card stock or 40 | savvy k i ds February 2014

construction paper. You will need one smaller heart and one larger heart for each card. 3. When you have all your hearts cut out, take the smaller hearts and cut two slits in each of them. You can fold the heart in half to do this. 4. Slide the candy sticks or pencils through the slits you cut in the hearts. 5. Use leftover card stock or construction paper to cut out triangles for the points of the arrow and feathers for the end of the arrow. Have fun and try cutting out different styles of points and feathers. 6. Tape the arrow points and feathers onto the arrows, and then tape the smaller hearts onto the larger hearts. Ta da!  7. Use a pen or sharpie to add a note to your Valentine. “Bee My Valentine” is a cute message for cards with honey sticks. XOXO Kim Doughty is an illustrator and decorator living in Little Rock. You can usually find her sketching in her sketchbook, gardening or scouring local flea markets for vintage finds. She shares her illustration and design work on her blog

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me time

Outside the Box Monthly subscriptions boxes let parents splurge on themselves for a change By Erica Sweeney

42 | savvy k i ds February 2014

Photos by Brian Chilson

The day-to-day schedule of most moms and dads is often hectic and stressful. With so many work and family commitments and responsibilities, sneaking away for a little time to themselves is a rare opportunity for most parents, sometimes even a luxury. Subscription boxes are one way for parents to splurge on some “me time,” without having to hire a babysitter or even leave the house. Available in a variety of subjects and themes, like beauty, grooming and food, subscribers pay a monthly fee and a box of goodies arrives on their doorsteps each month. “Moms never take time for themselves,” said Lindsey Townsley, public relations and communications associate at Wantable, which offers three different subscription boxes targeting women. “This gives them the chance to take 10-15 minutes to themselves to open the box. That’s what we want.” Wantable, based in Milwaukee, Wis., began rolling out makeup subscription boxes about a year ago and recently added accessories and intimates, said marketing manager Stuart McMullin. Subscribers complete an online profile, and each box is “hand picked” to suit their likes and dislikes, he explains. Wantable makeup boxes include full-sized products, from an array of luxury and boutique lines, both up-and-coming and established brands. Items can include skin care, nail polish, makeup and makeup tools. Want-

able’s accessories and intimates boxes include three to five items, such as panties, socks, jewelry and more. All three boxes cost the same: $40 for a one-time purchase and $36 for a monthly subscription, McMullin said. He said boxes are worth $80-100. Another option for both men and women is Birchbox, offering beauty, grooming and lifestyle products. This monthly subscription box includes four to five deluxe-size samples, tailored to a subscriber’s beauty and grooming profile. Items include skincare, hair care, fragrance and cosmetics, said Katia Beauchamp, Birchbox co-founder. Each month’s samples are chosen based on themes, like “Power Play” or “Off Duty,” developed by the company’s editorial team. Fullsize versions of the products can be purchased on the Birchbox site, she said. Besides beauty and grooming, there are many other subscription box options out there to suit any parent’s interests. For example, Bespoke Post targets men with bar items, poker sets and leather goods; Lullubee offers crafting kits; and, Hammock Pack is like a vacation in a box. Birchbox subscriptions are $10 a month for women’s boxes and $20 for men’s. Men’s boxes are more expensive because, along with grooming samples, they include one to two lifestyle items, like headphones, socks or whiskey stones, Beauchamp said. “It’s clearly a discretionary splurge box, and there’s ‘me time’ that goes along with that,” McMullin said. “It’s a box just for [parents], and the process is so that all items will be stuff that they like.” McMullin said the subscription boxes provide an opportunity to discover new items and to splurge a little by creating a “luxurious experience.” “Since moms and dads are constantly on the go, we can function as their foolproof way to stay in touch with the latest in the beauty and grooming industry,” Beauchamp said. “Taking the time, even if it’s just the few minutes it takes to go through your monthly box, to pamper yourself is important, especially for parents that don’t have a minute to spare.”

Don’t Forget the Kids

While subscription boxes are a great way for parents indulge themselves, subscribing to boxes for children can be a fun family experience. One option is Citrus Lane, which is aimed specifically at providing parents with the products they need for their ever-growing children, said Jim Bobowski of the company’s marketing team. “This is a great platform for product discovery,” he said. Boxes are tailored to a child’s age (from babies to preschool) and gender, with a gender neutral option. Boxes are different each month, but always include two to three “keepers” (toys, books or games) and one to two “consumables” (snacks or seasonal items like sunscreen), Bobowski explains. “We pack as much value in the box as possible,” he said. Subscription packages range from $19 to $29, and each box is valued at about $40. There are many other subscription boxes out there aimed at families, like BabbaBox and Kiwi Crate with crafts and activities for kids, Little Passports for budding world travelers and GiftLit featuring books. A parent-child subscription box provides an element of surprise, a way to learn what’s out there and a bonding experience, Bobowski said. “It’s a wonderful surprise that involves the parent and child together,” he said. “Kids evolve so quickly. This helps parents discover the right products.” Founded in Mountain View, Calif., in 2011, Citrus Lane is also a traditional online shop, an online community for parents, and now has a mobile app. Citrus Lane’s boxes include a survey for parents, and the company relies on comments from parents in choosing the newest products and understanding what is most enjoyed. “We know that parents, especially moms, are experts,” Bobowski said. “We don’t need to reinvent wheel. We want to harness their expertise to get better and better.”

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Is There a

Perfect Blend? Building a new family together By Charlie Simpson

Dealing with the emotional challenges that can come from managing a blended family can feel hopeless at times. Finding common ground on issues like parenting styles can be more complex than completing a 500 piece puzzle. The case of Amy and Todd* exemplifies the difficulties of making the blended family work. Amy enjoyed being in a relationship with Todd, but she quickly realized that building a relationship with her two new stepdaughters was harder than she imagined. Todd was a great father who loved his 7- and 12-year-old daughters from a previous marriage. When Todd and Amy decided to marry, things appeared to be transitioning well until they experienced the demand for making the blended family work. Discipline Difference Amy seemed to do well disciplining the 7-year-old but could not understand why the preteen always talked back. Amy attempted several times to “straighten up” her stepdaughter but failed miserably. Todd attempted to make the preteen follow directions but soon experienced rebellion as well. Amy felt Todd should increase discipline but Todd felt their daughter was going through a rough patch and needed someone to talk to. Amy and Todd’s arguments intensified due to their different approaches to discipline. Eventually, the couple learned that punishment without relationship equaled rebellion. Amy understood that the relationship with her stepdaughter was distant and that punishing her would only keep them from bonding. The couple decided to allow Todd to implement punishments which Amy would support. Their daughter struggled with the idea of consequences, but, over time, she accepted the boundaries they set since her parents were now on the same page. Co-parenting The other biological parent didn’t make Amy and Todd’s adjustment any better. Todd’s ex-wife struggled with accepting Todd’s new relationship and often used the children as pawns. Once the children returned home from visits with their biological mother, Todd struggled with the messages the children brought back with them. 44 | savvy k i ds February 2014

Todd often called his ex, resulting in heated conversations regarding how to talk with the kids about the new relationship. This caused Amy to distance herself emotionally. Amy attempted to help Todd with the dilemma but Todd claimed Amy did not understand his situation and he would fix the issue. After multiple efforts to “make” his ex-wife more effectively co-parent their daughters, Todd threw in the towel and resorted to counseling. During therapy, Todd decided to communicate with his ex-wife only through email or text until they could hold a meaningful conversation face-toface. Todd understood that people grieve differently with divorce and he could not make his ex-wife accept that he had moved on. Amy soon joined Todd in therapy and together they created positive ways to speak to the children about the co-parenting differences and how the children would be nurtured during this difficult time. Connecting to Non-Biological Kids As uncomfortable as it was, Amy knew that in order to help the family function, a relationship with the kids was vital. Amy suffered a lot of anxiety in the beginning which caused doubt at times. Todd arranged fun moments like attending the movies as a family and eating out at places the kids enjoyed. Yet, their 7- and 12-year-old continued to have reservations with the new family. Amy attempted to understand the kid’s perspective but felt hurt not being viewed as a mother. Todd did well comforting Amy when she was discouraged. Todd listened to Amy and respected her feelings toward the situation. The couple made the decision to not force the kids into a connection but allow them to go at their own pace. Like a flower blooming in spring, the kids began to slowly open up to the new family structure. The oldest child was able to realize that Amy was not trying to replace her biological mother but be a supportive figure. Todd continued listening and supporting Amy and the kids, which helped manage the emotions of a blended family. Transitioning and managing a blended family is work, but with time, this new family unit can gel. The kids must change along with the parents even though it’s hard and unpleasant at times. Amy and Todd required a few years to understand the blended family dynamics and with a little help, prospered. The family continues experiencing challenges but communicates differences well and creates an atmosphere of togetherness. *Names and identities have been changed to protect privacy

Charlie Simpson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with the Arkansas Relationship Counseling Center.

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Drug abuse and your teen By Lisa Lakey Up to 10 percent of teenagers abuse drugs. As startling as this statistic is, according to Lieutenant Carl Minden of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, these numbers can be higher or lower depending on the specific substance. That should be enough to put any parent on high alert. “Prescription drugs and marijuana are the most commonly used drugs that we see being abused,” Minden said. “Other drugs that are seen locally are meth and synthetic drugs. Alcohol abuse falls into this category as well and is seen frequently. In a lot of instances the alcohol and drug use is simultaneous.” Although it is easy for parents to believe that their child would have no idea where to find drugs, most often “dealers” are already friends or acquaintances of the teen. Often, parents are unknowingly playing their own role in their child’s drug use. “The kids/teens also steal from their parents, relatives and friends – think medicine cabinets,” he said. “That is one of the reasons behind the Prescription Drug Take Back programs sponsored by law enforcement. By getting them out of people’s homes, we can help deter access and therefore future abuse.” Signs of substance abuse can range from the subtle to obvious. Tom Vestal, an acute care therapist with Pinnacle Pointe Hospital in Little Rock, says that families should and generally do know a child best and should be aware of changes in their teen’s behavior. “Any kind of behavioral changes – changing the way they dress, the way they appear or hygiene – would be one of the things I would look at. Also, change of friends. If they leave one group and start hanging out with another group or you see that there’s been a substantial change in their social connections or they quit the track team and now they’re doing something else. Change of friends is generally going to occur if there is substance abuse going on.” Although a family history of drug and alcohol abuse is seldom discussed openly, Vestal says it is the No. 1 indicator of a potential substance abuse problem. “Family history is not only true of physical things, it’s true in psychological things like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder,” Vestal says. “All that stuff can run in families and certainly substance abuse runs in families as well. But just because it does, doesn’t mean everyone is going to have this tendency.” The way you should approach your teen about suspected abuse will depend upon your relationship with your child. Often, professional help, such as a certified drug and alcohol abuse counselor, is needed. “They can help reach out and get down to the truth of what’s really going on,” he says. “Don’t expect that this is going to be easy.” While dealing with a child’s suspected drug problem is the last thing on a 46 | savvy k i ds February 2014

parent’s wish list, talking with your child about drug abuse can be difficult as well. But it is a conversation that needs to be started, the earlier the better. “It would certainly be best to bring this up while they are little that this is a bad thing,” Vestal says. “Get that in their mind. Don’t wait until you suspect that he or she is on drugs.” Always lead by example when it comes to your children and don’t think that this is something that can’t happen in your family. Drug abuse happens in families from all economic backgrounds. “Your children should be an extremely important part of your family,” Vestal says. “If they’re not, a child is going to run to wherever they feel supported and wherever they feel loved. With drug users, the only thing you have to do to be accepted into that group is be a drug user. And they are immediately accepted into a large group of people, many who are out of high school. For the kid who is kind of an outcast or just doesn’t fit in, that can be attractive.” Lisa Lakey is a freelance writer, wife and mother of two in Benton.

There’s There’s never never beenbeen a better a better time time to go toto gocollege to college or or an easier an easier wayway to apply to apply for for financial financial aid aid

The Arkansas The Arkansas Department Department of Higher of Higher Education Education reviews reviews and approves and approves academic academic programs programs for theforstate’s the state’s 11 public 11 public universities universities and 22 and public 22 public two-year two-year colleges. colleges. In addition, In addition, the agency the agency is responsible is responsible for distributing for distributing approximately approximately $150 $150 million million annually annually from state from state revenues revenues and lottery and lottery fundsfunds

For complete For complete information information aboutabout our programs, our programs, visit visit to to review review program program rules rules and regulations. and regulations. The eligibility The eligibility requirements requirements and and rules rules governing governing the programs the programs administered administered by ADHE by ADHE are subject are subject to to legislative legislative and regulatory and regulatory amendments. amendments. Please Please e-maile-mail the Financial the Financial Aid Aid

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Savvy arts

Scholarships Supporting Young Local Artists By Callie France Sterling

Many high school seniors begin the steps to continuing their education on a collegiate level before high school graduation. A step that some students may skip or not take full advantage of is applying for scholarships. The Thea Foundation is a local organization founded by Linda and Paul D. Leopoulos. Their daughter, Thea Kay Leopoulos, passed away while she was student at North Little Rock High School. Because she had a passion for the arts, her parents wanted to create a legacy for their daughter, and her legacy has impacted thousands of teens. The slogan for the organization is “Inspiration through creativity.” “Our mission is to advocate the importance of the arts in the development of youth; this is in every aspect of their lives,” Thea Foundation Communications Director Elaine Slayton Akin said. “We aim to inspire confidence, selfworth, self-expression, creativity and motivation in the youth of Arkansas, and that’s exactly what our programs do.” The foundation awards $80,000 annually to 30 graduating seniors from all over the state. The scholarships may be awarded to teens attending public, private, charter and home schools. Students pursuing their General Educational Development (GED) may also apply for the scholarships. “We do not ask students to provide their grade point average, test scores or information on their intended college major,” Akin said. “Our scholarships are based on pure and raw talent and give a chance to students who may otherwise be overlooked.” The Thea Foundation Scholarship Program began in 2002 and has since distributed $2.5 million to 225 students in Arkansas. The scholarships were originally awarded to graduating seniors of North Little Rock High School, but are now available to any senior attending school in the state. There are six scholarship categories, including Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Creative Writing, Film, Poetry Slam and Fashion Design, the newest scholarship category added in 2013. “We hope that after a student has been touched by the Thea Foundation, his or her life is permanently changed for the better,” Akin said. “We know this to be true, as we hear success stories from our alumni on a continuous basis.” All Thea Foundation Scholarships are awarded for one year; half of the full amount will be applied their first semester of college and the remainder will

Zak Heald, Cinematography, winner of the 2013 Film Scholarship Competition, poses with Paul Leopoulos during the 2013 Little Rock Film Festival. Photo Courtesy of the Thea Foundation. 48 | savvy k i ds February 2014

be applied the second semester. All collegiate institutions accept the Thea Foundation Scholarships. According to the foundation’s website, “The Thea Foundation has partnered with over 20 institutions of higher education that commit to match or even exceed our scholarship funds should a recipient choose to attend one of the schools. On average, for every dollar Thea awards in scholarships, an Education Partner matches at $3.” Each category has specific application requirements that vary based on the art form that the category represents. Students receiving the scholarships are not required to major in the arts once they get to college. “We have approximately 500 student applicants to Thea Scholarships annually,” Akin said. “From teen volunteers to beneficiaries of our statewide programs, we have approximately 1,000 teens involved directly meaning students who are frequently in and out of our gallery or participate in a local outreach project or workshop. We easily have 250,000 who benefit from our mini art installations, Art Across Arkansas (AAA) or our donations of art supplies through Thea’s Art Closet (TAC). AAA and TAC are both statewide, as are Thea Scholarships.” For a full list of scholarship requirements, application information and the institutions of higher education that match scholarships, visit Callie France Sterling is a 23-year-old graduate of the University of Central Arkansas. She has a degree in Journalism with an emphasis in print as well as broadcast. She loves photography, scrapbooking, writing and going on adventures with her husband and their two dogs. 

Upcoming Thea Scholarship Deadlines The visual arts, performing arts and creative writing scholarship application deadlines were earlier this year. But individuals may still apply for the following scholarships:

Fashion Design – Feb. 14 Poetry Slam – March 18 Film – TBA (usually in April)

Donald Price of Joe T. Robinson High School, 1st place winner in the 2013 Poetry Slam Scholarship Competition. Photo courtesy of Mark Fonville.

Akiko Kyong-McClain of Little Rock Central High School, 1st place winner in the 2014 Performing Arts Scholarship Competition. Photo courtesy of Mark Fonville.


North Little Rock Schools Gifted $19,500 in Art Supplies plies to nearly 400 schools and 200,000 students and teachers across the state, Thea’s Art Closet has expanded its cause. With the help of generous individuals, businesses and granting agenSample kit of the $1,500 in art supplies each of the 13 elementary schools in cies, Thea’s Art the NLRSD received last month. Closet, now a matching program, will continue to award need-based Visual Arts grants to whole schools, and will also award grants through, whose mission is to connect philanthropists with classrooms in need. Find applications for schools and more details at www.theafoundation/supplies.




In the just-released The Health Consequences of Smoking: 50 Years of Progress, the U.S. Surgeon General reports cigarette smoking has become an epidemic in our country. In fact, it’s the single largest cause of preventable disease and death. So, please talk to your kids about the dangers and health consequences of smoking. With your help, let’s make sure our next generation is Tobacco-Free. It’s time to say, “Enough is Enough.”

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Photo Courtesy of Thea Foundation

Last month, the 13 elementary schools in the North Little Rock School District were awarded $19,500 in art supplies from the Caterpillar Foundation and Thea’s Art Closet. The schools – Amboy, Boone Park, Crestwood, Glenview, Indian Hills, Lakewood, Lynch Drive, Meadow Park, North Heights, Park Hill, Pike View, Redwood Early Childhood and Seventh Street – each received $1,500. The $19,500 gift will fund a calendar year’s worth of art supplies for each school, approximately 37 different products (about 140 items or sets) including drawing paper, brushes, pencils, acrylic paints, markers, scissors and other essentials. The collection of art supplies donated is curated to suit the grades represented by the school. The Caterpillar Foundation has been a champion of environmental sustainability, access to education and the fulfillment of basic human needs since 1952. The Foundation is investing $200 million over the next three years in programs benefiting adolescent girls. Thea’s Art Closet, a program of the Thea Foundation, was developed in 2006 as a response to the growing trend of art educators’ shortage of supplies. The program aims to give all Arkansas teachers and students the chance to experience unhindered creativity in the classroom. After five years of providing nearly $1 million in high-quality art sup-

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Nobody Told Me This Stuff:

Seeing It All for the First Time By Robert Bell

My wife could go into labor at any moment now. In fact, I just checked on her, and she’s sleeping soundly and it’s not quite 8 p.m. yet. But I know that come midnight, she could be waking me up with those same words she woke me up with last time, also around midnight: “Get up, baby, my water just broke!” She’d been having contractions that day, at often enough intervals so as to prompt her giddy parents to drive down to Little Rock. “I think we’re gonna see a baby here in 24 hours or so,” I overheard her father excitedly say to someone on his cell phone. This was a Saturday night, and she was several days past her due date. We’d scheduled an induction with her OB for the following Monday, but our little dude decided to make his debut sooner. My wife said it felt like he’d karate chopped his way through the amniotic sac. It’s one of those anecdotes I’ll be sure to mention often, when he’s a teenager and his friends are nearby. Anyway, we got in our silver Accord and I drove quickly — but not too quickly, of course — down I-630 to Baptist Hospital. We parked the car and went inside and up to the labor and delivery area. The nurses at the desk didn’t seem nearly interested enough in our situation, much to the annoyance of hyper-vigilant, new-father-to-be me. My wife was far, far more calm and composed. She sat in a wheelchair, and they gave us some paperwork to fill out and went to prep the delivery room. As is custom nowadays with all events from the once-in-a-lifetime to the utterly mundane, I took a photo of her and posted it to social media. The message below the photo: “This is happening.” Soon she was lying in bed, and the contractions were getting real. I remember her eyes opening wider than I’d ever seen them. “Woooow-ooooooowww!” she said. “Holy crap!” I ran back out to the nurses’ station. “Can we please get an epidural? Now, please?” The woman behind the desk just looked at me for a second silently. “It’s on the way,” she said, not at all seeming to understand that WE WERE ABOUT TO HAVE A BABY FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! (Of course, I am well aware that for that woman and all of her colleagues, it was just another day at the office and did not require getting all worked up or freaked out.) Finally, the guy showed up to administer the epidural, and it was then that things got much better for my wife, who instantly was able to relax and even get some sleep. Before drifting off, she came up with a brilliant business idea: epidural cruises. It’s like a regular cruise, but every couple of days, they give you an epidural and just wheel you around the deck while you feel awesome. I think it could work; you just have to get out into international waters. The night went by and then we woke up early that next morning. I was ravenously hungry for some reason and devoured one of the breakfast trays 50 | savvy k i ds February 2014

they sent us. Various family members came by to check in and see if we needed anything before migrating back out to the waiting room. Our nurse was incredible, there the whole time with the most positive and encouraging attitude. And then finally, in his own time, our little boy made his way out into the world. I’ll never forget the look on his face immediately after he was born. He wasn’t crying; he just looked amazed, like, “what was that!?!” It was the look of someone seeing something — everything, really — for the first time ever. I think he probably looked at me and saw the same thing. And so it’s almost time for us all to do that again, and I can’t wait to see that first look on our new little one’s face. Seeing everything for the first time.


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of the month

BOOK OF THE MONTH Courtesy of the Children’s Department at the William F. Laman Public Library in North Little Rock

Presidents’ Day The Very Fairy Princess Follows Her Heart By Anne Rockwell

By Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton After spending weeks making valentines for all of her family and friends, self-proclaimed fairy princess Gerry takes the wrong folder to school and must find another way to tell her classmates how they sparkle.

Mrs. Madoff’s preschool class learns about Presidents Day and puts on a play about the men who inspired the holiday, particularly those featured on Mount Rushmore.

App of the Month Chore-inator Ansel & Clair: American Bowl

By Binary Formations, LLC $2.99 Chore-inator makes household chores fun and keeps kids motivated. Each time children perform a household chore, they earn stars that can be redeemed for rewards set up by parents. Kids can even take photos as proof of their work. Parents can assign and schedule chores, and monitor progress. Available for iPad.

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By Cognitive Kid, Inc. $0.99 This app combines learning about America and its citizens with a fun bowling game. When users answer one of the more than 1,000 trivia questions, they get a chance to bowl. Knocking down pins frees a bald eagle and wins custom bowling balls. There are three difficulty levels and questions cover 14 categories, like important events, AfricanAmerican history, government and more. Available on iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.

Blueberry Banana Ice Cream

This delicious frozen treat is actually not ice cream at all. Made from blending frozen fruit, it is a much healthier alternative to the real thing, and most little ones won’t even know the difference. Plus, it’s vegan and gluten free.

What you need 2 frozen bananas 1/4 cup frozen blueberries 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions 1. Add all the ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until everything is smooth (or no longer in chunks). 2. Spoon it out into bowls, top it with more blueberries if you wish, and eat it right away before it melts. If you want it harder, put it in the freezer for a couple of hours, stirring every 20 minutes or so. Note: This recipe can be doubled, tripled or quadrupled to feed a crowd. For alternative versions, leave out the blueberries (or keep them in), and add peanut butter and/or cocoa powder. This recipe and photograph were reprinted with permission from bloggers at Divine Healthy Food, which is dedicated to vegan and plant-based foods. Visit the blog at for more vegan recipes.

PHOTO OF THE MONTH Mia Henry, age 4, of North Little Rock

Photo submitted by Jason Henry Submit your photos to the Savvy Kids “Photo of the Month.” Email snapshots (no professional photography) of your youngsters to Include the child’s name, age and hometown. Each month we’ll choose one to publish, so be sure to check out the next issue to see if your photo was selected.

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kids eat free Below is a listing of locations and days in which kids, 12 and under, can eat free with a paid adult (unless otherwise noted).


Kids Eat FREE!

Golden Corral Ages 3 and under eat free at buffet. N. Little Rock: 5001 Warden Road, (501) 771-4605

The Promenade at Chenal Get a free kid’s meal with a paid adult at the following restaurants located at The Promenade at Chenal: A.W. Lin’s Asian Cuisine, Bravo! Cucina Italiana, The Tavern Sports Grill, Big Orange, Local Lime and YaYa’s Euro Bistro. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., lunch and dinner kids menu entrees only. Kids must be 12 and under (limit 1 kids meal per each adult entrée ordered). Drinks not included. Not valid with any other discount or offer. See restaurants for details. Little Rock: 17711 Chenal Parkway, (501) 821-5552.

JJ’s Grill Free kid’s meal with the purchase of an adult meal. All day. Kids 12 and under. Conway: 1010 Main St., (501) 336-1000

Shorty Small’s Up to two kids’ meals free per paying adult. Little Rock: 1110 N. Rodney Parham, (501) 224-3344

CiCi’s Pizza Ages 3 and under eat free at buffet. Conway: 1250 Old Morrilton Hwy, (501) 764-0600 Hot Springs: 3321 Central Ave., (501) 321-2400 Jacksonville: 120 John Harden Drive, (501) 241-2224 N. Little Rock: 2815 Lakewood Village, (501) 753-1182

Larry’s Pizza Ages 4 and under. Bryant: 4500 Hwy 5 North, (501) 847-5003 Cabot: 2798 South Second St., (501) 843-7992 Conway: 1068 Markhan, (501) 329-3131 Little Rock: 1122 S. Center St., (501) 372-6004; 12911 Cantrell Road, (501) 224-8804; 801 S. Bowman, (501) 400-8260 N. Little Rock: 5933 JFK Blvd., (501) 812-5353

Ta Molly’s $1.99 kid’s meal with purchase of adult meal, 5-9 p.m. Bryant: 206 W. Commerce St., (501) 653-2600

Marco’s Pizza North Little Rock: 5007 JFK Blvd., 753-8100, order online at Free small one-topping pizza per child, dine in only, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Maximum of two free pizzas with purchase of at least one medium pizza, six-inch sub or small salad.

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s One kid’s meal per adult meal purchased, 4 p.m. to close. Maumelle: 115 Audubon Drive, (501) 803-3500

San Francisco Bread One free kid’s meal with the purchase of an adult meal, after 5 p.m. Hot Springs: 261 Cornerstone Blvd., (501) 525-7322 Zaxby’s One kid’s meal per adult meal purchased. 5 p.m. to close. Dine in only. Jacksonville: 209 Marshall Road, (501) 241-0546 Maumelle: 104 Carnahan Drive, (501) 851-9777 Sherwood: 208 Brookswood Road, (501) 833-9777


American Pie Pizza Kids eat free after 4 p.m. Little Rock: 10912 Colonel Glenn Road, (501) 225-1900 Maumelle: 9709 Maumelle Blvd., (501) 758-8800 N. Little Rock: 4830 North Hills Blvd., (501) 753-0081 Chick-Fil-A First Monday of each month N. Little Rock: 4320 McCain Blvd., (501) 945-1818 Gusano’s Chicago-Style Pizzeria Kids’ Night for 12 and under. 8” pepperoni or cheese pizzas are $1.99. Conway: 2915 Dave Ward Drive, (501) 329-1100 Little Rock: 313 President Clinton Ave., (501) 374-1441 IHOP (N. Little Rock Location Only) One free kid’s meal with the purchase of an adult entrée, 3-9 p.m. N. Little Rock: 11501 Maumelle Blvd., (501) 753-4457 54 | savvy k i ds February 2014


Arkansas Burger Company One free kid’s meal per adult meal purchase. Dine in only, 5-9 p.m. Little Rock: 7410 Cantrell Road, (501) 663-0600

Denny’s Restaurant Ages 10 and under, 4-7 p.m. Little Rock: 310 S. Shackleford, (501) 224-8264 Golden Corral Discounted prices for kids 12 and under, and ages 3 and under always eat free. N. Little Rock: 5001 Warden Road, (501) 771-4605 Mooyah Burgers One free kid’s meal with the purchase of an adult meal, 5-9 p.m. Little Rock: 14810 Cantrell Road, (501) 868-1091 Pizza Hut 5-8 p.m., dine in only Little Rock: 11410 W. Markham St., (501) 228-7000 Stromboli’s One free kid’s meal (12 and under) per adult meal purchased at regular price. Dine in only. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Conway: 605 Salem Road, (501) 327-3700


IHOP (N. Little Rock Location Only) One free kid’s meal with the purchase of an adult entrée, 3-9 p.m. N. Little Rock: 11501 Maumelle Blvd., (501) 753-4457 Zaxby’s One kid’s meal per adult meal purchased. Bryant: 2207 N. Reynolds Road, (501) 847-3800 (ages 10 and under) Cabot: 2215 W. Main St., (501) 941-2601

(ages 12 and under) Conway: 3800 Dave Ward Drive, (501) 329-5000 (ages 12 and under)


Captain D’s Benton: 1419 Military Road, (501) 778-7909 Jacksonville: 1109 W. Main St., (501) 982-3330 Little Rock: 6301 Colonel Glen Road, (501) 568-6244 N. Little Rock: 5320 JFK Blvd., (501) 758-5144 Mexico Chiquito One free kid’s meal per adult entrée for kids 12 and under. Dine in only. Conway: 1135 Skyline Drive, (501) 205-1985 Jacksonville: 1524 W. Main St., (501) 982-0533 Little Rock: 13924 Cantrell, (501) 217-0700; 11406 W. Markham, (501) 217-0647 N. Little Rock: 4511 Camp Robinson, (501) 771-1604 Moe’s Southwest Grill 4 p.m. to close. One free kid’s meal with paid adult meal. Bryant: 7409 Alcoa Road, (501) 778-3111 Conway: 625 Salem Road, (501) 336-6500 Little Rock: 12312 Chenal Pkwy, (501) 223-3378 N. Little Rock: 4834 North Hills Blvd., (501) 812-5577


Boston’s Gourmet Pizza Restaurant Little Rock: 3201 Bankhead Drive, (501) 235-2000 Denny’s Restaurant Ages 10 and under, 4-7 p.m. Little Rock: 4300 S. University, (501) 562-5651; 310 S. Shackleford, (501) 224-8264 Dixie Café $1.99 kids’ meals with purchase of an adult meal, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kids 12 and under. Little Rock: 1301 Rebsamen Park Road, (501) 663-9336; 10700 Rodney Parham, (501) 224-3728; 10011 Interstate 30, (501) 568-6444 North Little Rock: 2724 Lakewood Village Pl., (501) 758-4777 Cabot: 302 S. Rockwood, (501) 843-1700 Conway: 1101 Fendley Drive, (501) 327-4777 Luby’s Cafeteria Little Rock: 12501 West Markham, (501) 219-1567


Boston’s Gourmet Pizza Restaurant Little Rock: 3201 Bankhead Drive, (501) 235-2000 Corky’s Kid’s meals are half off, 4 p.m. to close Little Rock: 12005 Westhaven Drive, (501) 954-7427

If you know of other places with a kids eat free or discounted kids meals, let us know! Call (501) 375-2985 or email

You Are Your Child’s Most Important Teacher. Have you ever considered that from the moment a child is born, he starts being prepared for school and life? While all children are unique and develop at their own rate, there is a predictable path of milestones along the way. Visit our website to find out more about the stages of development and your critical role as your child’s first and most important teacher.

Department of Human Services Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education • 1-800-445-3316

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When families become stressed by behavioral issues, they need a caring environment. Pinnacle Pointe is the largest children & adolescent behavioral care hospital in Arkansas.

1-800-880-3322 | 11501 Financial Centre Parkway | Little Rock, AR 72211 56 | savvy k i ds February 2014

Savvy Kids - February 2014  

Heart and Soul, Talking Tough Topics, Social Media, Valentines Day Crafts, Healthy Heart Tips, and more!

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