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MARCH 2020




KID-FRIENDLY GARDENING augustafamily.com

JOIN OUR TEAM JOIN OUR TEAM Turn your passion into a profession as an Expedia® Consultant. Turn yourCruiseShipCenters® passion into aVacation profession as an

Expedia® Vacation If you have a CruiseShipCenters® customer-centric mindset, enjoy building relationships and loveConsultant. planning dream vacations, a career as an Expedia® CruiseShipCenters® Vacation Consultant could be right for you. We are currently seeking motivated individuals to joinrelationships our team. As an and independent If you have a customer-centric mindset, enjoy building love planning dream commission-based Travel® Agent, you can determine work schedule to fit your lifestyle. Vacation Consultant could be right for you. vacations, a career as an Expedia CruiseShipCenters® you Expedia CruiseShipCenters’ turn-key system and comprehensive training programs mean no travel

We are currently seeking motivated to join our team. As an industry experience is required for you toindividuals get onboard. Plus, our web-based system andindependent personal selling strategy lets you run your business from anywhere in thework worldschedule with the ability to turn commission-based Travel Agent, you can determine you to fit your lifestyle. everyone you meet into a potential customer.

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on the cover

MARC H 2020

As shown below: Danielle (13) and Sarah (12) Vergara Photo by Randy Pace w w w.a u g ust afa m i l y. co m


Ashlee Griggs Duren


Aimee Serafin


Michael Rushbrook


ADVERTISING SALES Doressa Hawes Mary Porter Vann




Kim Beavers, MS, RD, CDE Meredith Flory Karen Gordon Josh Heath Dr. Dana Harris Cammie Jones Dustin Turner Dr. Douglas Nesbit

A Publication of MCC Magazines, LLC A division of Morris Communications Company, LLC | 725 Broad St., Augusta, GA 30901 Morris Communications Company, LLC William S. Morris III, Chairman MCC Magazines Tina Battock, Executive Director Scott Ferguson, Director – Finance & Operations Sherry Brown, Director of Manufacturing & Production Cher Wheeler, Publication Services Manager Veronica Brooks, Accounting Manager Michelle Rowe, Circulation Business Manager

Augusta Family Magazine is published 9 times per year and distributed throughout the Augusta and Aiken area. Send press releases, story ideas or comments to the editor at aimee.serafin@ augustafamily.com or mail to 725 Broad Street, Augusta, Ga., 30901. For advertising information, call (706) 823-3702. For circulation/ distribution, call (706) 828-4391.

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contents www.augustafamily.com

Gearing Up For Spring

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Kid-Friendly Gardening

—Dr. Dana Harris

Spring is the perfect time for gardening with kids —Dustin Turner



6 • AugustA FAmily | mArch 2020

Mom to Mom

All Things Change

Ask the Doctor

—Karen Gordon

Pollen, Pollen, Go Away... Come Again Another Day —Dr. Douglas Nesbit



MARCH 2020

Eating Well with Kim Eat Right, Bite by Bite —Kim Beavers


Smart Mom’s Guide

Spring Clean Up with Kids —Cammie Jones


Raising Readers

For the Love of Music and Reading —Meredith Flory



Editor’s Page


News & Notes




The Modern Perspective —Aimee Serafin

Inspiration Station Shatara Sims —Josh Heath



S pr in g iS n at ure’S way o f Sayin g “Let ’S pa rty! ” — Rob i n Wi l l iams

editor’s notes by Ai mee Seraf i n


orsythia, Lady Banks roses, Japanese tulip magnolias, Snowball viburnum, and of course the prolific azaleas…. We could list pages of the springtime beauty that Augusta affords her locals and special guests at this time of year. Her flowers are both bold and conversational, stately and demure. I enjoy seeing new tulips popping up in vibrant colors at Augusta University’s Summerville campus as well as varieties of crimson, white, and blush camellias throughout my neighborhood. There is no loss of translation in the unfolding scene: Augusta wears her springtime like a red-carpet fashion statement. Arriving with the change of season are two natural inclinations— a desire to declutter and a chance at new beginnings. As daytime hours lengthen, we find more time to be outside on walks, take bike rides or work in the garden. With these thoughts in mind, we have woven together ideas of organizing, garden planting and outside living into this month’s issue of Augusta Family. There are tips on getting the kids involved with straightening out the pantry, toy boxes and artwork in Smart Mom’s Guide by Cammie Jones. In his garden feature, Dustin Turner provides readers with plans on kid-friendly gardening. Ask the Doctor guest writer, Dr. Douglas Nesbit, explains how to manage the outdoors with seasonal allergies, and Richmond County’s Teacher of the Year, Shatara Sims, is the focus of Inspiration Station. Because it is fitting with spring, the Modern Perspective feature showcases a young Augusta homeschooler whose watercolor floral paintings will stir the senses.

8 • AugustA FAmily | mARCH 2020

Whether ruffled camellias or bright rhubarb stalks, the bounty from winter’s ground reminds us of the earth’s resiliency. Whatever projects, goals, gardens or simple hobbies you choose to start this spring, I hope the learning process shows off your resiliency. And may it bring you many new blooms to hold!

Aimee Serafin aimee.serafin@augustafamily.com

Child Health Services East Central Health District



1916 North Leg Rd. Augusta, GA 30909 | 706-667-4757 | 1-888-307-6365

Visit ecphd.com for more information

mom to mom

Karen Gordon

All Things Change “So… Mom…. I want to go back to my OLD school next year”

Karen Gordon is a singer, songwriter and the founder of Garden City Jazz. She works with the City of Augusta to present the Candlelight Jazz Concert Series each year and has partnered with RCBOE to develop interactive courses such as Taking Notes: Jazz & The American Story and Jazz4Kids.

Water Safety

Small Class Size

moving again this fall. This means I have to renounce my throne as Da Mayor of Morgan Road and find some other people to harass about barking dogs, littering and abandoned vehicles. We’re moving to a completely different commission and school district, which thwarts my plan of achieving world domination, one neighborhood at a time. Bossman loves that it’s on a quiet street. LeScoot loves that he can have his own man cave. And I love that we can now have chickens, and enough room to plant more Brussels sprouts than I can eat. (I’ll be sure to invite you guys over to share.) Lastly, since we are prepping to pack up and move across town, here’s a Twitter throwback from February 2019: “There’s that moment when you pull the sofa away from the wall and discover ALL of the Valentine’s and Halloween candy wrappers... along with ALL of the damn socks, random loose change and several Boomwhackers. @SayWhatScooter is gonna get it!”

Dolphin Team


eScoot and I talk about his school often. He’s having some difficulty adjusting to the change. I mean... EVERYTHING is different from his previous schools: the way the students are evaluated, the way they handle discipline (very hands-off in approach) and the way they lead in teaching soft skills. And of course, we are adjusting, as well. As I stated in my last column, this is a challenge, and I usually embrace all things change. We’re still working through this one. I’ll keep you posted. In other news, Scoot started the afterschool program at the Jessye Norman School of the Arts last month. I was hoping that he would choose visual art or podcasting, but he chose photography. He never misses an opportunity to tell me that he’d rather be playing basketball, and I always thank him for the information. He has said he wants to be a YouTuber, but honestly, he can’t hold onto his phone privileges long enough to make any strides (you didn’t hear that from me, but it’s typical 11 year-old stuff). Our daughter, Ryanne, had an amazing wedding ceremony last October. And our son, Chris is getting married this October… on Halloween. How exciting is that?! Honestly, I thought he was joking when he told me. So, I said I was going to come dressed as the Empress of Cool (yes, it’s a real thing). He was not impressed. And speaking of change, our family is

Warm Water

…and off we go…


news&notes March 2020




The House

Stardew Valley

By Caitlin Edmonds

Down the twisted road you find the house A jumble of legs steps out of the car and onto the steps Dump your bags and books in the hall You won’t remember them until you leave anyways Take your face off and leave it on the dresser Don’t put it back on Hot walks take you to dead parks You lose all your legs on the way to dinner The top bunk is a crowd of three An app about cultivating a rich and bountiful garden, Stardew Valley is a game of farming.

Your lungs can’t hold the air, it’s too hot and sticky

Players begin their adventure in a neglected and rundown field. Plotting and planning are key

Fall face-first onto the dance mat

for clearing the field and turning it into a thriving plot of land filled with fruits and vegetables. New tools and equipment are needed while players learn how much room each plant needs

And laugh at yourself in the mirror

to grow, how to protect vulnerable crops from natural elements and how mining and fishing can help manage and maintain one’s land. Upgrades quickly become useful for tilling the

The creaks in the hallways know your feet

earth and watering plants. As players’ farms grow they gain the ability to raise livestock,

The mirrors in here recognize your face

chickens and ducks. A sense of accomplishment, companionship and responsibility become

Your secrets are in the walls,

valuable rewards for Stardew Valley App players.

And your sins are under the floorboards

Available on IOS and Android. Can be purchased from the App Store, $7.99. Ages 10 and older. Some mild, unrealistic violence.

The house is a sanctuary; a safe haven The river will always carry you back there if you let it

For a complete app review visit: www.pockettactics.com/reviews/stardew-valley-ios/.

Since a child you have loved it And you can always call it home

Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat. — Laura Ingalls Wilder

Caitlin Edmonds is a 10th grade student at Westminster Schools of Augusta. Her poem is about “finding a place where you can be comfortable with yourself and with the people around you, and always being able to come back to that.”

AugustA FAmily | mARCH 2020 • 13


Local Eats

FLOWERS ARE NOT THE ONLY THINGS FROM MEADOWS What is fresh, frozen and comes from the Meadows? Frozen Custard. There is a new frozen custard shop in Grovetown called The Meadows Original Custard and Espresso Café and their motto is “Move over, ice cream!” Custard shop owners, Bethann and Brandon Goller, believe in the caliber of their frozen custard. That is why in early May 2019 they opened their shop on Gateway Center Boulevard. Their loyal dedication played out in their kids’ first years of life, as they made certain each one’s first taste of ice cream was frozen custard from the Meadows! The two worked through college at their hometown Pennsylvania Meadows, frequenting it even after they moved on to different jobs. Today, they remain some of the franchises’ most committed customers. So, what’s all the fuss? Well, according to frozen cream connoisseurs, there is a big difference in ice cream and frozen custard. Firstly, the consistency hits the perfect balance between regular scoop ice cream and soft-serve; its silky texture is hard to beat. Also, there is one single difference in ingredients that create its smooth texture: egg yolks. The yolks act as emulsifiers. Without them, the cream would crystallize.

Put Beef In Their Bowl

But, according to the website, the main reason the creamy goodness is so rich has to do with the “overrun”, or air content. Typical soft-serve, hard ice cream or frozen yogurt can sometimes have 100% overrun, or air pumped into the product that causes it to double in size leaving most of the flavor “deflating” as it enters the mouth. Not Meadow’s frozen custard! Its staying power, never exceeding 20% overrun, leaves the tongue tasting buttery richness and asking for more. If you’re on the hunt for a tasty birthday party venue, look to the Meadows. They have 3 unique party packages: Doll & Me Party, Creative Paint Party and DIY Party. All pricing includes custard flavors of choice, use of the shop space, decorations, set up, clean up and water or lemonade at no additional cost. Flavors of the day and complete menu can be found online at: www.meadowsofgrovetown.com. As the spring days start warming up, make sure to take a trip with the family to the Meadows Original Custard and Espresso Café in Grovetown and experience the difference of frozen custard for yourselves!

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SAFE KIDS FAST FACTS PLAYING IT SAFE: PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN FROM HEATSTROKE HOT CARS QUICKLY BECOME DEADLY FOR CHILDREN Hot spring and summer days have contributed to more than 52 child deaths for 2019 in the United States as a result of heatstroke. Safe Kids Greater Augusta reminds caregivers to never leave children alone in a vehicle, and if you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Heatstroke, also known as hyperthermia, is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children. Hyperthermia occurs when the body can’t cool itself quickly and its temperature rises to dangerous levels. Young children are particularly at risk as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than adult bodies. Since 1998, more than 790 children across the United States have died from heatstroke when left alone in a vehicle. The numbers have risen over the past 2 years.

“A car can heat up 19 degrees in 10 minutes and cracking a window doesn’t help,” said Renée McCabe, RN, BSN, Injury Prevention and Safety Program Manager at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia. “Heatstroke can happen anytime, anywhere. We don’t want to see this happen to any family. That’s why Safe Kids is asking everyone to help protect kids from this easily preventable tragedy by never leaving a child alone in a car, not even for a minute.” Together, we can reduce the number of deaths and near misses by remembering to ACT. • A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving a child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not inside so kids don’t get in on their own.

• C: Create Reminders. Keep a stuffed animal or other memento in your child’s car seat when it’s empty and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat. Or place and secure your phone, briefcase or purse in the back seat when traveling with your child. • T: Take Action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life. Safe Kids Greater Augusta, led by the Children’s Hospital of Georgia, works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children ages 1 to 19. Safe Kids Greater Augusta is a member of the Safe Kids Worldwide network. To find out more about local Safe Kids programs, call 706-721-7606, or visit augustahealth.org/safekids. Check out more safety tips, the Ultimate Car Seat Guide and “Parent Pep Talk” at SafeKids.org.


ask the doctor Dr. Dou g l a s Ne s b i t

16 • AugustA FAmily | mArch 2020

Pollen, Pollen, Go Away… Come Again Another Day


ell, the spring pollen season is here. Billowy clouds of yellow-green pine and oak pollen are the most obtrusive sign that tree reproduction has begun, and will continue to coat cars, streets and everything outside. It is common for tree pollen season in Augusta to begin early February. If you have allergies, or live with someone who does, you recognize the signs: sneezing, sniffling, runny nose, congestion, itchy eyes, rubbing, snorting and all manner of annoying sounds and symptoms— my eyes start to itch just thinking about it! Allergic rhinitis, or the medical term for hay fever, is the body’s immune response to something that really isn’t harmful. The immune system reacts to an allergen— in this case, tree pollen— and tries to clear it away with mucous production, sneezing and by releasing a cascade of immune factors to increase blood flow to the affected area. It causes all those symptoms listed above. Now, as a pediatrician, I support children going outside for a myriad of reasons. Exercise is great for kids. Playing is great for kids. Fresh air is great for kids. Being in nature and getting dirty is great for kids. Understanding the great outdoors and celebrating God’s creation is GREAT for kids! Much of my time spent with patients in the office is trying to get them to unplug and be active outside. I believe childhood is a time to play, explore and work outside. I, for one, plan on continuing my childhood as long as I’m alive. However, the outside pollen can make us miserable if we suffer from allergies. How do we mitigate the problem? While completely escaping pollen is unlikely, there are several common-sense things that reduce its effects. They boil down to limiting the allergen— particularly to sensitive areas like eyes, nose, and lungs— and keeping contact with those areas at a minimum.

Keep windows closed in your home and car, especially when pollen counts are high. Set your AC to re-circulate in your car and home, and use high-quality pollen-type air filters in your HVAC. Be sure to change them regularly. Wash your hands! When in contact with anything that has pollen on it, wash residue off before touching your nose or eyes. This is particularly helpful after recess or playtime outside. Make it a habit to wash hands, dry them off with a paper towel, and then wipe the eyes and face with the moist towel. It’s also a reasonable thing to do for germ prevention since respiratory and allergy season overlap significantly, as do their symptoms. Eyeglasses help keep pollen from blowing into the eyes. Just as importantly, keep pollen-covered hands from rubbing the little irritants into the mucous membranes of the eye. (Sunglasses are a good addition to youth sports and spectating.)

• • • • • • • •

• •

Change out of clothes that are covered in pollen. Bathing and washing hair before going to bed can limit exposure at night and help keep pollen off your bedding. Wash bedding in hot, soapy water once a week. In high-count times, a facemask can protect nasal passages and lungs. Pets, sports equipment, tools and other objects all carry pollen, so wiping them down is recommended. Consider pollen levels when planning outdoor activities. Tree pollens tend to be highest between 5 and 10 am, and on dry and windy days. Levels tend to be lowest after heavy rain. Avoid other irritants that flare up mucous membranes (cigarette smoke, harsh chemicals or cleaning agents, perfumes, etc.). Saline rinses of the nasal passages can clear out allergens and mucus. Medicines that treat or prevent allergy symptoms are helpful and effective, especially if used regularly and before exposure. The backbone of preventative allergy medical treatment is intranasal steroids and oral 2nd generation antihistamines which are both available without a prescription. Some other medications like good allergy eyedrops are advantageous. All medicines can have side effects, so check with your health care provider, particularly when dealing with children or people with multiple medical problems. Allergy immunotherapy, an excellent option for some patients, can really modify the disease course and improve quality of life. Patients who have asthma or tendencies toward wheezing need to be particularly watchful of allergic triggers if they also have allergic rhinitis, as anything that inflames the nose can inflame the lungs.

For many, springtime allergies are a temporary annoyance to be managed. So, take precautions, but do venture outside! If you happen to pass through my neighborhood, say “hello”. I’m the guy mowing the lawn or walking his dog while wearing sunglasses and a surgical mask. And yes, I premedicate, as well as wash my face as soon as I come in from outside. Dr. Douglas Nesbit is a pediatrician who grew up in Augusta. He graduated from Wake Forest University and returned to Augusta to attend the Medical College of Georgia, remaining for his pediatrics residency and chief residency at what is now Augusta University’s Children’s Hospital of Georgia– a facility he continues to support both professionally and personally. He is married to Amy Sutherland Nesbit and has three children.

AugustA FAmily | mArch 2020 • 17

eating well with kim

Photo provided by Kim Beavers

K i m Be avers

18 • AugustA FAmily | mArch 2020

Eat Right, Bite by Bite


egistered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) celebrate National Nutrition Month® in March. It is the perfect time for everyone to re-focus on nutrition while New Year’s goals have come and gone and spring’s bounty of fresh produce is just around the corner. This year’s theme is Eat Right, Bite by Bite. I love the theme because of its inclusive and simple nature. Eating patterns have received a lot of attention and, quite frankly, judgment over the last few years. The Eat Right theme takes us back to the basics and reminds us that each bite of food has the power to enhance health.

best obtained by supplementation— this is where planning and working with an RDN is beneficial.

RDNs are licensed health care professionals who are trained to look at people, food and nutrition holistically. An adequate and health-promoting diet can be derived from a variety of eating patterns. RDNs look beyond fads and gimmicks and use a total diet approach to meet individual needs.

~ Eat well, live well! ~ Kim

So, what iS eating right? In simple terms, it is eating according to food groups. The groups are divided and categorized, in part, around the nutrients they contain. Eating by the food groups provides a simple way to evaluate and assure adequate nutrient intake. But, what if you avoid a specific group or have allergies and intolerances? Not to worry, you can still eat a balanced diet because you have a general idea of which nutrients might need replacing when avoiding certain groups. This allows you and your dietitian nutritionist to personalize your nutritional plan. For example, I am familiar with many people who have opted to go vegan based on various documentaries. I’m not opposed to documentaries or vegan diets, however, personalized nutrition advice should be obtained by a licensed healthcare professional (RDN) and not fashioned by a producer or director of films. When someone becomes vegan they eliminate all animal sources of food. This means much of the protein and dairy group foods are no longer consumed. The nutrients represented in these groups have the potential to be lacking in their diet. Optional food groups contain some of those missing vitamins while others are Kim Beavers is a Registered Dietitian and Diabetes Educator for University Health Care System. 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 www. facebook.com/eatingwellwithkim.

Are you interested in changing or assessing your diet? Have a health-related nutrition concern? See a local dietitian— we are eager to help you unlock balanced foods and their holistic potential bite by bite. Be sure to check out your local RDN resources at www.eatrightaugusta.org. The protein-packed morning oatmeal recipe below is a first step in eating right. If you avoid dairy, no problem! Use a protein-rich alternative such as soymilk, or other alternative that is fortified.

good Morning Cinnamon oats

Using the slow cooker is great for making breakfast. The “dish-in-crock” method is the best way I have seen to make these without drying them out or scalding them. 2 apples, cut up (skin on) or pears 1 teaspoon cinnamon 2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats 2 ½ cups milk 2 cups water

Spray a 5-quart oven-safe crock dish with vegetable oil cooking spray. (This dish should be of a size and shape to fit into the crock of your slow cooker). Add the oats, apples, cinnamon, milk and water to the dish and stir to combine. Drizzle the maple syrup over the top of the oat mixture. Add a cup of water to the crock of the slow cooker and place the oven-safe dish into the slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours. Dished oats will cool while you pack lunches or review school schedules for the day. Yield: 6 Servings (serving size: 1 cup) nutrition Breakdown: Calories 190, Fat 3g (1g saturated fat), Cholesterol 5mg, Sodium 55mg, Carbohydrate 34g, Fiber 4g, Protein 7g. Diabetes exchange Value: 1 Starch, ½ Fruit, ½ Milk

AugustA FAmily | mArch 2020 • 19

smart mom’s guide C a m m i e Jo n es

20 • AugustA FAmily | mArch 2020

Spring Clean Up with Kids


pring is in the air! Open the windows and let in the fresh breeze (before the pollen arrives!). Spring is a great time of year for cleaning, decluttering and organizing your home. As challenging as this may be with little ones at your feet, there are some creative ways to get them to help while having fun. 1. ArtworK. What to keep and what to throw away? It’s an age-old dilemma. There are only so many macaroni-pastedon-construction-paper masterpieces you can store. Provide each child with a large plastic bin. Let them make a sign with their name and glue or tape it to the side. Then, have them help decide which art pieces to keep. I used to save anything with handprints, photos or footprints. Help your child date the artwork with the year on the back or their age at the time they created it. Pick out a few of your favorite pieces to frame at a local arts and craft store that your child can display on their walls or place in easel frames around their room or playroom. 2. toys. Post-holiday months are convenient times to streamline toy collections. “Start with the easy items— broken toys, puzzles with missing pieces, games the kids have outgrown. It’s a good time to play doctor to damaged boxes, too, so the toys they love stay together,” says Clare Kumar, Spring Cleaning with Kids at todaysparent.com. Designate specific locations like a bedroom or playroom for toys. Line up toy trucks and cars in one corner of the room. Keep Lego pieces together using large bins. Bins, baskets and toy boxes are functional tools for organizing. Stuffed animals and knick-knack collections are also in need of tidying. Limit the number of dolls or stuffed animals and let kids focus on a few favorite ones. Treasured collections like rocks, costume jewelry or books may also need “pruning”. “Managing collections provides early lessons on personal responsibility and organizing. Take an interest in what your child is collecting and find a way to honor the collection while respecting the space available to store it,” suggests Kumar. As for the rejects, plan to donate them to a local charity. This teaches kids the importance of helping those less fortunate.

3. Clothes. As seasons change, drawers and closets accumulate unnecessary clothes and shoes. Have your child make three piles: donate, pass down and sell. The donate pile can be old t-shirts or items that have seen better days. The pass down pile is things your child has outgrown but might still be in good shape for younger siblings, cousins or friends. The sell pile can contain anything that is still wearable and can be resold to local or online stores. Use the money you make from the sale to purchase new clothes for your child, or to donate to a local charity. 4. JunK rooms. The garage, basement or storage room can quickly become the dumping room. Don’t know what to do with an old chair? Put it in the garage. Can’t decide what to do with old books? Store them in the basement. Kids can help clean out these large areas. Give each child a task. For example, one can focus on the sports equipment, tossing out broken balls and throwing out or donating old cleats that no longer fit. Another child can oversee outdoor toys like old beach boards, bubbles, sand toys, etc. While they concentrate on their job, you can be purging old tools, garden items, miscellaneous furniture or yard equipment that has seen better days. 5. Food stAples. Spring is a fabulous time to get rid of expired food staples. Assign a pantry shelf to each child. Let them search the expiration dates for old pasta, canned goods or salad dressings throwing away any that are expired. This will also work for the refrigerator. Afterward, each child can wipe down their assigned shelf with a cleaning rag before putting food items back. There are many ways to incorporate children with spring cleaning at your home. Use your own judgment about their abilities and give them the satisfaction of being part of the household as a participating member. A little incentive is also helpful— like a trip to a local ice cream store after cleaning may be just the thing to get them motivated to help! Cammie Jones is an Augusta freelance writer and mother of three.

(Source: https://www.todaysparent.com/family/activities/spring-cleaning-with-kids/) (Source: https://www.teenvogue.com/story/spring-cleaning)

AugustA FAmily | mArch 2020 • 21

raising readers Me re di t h Fl ory

22 • AugustA FAmily | mArch 2020

For the Love of Music and Reading


t is tempting to think of literacy and reading as a single skill set. However, when I was teaching, we spent a lot of time as a staff thinking about how a student’s ability to read bled into other subjects. If a student was behind in reading, he/she would also have difficulty reading the textbook for other subjects. Reading isn’t just identifying the words on the page, but comprehending and extracting information from what is read. As children develop their intellectual curiosity, reading helps them pursue other interests and subjects. But the reverse is true as well. An interest in another subject enhances reading skills, and a desire to comprehend or communicate on a subject can encourage adjacent skill sets. For instance, we know that the practice, discipline and teamwork required for playing a musical instrument or singing in a choir is often a boon to academic performance. A study carried out by the University of British Columbia and published in the Journal of Educational Psychology in 2019 found that students who participated in music courses were performing the equivalent of one year ahead of their peers in core subjects.

March is Music in Our Schools Month (MIOSM®), and a perfect time to advocate for access to music programs and classes in our district. This month is also a good time to incorporate different musical-related topics in our homes, classrooms and libraries. StorieS that take uS to the theater. I was excited to find that children’s book author, Jack Prelutsky, wrote verses to go with the famous symphony The Carnival of the Animals in 2010. Other authors have taken on the famous piece Peter and the Wolf with picture books accompanied by recordings. This includes versions by Janet Schulman (2004) and Maestro Classics— a company that has a full classical music series of books, activities and recordings for families to experience the symphony from home. For older readers with interests in musical theater or the symphony, there are behind-the-scenes books. Thomas Schumacher’s book for Disney, How Does the Show Go On? exposes different parts of stage production using photographs from Disney music productions. Broadway HD is a streaming service with actual stage production recordings of plays and musicals. MuSician and coMpoSer BiographieS. Selected biographies about musicians and composers can help encourage children to learn about music history while reading non-fiction. Scholastic has a series called Getting to Know the World’s

Greatest Composers. The Who Was?, Where Is? and What Was? series for middle graders have several music-related titles. Their list is available at whowasbookseries.com, and a Netflix series accompanies the books. Several educators recommended books about musical movements which foster discussions about culture and geography. Harlem Stomp! A Cultural History of the Harlem Renaissance and Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay are great starting points. MuSic LeSSonS. For small children, there are several picture books that introduce instruments, genres of music and basic music theory. Many come with music recordings to play with the book. You can purchase books with CDs, check online for recordings of readings, or remember that most public library children’s sections have audiobooks available. I love The Composer is Dead (2009) by Lemony Snicket, with music by Nathaniel Stookey. The book’s accompanying audio employs Snicket’s familiar deadpan and whimsical spooky way into the roles of different instruments, composers and conductors of an orchestra. Many publication companies release books to introduce small children to instruments or music lessons with text and push buttons. We got our daughter the Usborne Percussion book before providing drum lessons. For teens who have an aptitude for music, you might consider purchasing a small instrument along with How To books for road trips or summer vacations. MuSic aS a theMe. Many books and movies capture music’s magical way to express emotion and history. My daughter and I loved watching Kubo and the Two Strings. John Lithgow, the famous actor, has written a children’s book entitled Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo (2013). Echo, by Pam Munoz Ryan, is a Newberry award-winning chapter book that tells the story of a magical harmonica. Books such as Listen to My Trumpet! (An Elephant and Piggy Book) use an instrument to teach skills like kindness. A good online source for book suggestions is Book Riot. It has a list of novels for teens who love music including the award-winning After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson and book-turned-movie Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. Meredith Flory is a freelance writer, military spouse and mother of two. She has a master’s degree in Children’s Literature from Kansas State University and has taught high school and college English.

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Family Fun

Games, Activities, Gymnastics, Crafts and much more!!

April 6th - 10th

Ages 5 yrs to 13 yrs Camp Hours 8:30am - 4:30pm (Early drop-off at 7:30 and late pick-up at 5:30)

Register online at www.gymnasticsgold.com or call 706-650-2111 124 Cedar Lane, Martinez, GA 30907

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GearinG up for --



parent-teacher conferenceS By Dr. Dana Harris, EdD Parent-Teacher Conferences are just around the corner. It is easy to think about conferences as stressful and exhausting, but what’s most important is that effective communication is essential for building positive school-family partnerships. In fact, it constitutes the foundation for all forms of family involvement in education. It raises your child’s chances of doing well while giving you an insider’s view of life at school. When your child leaves for school each day, you probably see your primary role as getting your child to school well-groomed, well-fed and on time. That’s great! However, if you’re leaving education solely to the school, you are overlooking the most critical role you can play. Your involvement in your child’s school experience could mean the difference between success and failure for your child. According to the latest report from the National Center for Education Statistics, eighty-one percent of parents surveyed said they attend parent-teacher conferences, but teachers said only 57 percent of parents affirm that statistic. Parents have more influence on a child’s academic success than teachers do. No matter how excellent the school program, parents remain the primary educators of their children. What your child “knows” about school has more to do with the example you set. If you show an active interest in school, your child “learns” that school is important. This could be the most important lesson of your child’s school career.

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The parent-teacher relationship is extremely powerful for student success. When schools work together with families to support learning, children tend to succeed not just in school, but throughout life. Studies show that the involvement of parents and families in the schooling of their children makes a significant difference. Regardless of income or background, students with parents who are involved in their academic careers are more likely to earn high grades, perform higher on standardized tests, enroll in higherlevel programs and achieve more during their school-age years. These students also maintain regular attendance, show improved behavior, adapt well to school and demonstrate better social skills. Teachers carry a lot of responsibility when it comes to the classroom. Not only are they managing the learning environment, but they’re also in charge of the well-being of each child in their care. Knowing that someone at the school is looking beyond the standards, grading and checklists to see each child as an individual goes a long way in building rapport and credibility between the two most important partners in education: home and school. In an environment where a variety of individuals needs to work together to support one another and learn from one another, it’s of utmost importance to ensure that everyone can be heard, and everyone takes the time to listen. Read on to discover a few noteworthy suggestions as you prepare for the upcoming spring parent-teacher conference at your child’s school. Be on time. Get off on the right start. Come to the conference on time. Try to keep in mind you are not the only parent the teacher is meeting with, so do your best to respect the allotted time. There is probably a generated conference schedule with designated times for teachers to meet with parents throughout the day. Therefore, being prompt is crucial!


Be prepared. Part of being prepared is being familiar with your school’s/school district’s protocols, progress reports, report cards, grading policies and other student assessment tools. Report cards or progress reports can be a springboard for discussion and help guide you through the meeting. Make sure you know how the standardized testing data will be used to customize or differentiate instruction for students. You may also want to look at the academic benchmarks or expectations for your child’s grade level. Time is of the essence and having your primary concerns addressed by your child’s teacher will allow you to leave feeling relaxed and satisfied with the session.


Take notes. Bring either paper and pen, a laptop or other device. Know your child’s strengths, weakness and preferences. Decide whether you’ll discuss or share any personal issues, and if so, how you will do it. Ask to see classwork and homework samples, tests and quizzes, and standardized testing results. It’s common for parents to think they’ll remember

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everything. Taking notes will be particularly helpful if a parent is nervous or pressed for time and worried about absorbing everything.


Leave your baggage in the parking lot. Personal history can get in the way– a parent can have residual fear of authority or harbor unpleasant memories of school. Things that might get in the way include the kind of student the parent was and if the parent was disciplined at school. Most importantly, relax and be yourself. Remember that you and the teacher both want the same thing: the very best for your child.

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Bring specific questions. Keep an open mind. It helps to write down your thoughts to ensure that you cover everything you’d like to discuss. Because time is limited, before you go into the meeting, prioritize what is on top of your list to address with the teacher. Be Respectful. Let the teacher know you value his/ her time and treat them with respect. Most teachers are in back-to-back meetings during conference days. Each family has different concerns and questions for the teacher which makes it a long day. Always, thank the teacher for bringing up a problem and discussing ways in which you can solve it together.


Communication moving forward. Summarize the main points of the discussion to confirm details and any next steps. Ask about the teacher’s preferred method of communication: phone calls, e-mails or continued meetings. Although e-mail is a popular choice, use it with caution— information and tone of voice can be misconstrued, and e-mails may accidentally get lost in the junk mail folder. Be available for further discussions and stay an active participant in your child’s academic achievement. The African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” is true with the collaborative relationship of families and teachers. Proactive parents are generally better in touch with what their child is learning in school and feel better connected to the staff and the environment. The teacher is an expert in education. You are the expert of your child. When parents and teachers are in sync regarding what learners need and the next steps, student progress is inevitable. By working together, there is little they can’t do! When parents and teachers are on the same team, children are set up for great success!

Dr. Dana Harris is a former Richmond County public school educator, elementary school teacher, professional staff development consultant & principal. She is a public speaker & freelance writer with more than 37 professional years in the educational arena. She is currently retired, a wife of 41 years, a mother and grandmother of two beautiful grandkids, London & Bryce.

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gardening By Dustin Turner • Photo by Randy Pace

pring in the Augusta area is the perfect time to get outside with the kids and do some gardening. Lara Buss, the coordinator of the Bamberg County Health Coalition, says gardening is easy and inexpensive. Perhaps most important, though, it is a bonding experience for families. “You get to spend time together and work together as a family to decide where to plant a garden and what to plant,” Buss says. “Then, especially if you plant vegetables, you get to enjoy the harvest together.” A great way to get started, she said, is with a container garden. Parents can even use materials they already have. Cut the bottom off of a laundry detergent bottle or milk carton. “Any kind of container will work. We certainly aren’t doing anything fancy here,” she says. “Just punch a few holes in the bottom for drainage and plant something you love.” A quick Google search for “upcycled container gardening” turns up some fun and creative ideas that kids would love for using everyday objects as containers. How much fun would the kids have turning purses, hats, Christmas cookie tins or even old pairs of jeans into containers for flowers? You also can use old tires, furniture, toys, Legos and even lightbulbs for containers– with parental supervision, of course. The only limit to creative container gardening is imagination! You might be concerned about starting a garden with your children if you have never done it yourself. The good news is that no experience is necessary when it comes to gardening. “It’s really easy for everyone to get started,” Buss says. “You can get seeds just about anywhere, even Dollar General. Seeds are very cheap, and all you have to do is follow the instructions.” If you don’t want to use containers, it’s absolutely free to dig a simple plot in the yard. Just dig up a plot of ground as small as 2 feet by 2 feet. It doesn’t have to be deep at all— just enough to turn the soil— so you can get started even if you don’t own a shovel, Buss says. For a successful garden, a good general rule is to make sure your plot gets six to eight hours of full sun each day. Also, make sure it is in a place where you can give it plenty of water, either with a hose or by bringing water in a container. Decide which seeds you want, follow the instructions and enjoy the harvest. Not all kid-friendly gardening has to involve planting and maintaining vegetation. There are plenty of ways to get children outside and having fun in the garden, whether it’s in your yard or at a local park. KidsGardening.org has some great activities to make gardening fun for children, including:

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Using soil as a medium to create art: Everybody has access to dirt. Make some mud and finger paint! Using cellphones for something other than TikTok: Take the kids to Riverwalk Augusta, Brick Pond Park in North Augusta or any of the many area parks and let them take creative outdoor photos and video. Creating a butterfly puddle: All you need is a container, sand, water and a pinch of salt. Making a worm composting bin: A small composting bin, complete with wiggling worms, can be a lot of fun! Building fairy houses: This is a fun, inexpensive way to let your kids get creative outdoors.

Click on over to KidsGardening.org/garden-activities for details on these and many more projects. A quick warning for parents: Know what’s in your garden and what you are planting. Children, especially younger ones, love to put things in their mouths, especially if they know plants yield vegetables you can eat. Some plants can be toxic if ingested, so teach your child to consult with you before anything from a plant goes in his or her mouth. Luckily, there are only a few so toxic they should not be used around children and pets, and they are not readily available at most retailers. Two extremely toxic plants, according to HGTV.com, are castor bean and precatory bean or rosary pea. Other plants are toxic in larger quantities and should be avoided in a child’s garden, including: angel’s trumpet, delphinium, foxglove, euonymus, morning glory, St. Johnswort, lantana, cardinal flower, sweet alyssum, love-in-a-mist and valerian. Buss knows the benefits of kid-friendly garden projects. She works with hundreds of children in schools and her community to build raised beds, plant and tend to gardens, harvest vegetables and even taste and cook them. In addition to getting children outside and active, gardening with kids builds character. “It might sound a bit cliché, but it’s absolutely true— getting children involved in gardening builds leaders,” Buss says. “If a child can take the initiative and the time to take care of a garden, to learn how to cultivate the land, he or she will be learning skills that make people good leaders.” Dustin Turner is the Communications and Content Manager for Alison South Marketing Group. He lives in Aiken with his amazing, beautiful and very patient wife of 22 years, Jamie, and their artistic, sassy and fierce daughter, Abigail, 12. Dustin enjoys writing, shooting and editing video and acting and directing in community theatre.

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inspiration station Jo sh Heat h

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Teacher of the Year Finds Formula for Student Success


hatara Sims loves teaching now, but it wasn’t always a career goal. In fact, growing up, she dreamed of becoming a doctor and later worked as a medical coder for 17 years. After having her daughter, Sims wanted a career that would allow her to inspire and motivate others. That’s what led her to complete a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Paine College, a master’s degree from Strayer University and several education endorsements. “My calling was to be a teacher,” she says. Sims, a fifth-grade math teacher and department chair at A. Dorothy Hains Elementary School on Windsor Spring Road, was named Richmond County’s 20192020 Teacher of the Year in October. She will go on to compete against Teachers of the Year from all school districts statewide, and the winner will be announced at a banquet in May. Among the prizes for being named Teacher of the Year were a personalized ring, a dove necklace and a nice sum of cash. She also received a blue jacket from the Richmond County School System. Sims was both surprised and humbled when she found out she was selected for the award. “There are some amazing teachers out there, so even being chosen as a finalist is a tremendous honor,” Sims said. A total of 57 teachers were nominated from Richmond County. Sims uses a variety of teaching strategies to help her students learn math, including incorporating rhythm and movement into lessons and emphasizing hands-on learning. For example, she often uses hand movements, such as beating on her desk rhythmically, to keep her students

engaged. Her students enjoy it because they get to beat on their desks, too, in rhythm. She employs manipulatives such as fraction blocks and egg cartons to solve math problems and help students practice what they’ve learned. While many kids struggle in math due to disinterest, Sims says taking her class teaches students to learn to love it. Because students are engaged in her lessons, Sims has few behavior problems. It’s only on occasion that she has to whisper in a student’s ear or have one-onone conversations with someone who misbehaves in class. According to Sims, parental involvement is essential to student success. Everyone, including students, parents and teachers must work together to ensure what is needed from the educational journey. Teaching can be stressful, but Sims copes by “thinking about my students and how they need me.” Motivating and inspiring students is what she loves most. Even with all the responsibilities like planning, paperwork and grading, Sims says “there’s nothing I don’t enjoy about being a teacher.” She is in her seventh year and plans to teach until she retires. Before coming to Hains Elementary, Sims taught at Wilkinson Gardens Elementary School for three and a half years. When not teaching, Sims loves to read, listen to music and watch high school, college and professional football. “I love high school football games because I get to take my students with me,” she said. Josh Heath is a freelance writer and contributor of Augusta Family Magazine.

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calendar March 2020

MOMIX March 5

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 aimee. serafin@augustamagazine.com.

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Photo by Max Pucciariello | Provided by Rachel Simmons of Flickr.com

7:30pm The Miller Theater $27 - $55 www.millertheateraugusta.com An entertaining multimedia experience of magical lighting and imagery brought to stage by the dancer-illusionists of Moses Pendleton. MOMIX is perfect for families and for all occasions. Children will be mesmerized by the fun of magical props and costumery as the athletic dancers transport the audience through an enchanted evening of music, magic and talent. Group rates available.

MARCH 5 — 6

Melinda Doolittle 7:30pm AECOM Center for Performing Arts 803.648.1438


Italian American Annual Pasta Festival 10:30am – 8pm Immaculate Conception School 811 Telfair Street


Josh Turner 7:30pm The Miller Theater www.millertheateraugusta.com


Fragrance Masterclass with Perfume Creation 5:30 – 7pm Morris Museum of Art FREE www.stop-sweaty.com/fragrance-masterclass/ Enjoy a class led by master perfumer, Laurie Sanderson, on how to select ingredients and create fragrant aromas for personalized body and care products.


UHCF presents The Berlin Philharmonic Piano Quartet 7pm Knox Music Institute www.millertheateraugusta.com


Spring Wing Fest 12 – 5pm SRP Park $10/person; kids under 10 FREE with ticketed adult. www.greenjacketsbaseball.com The Ultimate Food Truck Wing Off event! Festival guests can enjoy great wings, craft beer and cornhole at the park while watching the best food trucks battle for the title of Augusta’s Wing Off Champion.


2020 Walk for Multiple Sclerosis 10am – 1:30pm Lake Olmstead www.facebook.com/events/lake-olmstead/walkms-augusta

Wacky Wednesday Story Time 10 – 11am Barnes and Noble Visit, www.stores.barnesandnoble. com/store/2359

RECURRING EVERY FRIDAY, EXCEPT 1ST FRIDAY Family Movie Day 3 – 5pm Wallace Branch Library G or PG movies, call reference desk for info: 706.722.6275

RECURRING SUNDAYS FREE Sundays at the Morris Museum of Art 12 – 5pm Morris Museum www.themorris.org


DecoDa: a FiDDler’s Tale March 12

March 13

Who is Jill Scott? 2oth Anniversary Tour 8pm Bell Auditorium www.augustaentertainmentcomplex.com

March 13 – 15

32nd Annual Aiken-Augusta Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show Friday and Saturday, 10am – 6pm Sunday, 11am – 5pm Julian Smith Casino www.agams.club/gem-show/

March 14

Mercy Me 20/20 Tour 7:30pm James Brown Auditorium www.augustaentertainmentcomplex.com

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Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

8pm St. John’s United Methodist Church, Aiken $30, students FREE with ID 803.226.0016 Composed by Wynton Marsalis, this musical performance turns dark when a young fiddler player sells her soul to an evil record producer. A Faustian tale that incorporates jazz/classical fusion and musical wizardry with the moral of the story being the price one pays for sacrificing talent for ambition.

March 14

March 21

March 18

March 24

Harry Connick, Jr. 8pm Bell Auditorium www.augustaentertainmentcomplex.com

The Color Purple 7:30pm Bell Auditorium www.augustaentertainmentcomplex.com

March 19

Half-Moon Outfitters Presents Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour 7 – 9pm Imperial Theatre www.imperialtheatre.com

Aiken Spring Steeplechase, Imperial Cup Gates open 9am; race starts 1pm Aiken Training Track www.aikensteeplechase.com

Homeschool Art 9:30 – 10:30am Kroc Center, downtown $5/child 706.364.5762

March 26

Winter Jam 2020 7pm James Brown Arena www.augustaentertainmentcomplex.com

11th AnnuAl ChoColAte FestivAl MARcH 7

Photo by Dessy Dimcheva on Unsplash

6 – 8pm Reed Creek Nature Park and Interpretive Center $5/person; ages 3 and under FREE 706.210.4027 Stroll the luminarylit boardwalk as you sample chocolates. Inside the fun continues with a chocolate tasting, a chocolate fountain and hot coffee. Limited tickets available.

MARcH 28

FREE Film Series Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark 1pm The Imperial Theatre FREE www.imperialtheatre.com

March 31 – april 3

Beauty and the Beast, Storyland Theatre School Shows 9:30am, 10:30am and 12:15pm Maxwell Performing Arts Center $6/student; school shows are for Pre-k through 7th grade students accompanied by teachers/chaperones. www.storylandtheatre.org

FaMily, Faith and Fellowship

Call or visit websites for information on youth and teen programs.



Aldersgate United Methodist Church 3185 Wheeler Road 706.733.4416 Age-specific programs for kids 3 years – 12th grade. www.aldersgateum.com

St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church 4921 Columbia Road 706.863.4956 Programs for middle and high school students. www.st-teresa.com



True North Church 1060 W. Martintown Road 803.279.1555 Programs for toddler, elementary and special needs students on Sunday morning. Middle/high school student program on Wednesday nights. www.truenorthchurch.com

Christ Church Presbyterian 4201 Southern Pines Drive 706.210.9090 Nursery provided; toddler and elementary student programs. www.myccp.faith

AugustA FAmily | mARCH 2020 • 37

t h e

Modern p e r s p e c t i v e

When did your interest in watercolor painting start? I’ve loved art for as long as I can remember. My mom used to let me paint with watercolors when I was a toddler. I can still remember those big blocks of Prang watercolors.

What do you enjoy about watercolor? What is most challenging? Watercolor flows naturally and forces a level of freedom I struggle to find in other mediums. When I use watercolors I have to constantly remind myself to think about the values. It’s easy to make a mistake— and nearly impossible to correct one. Watercolor forces me to turn mistakes into beauty. Because there isn’t white paint to put on my brush when I use watercolors, I have to consider what parts of the paper to leave white before my brush ever touches the paper. Keeping that at the front of my mind is a constant challenge.

Describe one of your favorite personal paintings and why? I painted a magnolia flower several years ago that I love. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for any type of magnolia. As a young child in Dothan we had a huge Japanese Magnolia that used to cover our front yard in pink and white petals. My great grandmother tells stories of growing up with tables laden with magnolias and how delicate their blooms were. And of course, there’s the southern classic, Steel Magnolias. It’s hard to grow up in the South and not love magnolias!

What do you hope to communicate to others through your art?

Magnolia, by Maggie Joseph

Create! And don’t be afraid! For years I’ve struggled with fear of what others may think of what I paint… fear so palpable it has left me in tears with brushes in hand, terrified to make the next stroke.

Daffodils, by Maggie Joseph

I find myself afraid that what I create will be rejected and I struggle not to tie my worth to my art. I am learning art is not about others’

Maggie Joseph is a freshman Augusta homeschool student who loves redemptive stories, good food and making things beautiful. She was born in Dothan, AL and moved to Augusta eight years ago. The oldest of five including two sisters and two brothers, she loves sketching and all things art. Her favorite books are The Fellowship of the Ring, A Severe Mercy, and Stepping Heavenward.

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acceptance of me. I have freedom to create and freedom in who I am because I know that I don’t have to attain perfection to enjoy painting or to glorify God through my art. I hope when others see my art they are inspired to create without fear.

To view more of the artist’s work visit: www.augustafamily.com.

Profile for Augusta Family Magazine

Augusta Family Magazine MARCH 2020  

Ready for Spring! Parent Teacher Conferences Kid-Friendly Gardening

Augusta Family Magazine MARCH 2020  

Ready for Spring! Parent Teacher Conferences Kid-Friendly Gardening