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SCHOOL PROGRAM 4 Simple Tips for Parents

Ideas for Valentine’s Day Family Fun!

Marcus, 8, Gabriel, 4, and Aaron, 5, are the sons of Loyda and Milledge Luke of Harlem.

4 • Augusta Family | February 2017



Departments 6

Editor’s Page


Features 23 Party Guide

Our Annual Guide to Party Places Throughout the CSRA


32 Four Questions to Ask When Choosing a Preschool —Meredith Flory

The Party Guide






SCHOOL PROGRAM 4 Simple Tips for Parents

Ideas for Valentine’s Day Family Fun!

Marcus, 8, Gabriel, 4, and Aaron, 5, are the sons of Loyda and Milledge Luke of Harlem.

ON ThE COvER: Marcus, 8, Gabriel, 4, and Aaron, 5, are the sons of Loyda and Milledge Luke of Harlem. The three brothers were selected for the cover from the “cover kid” submissions at Photo by Carter Koenig Photography.

Is your child ready for their “close up?” If you think you’ve got a “cover kid,” submit their photo and information on our website and they may grace the cover of Augusta Family Magazine.

Also, check out our contests and giveaways!

{ } Go to —click on the contest page to find the current contests!

Mom to Mom

Mommy’s Mixer Mayhem —Jennie Montgomery


News & Notes


Eating Well With Kim


Soup–Glorious Soup —Kim Beavers, MS, RD, LD, CDE

Doctor Dad

The Truth About Bioidentical Hormones —J. Ron Eaker, M.D.


Smart Mom’s Guide To...

Valentine’s Day Family Fun —Cammie Jones


Raising Readers


Inspiration Station

Books and Birthdays —Meredith Flory

Courageous Journey of the Heart —Renee Williams




Go Girl! Aimee Serafin —Renee Williams augustafamilymagazine


Augusta Family | February 2017 • 5


Editor’s Notes b y Renee Williams

PUBLISHER Ashlee Griggs Duren

EDITOR Renee Williams



ADVERTISING SALES Doressa Hawes Maidi McMurtrie Thompson Mary Porter Vann

PHOTOGRAPHY Carter Koenig Photography John Harpring

CONTRIBUTORS Kim Beavers, MS, RD, CDE J. Ron Eaker, M.D. Meredith Flory Cammie Jones Mary Ashton Mills Jennie Montgomery

Augusta Family Magazine is published 10 times per year and distributed throughout the Augusta and Aiken area. Send press releases, story ideas or comments to the editor at or mail to 725 Broad Street, Augusta, Ga., 30901. For advertising information, telephone (706) 823-3702. For circulation/distribution, call (706) 823-3722.


n endings and new beginning: Inaugural editor’s notes are always difficult to write and writing them on the heels of my predecessor, Karin Calloway fuels the difficulty, of course. It is a poignant experience and there is inevitably some sadness involved but there is also a greater sense among us that the change is timely and rewarding. I find these thoughts both moving and inspiring because the great paradox of life is that with every ending comes a new beginning. Life goes on, insisting that we move with it. When Bart Giamatti announced his retirement as president of Yale University, he was asked why he had decided to retire at the young age of 48 and at a time when he was widely admired and respected. He answered that, no matter how well you are doing, there comes a time when “you hear footsteps.” Giamatti went on to say, “I’ve always thought it was important to be the first to hear them.” Turns out Giamatti was right because shortly after resigning from Yale, he was offered the position of Commissioner of Major League Baseball. I heard the footsteps in 2011 when I was working in the child welfare system and began considering a career change. This was an unexpected period of reflection for me and I began to think about what it would mean to really just follow my dreams of being a writer. This was a dream that started within me as a seed as a young girl and I knew then that I wanted to write but I had not found the faith to nourish the seed. Even though I wasn’t sure about the precise shape or form of that life that I wanted, I knew it was pivotal that I create a new beginning. So I began my journey and enrolled in a travel writing class, attended writer’s workshops, volunteered for book signings, started blogging, connected with other writers and began pitching story ideas to various publications. I received multiple rejection letters but I preserved. I began writing poems for a self help forum in the United Kingdom (Me? Writing poems? Woah!) and eventually became a Huffington Post contributor, lifestyle blogger and have worked with many local publications to include Augusta Family, Metro Spirit, Metro Courier, Georgia Music and The Augusta Chronicle. So with a blur of mixed feelings and farewells, I say hello to you and hello to my new role as editor, hello to deadlines and and everything else being an editor entails. Moving forward, what you will find in the pages of Augusta Family is a collection of inspired articles from writers who are real, honest and down-to-earth parents who work hard and who are not afraid to admit the struggles we sometimes face. We don’t always get it right, our houses aren’t perfect, we aren’t perfect and believe it or not, our children aren’t perfect either. We stay informed, we do our best but we are also realistic and flexible. I am honored to be taking on the helm at Augusta Family and sharing the work of so many committed and thoughtful people. Our staff has big plans for this magazine but we will never lose sight of the fact that it belongs to you. Help us tell the stories that you find the most touching, engaging and important by letting us hear from you. We appreciate your support and are so happy to have you as readers. If you are also facing an ending or a new beginning, I encourage you to connect with the spirit of optimism and hope. Ignite whatever courage you need to take your dream seeds and grow them with fierce determination and use it to fuel your desires. Follow your dreams because they know the way. Until March,

We look forward to hearing from you; visit our website and on facebook and twitter. augustafamilymagazine @AUGFamilyMag

6 • Augusta Family | February 2017

Renee Williams

Children’s Dental Month

2017 Physicians’ Directory Available Free for iPhone® and AndroidTM.

Download the Physicians’ Directory app for free and have contact information at your fingertips for Augusta and Aiken area physicians and dentists. Database is searchable by both specialty and by name. Brought to you by Augusta Magazine.


Augusta Family | February 2017 • 7


•Huge Ninja Obstacle Course •Ultimate Birthday Parties •Extreme Slumber Parties •Best School Field Trips Ever •Private Parties and Corporate Events •ClubAir (15 and older) FRI/SAT Nights Insta

•Over 60 Connected Trampolines •Trampoline Basketball •Dodgeball Arena •Foam Pits and Trapeze! •Euro Wall Trampoline

1249 Augusta West Pkwy

706-510-0010 |

8 • Augusta Family | February 2017

Mom to Mom b y Jen n i e Mo n tg o m er y

Mom’s Mixer Mayhem!


ne of my favorite appliances is my stand mixer. I do not bake often but when I do, I always remember why I have that mixer in the first place: because of an old Valentine’s Day injury that appeared way worse than it really was. Sky and I recently got a good laugh about it as we baked a special cake over the holidays. “You scared us to death, Mom,” she laughed. Everything had been going pretty well that particular morning as I assembled my batter for a lovely Valentine’s Day cake, pretty well that is until I added the food coloring. Steadying my electric mixer in one hand, I used the other to scoop out the gel and plop it in the batter. One little bit wouldn’t slide off the spoon so I eased the mixer over to scrape the gel off with a beater. VERY, VERY BAD IDEA! In less than a second, the beater caught the tip of the spoon and pulled the spoon along with my hand into the center of the two spinning beaters. I kept my cool and yanked the cord from the outlet but started screaming bloody murder when I saw my fingers caught between the blades. I could not pry the beaters off my hand and the eject button was useless. My girls were first on the scene and as I turned around to face them, they both burst into tears. Scott ran in next and when I held out my arm, blender attached to the hand, the color instantly drained from his face. I sobbed, “I can’t get my hand out. My fingers are stuck” so in one of Scott’s all time shining moments, he calmly told the girls to get wet rags. He gently started untangling my fingers from the beaters and freed me within a minute. I couldn’t believe it but my hand wasn’t cut at all. After the crying subsided and we were able to laugh a little, my family let me in on a secret: they were flat horrified when they saw me standing in the kitchen. You see, they didn’t know that I was making a RED VELVET cake. When I turned around and they saw all that red batter spattered everywhere, well, you can guess what they thought! Jennie Montgomery anchors the evening news at WJBF-TV. She and her husband, Scott, have three children.

Augusta Family | February 2017 • 9

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news&notes Fe b r u a r y 2 0 1 7


PePPerPlate – the cooking Planner that letS you cook like a Pro

Attention foodies: this one is for you! PepperPlate: A recipe, menu and cooking planner that lets you cook like a pro. This digital cooking platform syncs across almost any type of computer, smartphone and tablet and has all the tools you need to cook weeknight dinners or host a dinner party for 12. Eliminate stacks of books and piles of paper in the kitchen. Create and edit your own recipes or import from popular recipe sites by pasting a URL. Organize your week by adding recipes to the schedule. Categorize your grocery list and break your shopping trip down into aisles. When you view the calendar, PepperPlate will show you a list of all recipes for that day. Share your favorite recipes with friends and family via email, Facebook and Twitter.

“Love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear; the strength so strong mere force is feebleness: the truth more first than sun, more last than star...” E.E. Cummings

mommy minute

Balancing Work and life for Single MoM’S Find A Suitable Work Schedule Having a work schedule that can be arranged to make room for single parent obligations really makes a big difference. Do not be afraid to express your needs to your employer or reveal that you are a single parent. Take a deep breath and ask your boss or future employer if you can work a slightly different schedule to match with your children’s needs. Being able to flex your work time, work from home or telecommute can be optimal for a healthy work- life balance. Being able to prioritize between career and ambition and leisure and family helps create a more balanced lifestyle for single parents. Schedule Kid-Free Time Go ahead and plan a mommy’s time out because you deserve it. Take the time and follow your passions. Are there things you wish you could do with your life someday? You can include more of what lights your fire without sacrificing family time. Anything from exercising to meditation or yoga to relaxing and watching the sunrise will do. Reclaim your time and create the life you want. If you are passionate about helping people, why not volunteer? If you are crazy about cupcakes, could you sell your creations at the Saturday farmer’s market? Don’t Have A Competition With Yourself No one is keeping score, so why should you? Setting expectations too high can be counterproductive and send you into fits of guilt over whether you are doing enough. It is easy to lose your cool when you have to be “on” all the time. It is good to have high standards but it is important to be reasonable with yourself. Expecting too much from yourself can be associated with disappointment, burnout, depression, as well as low self-esteem. Stop competing and expecting too much from achievements. Congratulate Yourself No one is going to pat you on the back when your kid is finally potty trained or when you serve up a healthy dinner after working eight hours so give yourself a big hooray. Be your biggest cheerleader because these are epic achievements and you are the one making it all happen. If you do it all, congratulated yourself. You certainly deserve all the recognition.

Augusta Family | February 2017 • 11


One Local Brief NIGHT TO SHINE Sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation at TrueNorth Church On Feb. 10, Night to Shine will present an unforgettable prom night experience for people with special needs, ages 14 and older. Night to Shine is a worldwide movement, changing Valentine’s Day weekend from simply a celebration of love to a celebration of the value of life. This is a special night when all guests are kings and queens of the prom. Night to Shine provides a red carpet entrance complete with a friendly welcome from paparazzi, on-site limousine rides, hair and makeup stations,

12 • Augusta Family | February 2017

shoe shining areas and of course, a dance floor. Each guest receives a crown or tiara. Night to Shine collects formal dresses sizes 0-24 for Cinderella’s Closet, where guests will have the opportunity to shop for a dress for the big event. The event will be held at TrueNorth Church, 1060 W. Martintown Rd., North Augusta, SC. For more information visit If you have a dress to donate, please drop them off at Wesley United Methodist Church, 825 N Belair Road, Evans, GA.


FAST FACTS WINTER SAFETY Winter can be fun for kids, especially if they get a snow day away from school but cold weather also presents some dangers for the family and the home so stay on guard. Bundling up and putting on gloves and hoodies does not mean skipping other essentials. Make sure your kids continue to wear the proper protective gear like helmets while riding bikes, skateboards and such. Also, it may be cold outside but it’s still important to use sunscreen and stay hydrated because children are more susceptible than adults to sunburn and dehydration.

For more winter tips, like carbon monoxide safety and family fire escape plans, read the full column online at Safe Kids Greater Augusta, led by Children’s Hospital of Georgia, works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children ages 1 to 14. Safe Kids Greater Augusta is a member of the Safe Kids USA network. To find out more about local Safe Kids programs, call 706-721-7606 or visit

Augusta Family | February 2017 • 13

Eating well with Kim b y Ki m B e a ve rs , M S , R D, LD, C DE

14 • Augusta Family | February 2017

Eating well with Kim

Soup—Glorious Soup! In this month’s article, you will find two great reasons to make soup, five strategies for developing delicious soup and one hearty soup recipe. I have been on a soup kick lately so much so that I actually bought a soup cookbook (because you know, as the owner of over 100 cookbooks, I needed another one). In addition to the cookbook, this purchase resulted in a little continuing education, on soup. Who knew that was even possible? But it is, and here is the first reason why: soup is easy and inexpensive to make. The second reason is that soup is typically rich in vegetables. Continuing education on a “soup course” is possible in part because a recent report ranked dietary risks as the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. This research indicated that 76% of people in the United States do not eat adequate vegetables. In addition, when compared to other wealthy countries, we spend the most on healthcare, have lower life expectancy and cook the least. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that people can improve their health by simply cooking a little more and soup is a great place to start. So how does one make delicious soup? The building blocks below are included in the cookbook, Clean Soups: Simple, Nourishing Recipes for Health and Vitality by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson and can help you create deliciously balanced soups. • Healthy fat: Use extra virgin olive oil, organic canola, ghee or coconut oil. Heat the pot before adding the fat. • Add depth with aromatics such as onions, carrots, celery, fennel plus a pinch of salt. Sauté until softened or caramelized from three to 10 minutes. • Next, add dried herbs and spices such as cumin, red pepper, fresh garlic, thyme, bay leaves plus a pinch of salt. Sauté less than a minute (note: garlic is not added with the aromatics but rather with the herbs since this keeps it from burning). • Add the main ingredients such as vegetables, legumes and meat plus a pinch of salt. Stir in to coat with seasonings. • Finally, make a broth or stock of choice which can be homemade or high quality store bought. Bring broth to a boil then simmer until the ingredients are cooked to the desired degree of tenderness. These are the five basic elements of soup making and from here you can just about make any soup. Toppings are an extra element and while not absolutely necessary, they can make soups even more special. Some of my favorite toppers are lemon or lime juice, fresh herbs (cilantro or flat leaf parsley) or Parmesan cheese.

Lentil Soup

This hearty soup makes a large portion so you can make it on the weekend and eat it throughout the week or you can eat half and freeze half so you have delicious homemade soup ready to thaw whenever needed. 1 medium onion 2 carrots 2 celery stalks 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 bay leaf 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon dried basil ½ teaspoon salt 2 cups lentils 4 cups water 4 cups unsalted vegetable broth 1 (14.5 oz.) can crushed tomatoes 2 cups frozen leaf spinach 2 tablespoon lemon juice Black pepper to taste Add onion, carrots and celery to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Place a large soup pot over medium heat. Once the pot is hot, add oil and chopped vegetables and cook for three to four minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, bay leaf, oregano, basil and salt and cook for one to two minutes or until the garlic is aromatic. Add lentils, water, broth, tomatoes and spinach. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for at least one hour. When ready to serve, stir in lemon juice and pepper to taste. Yield: 8 servings (Serving size: 1 ½ cup) Nutrition Breakdown: Calories 230, Fat 5g (0.5g saturated, 3g monounsaturated fat), Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 250mg, Carbohydrate 38g, Fiber 10g, Protein 13g, Potassium 725mg, Phosphorus 37mg. Percent Daily Value: 150% Vitamin A, 25% Vitamin C, 25% Iron, 10% Calcium. Carbohydrate Choice: 2 Carbohydrate Choices Diabetes Exchanges: 1 ½ Starches, 2 Vegetables, 1 Plant based protein

Kim Beavers is a Registered Dietitian and Diabetes Educator for University Health Care System. She lives in North Augusta with her husband and two children and she is the co-host of the culinary nutrition segment Eating Well with Kim, which airs at noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday on WRDW. To be notified of new recipes join Kim’s facebook fan page at To search for specific recipes go to You can also watch the segments at

Augusta Family | February 2017 • 15


Summer Camp Guide in the April issue.

Look for our




April 2013



m a g a z i n e



APRIL 2016


m a g a z i n e

Family am AUGUSTA

m a g a z i n e


Let’s Go Fishin’!

Get ready for some awesome summer fun

2013 Gold Award Winner Editorial and Design Awards Competition





Camp Guide



Jordan, 6, and Taylor, 3, Johnson are the daughters of Chris and Erica Johnson of Augusta.



Camp Guide


✱ Summer Johnson, 5, is the daughter of Rebecca Tyler of Evans.


Logan Cira, 6, is the son of Sam and Jacque Cira of Evans.

To advertise call 706.823.3702 16 • Augusta Family | February 2017


m a g a z i n e

Slide Into

Sleepaways, Splash Pads Sack Lunches and Such




Hailey, 6, is the sister of Brittney and the daughter of Jason and Jennifer Smith of Martinez.


Dr. Dad

b y J. Ro n E a ke r, M . D.


1 0

The Truth About

r h m

Bioidentical Hormones

In 2008, I Surveyed vaSt InForMatIon regarding the uses, types, benefits and risks of hormone replacement therapy and wrote, A Woman’s Guide to Hormone Health. To this day, the hormone replacement field reamins torn over the hormone controversy. Even with large studies available, it is often still difficult to find information that is coherent, consistent and believable. Information concerning hormone health remains scattered and confusing. Therefore, I want to take a moment and throw some light on the myths and misperceptions surrounding natural or bioidentical home preparations.

First, let’s start with some definitions. Bioidentical hormone therapy is often called “natural hormone therapy” because bioidenical hormones act in the body just like the homormes we poduce. Let’s begin by eliminating the term “natural” altogether because at best the word “natural” means nothing and at worst, it means multiple things to multiple people. When I refer to bioidentical hormones, I am simply referring to hormone medications regardless of their source that are equivalent to the hormones produced by the ovaries. These hromones include estriol, estradiol, estrone, progesterone and testosterone. These bioidentical hormones are prescription medicines that treat the symptoms of menopause. Bioidentical estradiol and progesterone are commercially available and can be found in various forms such as creams, pills, gels and patches in virtually any pharmacy. The other bioidentical hormones can be mixed and matched and placed in a variety of concoctions such as troches, creams, suppositories and capsules by a compounding pharmacy. Some would say that the number one reason or the only reason for using hormones of any kind is to treat symptoms. The debate rages on as to the utility of hormones for certain conditions and it is vital for you to talk with your doctor about your specific situation. Let me say from the outset, that I like the bioidentical estradiol and progesterone, as I feel from both my own experience and the literature that supports fewer side effects and better tolerability. However, there is nothing intrinsically evil about synthetic hormones so I feel it is valuable to explore and explode a few misperceptions surrounding bioidenticals. Myth: Bioidentical hormones treat more than menopause. Fact: Several compounding pharmacies make a substantial profit from selling bioidentical hormones and have propagated the idea that bioidenticals can do things they absolutely can’t. For example, I have seen ads saying bioidentical hormone mixtures can help folks lose weight, prevent Alzheimer’s disease, reduce the risk of breast cancer and slow the aging process. These claims are blatantly false and have no substantiation in medical literature. In fact, some pharmacies have been shut down or fined by the FDA for making grossly inappropriate claims

about the hormones they compound. Myth: Compounded hormones are safer than other hormones. Fact: The FDA does not regulate pharmacies that make compounding hormones so often their products are not tested for quality, purity and potency. As such, bioidentical preparations can vary substantially from batch to batch. There hasn’t been any data submitted to the FDA demonstrating that estriol, a commonly used bioidentical is safe and effective. The FDA stated in 2008 that pharmacies should not compound products containing estriol unless the prescriber has submitted a valid investigational new drug application. Additionally, custom compounded hormones don’t inform patients of the black box warning carried on all FDA-approved hormone products and therefore individuals aren’t warned of the increased risks of myocardial infarction, stroke, invasive breast cancer, pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis in postmenopausal women. The bottom line is that women should consider all the risks of bioidentical hormones and other hormones, even though all the risks are relatively small. Myth: Salivary testing is better than blood testing to tell a woman “what exactly she needs.” Fact: This myth was popularized by that noted “medical expert,” Suzanne Somers in one of her gaggle of books. There is no scientific basis for using saliva testing to adjust hormone levels. Free serum hormone concentrations in a midlife woman’s body changes from day to day depending on diet, time of day, the specific hormone being tested and other variables. The dosing of compounded progesterone is particularly difficult to assess because the levels in serum, saliva and tissue are markedly different. It is not necessary to test hormone levels to treat symptoms. The take home message is be a wise consumer, do your homework and talk with your doctor to meet your unique needs. Dr. Eaker is an Augusta Ob/GYN and author. He and his wife, Susan, have two daughters in college. Visit his website at

Augusta Family | February 2017 • 17

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Smart Mom’s Guide To...

1. Plan a Family meal We all know that going out to eat on Valentine’s Day can be crowded and stressful. Instead of going out, plan a meal including everyone’s favorite foods and let each family member pick their favorite dish and put it together in a meal everyone will love. Get your children to help - this will make them feel part of the meal and the celebration. After the blessing and as you enjoy the meal, have each family member say what they “love” about someone or something. 2. CraFt & Bake Day Take an afternoon or evening after school or work and bake some sweet treats. These treats can be given to neighbors, family members or friends to show that you appreciate them. Get your kids involved and let them help you in the kitchen. This can be as simple as slice and bake cookies or any other made from scratch treat if you’re feeling a little like Betty Crocker that day. You can also have a crafting day where you and your children make homemade valentines. All you need is construction paper, scissors, glue and maybe some glitter to make this a ton of fun. 3. rethink giFts If you are like me, gift giving can be a little stressful. An article I found on suggests using the GIFT test if you are purchasing a gift. The GIFT test asks if the present creates more gratitude, intimacy, fondness and trust between you and the recipent or is it just a git to impress. My favorite gifts from my children are always the homemade ones that were meant just for me and also gifts from friends and family who really know me and what I like. It really doesn’t matter the cost – if it’s from the heart, it’s priceless. 4. Put it in Writing

add a little personal note that tells him or her how much you appreciate or love them. Take your time in writing it and really think through how they have affected you and your life so far. 5. Plan a Date night This is an idea more for you and your spouse but pick a night close to Valentine’s Day (if you can’t go on Feb. 14) and make a night of it. Go to your favorite restaurant and instead of the usual romantic movie, go bowling or see a comedy show that is not the norm for you. Jazz it up a little. You can also plan a date night or day with your children. Go to their favorite restaurant and do something they may want to do such as roller skating or some type of family activity. 6. give to others We all tend to think of those less fortunate during the holidays but why not instead of doing something in December, volunteer your time or give a monetary donation during the month of February. Salvation Army or Goodwill are great options. See what non-profits in your area need volunteers of all ages and make a plan to help out in your community. 7. 7. enjoy Family movie night Find an age-appropriate movie that the whole family can enjoy and pop some popcorn for an evening at home. Put on your pajamas, cuddle up on the couch, light a fire in the fireplace and enjoy a family flick. The kids will love it. All of these ideas are ones that can fit any budget. You can fine tune them and mix them up to what would work best for you and your family. Think outside the box and enjoy this Valentine’s Day with the people you love the most.

A personal note never goes out of style. If you are

Cammie Jones is an Augusta freelance writer and

giving a Valentine’s Day card to someone special,

mother of three.

Augusta Family | February 2017 • 19


Strengthening our community: It’s not just physical.

The Oxford Dictionary defines a gym as “a place, typically a private club, providing a range of facilities designed to improve and maintain physical fitness and health.” While it is true that the YMCA is a gym or wellness center dedicated to exercising and physical fitness, exercising our hearts can mean more than just the physical. How so? Let’s look back at the beginning and history of the YMCA, and see how the Y continues to engage the hearts of the communities it serves. The YMCA was first founded in 1844 by, then 22-year-old, George Williams. Williams, a drapery apprentice in London, was concerned for the hearts of his co-workers following the industrialization of London. To help guard their hearts from the dangerous influences of industrialized London, Williams and 11 men formed the first Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) as a refuge of prayer and bible study to escape the life hazards surrounding them daily. Boston Sea Captain Thomas Sullivan was inspired by the “safe haven” atmosphere created by the Y in England and decided to create a similar organization for sailors. Sullivan led the charge to form the first U.S. YMCA at the Old South Church in Boston in 1851. The YMCA’s heart of service for

20 • Special advertiSing Section

youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, nation-wide and around the world, has grown exponentially to this day, thanks to the hearts of George Williams and Thomas Sullivan. With a 158-year legacy of service in the CSRA, the Family YMCA of Greater Augusta offers many programs and services in over 60 program centers throughout the area. The heart of our organization is strengthening the foundations of the communities we serve. We have programs and services available to strengthen your heart in different ways through our three areas of focus: ExErcising thE hEarts of our littlE onEs: Strengthening community is our cause at the YMCA, and we believe that starts with providing every member of your family a chance to grow and thrive. With seven HeadStart Academy sites in Aiken and Barnwell Counties and over 30 PrimeTime After-School Care Sites in Aiken, Columbia, Richmond and McDuffie Counties, the YMCA’s dedication to youth development is evident. Our youth sports and summer camp opportunities provide a seemingly endless list of program choices available for your child to grow and thrive into a confident young person!

EXERCISING OUR HEART THROUGH HEALTH & WELLNESS: One of the most obvious ways to strengthen your heart is through exercise! With ten wellness centers in seven counties and countless group exercise classes to choose from (including four branches with CrossFit communities), there’s a convenient YMCA workout family to connect with right here in the CSRA. EXERCISING OUR HEART THROUGH SERVICE TO OTHERS: One of the greatest ways the YMCA practices social responsibility, or service to others, is providing scholarships to low-income individuals and families through our Financial Assistance Program. We raise funds during a five-week Annual Campaign that allows us to provide these scholarships. One of the hallmarks of the YMCA is that we never turn anyone away for their inability to pay, believing everyone should have the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Shakayla Genwright (pictured in the third bubble) and her mother LaShara are just a couple of the hearts whose lives have been impacted because of the YMCA and its Financial Assistance Program. Today, Shakayla is a fun and outgoing sixth grade student at Pine Hill Middle School. Shakayla’s mom was stunned to see a dramatic transformation in her daughter’s personality during the three years since she enrolled Shakayla in the YMCA’s After-School PrimeTime Program: “The After-School Program has had a huge impact on my daughter,” LaShara says, “She’s opened up so much from her formerly reserved and quiet demeanor, I can hardly keep her quiet! I’m thankful for our YMCA scholarship allowing Shakayla to participate in PrimeTime so she can have the chance to be a leader from a young age.” While Shakayla is now too old for the After-School Program, Shakayla plans to continue going to YMCA summer camp as long as she can! PrimeTime After-School Care is available in Aiken, Columbia, Richmond and McDuffie Counties. Visit to see if your child’s school is a participating program site. Since Thomas Sullivan founded the YMCA, the YMCA has grown tremendously and has exercised hearts in 10,000 communities throughout the United States for over 160 years. The Family YMCA of Greater Augusta has been an active part of the CSRA for 158 years, with 51,000 members and over 45,000 nonmember program participants that keep the YMCA’s heart beating. We would not be where we are today if it weren’t for YOUR generous support of the YMCA and its programs. Last year, we raised over $1.1 million to ensure that everyone in the CSRA has access to a healthy lifestyle. Exercise your heart of giving this National Heart Month by donating to support our neighbors in need through the YMCA’s Financial Assistance Program. For more information or to make your donation to the Family Y, visit your CSRA Family YMCA or check out A gym changes bodies. The Y changes bodies, hearts and lives…Will you consider giving to support a better us in 2017? Exercise YOUR heart


Birthday Parties

! r a st ea

ik ty l


k c o r

643 S. Old Belair rd., GrOvetOwn Ga 30813 706-922-1054 • climbing Party one Hour and 45 minutes includes 12 kids – add more for $10 eacH roPed climbing bouldering cave 20 FOOt Slide rental Harnesses included free birtHday sHirt $250

22 • Augusta Family | February 2017

Party Guide Planning and celebrating your children’s milestones can be an exciting time. Make this year’s birthday more elaborate and fun filled than the last. Ease the stress of party planning and turn to one of the many professionals in the CSRA so everyone can focus on enjoying the big day. Whether providing a thrilling location or supplying services in your home, these party pros offer a wealth of choices to suit all interests.

Move and Groove Active climb 643 S. Old Belair Rd., Grovetown, GA 706 922-1054 Choose between the Climbing Party or the Ninja Party (14 and up) The Climbing party costs $250 and includes: • One Hour and 45 Minutes • Includes twelve kids – Add more for $10 each • Roped Climbing • Bouldering Cave • 20 Foot Slide • Rental Harnesses Included • Free Birthday Shirt The Ninja party includes: • One Hour and 45 Minutes • Includes twelve kids – Add more for $10 each • Warped Wall • Cliff Hanger • Jumping Spider • Salmon Ladder • Free Birthday Shirt

AirStrike extreme Air SportS 1249 Augusta West Pkwy, Augusta, GA 706-510-0010 AirStrike’s indoor jumping facility includes a huge Ninja obstacle course, over 60 connected trampolines, foam pits, a trapeze and a Euro wall trampoline. Party package pricing begins at $225 for Monday-Thursday for up to 10 jumpers, $275 for Friday and Saturday. Rent a banquet room starting at $300 (50 persons) for six+ hours, the pool (available from Mother’s Day through Labor Day) for $225 for two hours ($75 for each additional hour) or the entire facility, including tennis courts, baseball fields, soccer fields and the basketball court for $1500 for 10 hours. Pool rental and entire facility rental includes two lifeguards for up to 25 swimmers. Additional lifeguards are required for greater than 25 swimmers at $15 per hour.

Parties include: • Birthday child jumps for free • One hour flight ticket • 45 minutes in the party room after jumping • Party hostess to assist with setup and cleanup • Party table cover, plates, utensils, cups and napkins (or you’re welcome to bring any themed paper goods and decorations you wish) • Flight shirt for the birthday child • Parents can bring food and drinks

City of Aiken—Citizens PArk Sprayground & Track Rentals 945 Barry Johnson Blvd., Aiken, SC, Citizens Park 803-642-7761 If you are looking to host a birthday party, gathering or special event, consider a rental of the citizens park fields, sprayground, or track. Call for details and information about our rental availability and pricing.

AuguStA JewiSh community center 898 Weinberger Way, Evans, GA 706-228-3636

Jump city 4446 Washington Rd., Suite 7, Evans, GA 706-262-4653,

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Party guide or email at Jump city delivers the party to your backyard. Rent inflatable slides, bounce houses, obstacle courses and water slides beginning at $140, depending on the apparatus. Up the fun with a Sumo suit ($155), a dunk tank ($150), a rock wall (call for quote), a popcorn machine ($50), a sno-cone machine ($50) or a cotton candy machine ($50). Tables, chairs, generators, inflatable movie screens and sound systems are also available.

Jump’n Jitterbugs North Augusta, SC 803-571-9001 Rent inflatable bounce houses, water slides and combo units. Free delivery and set up. Call for pricing.

monkey Joe’s 368 Furys Ferry Rd., Suite 2, Martinez, GA 706-922-JUMP(5867) Choose from a theme or standard party package accommodating up to 24 children ages 12 and under. Party prices range from $174 to $334, depending on the number of children and the day of the week. Make it a theme party for an additional $50. Optional add-ons include balloons, goody bags and ice cream. Additional guests are $10 each. Includes: • Two hours in a private party suite • Dedicated party pro • Drinks • Paper products • Invitations • Gift for the birthday child • Pizza • Bring your own cake • Socks are required

Family y oF aiken County 621 Trolley Line Rd., Graniteville, SC 803-349-8080 Indoor parties are available on Saturdays for children ages two and older. Younger children will enjoy the soft-play room. Children ages five and over will want to party in the game room with X-box system, art station and more. For a two hour party, members pay $150; nonmembers pay $200. Plus $50 deposit. Outdoor parties in the water park are available seasonally,. Includes one hour of water park play and one hour in the party room for one to 20 guests. For non-private parties, members pay $250 and non-members pay $300. Winter time pool rental does not include the water park and rents for $200 for members and $250 non-members.

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Rent the water park for a two hour private party: Members pay $300; non-members pay $350. Whether celebrating indoors or out, parents supply cake, food and drinks.

the Family y oF greater augusta— Wilson Branch 3570 Wheeler Rd., Augusta, GA 706-922-9623 The Family Y of Greater Augusta offers two types of indoor birthday parties for members and non-members. Call for pricing, guest size and party details. Parents supply cake, ice cream and decorations. Clubhouse Parties with Play in the Two-Story Tree house. Include: • Birthday games upon request • Inflatable fun • Two party assistants • Invitations Family Adventure Center Parties Include: • Rock-climbing wall • Inflatable fun • Tumbling area fun • Two party assistants • Invitations Pool Parties at the Wilson Branch Indoor Pool and Water Park Enjoy a pool party year round by hosting your child’s party at our indoor pool! Private and Non-Private options are available. Outdoor water park parties are seasonal with private and non-private pricing options. Please call for pricing, guest size and party details. Parents supply cake, ice cream and decorations. Pool and Water Park Parties Include: • Invitations • Pool time/party time in private room • Lifeguard • Music by request

the Family y oF greater augusta— Marshall Family Y 1202 Town Park Lane, Evans, GA 706-364-3269 Children ages three to 12 can have a birthday party at the Marshall Family Y on Saturdays between the hours of 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. or on Sundays between the hours of 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Younger kids will enjoy the soft-play room. Older kids will like the Kids Club House stocked with video games and a foosball table. Please call for pricing, guest size and party details. Parents supply cake, ice cream and decorations.

Parties Include: • Two attendants to help set up, clean up and supervise. • A separate room for food, presents and cake

neptune Dive anD ski 2305 Redwood Drive, Augusta 706-737-7900, email at Indoor pool parties available on Saturdays only. Party package is $125 for two hours, up to 15 children, one lifeguard; $150 up to 25 children, Two lifeguards. Parties Include: • Pool use • Lifeguards • Tables and chairs

the salvation army kroC Center 1833 Broad St., Augusta, GA 706-364-5762 or email Party like a Kroc star in the gym or the indoor pool. Party packages start at $225 for up to 20 guests and $330 for up to 40 guests for two hours. Reserve your party day and time with a $50 deposit. Al la carte options for an additional charge include food, beverage, themed packages and extra space. All Parties Include: • A party planner (Two hours) • Party room • T-shirt for birthday child • Invitations. • Paper products • Lemonade • Cupcakes • Plates and utensils

splash in the boro 1388 Highway 24 East Statesboro, GA 912- 489-3000 Under The Dome” Party Availability Days • Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Included In The Party Package • Party host for two hours • $150 for 15 people ($5 per extra party guest) • Pool admission for 15 people from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ($5 per extra party guest – paid on date of party) • Personalized birthday cake “Get Splashed! Happy Birthday ‘Insert Name.’” •Drinks (water and punch/lemonade) • Party Kit (candles, plates, utensils, cups and napkins) • T-shirt for birthday child

Party guide • Table(s) for presents and drinks/cake • Splash balloons and table cloth

Plenty of Pampering Tiaras & Pearls 3241 Washington Road, Augusta, GA 706-922-7721 Princess Party: • Up to two hours for eight girls (this number includes the birthday girl) • Mini Manicure/Mini Pedicure • Spa robes provided while receiving services • Runway—choice of princess dress or tutu • Eight standard invitations. Additional invitations are $.50 each • Toast to the birthday girl • Photos of the party on a DVD • All parties are expected to start at its scheduled time, otherwise, a $35 late fee will be added to your total • Additional girls are $30 each Glamorous Party: Additional girls are $40 each. In addition to the Princess Party package this party includes: • Party lasts up to two and one half hours • Makeup application/princess face painting Enchanted Party: Additional girls are $50 each. In addition to the standard party package this party includes: • Makeup application/princess face painting • Special goodie bag for the Birthday Girl • Karaoke • Includes flatware, plates and cups The Royal Treatment Party: Additional girls are $50 each. In addition to the standard party package, this party includes: • A Tiaras & Pearls Princess that will accompany your princess in a limousine to deliver up to eight invitations to her guests • Makeup application/princess face painting The Spa-Jama Party (Especially for Tweens— Friday nights only): Tweens come dressed in your favorite PJs, bring blanket and pillow. This party can only be booked on Friday nights, 7:30-11:30 p.m. Party Duration: Up to four hours. Party to accommodate 10 tweens (this includes the birthday girl). Additional girls are $50 each. In addition to the standard party package this party includes: • Make-up • Tattoo • Magazines • Signature Drink

• Two Large, One topping pizzas. • Popcorn • Dancing • Karaoke • PG-Rated Movie (Birthday Princess’ choice) • LOTS of girl talk! Other packages available (call for information): • T&P BFF Package (on the go) • Tiaras & Pearls Package • Tiaras & Pearls Ultimate Package • A la carte Services

Horse Around HillToP riding sTables N. Range Rd., Building 508, Fort Gordon, GA 706-791-4864 Party fees are $220-sponsored or $250-unsponsored. Available party times are 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. or 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Reservations must be made in advance. Parent provides cake, food and drinks. Includes: • Four ponies on a carousel for onw hour (for ages six and under) or four one hour guided trail rides (for ages seven and up). Extra horses available for $23 each. Extra ponies available for $11 each. • Tablecloths • Balloons and streamers • Party room • Picnic areas, some with grills

graysTone rancH and Wildlife educaTion cenTer 1017 McManus Rd., Hephzibah, GA 706-360-0808 My First Pony Parties are a fantastic introduction to horsemanship for children up to age 10. Larger ponies and horses are also available. The Graystone animal experts will assist children in riding saddled ponies and horses. Other saddled animals are also available. $225 for one hour. Lots of party packages from which to choose. Visit their website for more details.

Hidden forresT equesTrian cenTer 1333 Jackson Rd., Augusta, GA 706-825-6216 Pony parties for ages four and up with up to eight children. Parties start at $200 and include pony rides, games, use of the entire facility and an area for cutting the cake. Parents provide cake, food, paper products and other party supplies.

almosT Heaven sTables 220 Golf Course Rd, Warrenville, SC 803-663-3001 Within minutes of Aiken. Staff hand-leads two horses in the large arena for one hour, then you can stay and enjoy the picnic area for an additional two hours. Picnic area has covered shelter, grill, fire pit, wood provided for fire pit, ping pong, basketball, volleyball, horseshoes, sand box and restroom. $200.

Make and Create Build-A-BeAr Workshop Augusta Mall, 3450 Wrightsboro Rd., Augusta, GA 706-736-0895 or 1-877-789-2327 Each guest makes his or her own stuffed animal friend. Party pricing starts at $12 per guest. Five-guest minimum. The party leader makes sure kids have fun while staying within your pre-set budget. Parties last 45 minutes to an hour. Includes: • A party leader • Printable invitations and thank you cards

delightful Bites CAkery 3801-C Washington Rd., Augusta, GA 706-294-5067 or email at Celebrate in style at Delightful Bites! Our Party coordinators will work with you to ensure that your CUSTOM party will be complete with all the details covered so that your group will have a blast. All parties are hands-on participation and are all-inclusive. Parties last approximately one and a half hour and are $25/child (eight children minimum), additional children at a reduced rate of $15/child. (10 children maximum) Extended parties are available upon request. Included with every party package: • Personalized invitations for your party • Two hosts/hostesses • Decorating activity—Choose from several that are age-appropriate for your group. All ingredients and decorating tools needed are included. • A custom birthday cake and punch for the guests • All participants will receive a small goodie bag filled with age-appropriate favors and a free cupcake card to use at the Cakery • Snacks for adults. Parties are designed to be dropoff events, however parents are welcome to get involved, or linger in the cozy consulting room Parties for ages Four to 2nd grade: • Choose one of the following activities: Cookie decorating, cupcake decorating or candy making.

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Party guide Parties for grades 2-4: • Choose one of the following activities: Cookie decorating, cupcake decorating, candy making, cake pops or assembling and decorating six-inch cakes (additional $5 per child). Parties for ages 10 and up: • Choose one of the following activities: Cookie decorating, cupcake decorating, candy making, cake pops, assembling and decorating six-inch cakes (additional $5 per child) or “Cupcake Wars” (additional $5 per child). Extended Parties for ages 10 and up: • Cupcake Wars Ultimate: Teams bake and decorate their own cupcakes using secret ingredients and then presents them to be judged by the hosts and your birthday child. • Or Choose Two: Cookie decorating, cupcake decorating, candy making, cake pops, assembling and decorating six-inch cakes (additional $5 per child) or “Cupcake Wars” (additional $5 per child). Add-Ons: • Delightful Bites catered lunch or dinner (price is based on selections).

My Best Friend’s sewing rooM 3850 Washington Rd., Suite 4C, Augusta, GA 706-993-8819 Two-hour sewing parties for children’s birthdays, with enough time to sew a simple project and enjoy cake and beverages. The birthday child and guests complete a simple sewing project. Parents supply cake and beverages. Children ages nine and up machine sew a pillow, a drawstring backpack or a small tote bag. They learn how to pin, make a straight stitch and are guided in using an iron. Children ages seven to eight stuff a plush animal and use hand sewing to make stitches and sew on buttons. Ask about other options. $240 for eight children minimum (they can take up to 10 at their discretion). A $100 nonrefundable deposit is required to reserve date. The party must be paid in full five days before the party date. There is a drawing for a prize Parties Include: • Sewing machines, supplies and sewing instruction • Invitations • Paper products • Decorations

Michaels 211 Robert C Daniel Pkwy., Augusta, GA 706-738-9330 Book a party for a crafty kid and up to 10 guests. Cost is $50 plus the cost of project supplies for each child. Cost of supplies varies according to the craft project selected for the party. The party includes a decorated room, paper

26 • Augusta Family | February 2017

products and the assistance of a store associate for two hours. All the cleanup is done for you, too. Parent brings food, cake and drinks. Reserve your child’s party at least one week in advance. Birthday Package Includes: • Craft supplies for nine children • Decorated room • Assistance of associate • Two hours in party room • Drawstring party bag for the birthday child

sMocks art Parties 742 McClure Drive, Augusta, GA 706-833-9696 A Smocks Art Party is a unique way to celebrate your child! Choose your favorite artwork from our collection, and let Smocks take care of all of the planning, prep, entertaining, and clean up while your child and their closest friends have a blast creating their own painting (the ultimate party favor!) All you need to do is provide the cake and beverages. Birthday parties are scheduled on Fridays and Saturdays for children turning six or older and last two and a half to three hours. Parties are held at our home studio. Package A: 12x12 or 11x14 gallery wrapped canvas (Two and a half hour party) $310 for nine children. Package B: 16x20 gallery wrapped canvas (Three hour party) $340 for Nine children. Add up to two additional children for $20 each. Both packages include: • Personalized party invitations • Thank you notes • Coordinating paper plates, napkins and spoons • All art supplies • Party decorations • Birthday gift (11x14 personalized canvas) • Balloons • Photographs of the party • Two hours of step-by-step instruction by owner, Jennifer Rucker • 30 minutes allotted for cake and presents

artsy Me 4275-B Washington Rd., Evans, GA 706-432-6396 or email at cricket.artsyme@ Birthday parties for kids ages five and up with a minimum of six children for one and a half hour. . A $40 deposit secures the date. Parents bring food, drinks and paper products. Party room holds up to 20 people. Choose from a variety of party packages: • Artsy Party includes a ceramic plate, mug, bowl or critter for each child to paint and is $18 per child. • Extra Artsy Party includes a plaque, bank or keep-

sake box for each child to paint and is $20 per child. • At the Canvas Celebration Party each child createsan 11×14 canvas with acrylic paints ($20 per child). An Artsy Me staff member walks each child through creating a masterpiece. • The Glass Galore Party opens the world of glassfusing while creating a six inch glass-fused sun catcher or plaque for children ages eight and up, $25 per child.

little diPPers Painting Parties 706-699-4449, contact Haley Tam Each child creates his or her own masterpiece in a fun, step-by-step painting class. All supplies are included. Parties last one and half hour to two hours. Birthday girl or boy may choose the painting from the gallery on the website. Ages five nd up. Free printable invitation. Adult supervision required for children under the age of five. Three canvas sizes available: $35/child for a 16”x20” canvas (Five person minimum), $25/child for a 12”x16” canvas (Six person minimum) and $15/child for a 9”x12” canvas (10 person minimum). Party may be held at a location of your choice or at the MAC on Main Art Gallery in Thomson, Ga., for no extra cost. A $50 deposit is due two weeks prior to the event.

arty Party oF augusta 706-267-8453 Plan an Arty Party at your home or the venue of your choice. Professional, artistic face painting is $120 for one hour of $75 per hour for two or more hours. Henna parties, great for teens and adults and are the same price. Canvas parties for children and adults are $300 for up to ten artists and $25 per additional artist. A 50% deposit reserves your party. Check out “Arty Party of Augusta” on Facebook for beautiful photos of their work.

Van gogh and Vino 110 Pleasant Home Rd., Suite 2-B. Le Pavilion Shopping Center. Augusta, GA 706-284-6649 Kids Painting Parties are fun, educational and an exciting new way for your child to be creative. “Mini Vinnie” Parties (Ages six to14) Cost for parties: $150 deposit required to reserve the date. Balance due at time of event. $275 covers up to 10 painters. Each additional painter is $25. “Mini Vinnie” parties are scheduled on Saturday’s from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. or Sunday from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Parties include: • A theme-specific painting for your party (with three weeks advanced notice). • All the painting materials, art instruction and fun!

Party guide Get in the Game Skateland of augusta 2451 Windsor Spring Rd., Augusta, GA 706-796-4048 They take care of everything but the cake, with several party packages to choose. No charge for non-skating parents. Choose from options to have party during public session, on a weekend or night or a private party. Basic party (public session) includes ($130): • 10 children, $8 each additional child • Ice cream cup for each child • Unlimited soda • Birthday child receives a t-shirt, speed skate rental, and free pass for future visit • Free skate rentals for guests • Party table area, paper goods, table cloth and balloons. 50 minutes in party area • Invitations • Dedicated party hostess • Parents of birthday child skate free • Make it a hotdog or pizza skate party for an additional charge Super Duper (public session) Party ($260): • 10 children, $11 each additional child • Everything in the basic party plus two large single topping pizzas • 10 glow products • One pair of GTX-500 speed skates for the birthday child

Brunswick national lanes 3067 Washington Road, Augusta, GA 706-860-1668 www. Choose the Birthday Party KidZ package for a birthday celebration with bowling, pizza, soft drinks and more. Or, provide your guests with MEGA fun at a MEGA value with our MEGA Birthday Party KidZ package - including extra goodies for the guests and a keepsake signature bowling pin for the birthday kid that the guests can sign.

gordon lanes Bowling center Ft. Gordon, Bldg. 33200, 3rd Ave., Fort Gordon, GA 706-791-3446 Bowlopolis Birthday Parties includes one hour of bowling and one hour in the party room, shoe rental, choice of three meals and treat bag. $11 per child (minimum of 10 children).

augusta aquatics center 3157 Damascus Rd., Augusta, GA 706-261-0424 Parties are held on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. for children ages 12 and under. $150 fee includes admission for up to 20 swimmers. Call to make reservations. Includes: • Party room • Beverages and Goodie bags • Paper products • Display board message for birthday child

Premiere martial arts 401 West Martintown Rd., North Augusta, SC 803-640-8443 706-432-6963. 701 Devika Dr., Grovetown, GA or email at Qualified martial arts instructors at Premier Martial Arts will lead the children in games, activities, and a safe karate lesson. Parents can sit back and watch or they can participate in all the activities themselves! They accommodate any size party from five guests to 50. Parties last one and half hour to plenty of time for cake and ice cream. The fee is $195. They also can offer appearances by any and all four of the ninja turtles or Panda. The fee is $50 per character to make a 10 to 15 minute appearance and for picture taking. By request they also have a 30-foot inflatable tumble track at the North Augusta location. For a $25 fee party guests get 30 minutes of jumping and tumbling fun.

augusta greenJackets Lake Olmstead Stadium, 78 Milledge Rd., Augusta, GA 706-922-9467 or email at Watch the game and celebrate together. $15 per person. Season starts in mid-April. Little Caesar’s Birthday Party Includes: • Reserved tickets • Autographed baseball for the birthday child • Little Caesar’s Pizza and dessert • Free Admission to the Fun Zone • Table in the Fun Zone for food and cake • Sing Happy Birthday on the dugout

c & c gymnastics 1340 Augusta West Parkway Augusta, (706)364-4785 or email Birthday parties start at $175 for up to 15 kids, $5 each additional child. Parties with gymnastics, games and fun!. Parties Include: • Full hour of gymnastics with a coaching staff. • Party space for Cake and presents

gymnastics gold 124 Cedar Ln., Augusta, GA 706-650-2111 Kids enjoy age-appropriate games using a variety of gymnastics equipment. Party packages for ages four and up to accomondate up to 20 children. Prices are $150 for members, $175 for non-members. Additional fees for additional children. Parties last one and half hour nd are held Friday nights and Saturdays. No parties scheduled in June and July. Two trained instructors supervise. Make reservations at least two weeks in advance. A $25 deposit is required. Includes: • Party area and we clean up afterwards • Drinks • Invitations • T-shirt for the birthday child

Haydens gymnastics and cHeer academy 4300 Evans to Lock Rd., Evans, GA 706-868-0608. The Hayden’s birthday experience for up to 10 children begins with games in the gym, followed by an obstacle course and time on the trampoline and in the pit. Trained coaches supervise. Parties last 90 minutes for $250. Additional half hour of gym time can be scheduled for $50. Parent supplies food, cake and paper products. Pay $5 for each additional guest. A $50 deposit reserves the date. Pool parties may be scheduled during summer months. Includes: • Professional instructors • Set up and clean up • Invitations • Table decorations • Goody bags. • Special gift for birthday child.

Platinum sPorts and comPlete game 3855 Washington Road Evans, GA 706-814-5916 Whether its an athletic event or a birthday party, all specific needs will be met.Private facility Rental: $225 for two hours, Half court rental $30/hr, Full court rental $50/hr (long term contract and special pricing available) Birthday Special includes: • full facility- $250 for two hours • pizza and drinks for 10 kids • T-shirt for birthday child • price is for 10 children -$4 for each additional child

Putt-Putt Fun Center 3763 Martinez Blvd., Martinez, GA 706-868-0083

Augusta Family | February 2017 • 27

Party guide Birthday party packages range from $9.99 per person to $14.99 per person. Kids can participate in activities including laser tag, the game room and batting cages, in addition to playing putt-putt. Secure your desired party day and time with a $25 deposit. All packages include: • One attraction of your choice • 15 gameroom tokens • Indoor total play (soft play area) • One Hour in a private party room • Rita’s Ice Custards or substitute a birthday cake • Unlimited soft drinks while in the party room • Party invitations and paper goods • Birthday gift for the honoree. • Group party photo • Party supervisor

Red Wing RolleRWay 3065 Washington Rd., Augusta, GA 706-860-1548 Open session parties start at $195 for up to 10 guests and a two hour private parties are $325 for up to 20 guests. The birthday child participates for free in both packages and additional guests are $7 each. Birthday parents skate free. Includes: • DJ • Games • Skates • Invitations • Balloons • Soft drink, hot dogs, chips and cake • Paper products • T-shirt for birthday child

SeigleR’S KaRate CenteR 4471 Columbia Rd., Martinez, GA 706-855-5685 West: 370 Furys Ferry Rd., Ste. 1, Evans, GA 706-364-3535 The perfect party for active kids! Karate and you can cut your cake with a real samuri sword! Ninja party for up to 20 guests is $399 and includes: • One and a half hour of facility use • Two instructors, one rubber ninja star for each guest • Two cheese pizzas, beverages, plates and napkins • One Ninja suit for the birthday child • Karate class and Ninja obstacle course • Birthday child board breaking • Ninja cutting sword ceremony • $5 for each additional guest • Other party themes available

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SoutheRn tang Soo do MaRtial aRtS Studio 2007 Tobacco Rd., Augusta, GA 706-793-6603 Two-hour parties cost $225 for up to 12 children. Additional children are $8.50 each. Parents are welcome to bring food and snacks. A CD with party pictures is available for $15. Includes: • Karate-themed invitations and thank you notes • Karate uniform for the birthday child • Martial arts headbands for each child • A balloon for each child. • Party tables with karate theme • Cake, drinks and ice cream • Goodie bags with VIP pass for a free karate class for each participating child

Eats and Treats ChuCK e CheeSe 3435 Wrightsboro Rd., Augusta, GA 706-737-4557 Plan a birthday party with pizza and games or organize your own walk-in party without reserving a party package. On-line party reservations are available as well as e-vites. Choose from the Star package , the Super Star package or the Mega Super Star package. Minimum of four children. Parties start at $12.99 per child. All Packages Include: • Two hours of reserved table space • Ticket Blaster experience for the birthday child • Crown for the birthday child • Star recognition in the show • Game tokens for each child • Pizza and free refills on drinks • Party host or hostess • Festive tablecloth and plates

BRuSteR’S Real iCe CReaM 1115 Agerton Lane, Augusta, GA, 706-731-9929 516 North Belair Rd., Evans, GA, 706-210-5160 Outdoor parties during store hours at Bruster’s are $175 for up to 20 people (Two hours). Additional guests are $20/per person. Please inquire about prices for ice cream catering for off-site parties. Packages available for Augusta and Evans locations only. We offer a tour of the store, make your own ice cream and more. Includes: • Bruster’s ice cream cake • Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, chips and fountain drinks • Balloons

• Paper products • Set-up and cleanup • A birthday message on the leader board

BRuSteR’S Real iCe CReaM 1279 Knox Ave., North Augusta, SC 803-279-9831 The Bruster’s party planner works with parents to design a party that fits the budget. Party activities can include a tour of the store, making ice cream, decorating a cake and/or a hotdog and ice cream party.

dippin’ dotS 706-364-3476 3328 Washington Rd., Augusta, GA Choose from one of three party packages starting at $6.50 per person with a minimum of 10 people, including a party in which each child receives a glitter tattoo for $7.50 per person. Parent can supply cake. They will even open to host parties before regular store hours upon request. Take-home party packs are available by pre-order. Call for details.

the pinK dippeR 501 Georgia Ave., North Augusta, SC 803-279-4100 Rent their party room by the hour ($25)

Build Their Brains BRiCKS 4 Kidz 706-513-5789 Two hours of non-stop fun with Lego® bricks. Kids ages four and up will love a Bricks 4 Kidz party. Basic birthday package starts at $185 for eight children and includes invitations, paper products, drinks, a Bricks 4 Kidz t-shirt and an awesome party host! Builder Birthday package starts at $240 for eight children and includes many extras in addition to the basic package such as pizza, mini-figures and mini-models for kids to take home. Parents bring the cake. Parties Include: • Party host • Invitations • Free play time plus lots of games and challenges • Paper products • Bricks 4 Kidz® t-shirt for birthday child • Drinks

edVentuRe ChildRen’S MuSeuM Gervais St., Columbia, SC 803-400-1168

Party guide Throw Eddie’s Big Birthday Bash for $184-$207 for members, $230 for non-members for up to 15 guests (Two hours). Additional guests are $15 each. Adults are free. Parent brings cake and ice cream and other food. Party add-ons available for additional charge.

Additional Options Include: • Souvenir bags • A state park-themed birthday cake. • A t-shirt for the birthday child • A second ranger-led program

Includes: • Birthday parade led by an EdVenture Birthday Buddy • Party room for two hours • Special birthday ceremony in front of Eddie® • All-day admission for party guests • Ready-to-mail invitations • T-shirt for birthday child

pAtrIots pArk 5445 Columbia Rd, Grovetown, GA 706-863-7523 A variety of facilities are available to rent from a multipurpose room to gyms and pavilions. Bobby Waters Gymnasium is a popular place for birthday parties. Rates for the multi-purpose room are $30 per hour or $200 per day. The basketball gyms can also be reserved at a rate of $35 per hour or $200 per day. Patriots Pavilions can be reserved for $75 per day or free of charge on a first-come first serve basis. Other pavilions at Columbia County parks such as Blanchard Woods, Riverside and Wildwood Park can be reserved as well ranging in price up to $200 per day.

Adventure Outside AugustA CAnAl InterpretIve Center 1450 Greene St., Augusta, GA 706-823-0440, ext. 7 or Charter a Petersburg boat for up to 36 guests for $350 per boat for one hour, $600 for a three hour trip to the Headgates and back. Bring refreshments of your choice. You can book your party at the Canal’s Interpretive Center.

steed’s dAIry 4635 Wrightsboro Rd., Grovetown, GA 706-564-0220 Birthday party activities on the farm include petting zoo, jumping pillow, giant tube slide, corn kernel pit, tube swings, rubber duckie races and more. The pavilion rents for $100. Cost per person is $4 except during corn maze season when it is $6 per person. Parent brings cake, ice cream and party supplies.

MIstletoe stAte pArk 3725 Mistletoe Rd., Appling, GA 706-541-0321 A variety of birthday party packages are available featuring ranger-led programs and activities. Program themes vary from lake ecology to carnival games. Packages Include: • A 45-minute ranger-led program with a nature craft • Five park passes and picnic shelter rental • Party decorations Camping Birthday Package Includes: • Two campsites overnight and picnic shelter rental • 45 minute program • Five park passes

phInIzy swAMp & nAture pArk 1858 Lock and Dam Rd., Augusta, GA 706-828-2109 www. (click on Kid’s Birthday Parties tab) Nature Explorers Birthday parties available. Small party (up to 15 children) $190. Large party (16-25 children) additional $7.50 per child. Members receive a 10% discount. Party Includes: • Phin & Izzy puppet presentation, activities and games. • Guided explorative nature hike (approx. one hour) •. Popsicles •. Reusable kid’s sports water bottle for each child •. Phin and Izzy kid’s t-shirt for birthday child • Birthday party invitations •. Four hour room reservation—includes time for parent to set up and break down party decorations •. A Phinizy Swamp Nature Guide

reed Creek pArk And wetlAnd Interpretive Center 706-210-4027 3820 Park Lane, Martinez, GA Birthday parties for children ages five and up take the party to nature and the great outdoors with guided activities. Parties last 90 minutes. Member cost is $150 for up to 10 children plus $6 for each additional child. Non-members cost is $200 for up to 10 children plus $7 for each additional child. There is a 14-child maximum. Full payment must be received two weeks in advance of the party date.

Includes: • Nature games and activities. • Paper products • Balloons and decorations • Cake, drinks and goody bags • Invitations.

Movie Time! regAl CIneMAs AugustA 1144 Agerton Lane, Augusta, GA 706-667-9713 Make your birthday child (ages three to 11) a “Star for a Day” with their own party at the movies. Call for pricing. Adults responsible for their own admission. The party room is available at an additional charge either before or after the movie. Party room rental includes paper products and beverages. Movie Party Includes: • Admission and game tokens • Reserved seating • Zap Pack.

rIverwAtCh luxury CIneMAs 832 Cabela Drive Augusta, GA 706- 664-0925 Free Movie Ticket for your birthday One free restricted admission available for use seven days before and seven days after your birthday. Call for additional details on special birthday packages.

the sAlvAtIon ArMy kroC Center 1833 Broad St., Augusta, GA 706-922-1533 www. The Movie Critic Party is a two and a half hour party that includes a rated G or PG movie of your choice (pending approval from our movie provider), popcorn for each attendee and up to one hour in the party room after the movie (time is based on length of movie). Party packages start at $225 for up to 20 guests and $300 for up to 40 guests for two hours. All Parties Include: • Party room with a party master • T-shirt for birthday child • Invitations • Paper products • Lemonade • Cupcakes

Augusta Family | February 2017 • 29

Party guide Go High Tech

• $195 for up to 20 people for a two-hour party

ROLLING VIDEO GAMES www. 706-830-4389 They set up, entertain and clean up! Packages start at $225 for a one hour party with the Game Coach. A two hour party with the Game Coach, 30 full color invitations and cake is $250 and up depending on the day of the week.

Bring in the Clowns

Includes: • A Game Coach who serves as an on-site tech that assists with playing the games and encourages fun and balanced play for guests • Game Truck and trailer come rain or shine. A fairly level parking area is needed • Xbox 360 and Wii stations allow 16 gamers to game at once or separately • Vibration-rocking stadium seating • Tons of game choices available.

LEVEL UP GAME CENTER 3837 Martinez Blvd., Augusta, GA 706-305-3780 Three party options from which to choose. Kids 12 and up can plan an all-night party event for $20 per guest. Food and tournaments for prizes are included. A second party option is a private rental with packages starting at $125 per hour. Parents supply the food.

THE PLAYHOUSE 4107 Riverwatch Parkway Martinez, GA 706- 426-8493 Fantastic family fun and a great party spot. Relax while your children have a blast with the Playhouse Rangers on a large, indoor jungle gym. Want to burn some energy too? Go head to head in the race car video game, basketball arcade game, or a game of pool. Coming soon for ages seven and up. Enjoy a friendly game of Indoor Paintball.

XP GAMING LOUNGE 4534 Washington Road, Ste. 12, Evans, GA 706-524-2018 or xpgaminglounge This family friendly video game lounge is perfect for birthday parties! Equipped with Xbox One, Wii U and high-powered gaming computers. Regular hours: Thursday, 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m., Friday and Saturday, 6:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. • Sunday-Saturday Available for private parties • $165 for up to 15 people for a two-hour party

30 • Augusta Family | February 2017

tmt PRODUCTIONS 706-825-1041 DJ entertainment with 10 years of experience. They provide DJ entertainment for birthday parties, weddings, dances, proms, and other events.

THE CLUBHOUSE KIDS PUPPET THEATER 350 Marshall St., Martinez, GA www. mjohnpuppet 706-951-7938 Birthdays R Us Package: • Ventriloquist act or puppet show • Comedy magic show and balloons for everyone • $100.00 for one hour up to 40 guests Birthday Bash Package: • Ventriloquist act, puppet show and comedy magic act. • Balloons for everyone plus a lesson on how to make a balloon figure • Birthday person receives a crown and a gift • $150.00 for one hour up to 40 guests

ACME FUN FACTORY 706-294-5910 or 803-652-8335 Schedule clowns Jingles and JJ to entertain at your child’s next birthday party, bring in Mr. Magic to perform or surprise your child with a visit from his or her favorite superhero or character. One entertainer is $150 per hour. Add an additional entertainer for just $75 per hour for up to 15 children. Pay only $1 for each additional child. Acme Fun Factory also rents a variety of inflatables, concession equipment (such as sno-cone and cotton candy machines) and tables and chairs.

VINTAGE OOOLLEE 1121 Broad St., Augusta, GA 706-724-2591. Let mom or dad pose as a friendly character at your next party. Costumes include a kitty, teddy bears, bunny rabbits, puppy dogs and more. Popular storybook character costumes also available. Come in a week before rental date and get fitted. Rentals start at $50.

UNCLE SAM’S MAGIC SHOW (SAM HARDEN, JR.) 706-945-2053 Professional full-time magician and storyteller, Fun family

oriented comedy magic entertainment and balloon twisting. Specializing in children’s birthday parties for ages four and up. These shows are colorful and engaging with full audience participation and the use of selected volunteers. The birthday child is the star of the show.

MAGIC WITH A TWIST! 4128 Fair Oaks Road, Martinez, GA 706-855-9177 Hocus-Pocus Party Package • Magic Mike’s Magic Show • Magic Wand for the Birthday Child • Magic Booklet for the Birthday Child • Magic Set for the Birthday Child • Inflatable 7’ Birthday Cake Yard Display • Goodie Bags for 12 Children • Abracadabra Party Package Magic Mike’s Magic Show • Magic Wand for the Birthday Child • Magic Booklet for the Birthday Child • Magic Set for the Birthday Child • Inflatable 7’ Birthday Cake Yard Display • Goody Bags for 12 Children • Balloon Party Hats for 12 Children • Candy Wands for 12 Children • Mumbo-Jumbo Party Package Magic Mike’s Magic Show • Magic Wand for the Birthday Child • Magic Booklet for the Birthday Child • Magic Set for the Birthday Child • Inflatable 7’ Birthday Cake Yard Display • Goody Bags for 12 Children • Balloon Party Hats for 12 Children • Candy Wands for 12 Children • Face Painting by Lolli Pop the Clown

SINGING PRINCESSES The Singing Princesses will help make your little princess’s dreams come to life, even if just for a day! Dressed as fairy tale princesses, these professionally trained vocalists will create an enchanting experience that won’t soon be forgotten. Depending on the party package that is chosen, the Princesses will provide your guests with an afternoon of singing, dancing, storytelling and learning the meaning of true beauty. The experience can conclude with a Fairy Dust Coronation, making each attendee a true princess. The Singing Princesses are available for events throughout the CSRA. Party Guide information provided by the organizations listed or appear as listed on their website and may change without notice to Augusta Family Magazine.

Birthday Parties


Augusta Family | February 2017 • 31

Four Questions to Ask When Choosing a

Preschool By Meredith Flory


s the mother of two toddlers, I have learned that decisions regarding preschool programs can be overwhelm-

both states also have programs for low income children or children with disabilities.

ing when trying to decide when and where to send your

If you choose a private preschool, there are several types of

child to get a good start to their education. Preschool programs

programs based on the location and age of your child. Con-

can help foster independence, learning of preliteracy and basic

sider your family’s’ work schedule and the amount of childcare

skills needed for kindergarten and may provide more structure

you need. Some day care providers have preschool curriculums

for children. However, preschool it is not a mandatory require-

available, there are also Mother’s Day Out programs for younger

ment so parents have a lot of freedom regarding the type of pre-

toddlers with shorter hours for parents that would like a part-

school, if any, they send their child to. Some children are eligible

time program and then there are raditional preschool programs

for free programs in Georgia and South Carolina, some parents

as well. The distance from your house and access to after school

choose to keep their children at home and use storytimes, sports

programs or daycare may also be a factor. Looking at pickup and

and other activities for socialization and learning, some children

drop-off times and considering your route during rush hour traf-

are in daycare programs and others choose a private Mother’s Day

fic is an easy way to narrow down your choices.

Out or preschool program. I spoke with parents and educators

Patti Fowler, Minister of Weekday Education at First Baptist

regarding the choices available in the CSRA and determined four

Church of Augusta, and Stacey Normand, a teacher in the same

important questions that every parent can ask to determine if a

program, shared that looking at the school calendar and other ba-

preschool program is the right fit for their family.

sic information such as tuition is an important step in choosing a school and “might be a closed door,” says Normand. If you have

1. What Will it take for your child to attend here?

older children, you may want to make sure their preschool is on the same calendar as the county school’s calendar for planning

If you are a Georgia resident and your child will be four by Sept.

family vacations or childcare. Fowler adds that if your child has

1 of the next school year, you are eligible to use the lottery funded

special needs or needs special accomondations then discussing

preschool. However, spots are limited so there is a drawing for

special education options or “availability of resource personnel”

spots at each location. South Carolina has a similar program and

may also be a factor.

32 • Augusta Family | February 2017

Consider your family’s’ work schedule and the amount of childcare you need. Tuition varies based on the age or amount of

sori concept and says, “Maria Montessori believed

ering the daily schedule, student to teacher ratio

time the child spends in the program and sev-

in the child and their ability to engage in learning.”

and plans for inside and outside freetime can help

eral programs in the area offer assistance or

In the Montessori program, children participate in

you decide if the curriculum is a good fit for your

discounts based on need or other factors, such

deciding what to work on and there is more free-

child’s personality. Fowler explains that the major

as military affiliation. Also, depending on the

dom between classrooms and skill level than what

difference between the Mother’s Day Out program

program and age of the child, potty training or

you might see in a traditional classroom. It is also

and preschool programs are usually “the ages of

other life skills may be required for student at-

wise to consider your child’s learning style and the

children and teacher qualifications.”

tendance. Finally, enrollment dates may be early

methods of discipline with the way classrooms are

teachers develop lesson plans that help prepare

in the year prior or there may be a rolling type

managed in a preschool.

children for school, complete skill evaluations and


hold parent teacher conferences. Preschool teach-

admissions based on space available. However, some schools offer a waiting list so do not be

3. what Does the teaching philosophy

ers are required to have a college degree. Further-

afraid to apply for a school you really like even if

anD curriculum look like?

more, Fowler concludes that knowing whether or not a preschool is accredited shows a measure of

it is full at the time. Consider what is important to you in the aca-

accountability in teacher preparation.

2. Does the mission of

demic curriculum. Are you interested in a pre-

the school support the way you are

school that follows a particular style of teaching,

4. what plans are in place for paren-

raising your chilD?

a program that focuses more on life and social

tal involvement anD safety concerns?

skills or is a certain academic curriculum more Christina Gazarov, a local military wife and

important to you?

While Gazarov was overwhelmed with the

work from home mom wanted her children to

For instance, while visiting different pre-

number of options in the area, touring nearby

begin experiencing a scheduled program but was

schools there were variations in the play spaces,

preschools helped her make a decision quickly.

only interested in half days and a school close to

desk, table size and wall decorations. At the Mon-

Gazarov noticed that Open Door was “friendly and

her home. Gazarov was able to find Open Door

tessori school, I watched students using a vari-

inviting” and liked the more casual atmosphere.

Preschool and in addition to the logistics of loca-

ety of manipulatives such as counting beads and

Open Door has a parent led board which Gazarov

tion and hours was pleased to find a school that

small items to help identify starting letter sounds.

now serves on and there are other parent volun-

was nonsectarian. Gazarov explained that she

There were also several animals on campus for

teer opportunities provided as well. Considering

wanted to maintain the family’s Armenian cul-

science learning and the set up was closer to that

the expectations for parental involvement may be

ture and religious denomination when choosing

of a house as this teaching technique relies heav-

also be an important factor for your family.

a secular preschool and “didn’t want to confuse”

ily on tactile learning and the use of all senses. If

Asking questions about the use of security

her children so she chose a program that was

a school advertises a certain philosophy such as

cameras, adult to student ratios and emergency

welcoming to everyone. Gazarov stressed the im-

Montessori, Waldorf or play-based philosophies

procedures is also very important information

portance of making sure what her children were

then certain activities or teaching techniques will

that may be helpful in your decision making.

learning in school was supported by what they

be used. You may want more information on the

were learning at home.

philosophy in addition to the school itself.

Preschools of various

Gazarov concludes, “I always knew that preschool and early education led to success but

religious denominations are plentiful in the area

FBC had a sizeable outdoor play, welcoming

now I’ve seen first hand the importance of a pre-

but adherence to set doctrine may vary. Fowler

classrooms with traditional bulletin boards and

school’s curriculum and the success a child can

adds that in the large program at FBC, most stu-

student sized tables and facilities. There are age

have when the learning and discipline from school

dents are “members of a local church,” but some

appropriate curriculum goals and teachers have

is mirrored at home. This reinforces learning in

are not church attenders while most attend

consistent thematic units that allow for indi-

two environments.” Gazarov stresses the impor-

churches other than FBC. Prayer, Bible verses

vidual freedom for the specific activities done in

tance of doing a tour to see where your children

and devotionals are a piece of the program at FBC

class. While touring a school, observing student

will be learning and playing. “Go with your gut,”

and Christian principles are stressed, rather than

work that is on display and observing items in

Gazarov says in determining what program will

Baptist doctrine. Be sure to note the affiliation of

the classroom can allow you to learn a bit more

be a positive fit for your family. Many facilities in

the program you are considering as it may affect

about how your child will be learning.

the area take great pride in their programs and

According to the Columbia County Georgia

welcome parents to make appointments to ob-

Pre-K handbook, the goal of the public preschool

serve their programs. All in all, the best way to see

Dr. Celeste Spence, Director of the Lad ‘ n Lass-

program is to prepare children for school. The

which style of preschool feels comfortable to your

ie Christian Montessori School in North Augusta

handbook adds that school readiness means that

family is to do your research and get involved.

invited me to observe her students one morning

“children are socially, emotionally, physically and

and shared her thoughts on preschool programs as

cognitively prepared for continued success in kin-

an experienced educator. At Lad ‘n Lassie, educa-

dergarten.” Therefore, ask if there is a handout of

tors follow Montessori techniques that guides a lot

goals or expectations for students and if a specific

of the learning. Dr. Spence explained the Montes-

curriculum is followed. Fowler adds that consid-

the calendar, what holidays are celebrated and what is being taught in the classroom.

Meredith Flory is an Augusta-area freelance writer, military spouse and mother of two. She has a masters degree in children’s literature from Kansas State University and has taught high school and college English.

Augusta Family | February 2017 • 33

Raising Readers by Mere d i th Fl o r y

Books and

Birthdays Last year at a toddler’s birthday party, I had a pleasant surprise as a lover of books and former teacher. Instead of party favors of candy or tiny toys, his mother had set out a display bookshelf with Little Golden Books on birthdays and the Paw Patrol theme. Each child got to take a book on their way out. We know that when books are present in the home and children are able to find books they love and identify with, that reading and literacy is encouraged, so, why not incorporate a love of reading into one of a child’s favorite days each year - their birthday! I immediately told her I was stealing the idea, and I’ve been thinking about other ways to incorporate books into parties ever since.

34 • Augusta Family | February 2017

Raising Readers

workshops, and event planning based

their photos taken “in character”. She suggests

around the importance of play in a child’s

having your child “email each guest his or her

life, shares that planning a party around

picture as part of his virtual thank you note,”

a book is a wonderful way to incorporate

a perfect way to help your child remember

classic to plan around, such as The Very

imaginative play and creative thinking into

their special day and also practice the art of

Hungry Caterpillar or The Cat in the Hat, will

a child’s party. She explains, “If we want a


allow many children at the party to be familiar

Three Little Pigs theme, for instance, you

with the decorations. The vibrant colors from

could easily have a house building activity

specialist from Chicago, shared with me

picture books translate easily to streamers,

station with straws, hay and cardboard or

through an online parenting group that she

cupcakes, and other party essentials.

some other material to see how well their

purchased Dr. Seuss’s Happy Birthday to You

Book party themes and decorations For younger children, choosing a famous

Lori Oster, a mother, educator and reading

homes hold up! They could also make piggy

for her child and has party attendees sign a

help you effectively plan your theme. Urban

and wolf masks.” If you prefer to have

page every year. This way, when her child

literacy specialist and author Kathryn Starke

your child’s party at an event planning

is older, she can see lovely notes written

shared that she started a Pinterest page with

location, see if there is a way you might

from people each year. She also suggests

ideas for a travel themed party that goes with

incorporate your child’s favorite book

purchasing the paperback bundles available

her book, Amy’s Travels. Many other authors,

into the set themes they have. She also

through Scholastic school book sales as a way

educators, bakers, or other professionals also

suggests incorporating an actual storytime

to cost effectively have a selection of themed

keep pinterest boards or blogs with party ideas

into the party, either through reading the

books to give as favors.

using their products. For example, PBS Kids,

book yourself, or hiring someone to do a

which has several cartoon series based on

storytime with the children.

Look online for ideas and printouts that can

beloved book characters, offers printables on

Many young adult books incorporate activities into the plot of the book that can be

their website.

Book gift-giving If you are the attendee of a birthday party

If a child is old enough to tell you his or

adapted into games for a group. Have a child

for a child or teen, and you aren’t sure what

her favorite book, reading it with them or on

that loves Alice and Wonderland? An outdoor

to purchase as a gift, consider a book-related

your own will allow time for you to discuss

tea party with mismatched plates and game a

present. A copy of your favorite book as a

the book together and to brainstorm food or

croquet can work for a variety of ages. Have

child with a note explaining why you loved

decorations that you can connect to the book.

a teenager that loves dystopian fiction? Take

it so much can become a valuable keepsake.

a group of their friends to play laser tag or

While a beautiful hardcover book, or boxed

planning, crafting guide, cookbook, or

paintball with cake and snacks afterwards that

set of a favorite paperback series can be a

etiquette book can be a perfect gift to give

are decorated with emblems from The Hunger

wonderful gift all on its own, for a child you are

ahead of a party to encourage them to read

Games or Divergent.

close to, finding a stuffed animal, t-shirt, or

For older children and teens, a party

other age appropriate item that accompanies

non-fiction as they help plan and prepare. Books as thank-you’s

Planning Perfect Parties, by Jen Jones, is an

a book can help the book live on for more than one read-thru. Lori also suggested a magazine

example of a book written to help girls learn While books as favors has already been

subscription as a present that will continue

friends become a reality. You could also look

mentioned, alternatively a craft or photo that

reading throughout the year, and would be

through the nonfiction section of your local

matches the theme is a way to spend time at

easy for gift you need to mail. Gifts related to

library to find books on event planning or

the party and give children something to take

literacy and writing, such as word and letter

extra information on your favorite authors and


magnets, journals, dress-up costumes, and

to make their ideas for a fun day with their

Tara Woods Turner, an etiquette consultant


and the author of Beyond Good Manners: How party activities connected to reading Ashley Jefferson, the Atlanta area owner

thinking and imaginative play.

to Raise a Sophisticated Child, shares that guests can get in on the fun by coming dressed as literary characters. Even if guests are not in

of Play Enthusiasm, LLC, which does classes,

trivia games are also ways to encourage critical

costume, a photo station can be created with items to allow children to dress up and have

Meredith Flory is an Augusta-area freelance writer, military spouse and mother of two. She has a masters degree in children’s literature from Kansas State University and has taught high school and college English.

Augusta Family | February 2017 • 35

Inspiration Station by Rene e Wi lli a m s


Courageous Journey of the Heart Two weeks later, a more detailed ultrasound

Johnson’s recognized that their unborn child

OUT they were expecting their third child, they

revealed that the Johnson’s unborn child had a

would ultimately bring life to the truth of the

embraced the news with great joy and anticipa-

condition known as bilateral multicystic dys-

adage: love never fails.

tion. As the pregnancy progressed, the Johnson’s

plastic kidney. MCDK is a congenital anomaly of

shared their excitement with family members and

the kidney and urinary tract. At eighteen weeks


eagerly prepared their young children for the new

gestation, the Johnson’s were told their baby


arrival. As an experienced mom, Johnson knew the

“was not well and would not survive.”


As the Johnson’s rational minds struggled to

On June 2, 2016, Wyatt Lee Johnson was born

her second trimester, she completed screening to

understand the prognosis, a deep sense of agony

at 30 weeks gestation and weighed three pounds

check her health and the health of her unborn child.

gripped their hearts. In an instant, the expectant

and nine ounces. Wyatt survived for two hours

“When I was sixteen weeks pregnant, I opted

parents were faced with bearing the unbearable:

and 10 minutes surrounded by family. Johnson

to have blood work done to check for any abnor-

losing a child. Although the couple held onto

recalls, “I never got to see his eyes open and

malities...Johnson says. “At eighteen weeks, I got

a fragile thread of hope that their baby would

he did not have the strength to move but when

a call that there was a problem and that I needed

survive, they began making preparations to say

they took him from me and laid him on the

to go see a maternal fetal medicine specialist.”

goodbye to a child who would touch the deepest

warming bed...he let out a super small, really

part of their souls and alter their lives forever.

quick cry. It was shorter than a second but I

importance of receiving prenatal care so during

Recognizing that a positive screen could indicate an increased risk of Down syndrome,

For the next 10 weeks, the Johnson’s openly

heard it and it still means the world to me.”

the Johnson’s decided to follow through with

grieved and surrendered to the experience of

additional testing. Unsure of what lie ahead, the

their pain while vowing to keep their hearts fully

founder of WLJ Angel Gowns adds, “The time with

couple agreed they would take on the diagnosis,

open to love. The Johnson’s were determined

baby Wyatt was amazing. He was held, hugged and

whatever the outcome and made a commitment

to allow Wyatt’s voice to be heard and allow his

kissed. Everyone talked to him and told him over

to “love the baby forever.”

legacy to find its own way to completion. The

and over how much we loved him. For his last little

36 • Augusta Family | February 2017

Bella Bruce, Wyatt’s maternal grandmother and

Inspiration Station bit of life, his daddy held him...Baby Wyatt passed

friends, please reach out to us...We do not want

knowing nothing but absolute love.”

you to ever feel alone. We are here and we do

When it came time to plan Wyatt’s memorial


service, the Johnson’s focused on a celebration

Bruce has been a vital asset to the growth of

of love and remembrance. Johnson says, “This

WLJ Angel Gowns and encourages the communi-

was the one and only thing we would ever ever

ty to get involved. “We ask everyone to share our

be able to do for him...The casket we picked out

Facebook page, WLJ Angel Gowns and talk about

was beautiful...It had his name on the front and

us to help get the word out,” Bruce says. “The

had his initials and wings on the top. He had toys

more help we can get and the more people who

around him and a beautiful handmade blanket

know about us, the more families we can help. We

over him...He had the most perfect words spoke

do not want any baby to not have something to

about him, beautiful pictures were made and over

wear. Also, if anyone would like to host a work-

100 baby blue balloons were released to him with

shop, we ask that they contact us. We are also in

special messages written by the people in atten-

need of seamstresses who can volunteer time to

dance. It was all beautiful, amazing and more than

deconstruct dresses and sew gowns.”

we could have ever imagined pulling off. It was perfect, just like our sweet baby Wyatt.” One of the hardest moments in planning

All angel gowns are donated free of charge to families experiencing infant loss. Donations of wedding gowns and formal gowns are not

Wyatt’s memorial service was finding something

limited and the organization accepts any style,

to bury him in,” Johnson recalls. “We had noth-

size, color and length. Sewing material such as

ing for him to wear when he was born. I had to

thread, pins, needles, lace and ribbons are also

spend over 12 hours the day after I gave birth

needed. Money donations are accepted to cover

trying to find something to put him in. I went to

shipping expenses of the gowns along with the

so many baby stores but no one had anything.

purchase of boxes, and tissue paper to ship.

I ended up buying an American Girl doll gown

Bruce also offers to personally deliver every

and adding blue to it for him...” Bruce adds, “It

angel gown to the CSRA and will make visits to

was emotionally hard for Baby Wyatt’s mom to

hospitals, homes, funeral homes or anywhere

find him something to wear so we decided that

else that is needed.

no family should ever have to worry about what their precious baby will wear.”

Johnson concludes, “For the people out there who are struggling with opening up about your loss or losses, please know there are good

Love Never FaiLs

people out here that will support you. It is hard mentally, emotionally and physically to be an

Turning their tragedy into a courageous act

angel parent...There are sadly so many of us and

of love, Johnson and Bruce formed WLJ Angels

if we all stand together, talk and support one an-

Gowns to honor the life and legacy of their beloved

other, we can see a huge change in our society...”

Wyatt. WLJ Angel Gowns is a volunteer based

WLJ Angel Gowns has succeeded in keeping

organization that makes “angel gowns” or burial

Wyatt’s memory alive by fusing the tragedy of

gowns for other babies that are taken too soon.

infant loss with an opportunity to shift fear into

“We wanted a way to keep Baby Wyatt’s memory

courage, anger into benevolent action, isolation

alive,” says Bruce. “That is how the idea of WLJ An-

into joyful connection and grief into a deeper

gel Gowns was created...The WLJ stands for Wyatt

awareness of the preciousness of life, no matter

Lee Johnson...By helping other families of infant

how short lived.

loss, the organization has become a mechanism to also help our grieving process.” Offering words of support for others who have experienced infant loss, Bruce says, “Talk about your babies. Do not let anyone try to tell you that you are wrong for loving and missing them... there are more people out there who know your pain and will help you survive. Support plays a major role in the grieving process. If you can not find support at home or with your family or

For more information about WLJ Angel Gowns contact Bella Bruce at WLJ Angel Gowns, PO Box 211, Gracewood, GA 30812 or by email at Diana Renee Williams is an accomplished freelancer, Huffington Post contributor and mother of two. She is a music lover, travel enthusiast and super soul spirit junkie. Prior to freelancing, she worked as a court appointed special advocate and domestic relations mediator focusing on her passion of service to the community. Augusta Family | February 2017• 37


sponsored by

HealthyFamilyAugusta For more information on our Healthy Family Augusta Contest, please visit



CAULIFLOWER PIZZA CRUST Time to Make It: 20 to 25 minutes Yield: Serves Two to Four Crust Ingredients: 1 medium head cauliflower 2 eggs 1 tsp. dried basil 1/2 tsp. dried oregano 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/4 cup shredded parmesan 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella Add desired toppings and cheese

3. 4.

5. 6.

Instructions: 1. Preheat a pizza stone (if you have it) in an oven at 500 degrees or bake on a baking sheet if you do not have a stone. 2. Cut the cauliflower into florets. Rice the cauliflower in a food processor by putting it in with an S blade and pulsing until the cauliflower resembles rice.



If you have a smaller food processor you may need to do this in batches. Transfer the riced cauliflower to a microwave safe bowl. Cover with a paper towel and microwave for two to three minutes. Carefully overturn the bowl onto the center of a clean tea-towel or thin dish towel. Fold the sides over to cover the cauliflower and twist the ends to drain the cauliflower of excess water. Remove as much of the water as you can. Transfer the drained cauliflower to a mixing bowl. Stir in eggs, basil, oregano, garlic, parmesan and mozzarella. Smash it into a dough ball. Carefully roll out the dough on parchment paper. Roll out into a thin dough, using your hands to shape as necessary. Transfer the pizza (with parchment paper) onto the preheated pizza stone, or bake on a baking sheet if you do not have a stone. Bake for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and add desired toppings. Bake an additional seven to 10 minutes until lightly browned.


Black Violin


February 10 at 7:30 p.m., Educational and Community Concerts with Black Violin and the Symphony Orchestra of Augusta, Bell Auditorium, 712 Telfiar St.,


Augusta, GA, 706-722-3521, www. With a passion for performance and a desire to push the boundaries of classical music, violinists Will Baptiste and Kev Marcus fuse jazz, hip-hop, funk and classical to focus on the power of music and the message it can send to younger audiences.

We’d love to hear from you. If you have an event you’d like to add to our next issue, send an email to renee.williams@

40 • Augusta Family | February 2017

Special Events: Feb 1 to 26, Lucy Craft Laney Black History Month with The African-American Professional Nursing Experience Exhibition, Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History, 1116 Phillips St., Augusta, GA, 706-724-3576, Chi Eta Phi Nursing Sorority will explore the history

of the African American Nursing Experience. This exhibition will be explored through photographic media and lectures at the Museum. Feb. 6 at 7:30 p.m., BMW Broadway in Augusta: Riverdance, at Bell Auditorium, 712 Telfiar St., Augusta, GA, 706-722-3521, www. bellauditorium.ticketoffices. com The international Irish dance

phenomenon is back by popular demand in Riverdance—The 20th Anniversary World Tour. Drawing on Irish traditions, the combined talents of the performers propel Irish dancing and music into the present day, capturing the imagination of audiences across all ages and cultures in an innovative and exciting blend of dance, music and song.


Calendar Spotlight: Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m., Educational and Community Concerts with Black Violin and the Symphony Orchestra of Augusta, Bell Auditorium, 712 Telfiar St., Augusta, GA, 706-722-3521, www. With a passion for performance and a desire to push the boundaries of classical music, violinists Will Baptiste and Kev Marcus fuse jazz, hip-hop, funk and classical to focus on the power of music and the message it can send to younger audiences. The duo are also avid producers and writers which is demonstrated on their debut self-titled album that gives the listener pop music from the violin’s point-of-view. Jeffrey Reed is the Principal Guest Conductor. Violin performs with the Symphony of Augusta for the annual Discovery Children’s Concert Series at the Bell Auditorium. School age children grades K-12 will attend these concerts free of charge on Feb. 9. Call for show times. Additional concert will be open to the public on Feb 10 and

tickets range from $10 to $20. Student and military $7. Feb. 10 at 6:00 p.m., True North Church with Night to Shine, sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation,1060 W. Martintown Rd., North Augusta, SC, 803-279-1555, An unforgettable prom night for people with special needs, ages 14 and older. A celebration of the value of life, a night when all guests are kings and queens of the prom. Night to Shine provides a red carpet entrance complete with a friendly welcome from paparazzi, on-site limousine rides, hair and makeup stations, shoe shining areas and of course, a dance floor. Each guest receives a crown or tiara because they are all kings and queens. Feb 11 at 6:00 p.m., Celebration of Creating and Sharing with the 2016-2017 CSRA Heart Ball, at The Marriott, Downtown Augusta, Two

10th St., Augusta, GA, The evening celebrates the American Heart Association’s work and mission, donors and volunteers and most importantly, the lives saved and improved because of everyone’s efforts. The Heart Ball promises to be an engaging evening of fun and passion bringing community and philanthropic leaders together. Feb 24 to 26, Home and Garden Show with Spring Home Projects from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 25 from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Feb. 26 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. , at James Brown Arena, 601 Seventh St., Augusta, GA, 706-722-3521, Need inspiration to spiffy up your house for spring? The Augusta Home and Garden Show fills the Arena with exhibits to make your abode Southern Living worthy. Celebrity guests include stars of Animal Planet’s Tanked, a show about creating outrageous fish tanks. On the

Augusta Family | February 2017 • 41

calendar more practical side, you can chat with experts on everything from decorative concrete to custom closets. Bring the children for activities in the Kid Zone and Pet Zone. Kroc Center Events, 1833 Broad St., Augusta, 706-364-5762, Feb 2 at 9:30 a.m. Music Class: Mommy & Me (ages 2-4) and 10:15 a.m., Music Class: Mini Maestros (ages 5-7) Boomwhackers, hand drums, egg shakers - oh my! Feb 3 at 6:00 p.m. Kids Night Out, Parents Night In! Parents - enjoy a Friday night alone while the kids have fun at the Kroc Center of Augusta! Repeats every First Friday of the month! Ages 2-12, 6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. $15 members / $20 nonmembers (dinner is included). Feb 3 at 6:00 p.m. AMP! A group where young people fellowship with a focus on having fun through games, movies and retreats all while promoting a God-centered message. Age: 13-17 years, Cost: FREE, Dates: First Fridays of most months. Feb 4 at 10:00 a.m. Sculpting In Clay: With Love Make a clay cup, bowl, plate or sculpture for your loved one and one for yourself! You will each have one piece from a set that will tie you together helping to create a fond memory. This is a two-part class. Feb 10 at 6:00 p.m. EPIC A time of fun, food and fellowship! Every meeting we take a Christ-centered view to relevant challenges and pressures prevalent in young adult’s lives. Age: 18-35 years, Cost: FREE, Dates: Second Fridays of most. Feb 11 at 10:00 a.m. Art at the Kroc: Anime & the Graphic Novel With the popularity of Graphic Novels on

the rise, children and young adults are being inspired to create their own. Students will learn the basic styles of anime drawing that they will be able to use to illustrate their very own and unique story. Feb 11 at 11:15 a.m. Art Exploration This class was created to encourage students to explore all that art has to offer. In art exploration classes children ages 5-8 will get to work with anything from painting landscapes to modeling clay. Students develop new skills and talents. Feb 18 at 9:00 a.m. Basket Weaving Class: Pine Needle Learn to basket weave at the Kroc Center of Augusta! Students will be weaving a small pine needle basket using waxed linen or sinew and an agate as the center of the base. Approximate size is 5’ x 6”.

Sports & Recreation

Saturday of the month starting at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park. Feb 18 at 10:00 a.m. Swamp Treks will bring nature to life for third to eight grade children. Phinizy Swamp Nature Park. Feb 26 at 7:45 a.m. Augusta University Half Marathon, 10K and 5K, the Augusta University Half Marathon, 10K and 5K presented by the Augusta Sports Council begins at the Lake Olmstead/Julien Smith Park and runs downtown and past the Summerville campus.

History & Science Feb 26 at 10:00 a.m. Williams Memorial Christian Methodist Episcopal Church - Augusta, GA, Williams Memorial Christian Methodist Episcopal Church will host its Annual Black History and Black Unity Day Program.

Feb 4 at 9:00 a.m. Fleming Tennis Center, Augusta, MACH Girls Rock with Rackets, Join MACH Academy, Inc.

The Arts, Music & More

Feb 4 at 9:30 a.m. PhinizySwamp Nature Park, Augusta Walk Your Pet Hike. Enjoy a guided and leisurely hike through approximately two and a half miles of nature park trails with your four legged best friend. Pets and their humans will enjoy viewing the variety of wildlife and learning about the diverse plant life and importance of urban wetland ecology. Please wear comfortable closed toe shoes and bring water to drink. Strollers are welcome. Dogs must be leashed. Leave from the Swamp Shop and Visitor’s Center.

Feb 4 at 7:30 p.m. Augusta Ballet presents Philadanco at Bell Auditorium, Philadanco has a legacy of breaking barriers and building bridges across cultural divides, consistently performing for audiences while representing an amalgamation of people from diverse communities. Philadanco is recognized for its artistic integrity, superbly trained dancers and electrifying performances. The festival which culminates in this major performance will also include several other programs and activities, such as a fabulous after-party. Visit for a complete schedule of festival events. Tickets are $32 to $57. All ages.

Feb 11 at 10:00 am Savannah Rapids Park 5 K Color Run, Lakeside High School, Martinez, GA. Join the Fun. Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. Race Starts at 10:00 a.m. Savannah Rapids Park. Feb 18 at 9:00 a.m. Yoga for Kids (and their parents). Every third

Feb 6 at 7:30 p.m. Taylor BMW Broadway in Augusta: Riverdance, Bell Auditorium Augusta, GA. The international Irish dance phenomenon is back by popular demand in Riverdance - The 20th Anniversary World Tour. www. Augusta Family | February 2017 • 43


Feb 10 at 7:30 p.m Augusta Symphony Orchestra presents Black Violin at Bell Auditorium, with a passion for performance and a desire to push the boundaries of classical music, violinists Wil Baptiste and Kev Marcus fuse jazz,, hip-hop, funk, and classical to focus on the power of music and the message it can send to younger audiences. www. Feb 10 and 12 at 7:30 p.m. Lerner and Loewe’s Camelot, the Broadway classic tells the enchanting and exciting tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. The Augusta University Opera Institute invites you into the timeless lives of Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, Merlin, and the rest of the mischievous court for an evening of musical fun and suspense, maxwelltheatre@augusta.eduGuest Feb 11 at 10:00 a.m. Cookies and Canvas (Valentines), Aiken Center for the Arts , Aiken, Instructor: Christine Lawrence, Feb 11 at 7:00 p.m. The 6th Annual Augusta Blues Festival, James Brown Arena, Augusta, Featuring Sir Charles Jones, Tucka, TK Soul, Lenny Williams, Calvin Richardson, Bishop Bullwinkle and LeBrado. Doors at 6:00 p.m., Feb 14 at 5:00 p.m. Chick-fil-A, Augusta Exchange Fun night sharing love and kindness among your family! Feb 16 at 7:00 p.m. Winter Jam Tour Spectacular 2017, James Brown Arena, 601 Seventh St., Augusta, GA. Event will showcase 10 of Christian music’s best and brightest artists: multi-Grammynominated singer/songwriter Crowder; Top 40 hit-maker and Grammy-nominee Britt Nicole; Dove Award-winning fan favorites Tenth Avenue North; breakout pop/hip-hop recording artist Andy Mineo; Dove Award44 • Augusta Family | February 2017

winning singer/songwriter and “American Idol” finalist Colton Dixon; best-selling rockers Thousand Foot Krutch; and Grammynominated Winter Jamcreators and tour hosts, NewSong., Jam Nation: 4:30 p.m., Doors Open/Pre Jam Party at 6:00 p.m. and show time at 7:00 p.m. Feb 16 at 7:00 p.m. Tribute to George & Ira Gershwin, The Davidson Fine Arts Theater Department presents Musical Theatre Performance Troupe & Tap/ Jazz 3/4 pay tribute to George & Ira Gershwin’s most beautiful songs from such works as “Porgy & Bess”, “Girl Crazy” and “An American In Paris. for more information Feb 17 at 8:00 p.m Vince Gill, See Vince Gill live in concert, at the Bell Auditorium. Tickets are available at, 877-428-4849 and James Brown Arena Box Office. Feb 17 at 7:30 p.m. Aiken Community Playhouse, Aiken Youth Wing production show dates are Feb. 17, 18, 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 19 at 3 p.m.

Family Activities Feb 2 at 5:00 p.m. Midtown Market, 2113 Kings Way, Augusta, 706-733-1788 Come to first Thursday’s. February 4 at 9:00 a.m. Diamond Lakes Branch Library, 101 Diamond Lakes Way, Hephzibah, GA. 706-722-2432, Bring your Child to the Library Day (TYCLD) is an international initiative that encourages families everywhere to take their children to the library. Feb 11 at 7:00 p.m. Valentine Gala, Augusta, Second annual Valentine Gala to be held at the Springfield Baptist Church, 102 Springfield Way, Augusta, GA.


Feb 17 at 9:00 a.m. Trinity on the Hill Spring Consignment Sale 1330 Monte Sano Avenue, Augusta, GA Please join Trinity on the Hill for their Children’s Spring Consignment Sale.

Support Groups Feb 9 at 10:00 a.m. Wilson Family Y, 3570 Wheeler Rd., Augusta, 706-922-9624,, Stay-at-home moms in the Augusta area, come meet and socialize with other moms at the MOMS Club of Augusta monthly meet and greet, an international nonprofit organization for stay-at-home moms.

Hospital Programs

adjunct to the best-selling book and DVD called The Happiest Baby on the Block. This program was designed by pediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp and explains, teaches and offers hands-on practice with techniques. Feb 23 at 7:00 p.m. Babies - Bumps and Bruises, this class is recommended not only for parents but family and friends as well. Infant CPR, as taught by the American Heart Association is discussed and hands-on skills are practiced. Infant safety issues, such as car seats, choking hazards and more.

uNiverSiTY HealTH Care SYSTem

1350 Walton Way, Augusta, 706-774-2825 or logon at for more information. Registration is required for most programs.

DoCTor’S HoSpiTal

3651 Wheeler Road, 706-651-3232, Feb. 1 at 6:30 p.m. Girl Talk Support Group, how stress affects your health. Have issues about pelvic health? Doctors Hospital’s Pelvic Health Institute can help! Did you know that February is American Heart Month? The American Heart Association’s motto this year is TO STRESS OR NOT TO STRESS, YOU DECIDE! Feb. 4 at 10:00 a.m. You’re a Big Girl Now, this is a class for girls ages nine to 12, along with their mothers. Information on puberty and adolescence is discussed, including subjects such as emotions, acne, menstruation and normal body changes. Girls will discuss ways to survive these natural...

TriNiTY HoSpiTal oF auGuSTa

2260 Wrightsboro Rd., Augusta, 706-4817000, Feb. 9 at 7:00 p.m. Happiest Baby on the Block, the class is an

Feb. 1 at 1:00 p.m. The Lactation Club. For breastfeeding mothers and mothers of NICU babies. Feb. 3 at 6:30 p.m. Weekend Childbirth Education Classes. A complete childbirth preparation class designed for those with time constraints or fluctuating schedules. Class meets Friday 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Also included is a follow-up evening at the W.G. Watson, M.D., Women’s Center at University Hospital for a tour, question and answer session and review. Space is limited, so please register early. Call 706-774-2825 to register. Feb. 6 at 6:30 p.m. pink pistols, Breast Health Center, First Monday each month. A support group for younger women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. For more information, call 706-7744141 or toll-free 866-774-4141. Feb. 6 at 7:00 p.m. prenatal education, university Hospital, this free four week series of childbirth

preparation classes is designed to inform and prepare all expectant parents regardless of birth plans. Class topics include various stages of labor, breathing and relaxation and how to care yourself and your new baby. Call 706-774-2825 to register. Mondays: Feb. 6, 13, 20 and 27. Feb 6 at 7:00 p.m. parents Healing Together, University Hospital, this support group is for parents, families and friends who have lost infants through miscarriage, death, ectopic pregnancy or stillbirth. Call 706-774-5811 for more information. Feb. 13 at 4:00 p.m. Breast Self exam Class, University Breast Health Center, Learn to give yourself a breast self-exam. This free class is held in the Breast Health Center on the second Monday of each month. Reservations are required by calling 706-774-4141 or toll-free at 866774-4141. Feb 13 at 6:00 p.m. Breast Health Center, the University Hospital Breast Health Center hosts a breast cancer support group the second Monday of each month. Light refreshments will be served. This support group is open to all women who have undergone breast cancer surgery or are going through treatment for breast cancer. Meetings feature speakers from the University Hospital Medical Staff and other informative programs. Call 706/774-4141 for more information. Feb 23 at 7:00 p.m. introduction to infant Cpr, university Hospital,Do you worry about knowing how to revive your baby should the need arise? This free class provides you an opportunity to learn and practice infant CPR on our mannequins and also learn other aspects of infant safety. Space is limited, so please register early. Check in at Central Registration then meet in the lobby. Call 706-774-2825 to register. Augusta Family | February 2017 • 45

Girl Go


b y Ren ee William s

Aimee Serafin AIMEE SERAFIN, 47 is a transitional project manager but is taking a sabbatical since moving to Augusta. She and her husband Scott Thorp, Chair of Art Department at Augusta University have two children, Anslie, 11 and Hyatt, 14. Serafin loves her rescue cat, Cuddles and Australian Shepherd, Cocoa. Serafin enjoys poetry, song writing, yoga, running, reading and thinking. Serafin encourages others to believe in themselves and says the best thing about being a mom is leaning how strong she is. Serafin’s greatest hope is that her children will find their purpose in life and dive in.

One word you would use to describe yourself? Fiery

What would surprise people about you? I was in a bank robbery in my 20s when I lived in Baltimore, MD. I stood at the very terminal

What quality do you admire the most? Integrity in the face of fear.

next to the robber while he robbed the bank. I had no clue.

What did you want to be when you grew up? This will sound

Are you a planner, dreamer or doer? I am a dreamer and a doer. I

funny but I remember distinctly telling myself that I wanted to be a

have the ability to dream big and then step by step envision what

Renaissance woman when I grew up. I remember thinking I wanted

needs to happen. Sensitivity, tenacity and deep thinking are top on

to try my hand at many different things and I guess I’ve done that

my personality chart.

throughout the years from wedding cake decorating to French translator to writer. The definition of a Renaissance man or woman

What are you reading right now? I read about six books at any

is a person who is well educated and sophistcated and who has tal-

given time, mostly faith based readings. Present over Perfect by

ent and knowledge in many different fields of study.

Shauna Niequist is aligning my recovering performance junky buttons at the moment.

46 • Augusta Family | February 2017

Augusta Family Magazine February 2017  

Move & Groove Like a Party Pro! Choosing a Pre-School Program Ideas for Valentine's Day Family Fun

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