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How to Find the Right Private School For Your Child Get Smart About Paying for College How to Afford a Private Education I Was Adopted BIRMINGHAM PARENT'S





Thanksgiving games for your little turkeys

DEC. 10-11, 2016

Photos by Robert Norris and Carol Harris

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editor’s note

Happy Thanksgiving to You and Yours During this time of reflection, introspect and thanksgiving, the staff at Birmingham Parent would like to once again say “thank you” for being a reader of our magazine. We also are grateful to all the advertisers who make bringing Birmingham Parent to you free each month possible. THANK YOU! To all of you, here’s hoping you have a blessed Thanksgiving holiday full of family, friends, good food and good health! We hope you enjoy the November issue of Birmingham Parent. If you have considered a private education for your child, this is a great place to start. And start thinking NOW, as many schools open enrollment in January and February for the next school year. From public, to private to even homeschooling, there are lots of educational opportunities for your child. Finding the Photo by Christy Pierce Photography LLC right one is key. We hope this issue makes that a little easier. On the subject of thankfulness, this comes up a lot in this month’s story, “I Was Adopted,” by Stephanie Rodda. It’s National Adoption Month, and this time we focus on the point of view of the adoptee. Don’t miss all the fun things to do this month in our November calendar of events. It’s full of holiday offerings! As we look forward to the coming New Year, we welcome your ideas for articles, what you’d like to read about and more. Please contact me at to let us hear from YOU. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Carol Muse Evans, Publisher/Editor

ABOUT THE EDITORS: Carol Muse Evans is the publisher/editor/owner of Birmingham Parent magazine, a publication she and her husband David began in 2004. The Birmingham, Alabamabased parenting publication attracts more than 60,000 readers monthly in a four-county area and receives 10,000 hits per month on its website. The magazine has a 20,000+ print circulation, plus several thousand in readership of the digital edition online. It is the only independently audited free publication in our area. Evans is an award-winning writer and editor who has also has written for several other publications as a freelance writer since the late 80s. She is a graduate of Auburn University in journalism and is a graduate of Scottsboro High School. She is married with two grown children and lives in Alabaster. She is a member of the National Federation of Press Women, Alabama Media Professionals and Southeastern Advertisers and Publishers Association (SAPA). Lori Chandler Pruitt is associate editor of Birmingham Parent, where she is responsible for the calendar and editorial editing. She also is a freelancer for Business Alabama magazine and has written/edited for several other publications. This award-winning writer and editor is a graduate of the University of Alabama in news/editorial and Hueytown High School. She is married with two children.

4 | birminghamparent | november 2016

P.O. Box 326 (add 800 Hwy. 52 E. for pkg) Helena, AL 35080 205-987-7700 205-987-7600 FAX

editorial Publishers David & Carol Evans Editor Carol Muse Evans Associate Editor Lori Chandler Pruitt Office Assistant Bethany Adams Hunley Calendar Lori Chandler Pruitt Contributors Lisa M. Bundy, MD, FACEP, Trotter Cobb, Dr. Vivian Friedman, Charles Ghigna, Christopher Krell, Pam Molnar, Stephanie Rodda, Kristin Shuff, Denise Yearian

sales Account Executives Kayla Fricks, Brittani Ellison, Wendy Stewart, Jason Watson Webmaster Digital Doo-Wop

art & production Art Director Hilary Moreno Distribution T&P Deliveries E-blasts Simple Southern Lace Designs Legal Counsel Balch & Bingham LLP

BIRMINGHAM PARENT IS A PUBLICATION OF EVANS PUBLISHING, LLC. Publishers: Carol Muse Evans, David K. Evans Sr. Birmingham Parent (EIN20-0694149) is published monthly by Evans Publishing LLC. www.birminghamparent. com or Birmingham Parent is © 2016 by Evans Publishing LLC. Family Connections Media ©2016 by Evans Publishing LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited. Editorial submissions are welcome. For back issues, please send a self-addressed 10” x 13” envelope with $4 for postage and handling.

Let our family care for yours.

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celebrating the community





12 20 22 32 16

How to Find the Right Private School For Your Child Get Smart About Paying for College How to Afford a Private Education I Was Adopted


Thanksgiving games for your little turkeys





departments Note 04 Editor’s Happy Thanksgiving to You and Yours


8 Short Stuff 0 08 School News the Specialist: 28 Ask What's the Deal with

Private School Guide


A Private Education Choice: Explore the Types and the Right Learning Style for Your Child


Birmingham Parent’s Private School Directory 2016


Get Smart about Paying for College


How to Afford a Private Education


10 Tips to Develop Leadership Skills in Your Child

a Fever? to Heart: 29 Heart Outsmart Sneaky Salt


I Was Adopted


November Calendar of Events


Poetry Party: Autumn Poems


Special Kids & Adults: What Will Happen When He's Grown?

36 7 Thanksgiving Games for your Little Turkeys


Saving Forgotten Warriors

ON THE COVER: Callie and Maci, ages 7 and 5, of Vestavia, welcome fall. Photo by Christy Pierce Photography LLC,

6 | birminghamparent | november 2016

Parenting with Dr. Friedman



Briarwood Ballet presents

Parenting with Dr. Friedman At what age is it okay to send children to a doctor or dentist appointment alone? Children are chronologically ready to do things on their own long before they are emotionally ready to do so. To understand this, you have only to think about going to a movie or out to dinner by yourself. You certainly are capable of making a reservation at a restaurant and driving yourself there, but unless it is only an occasional event or due to sudden and unforeseen circumstances, going alone is likely to leave you feeling empty and abandoned. Many teens feel the same way when parents assume that because they can get to the doctor alone, that it is okay to expect them do so. The reason for the doctor’s appointment will make a difference in how a child feels about being alone. A 16-yearold can certainly take himself to a pediatrician he has known his whole life, for a checkup that he needs for a camp job. It would be very different to send the same child to an appointment with an oncologist he has never met, who makes a diagnosis of cancer. The child’s emotional state will also play a role in determining when he is ready for autonomy. The stable child, who feels secure in his parent’s love, will be ready long before the child with parents who travel extensively, work all the time or are neglectful or abusive. The time you invest in your child in the early years creates autonomy and security later. Personality counts too. The anxious or depressed child will be less independent than the child who tends to view the world as a glass half full. It is probably not wise to leave a child entirely in charge of his medical care except for the most routine events such as a camp checkup. The doctor needs parental input to make an accurate diagnosis and a child, even a teenager, might not fully understand the feedback from the doctor. A general rule of thumb is to go with your child to the doctor for routine care until he can drive there himself. Complicated medical issues require a parent’s presence at any age. For a teen younger than driving age, if the child is comfortable with going alone, you can drop him off for part of the visit but be sure to be there to speak with the doctor at some point. You should not expect telephone contact with the doctor after the appointment if you have not taken the time to come with your child. Your allotted time with the doctor is during your appointment.


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gift guide Our November advertisers have some great offerings for your gift-giving needs this season, and following are some great ideas for that hard-to-buy for teacher, friend, aunt or family. From gift cards, to memberships to event tickets, there’s something to please everyone and every budget. And look for another expanded gift guide in the December issue of Birmingham Parent.

8 | birminghamparent | november 2016

Happy Holidays!



for the perfect escape now available 100 Broadway St. Birmingham, AL


gift guide

Alabama Dance Academy’s Ballet Classique presents


DECEMBER 10-11, 2016 Dec. 10, 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11, 3 p.m. Oak Mountain High School Performing Arts Theatre. All Seats: $14.00. For tickets call 978-6830 or enter PROMO50 for discount. Mention this ad to buy one ticket and get one 1/2 off.

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school news From left to right: Kayleigh Alexander, Lindsey Waggoner, Hemant Srivastava, Summer Vo, Eli Getman and Karthik Sadanand. Photo courtesy of ASFA

ASFA has 6 National Merit Semifinalists Six Alabama School of Fine Arts seniors, Kayleigh Alexander, Eli Getman, Karthik Sadanand, Hemant Srivastava, Summer Vo and Lindsey Waggoner have been named as Semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program. They qualified from among more than 1.6 million entrants nationwide

who took the 2015 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/ NMSQT). The nationwide pool of Semifinalists represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors. The students were picked as Semifinalists based upon their scores on the PSAT/ NMSQT. They will now continue in the competition to qualify for National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million

that will be offered next spring. In order to advance to the Finalist stage, they must have a record of consistently high academic performance throughout high school. ASFA is a tuition-free, partly residential, public school located at 1800 Reverend Abraham Woods, Jr. Blvd. Birmingham, AL 35203. Admission is by audition only. For more information, please call 205-252-9241 or visit at

short stuff

Birmingham Parent Magazine Receives National Award Birmingham Parent, a member of the national organization, Southeastern Publishers Advertising Association, recently participated in the 2016 Advertising and Editorial Awards of SAPA and the Independent Free Papers of America (IFPA), bringing home a 3rd place award for the 2016 THE GUIDE in the category, “Freestanding Promotion, Guide or Planner.” Designer was Hilary Moreno, editors were Carol Muse Evans and Lori Chandler Pruitt. “We are excited any time we get professional recognition for our work in our publication,” says Carol Muse Evans, Birmingham Parent publisher, editor and owner. “It’s an honor to have our publication recognized for excellent among so many national publications. It’s a testament to the hard work and professionalism of our staff.” For more information on SAPA, visit 10 | birminghamparent | november 2016

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Private School Issue

A Private Education Choice: Explore the Types and the Right Learning Style for Your Child By Carol Muse Evans

With more than 30,000 private schools in the United States today, according to the National Center for Education, the chances of finding one in your corner of the world are pretty good. Finding one that fits your child’s learning style – that may take some investigation on your part.

According to, there are almost 14,000 children in private schools in Alabama, 75 percent of which are religious in nature. Some 26 percent are minorities, and the “average” student-teacher ratio is 11:1. The average yearly tuition for students is $6,720, with $10,171 for high school. Where would your child fit in, if you choose the private education route? Birmingham Parent talked to a few local schools about what they offer and their learning styles, and we’re sharing them here with you.


• The Arlington School is a small private school located in Birmingham’s historic Southside community, and it offers an alternative to the modern notion that the bigger a school is, the better, says Deborah W. Petitto, principal. It follows the Alabama State Department of Education course of study. Serving grades 6-12, Arlington provides “a positive academic experience that is individuals and nurturing, allowing students, teachers and parents to interact more easily,” Petitto adds. A big advantage here is very small classes, allowing for individual attention for each student in every class, Petitto says. Academic classes typically consist of only four to five students, and academic classes meet in the mornings when children are more focused, and electives meet in the afternoon. • Highlands School believes in educational best practices, says Kavita Vasil, Highlands head of school. “To this end, we use a variety of educational methodologies including project-based learning, differentiated instruction, experiential learning and leadership development, Vasil says. “Our emphasis on principals such as design thinking, cross-curriculum integration and global education allows 12 | birminghamparent | november 2016

students to apply learned concepts in a realworld, practical context, and all of these variables….help us to fulfill our mission of providing an academically challenging program, creating a love of learning, instilling the habits of success in every student, and preparing our students to be responsible, productive members of the community,” she says. In addition, Highlands, which serves 6 weeks to 8th grade, incorporates arts education and STEM education at every grade level, and the diversity of the student population at 27 percent is higher than the National Association of Independent Schools national average, Vasil adds.


Montessori schools follow the teachings and philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori, and they believe in “following the child,” according to the American Montessori Society, www. The Montessori method follows the whole child – physical, social, emotional and cognitive. Some of the hallmarks of the Montessori Method is multi-age teaching, a teacher, child and environment learning triangle and sensory experiences.

• Joseph Bruno Montessori Academy in Birmingham’s vision is to provide children and families with an education according to the Montessori philosophy and curriculum, says Rebecca Little, head of school. “Our focus is not only to provide cognitive education for our students, but to also model a commitment to creating peace and care for the environment for years to come. “In theory and practice, we will explore how the traditional Montessori curriculum can be combined with current best practices in education as well as technological advances in order to develop a successful group of 21st century learners,” Little adds. JBMA serves toddlers through 8th grade,

and says they treat each child as an individual, building on their strengths and abilities to become life-long global learners. “Some of the advantages of a Montessori program are that it includes multi-age groupings that foster peer learning, uninterrupted blocks of work time and guided choices of work,” Little says.

• Hilltop Montessori School in Birmingham, led by Michele Wilensky, head of school, says its mission is to provide a quality Montessori education in an environment which fosters a child’s love of learning and respect for self, others, community and the world. “The Montessori method addresses the whole child: academic, social and emotion and the academics are individualized based on each child’s abilities,” Wilensky says. “We are also the only school in the state to carry all 3 accreditations – AdvanceED/SACS, the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS) and the early childhood program is accredited with the American Montessori Society (AMS). The school is housed in a LEED certified building, Wilensky says. THE WALDORF EDUCATION

Waldorf education, also known as Steiner education, is based on the educational philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy. It emphasizes the role of imagination in learning, striving to integrate holistically the intellectual, practical and artistic development of pupils, according to Wikipedia.

• The Alabama Waldorf School offers an arts-integrated, multicultural curriculum that cultivates healthy, confident, compassionate learners who excel academically, socially and civically, says Cassia Kesler, marketing director. With more than 1000 Waldorf schools around the world, only about 150 are in North America, Kessler says. Alabama Waldorf School as founded in 1987 and is the only one in Alabama. It serves ages 18 months through 8th grade. Unique features of the Waldorf education include the teacher-student relationship is prioritized and the teacher accompanies the same group of students throughout the grades; all main lessons are integrated with handwork (knitting, sewing, embroidery, etc.), art, drama, music and movement, beginning in continued on page 14


John Carroll’s academic curriculum offers 12 AP courses and a rigorous course of study at the Honors level.

12.3 MILLION DOLLARS 66% of the class of 2016 received scholarships totaling 12.3 million dollars


In 2016, 135 students in grades ten through twelve took 238 AP Exams in ten subjects. John Caroll’s overall passing percentage (3 or above) for all AP tests was 66%.


Including 6A state Champions in Girls Cross Country and Girls Soccer in 2015-2016


100% of students complete a minimum of 75 hours of community service to those in need.

100% of John Carroll students attend either a four-year or two-year college with acceptance to over 150 colleges. John Carroll Catholic High School values the development of the whole person through spiritual growth, academics, the arts, athletics and discipline in the context of a Christ-centered environment.

John Carroll Catholic High School is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, is a member of the National Catholic Education Association and a member of the AHSAA Alabama High School Athletic Association (6A).


205-940-2400 . WWW.JCCHS.ORG | 13

Private School Issue

continued from page 12 Valley School and the Horizons School may be options for a child with any of these issues.


There are more than 35 private military schools in the United States and many are boarding schools. Though military schools may carry a stereotype of being schools for students who may need stronger discipline, they can also be great for a child who dreams of a military career. Check out https:// to investigate and pinpoint schools of interest to you.


Photo by Heather Durham

first grade, students learning two different foreign languages, immersion style, taught by native speakers; students create all of their own learning material and textbooks (which instills a deep sense of self-confidence and accomplishment.), says Kesler.


Many parents may want their children to have an education with religious beliefs and teachings are adhered to and are a focal point of the education method. While some religious schools mix a methodology of teaching, all have values of religion are the school of their educational philosophies. John Carroll Catholic High School, a Catholic school and part of the Diocese of Birmingham-in-Alabama, serves grades 9-12 and provides three courses of study to students based on their standardized test scores and the recommendation of teachers. “The 15,000 graduates who compose the school alumni have gone to fulfill the mission of the school and bring about a just world,” Charlie McGrath, principal, says. For Briarwood Christian School, a Birmingham school serving K4-12th grade, its academic program is comprehensive, college preparatory and taught within a Christian 14 | birminghamparent | november 2016

framework, says Kelly Mooney, admissions director. "Beginning in kindergarten, our academic program lays a solid intellectual and spiritual foundation for our students. Our student test scores far exceed national norms, and each year our senior classes receive millions of dollars in academic and athletic scholarships...Briarwood believe in nurturing the heart, soul and mind," Mooney says. Many religious schools do not require the child to be of the same faith as the teachers of the school. While there are approximately 83 private schools in Alabama, 75 percent of them are religious schools. Local schools such as several Catholic schools, Briarwood Christian School, Westminster School at Oak Mountain, Victory Christian School, Advent Episcopal School, Shades Mountain Christian School and many others may be an option for your family.


There are a number of schools that cover a wide range of learning disabilities, including ADD/ADHD, dyslexia and other learning syndromes. They often have the specially trained and certified staff necessary to each with learning disabilities and can also be therapeutic in nature. Local schools such as Spring

Preschools like Primrose School at Liberty Park, serving ages six weeks through pre-kindergarten and after school and summer camps, are considered a “school,” rather than a day care, and Margaret O’Bryant, franchise owner of Primrose School at Liberty Park, says their exclusive early learning approach balances purposeful play with nurturing guidance to encourage curiosity, creativity, confidence and compassion. “Our research informed approach to teaching, learning and care is unparalleled – we deliver more than a curriculum; it’s a life-changing early nearing experience for children and their families,” O’Bryant says. Preschools such as Covenant Classical School and Daycare combine classical Christian education with early care. Serving ages 6 weeks to kindergarten, Covenant Classical School’s education method depends on a three-part training of the mind called the trivium, says Tamara Harrelson, marketing manager for CCS. These parts are called the grammar, logic and rhetoric stages. The first few years of schooling are called the grammar stage because these are the years in which the building blocks for all other learning is laid, just as grammar is the foundation for language. In addition, at CCS they believe that faith is for all of life. “We endeavor to honor God in all of our activities from our studies to the way we behave in our classrooms. While teaching advanced reading skills, Biblical character and establishing a Biblical worldview, your student will establish a strong foundation for future success,” Harrelson adds. Other preschools such as Odyssey Early Schools also tout that their children are more prepared for kindergarten and school upon graduation. Preschool has become just that – school, not daycare. Carol Muse Evans is publisher and editor of Birmingham Parent.




From our state-of-the-art facilities to our nurturing teachers (many have 4-year education degrees), our comprehensive curriculum and activities provide your child with age appropriate exploration into the world of learning. Odyssey represents an exciting early childhood educational experience!

A new school year brings a fresh start—and Mathnasium is here to help set the stage for success! Together, we can make this school year greater than last year!

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Private School Directory

AREA PRIVATE SCHOOLS ADVENT EPISCOPAL SCHOOL 2019 6th Ave. N. Birmingham, AL 35203 205-252-2535 Advent Episcopal School, located in downtown Birmingham, offers a highly accelerated curriculum for bright students in grades 4K-8. Before-school and after-school care is available. THE ALTAMONT SCHOOL 4801 Altamont Rd. S. Birmingham, AL 35222 205-879-2006 The Mission of the Altamont School is to improve the fabric of society by graduating compassionate, well-educated individuals capable of independent thinking and innovative ideas. BRIARWOOD CHRISTIAN SCHOOL • North Campus (Grades K4-6) 2204 Briarwood Way Birmingham, AL 35243-2900 • South Campus (Grades 7-12) 6255 Cahaba Valley Rd. Birmingham, AL 35242 205-776-5812 Providing excellence in education in a Christ-centered environment through impact-oriented leadership that will challenge and inspire the whole student. Accredited by AdvancEd/ Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). COVENANT CLASSICAL SCHOOLS AND DAYCARE Five locations in Birmingham • Valleydale 25 Southlake Lane Hoover, AL 35244 205-444-5437

• Trace Crossings 5390 Magnolia Trace Hoover, AL 35255 205-733-5437 • Pelham 450 Huntley Pkwy. Pelham, AL 35124 205-620-2626 • Homewood 151 Covenant Way Homewood, AL 35209 205-968-1255 • Trussville (opening November 2016) 6590 Husky Pkwy. Trussville, AL 35173 205-396-1250 Preschool and daycare with enrollment from 6 weeks-kindergarten. We instill in every child a love for Christ, a love for others, and a love for learning. HILLTOP MONTESSORI SCHOOL 6 Abbott Square Birmingham, AL 35242 205-437-9349 Only Alabama private school with all 3 accreditationsAmerican Montessori Society, Southern Association of Independent Schools and AdvancED. Daily Spanish immersion, individualized learning, technology. INDIAN SPRINGS SCHOOL  190 Woodward Dr.  Indian Springs, AL 35124 205-988-3350 Indian Springs School is nationally recognized for its challenging, innovative curriculum, which prepares highly motivated day and boarding students for leading colleges around the world. JOHN CARROLL CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL 300 Lakeshore Pkwy. Birmingham, AL 35209 205- 940-2400 JCCHS values the develop-

16 | birminghamparent | november 2016

ment of the whole person through spiritual growth, academics, the arts, athletics and discipline in the context of a Christ-centered environment.  JOSEPH BRUNO MONTESSORI ACADEMY 5509 Timber Hill Rd.  Birmingham, AL 35242 205-995-8709 Fax: 205-995-0517 For over 30 years, JBMA has equipped children with the essential skills and knowledge they need to thrive as a successful adult. Enrolling toddlers - 8th grade.  ODYSSEY EARLY SCH​OOLS • Inverness Campus 104 Heatherbrooke Park Dr. Birmingham, AL 35242 205-991-0039 • Trace Crossings Campus 401 Emery Dr. Hoover, AL 35244 205-988-8829 Created by educators featuring ​state-of-the-art facilities​, nurturing teachers ​with Education degrees, and comprehensive curriculum ​that provides  Your child with age appropriate exploration into the world of learning.  PRIMROSE SCHOOL • Liberty Park 1800 Urban Center Pkwy. Vestavia Hills, AL 35242 205-969-8202 • Meadowbrook 4855 Meadowbrook Rd. Birmingham, AL 35242 205-991-3020 Primrose Balanced Learning® is the blueprint that guides teachers to help children build the right foundation for an active mind, a healthy body and a happy heart. RESTORATION ACADEMY 4600 Carnegie Ave. Fairfield, AL 35064 205-785-8805

Our mission is to advance the two greatest commandments: to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love others as ourselves. Accredited through AdvanceED, SACS, AISA and ACSI. RIVER & CAPE MONTESSORI SCHOOL LLC 534 Industrial Rd. Alabaster, AL 35007 205-542-1424 riverandcapemontessori@ River & Cape Montessori School provides children ages 6 weeks to 6 years the benefits of an authentic Montessori education with the comforts of home. VICTORY CHRISTIAN SCHOOL P.O. Box 710/154 Victory Dr. Pell City, AL 35125 205-338-2901 VCS is a private Christian school located in Pell City, AL. We are accredited by AdvancedED and AISA and play in the AHSAA., WESTMINSTER SCHOOL AT OAK MOUNTAIN 5080 Cahaba Valley Trace Birmingham, AL 35242 205-995-9694 Committed to the centrality of the gospel as well as the pursuit of high academic standards. We seek discipleship and scholarship without one compromising the other.

TUTORS AND TESTING THE TUTORING CENTER 2804 John Hawkins Pkwy. Suite 100 Hoover, AL 35244 (near Academy Sports) 205- 987-9577 One-to-one tutoring designed to help your child develop stronger academic

skills, earn better grades, score higher on standardized tests, while gaining confidence, motivation and focus. MATHNASIUM The Math Learning Center 410 Inverness Corners Birmingham, Alabama 35242 (205) 437 3322 invernesscorners Our goal is to significantly increase your child’s math skills and overall school performance, while building confidence and a positive attitude towards math.

ENRICHMENT PROGRAMS ALABAMA BALLET​ 2726 1st Ave. S. Birmingham, AL 35233 205-322-4300 Since 1981, changing lives through dance by promoting and fostering the development of classical and contemporary ballet through high-quality performances, dance education and community outreach. ALABAMA DANCE ACADEMY 3221 Old Columbiana Rd. Hoover, AL 35226 205-978-6820 State-of-the-art dance instruction facility in the disciplines of ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, hip-hop, lyrical/ contemporary and Pilates. Founded by professional ballet dancer Pamela Merkel in 1995. BRIARWOOD BALLET 2200 Briarwood Way Birmingham, AL 35243 205-776-5284 Offering offered excellent training to over 7,000 dancers for 37 years. Our outstanding faculty serve to create an environment that is disciplined yet encouraging artistically and spiritually. THE ACADEMY OF THE ARTS AT SAMFORD UNIVERSITY South Lakeshore Dr. Birmingham, AL 35229 205-726-4049 205-726-2810 Music for children & adults at Samford University in Homewood. Preschool piano; Kindermusik; private & group piano, voice and strings lessons.

FIELD TRIPS AND EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES BIRMINGHAM MUSEUM OF ART 2000 Rev. Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd. Birmingham, Al 35203 205.254.2565 Bart's ArtVenture combines high tech art-making tools with hands-on creation stations to let kids and families develop their art education in a creative, communal environment. MCWANE SCIENCE CENTER 200 19th St. N. Birmingham, AL 35203 205-714-8414 Fun and learning never end at McWane, a nonprofit, hands-on museum with aquarium and IMAX® Dome Theater. Four floors of interactive exhibits celebrate science and wonder. | 17

Birmingham/Central Alabama Private School Issue November 2016

Covenant Classical Schools

Joseph Bruno Montessori

At CCS, we strive to maximize each child’s preschool experience. We accomplish this through fun daily activities and curriculum that intentionally builds character, teaches a biblical world view and provides advanced reading skills. Our commitment to our parents means that we are open all year long (yes, including the summers!) with hours that are convenient for busy schedules and closed for only 10 DAYS throughout the entire year! We are excited to bring the excellence of Covenant Classical School to the Trussville area! This new campus is located at 6590 Husky Parkway, just off of Deerfoot Parkway. With an opening date in 2016, pre-enrollment is now underway and many are already experiencing the difference of CCS! Take the next step for your child and find out how our school can help you lay the solid foundation for your child’s future.

Our educational practices are built around the belief that children are born with the strong need to discover and learn. We treat their curiosity and creativity with great care, allowing them to explore their interests from an early age. We provide lessons, even the most challenging ones, that make learning exciting and stimulate the desire to know more. Lessons are given to small groups and individually, so that they can understand the concepts presented. Our students are our first priority, and we take time to listen and help them find answers. Older students learn through seminars, laboratory experiments, and hands-on projects. Reading, research, and discussion are important parts of our curriculum. At Bruno Montessori Academy, students are encouraged to develop independence, responsibility, resourcefulness, and organizational skills. In the Lower Elementary, students use individual work plans listing their goals for the week. Visitors will see our students working individually and cooperatively to get their work done, enjoying the total learning experience. The enthusiasm must be seen to be believed. Children learn the importance of respect for one another and for their classroom environment. We have high expectations for our students, and they learn to set higher and higher standards for themselves.

Odyssey Early School

The Alabama Ballet School

Odyssey was created by educators who dreamed of opening an early learning center where children could be nurtured and taught by a highly trained and loving staff. That dream was realized when our Inverness school opened in 1995, and then again in 2001, with the opening of our second school in Trace Crossings. Odyssey’s goal is to create a life-long love of learning. We have developed our own age-appropriate curriculum, specifically designed to introduce each age grouping to language, reading, math, science and more, so that your child will possess a strong foundation for Kindergarten and beyond. Additionally, we guarantee teachers with four-year education degrees in all preschool classrooms and offer exceptional child-to-teacher ratios. At our schools, you can watch your child’s entire day in live, streaming, HD video over the Internet, through an individual, secure connection linked directly to your child’s classroom. We want our parents to know what happens during their child’s day, and Odyssey is the only Overthe-Mountain daycare to offer this service. Our team works tirelessly to earn its reputation as the best childcare option for Birmingham parents, and we invite you to visit today to witness for yourself what so many other families have known since 1995! Visit www. for more information.

The Alabama Ballet School provides the highest quality training to aspiring artists of all ages that is developmentally appropriate both physically and artistically. The Alabama Ballet School’s instruction is based on the syllabus provided by the Royal Academy of Dance in London which takes into consideration the particular level of development of each child within that level. The RAD is an international teaching organization committed to establishing standards of excellence in ballet instruction. The faculty of the Alabama Ballet School is required to attend a workshop for the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus. This provides the students with training that is both consistent and unified. Examinations are administered to students at the end of each school year. The Alabama Ballet School strives to serve members of the community who choose to dance as an extra-curricular activity for fun and build healthy bodies as well as those who aspire to a career in dance.

18 | birminghamparent | november 2016

Birmingham/Central Alabama Private School Issue November 2016


Mathnasium of Inverness Corners is your neighborhood math-only learning center. We help kids in grades 2-12 understand math by teaching the way that makes sense to them. When math makes sense, kids leap way ahead – whether they started out far behind or already ahead in math. Our formula for teaching kids math, the Mathnasium Method™ has transformed the way kids learn math for over a decade across 500+ centers in the US and Canada. Our specially trained math instructors will teach your child how to understand math in an individual setting – our unique approach enables us to effectively explain math concepts well and lend a helping hand to every student. Our tutors foster a caring, encouraging environment that helps kids thrive and learn!

Check out these sites when exploring a private education for your child: Alabama Independent School Association Private School Review, Education Bug’s Private School Directory Southern Association of Independent Schools Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Fund list-of-partner-schools.html

Advent Episcopal School Since its establishment in 1950, Advent Episcopal School has built a national reputation for academic excellence. Offering Pre- Kindergarten through Eighth Grade, Advent is a diverse community of bright children who excel in an environment that is safe, stable, and enriching. The school provides students with varied opportunities to develop and demonstrate their talents and abilities, ultimately preparing them for lives of purpose and service. This year, Advent was awarded the AISA President’s Award for the top K-8 school in the state. As the only PK-8 school in downtown Birmingham, Advent is able to take advantage of the rich educational and cultural opportunities at our doorstep. Meaningful exposure to fine art, music, foreign language and critical thinking spurs intellectual curiosity amongst our students. Advent is small by design, even though our students come from 44 different zip codes. Every Advent student is known by name. They are challenged, celebrated for who they are, filled with wonder and have a willingness to learn. If you start here, you can go anywhere!

Samford University Academy of the Arts Welcome to the Academy of the Arts at Samford University where we offer the best of continuing education programs in art and music. Take a moment to explore the course offerings, workshops and previews available on our website at samford. edu/go/aota. Bring a friend and come help us celebrate this wonderful center for learning as we prepare today’s artist to shape tomorrow’s world. Class offerings include piano, voice, strings, Kindermusik, photography, painting, creative writing, drawing, ceramics, stained glass and much more. The Academy of the Arts location is located at 1939 South Lakeshore Drive conveniently between Covenant Presbyterian Church and Homewood High School. We are now registering for the 2017 semesters. If you have any questions or would like more information about our classes and programs, please call 205726-2739 or visit www.samford. edu/go/aota. | 19

Private School Issue

Get Smart about Paying for College Spikes in tuition and expenses force many students into crippling debt. Here’s how you can plan in advance and avoid student loans. By Christopher Krell

Over the last 30 years, the cost of college education has soared by more than 500 percent, far outpacing not only the consumer price index but nearly doubling the national surge in medical costs. Add in expenses, and the annual bill for a college student attending an elite university can easily exceed $200,000 for a four-year program.  Many young adults are coming out of college and graduate school without employment and saddled with enormous amounts of debt. “For young people who are just trying to enter the workforce on entry-level salaries, it can be overwhelming to try to pay down student loans while trying to cover general living expenses,” said Christopher Krell, CFP, CFS, recently named by  Financial Times  as one of the Top 400 Financial Advisors. However, students in need of loans should still go to college, Krell says. “Investment in education is important and many employers have made a college degree essential to getting hired,” Krell explained.  “Parents and grandparents should plan in advance and take advantage of some of the great savings programs available so that their children and grandchildren don’t have to experience the stresses, and 20 | birminghamparent | november 2016

sometimes futility, in trying to pay off huge student loans. Children should also be taught at an early age to begin to save for college.” Krell also cautions parents to meet with college administrators and recognize the fact that college prices are like airline tickets, no one pays the same price. “In fact, 70 percent of students don’t pay full price for the same college,” Krell says. “Also, don’t assume that private schools are more expensive than public schools. About 85 percent of students who attend private colleges don’t pay full price. Often, private schools have more money to give away to students through financial aid and merit awards.” The average discount for private school tuition is currently about 53 percent, which is an all-time high. Krell, a leading authority on 529 college savings plans is on a mission to educate consumers to use this great tax-free tool. The 529 plans were first authorized in 1996 by Congress.  Since that time, more than 12 million families have saved more than $258 billion. Governed by section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, the plans are also known as qualified tuition programs.  These college savings plans are tax-advantaged savings

vehicles and they’ve become one of the most popular ways to save for college. According to the College Savings Plan Network, college savings plans grew in 2014 by 9.1 percent to a record $247.9 billion. “Although college tuition has also increased, these 529 plans remain a great way to save for college and offer a unique combination of features that no other college savings vehicles can match,” Krell says. Benefits include:  


There are federal tax advantages that allow contributions to the account to grow tax deferred with earnings tax free if the money is used to pay the beneficiary’s qualified education expenses. (Note that the earnings portion of any withdrawal not used for college is taxed at the recipient’s rate and subject to a 10 percent penalty.) Many states also offer income tax incentives for state residents.


Many plans allow for contributions over $300,000 over the life of the plan and anyone can open an account, regardless of income level.


Federal rules allow for the beneficiary on the account to be changed to another qualified family member at any time. So, if your first child decides not to go to college, you can roll the plan over to your second child and so on. You can also roll over the account to a different 529 plan once a year without income tax or penalty.  


529 plans can be used at any college in the U.S. or any college abroad that’s accredited by the U.S. Department of Education. Depending on the 529 plan, many can also be used for graduate school.  


529 plans offer an excellent estate planning advantage in the form of accelerated gifting. This can be a great way for grandparents to contribute to their grandchildren’s education. Individuals are allowed to make a lump-sum gift to a 529 plan up to $70,000 per individual ($140,000 for married couples) and avoid gift tax, provided the gift is treated as having been made in equal installments over a five-year

period and no other gifts are made to that beneficiary during the five years.


529 plans are offered by states but are managed by designated financial institutions that are responsible for managing the plans underlying investment portfolio. There are more than 100 plans available and although 529 college plans were created through federal law, their implementation is left to the states and most states have multiple plans. In evaluating plans, first make sure that the plan is managed by a reputable financial institution. Then look for a plan with a wide variety of investment options that range from conservative to more growth-oriented. Most plans offer age-based portfolios that automatically adjust to more conservative holdings as your child approaches college. Also, consider fees and expenses as they can vary widely among plans and can take a big bite out of savings.  Typical fees include maintenance fees, administration and management fees and underlying fund expenses.

Another option to consider are prepaid tuition plans. These also fall under the 529 plan designation and have the same tax advantages but with different account features.  A prepaid tuition plan lets you pay for tuition at participating colleges using today’s prices, another difference is that these are offered by the states as well as private colleges. The staterun prepaid plans require in-state residency. With prepaid plans, a certain rate of return is guaranteed as opposed to college savings plans where the returns are not guaranteed and the account may gain or lose value. “Parents and grandparents should weigh the options carefully and decide which plan is best for them,” Krell advises. “Either way, getting a jump on college tuition is a good way to ensure your children and grandchildren will have a good education without the fears of being burdened with extensive college loans.” Krell, CFP,CFS, is a principal with Cassaday & Company, Inc.  Krell has established himself as a trusted financial planner and advisor. For more information, visit who-we-are/our-team/Staff/Krell-Christopher.

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Private School Issue

How to Afford A Private Education By Kristin Shuff

Education is one of the most important investments a parent can make for their family. A good education develops strong values and a love of learning, ultimately positioning a child for success later in life. But what options are available to parents who don’t live in neighborhoods with exceptional public schools or simply prefer a different option? Private and independent schools can be an ideal solution. Private schools often offer rigorous academic studies, smaller class sizes and diverse learning opportunities. According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, private school students generally perform higher than their public school counterparts on standardized achievement tests and are more likely to have completed advanced level courses. And while graduation rates are nearly the same, 64 percent of private high school students attend a four-year college, compared to just 40 percent of public high school students. However, most private schools come with a hefty price tag. In fact, according to Private School Review, the national average private school tuition is $9,518 per year. Locally, private high schools average $10,171 a year in Birmingham. Those numbers in addition to the cost of college tuition paint an overwhelming picture. Here’s the good news: you may be able to invest in your child’s education without draining your bank account. If you’re considering private school for your kids, there are several strategies to explore for your family.

Here’s the good news: you may be able to invest in your child’s education without draining your bank account. If you’re considering private school for your kids, there are several strategies to explore for your family.


Compile a list of all of the private schools near you and dig deep. It’s important to know if this school will fit into your lifestyle by considering factors such as curriculum focus, special needs or services and overall reputation. Other considerations may also include facility condition, commute time and daily schedules. Another vital part of that research is to understand what’s included in tuition. Books, uniforms, athletic programs, tutoring, trips and other extras can be expensive add-ons. Review your current budget to determine what you can afford. A school with a higher price tag may save you money in the long run if the tuition includes most of the extras. All of these factors can help you determine which school is the best option for your family.


Once you’ve narrowed down the top schools, talk with a school financial advisor to learn what to expect. Advisors can provide valuable insights on financial aid resources and payment plan

22 | birminghamparent | november 2016

eligibility. Thinking outside the box can pay off, too. Faculty and staff often receive substantial discounts on tuition, and some schools offset volunteer time with tuition discounts. Research opportunities where you can apply your talents.


There are many creative options available today to finance an education. Scholarships in athletics or academics are valuable resources, and many government grants exist specifically for private education. Potentially, you may also be able to acquire a home equity line of credit (HELOC), if your home has increased in value. A notable benefit is that a HELOC may be tax deductible, but you should check with your tax advisor to see how that impacts your personal financial situation. Consumer loans may also be an excellent option. If you choose to explore an unsecured loan to finance your child’s tuition, take the time to compare lenders to make sure you are getting the

lowest possible rate and best loan terms that work for you. For families with good credit, consider a PreK-12 education loan. LightStream offers unsecured PreK-12 tuition financing at low fixed rates and no fees. Plus, borrowers can use funds for related expenses beyond tuition, such as books, activities, transportation, tutoring, board and more. Overall, private schools can be a great choice, and several different financing options and resources exist to put it within reach financially. If you do the research, you’ll find the right solution for your family and feel confident in the investment made in your child’s education.

Kristin Shuff is the vice president of marketing for LightStream, the national online lending division of SunTrust Bank, and a proud mother of a daughter in private preschool. She balances the demands of work and parenting through creative time budgeting, not overcommitting, leaning on her village and using her commute time to keep her mind clear. For more information, visit This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal or tax advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal or tax professionals based on your specific circumstances. LightStream and SunTrust are federally registered service marks of SunTrust Banks, Inc.




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Private School Issue


to Develop Leadership Skills in Your Child By Denise Morrison Yearian

Most parents want to raise their children to be future leaders that impact their community, nation and world. Although some leadership traits are innate, these qualities can be cultivated. Here are 10 tips to help:

1. VOICE YOUR VALUES. Establish a value

system in your home and instill virtues such as honesty and integrity early on, as this is the backbone of quality leaders.

2. READY WITH RESPONSIBILITIES. Teach your child to be responsible by delegating age-appropriate chores and increase expectations. This builds competence, confidence and independence, which are all essential leadership traits. 3. PROVIDE A PLATFORM. Give your child

a platform to voice his views. Exchange thoughts on what is happening in the new, on TV and at school so he knows his opinion counts. Also let him participate in some family decisions such as where to go on vacation or what to have for dinner.

4. AIM FOR ACTIVITIES. Academic and extracurricular activities build discipline and teach teamwork, interpersonal skills and

24 | birminghamparent | november 2016

accountability to others. They also provide an outlet for setting and achieving goals and stepping out in leadership positions.

attitudes are often an inspiration and may prompt others to follow his lead.

5. GO FOR THE GOAL. Goal setting encour-

Volunteering teaches servant leadership and civic responsibility. Once your child gets into the volunteer mindset it will become a natural part of his life. Take part in church or community volunteer work and bring him along. Encourage giving not only of his time but also a portion of his money.

ages children to take on challenges, teaches long-range planning and promotes self-confidence when goals are attained. Show your child how to set and achieve goals by breaking down larger tasks into smaller ones then celebrate successes along the way. If failure does occur, have your child look at the experience in light of the wisdom it produced: “What lesson can we take away from this so you can succeed next time?”

6. BUILD IN BRAVERY. Encourage your


9. LEAD BY EXAMPLE. Parents are power-

ful role models and teach by example how to lead. Share your goals, growth opportunities and the sacrifices and rewards you’ve experienced in becoming a leader.

child to take a stand with regard to peer pressure and to venture out with challenges that move him beyond his comfort zone. Kids evolve in the process and emerge stronger when they face difficult situations head on. Stand on the sidelines and offer support and encouragement.

10. BE CONSISTENT. Raising children to be quality leaders takes times and consistent effort. Continue to instill moral intelligence, encourage responsible behavior and provide opportunities for growth. In time, he will naturally step up and step out to lead others.

7. ENCOURAGE AGENT OF CHANGE. Teach your child he doesn’t have to sit idly by when faced with situations he has the power to change. Remind him that optimistic

Denise Yearian is the former editor of two parenting magazines and the mother of three children and four grandchildren.

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special kids & adults

What Will Happen When He’s Grown? By Trotter Cobb

The thing that I am concerned about most is what will happen to Trot, my special needs son, when he’s a grown man. And not cute anymore.  What will life be like for him when he’s six feet tall, weighs 200 pounds, forgets to shave each day, and his clothes don’t match? I worry that when Trot gets older, and my wife Anne and I are gone, that the network of loving and nurturing people he’s had all his life will either drift or die off. This anxiety is with me every single day of every single week. I’m not kidding you. It’s like a wound that doesn’t heal.  As much as I would like to be able to do so, I can’t control how it’s going to work out in the future. I would love to know now that some young family member or friend will carry the ball after we’re gone, and take the responsibility for looking after Trot. But at this point, I don’t know that this will happen. I’d like to find someone to be that go-to person, who would make sure that Trot was nurtured, not just stored away. That he would become a member of that person’s family; that they provide him with a sense of belonging.   I worry, for example, that he’ll have no place to go for Christmas. You don’t want to think of somebody spending the holidays by himself, especially your son. Christmas today is a big deal for our family and it’s a big deal in particular for Trot. 

I’d like to find someone to be that go-to person, who would make sure that Trot was nurtured, not just stored away. That he would become a member of that person’s family; that they provide him with a sense of belonging.


Photo above: The author Trotter, Anne and his son, who they call Trot, live in Mountain Brook. 26 | birminghamparent | november 2016

Every single day of his life I’ve told him “I love you,” and “How proud I am of you,” and my wife says his night time prayers with him. If we forget those prayers, he reminds us of it immediately.  “We forgot to say our prayers!” he says. I want someone who is going to say his prayers with him long after Anne and I are gone. When Trot’s older, I fear that no one will pay attention to him, that no one will notice him, that he will be invisible and, I hate to use this phrase, that he’ll

be “filed away.” When his relatives think about him, will they say, “Oh well, I guess we have to include him?” For these reasons – fear and anxiety about what could be my son’s fate – I have been drawn these past few years to older people who have special needs. At special needs events, such as basketball tournaments, these older people are often the ones just standing around. The “cute young kids” get everyone’s attention; the older ones, now full-fledged adults, are pretty much overlooked. They often seem to be looking for a friendly face, someone to acknowledge their existence. I already know from my son, and other special needs people, that their feelings are hurt when they are left out and overlooked.  Being neglected makes them sad. They matter. Special needs doesn’t mean no feelings. Worrying about this loneliness hits a nerve within me.  But these thoughts and worries also have affected my life in a positive way. In fact, I believe they have made me a better person. This came home to me during a recent visit to a school where a friend teaches.   I saw a man cleaning the halls. I was drawn to him immediately as he walked toward me. I saw that he had special needs. I could tell by the way he was dressed, his speaking pattern and his mannerisms. I know the signs of special needs people, I have been involved in the special needs community for 20 years. The smile on his face was the best indicator. He was attempting to make a friend, something he likely does with everyone he meets.   The person I was with introduced me to him. I felt a need to make him feel appreciated. I felt a need to make him a little happier than he appeared. In those few minutes, I wanted him to know that in my mind he was just a regular guy.  I was hoping that he would sense that and feel good about it. I want my son to feel like a regular guy.   And you know what a “regular guy” means.  It’s all-encompassing.  It’s someone who is appreciated.

Trotter Cobb, a native of Birmingham, is the father of a special needs son. Earlier in his life, Trotter made a name for himself in the business world. Now retired, Trotter has decided to dedicate his life’s work to helping the world better understand the challenges, triumphs and nuances of raising a special needs child.



Alabama Family Trust is a unique public service that helps parents administer special needs trusts for their loved ones; providing a safe haven for financial resources, and helping assure important government benefits for their future.

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ask the specialist

What’s the Deal with a Fever? By Lisa M. Bundy, MD, FACEP

​Dr. Lisa Bundy is an emergency medicine physician at the Brookwood Baptist Health Freestanding Emergency Department located at the corner of Highway 280 & Highway 119.

28 | birminghamparent | november 2016

The holiday season is around the corner. With it comes joy, celebration, and family, but it also brings allergies, flu season and upper respiratory infections. The good news is there are many things you can do to keep your kids healthy during this time of the year. Prevention is key, starting with vaccinations. Vaccinations are arguably the most important medical invention of the 20th century as they help prepare our immune system to fight a future infection. Influenza (also called the Flu), is a contagious infection that can cause major organ damage and death, especially in the old and young, and is best prevented by getting a flu vaccine. This year, the flu vaccination by nasal spray is not recommended, per the Centers for Disease Control, leaving the flu shot as the best way to reduce your family’s chances of picking up flu this season. Regardless of what has been reported in the past, the flu shot does not give you the flu. It may result in a mild fever or chills, but this is your body’s response to the vaccine, building up your immunity for the real thing. The next best prevention is hand washing. Teach your kids to wash their hands with soap often. Viruses and bacteria are transmitted by touch, sneezing and coughing, so hand washing is paramount. Unfortunately, following these steps will not ensure your child doesn’t get sick. If your little one does develop a fever (100.4 degrees F or greater), that means your child’s body is busy fighting infection and doesn’t want to do much else. Fevers will make them feel bad, cry and maybe not want to eat. It’s OK if your child doesn’t want to eat – just be sure you are pushing fluids. Children older than 6 months old are safe to consume either acetaminophen or ibuprofen; however, the dosage is determined by weight, so it’s critical to know this information to give the proper dose. Follow instructions by your physician or on

the medication bottle. DO NOT give aspirin to children 17 or younger for fever due to the risk of Reye Syndrome, a fatal condition. Fevers in babies less than three months old are more concerning. The immune systems in children less than three months aren’t as developed, so they are more likely to develop serious bacterial infections such as pneumonia and meningitis. Call your doctor immediately if your infant has a temperature greater than 100.4 degrees F. There are several ways I examine a child in the ER with a fever. These help determine if further testing is warranted, and if there are any life-threatening diagnoses to consider. You might find me playing peek-a-boo with your child, clapping, and tickling their feet during an examination. If they are smiling, laughing, and playing with me, I feel pretty good about their prognosis. Very sick children won’t respond to this at all. I look for tear production and

Regardless of what has been reported in the past, the flu shot does not give you the flu. It may result in a mild fever or chills, but this is your body’s response to the vaccine, building up your immunity for the real thing.

drooling to determine if they are dehydrated. I watch their eyes to see if they are alert and attentive. I watch to see if they are working very hard to breathe. These are a few things you can look for at home as well. Fevers in children are difficult to discern. Most are caused by viruses, meaning you just have to wait it out and treat the symptoms. Most likely, your child will feel better in a couple of days. If you are ever concerned, call your child’s doctor for advice.

heart to heart

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much sodium can cause you to retain extra fluid in your body and develop high blood pressure, putting a restraint on your heart. Kids aren’t immune to salt’s affects; children with high-sodium diets are almost 40 percent more likely to have elevated blood pressure, and studies have shown a link between high blood pressure in childhood and hypertension in adults. High blood pressure in childhood is also linked to early development of heart disease and risk for premature death. The number of American children with high blood pressure is sadly on the rise, and about 1 in 6 children ages 8-17 years already has raised blood pressure. So what can be done to keep Sneaky Salt from popping up in your child’s food?

KNOW THE GOAL FOR SODIUM CONSUMPTION. The American Heart Association recommends children nor adults have more than 1,500 milligrams (mg) a day. This is slightly less than ¾ tablespoon of table salt. Right now, the average American consumes roughly 2½ tablespoons a day, three times the recommended levels. NUTRITION LABELS CAN BE YOUR FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE AGAINST SNEAKY SALT. These labels list how many milligrams of

Outsmart Sneaky Salt Courtesy of American Heart Association

Salt is sneaky. Even when you are trying to give your children healthier food options, sodium can sneak into what your kids are eating. The amount you sprinkle on your food with a salt shaker usually isn’t the biggest part of the problem; that amount would be easy to control. Three-fourths of the salt we eat actually comes from sneaky sources. Restaurant food is loaded with sodium. For example, a fast-food cheeseburger can contain half a day’s worth of sodium or more. Add French fries or even a milkshake (yes, a milkshake has sodium!), and your salt intake can skyrocket. It’s not just fast food either; most restaurants use products and cooking methods that overload foods with salt. The other main source of sneaky sodium is packaged food. These are foods that come in packages like cans, bags and boxes. We all know potato chips and other snack foods can be salty. But many foods we think of as healthy can add a lot of sodium to our diets too. These common foods are nicknamed the “Salty Six.” Children have a different set of “Salty Six” than adults. The foods that are linked to the highest sodium intake for kids include pizza, bread and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, savory snacks, sandwiches and cheese. This sneaky salt is having a large impact on children’s health. Too

sodium are in one serving. Compare labels and choose the product with the lowest amount of sodium. You might be surprised that different brands of the same food can have different sodium levels.

LOOK FOR THE AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION’S HEARTCHECK MARK on food packages. The design will help you find foods that can be part of an overall healthy dietary pattern.

MODEL HEALTHY EATING. When you change your lifestyle, your children will too. Use our diet and lifestyle recommendations at Heart. org to get you started. INVOLVE YOUR KIDS WHEN YOU’RE PREPARING HEALTHY MEALS. Try some of our kid-friendly recipes on BEFORE YOU GO OUT TO EAT, look up nutrition information online

to find the healthier options.

SUPPORT ADVOCACY CHANGES that will lead to healthier meals in childcare centers and schools. Learn more at

Join the American Heart Association in outsmarting Sneaky Salt! The sneaky salt campaign is locally sponsored by St. Vincent’s Health System. Making sure your kids get less sodium today can help prevent heart disease tomorrow. | 29

Saving Forgotten Warriors By Lori Chandler Pruitt

If you try to reach Jeremy Hogan, chances are he and other volunteers are busy building a wheelchair ramp for a military veteran’s home, cleaning a yard, or helping veterans in many other ways. Hogan, a retired Marine Corps sergeant who lives in Cullman, understands the struggles of veterans. He and his wife run the 501(c)3 nonprofit Saving Forgotten Warriors, and in less than a year, the organization and its volunteers has helped nearly 60 veterans. “So many of these people are in dire need,” he says. “We help in several ways, from building the ramps to complete home repairs and yard work, to furniture and clothing. We take some to doctor’s appointments. Some need a place to live. We help them find jobs. Each case is different.” Hogan, who has built American flags out of barn wood to give to veterans, was at a convenience store in January when he heard of a veteran who needed a wheelchair ramp built at his home. Hogan went out to the home and found that the man’s situation was worse than he expected, so he rallied friends to come 30 | birminghamparent | november 2016



“I believe serving others is a true blessing, I didn’t really think so eight months ago…I was naïve and was only thinking… about me and my family and nobody else. When I stopped worrying about me… and began worrying about others, I started noticing things getting better. It has been a true blessing I never could imagine.”

— Jeremy Hogan

and help with home repairs and other work. About 25 friends did, a television station came out to cover the event, and Hogan realized he could do more. “We saw that the need was all over,” he says. “So we started this organization. It runs completely on volunteers.” The group also relies on donations of all kinds. For example, the Vettes-4-Vets® of Hoover donated a van to help take veterans to appointments. The group also is raising money to buy a van with a lift for handicapped veterans. Saving Forgotten Warriors, which has a website ( and a Facebook page, also works hard to raise money. For example, the group is accepting donations to provide Thanksgiving dinner November 21 for veterans and his/her immediate family at a local restaurant. Hogan does regular radio interviews to keep the community up to date on the group’s activities. The group sells T-shirts and other items at festivals and fairs, holds raffles, and gets help from local restaurants and businesses who donate their time and services. A group of employees from a company have pitched in for home repairs, and a local salon offers veterans haircuts for $5. The group also has helped with hotel expenses for a young veteran and his wife who have a newborn at NICU at UAB. Along with monetary donations, the group needs building materials, clothing, food, furniture, personal hygiene items, kitchenware, bedding and curtains. The future of the group is bright. The group recently received a donation of more than 30 acres in Cullman County and hopes to build a transitional veterans facility that will offer a multi-faceted short-term program (two months

to a year) that will help bring veterans back into civilian life and mentor them, Hogan says. “The transition is sometimes hard and some aren’t sure where to turn,” he says. “I’m an orphan myself, and I had no family when I got out. This will help with PTSD, rehabilitation, career help and other services.” Hogan says he is thankful for the many people who have helped the organization and continue to do so. “I believe serving others is a true blessing,” he says. “I didn’t really think so eight months ago…I was naïve and was only thinking… about me and my family and nobody else. When I stopped worrying about me…and began worrying about others, I started noticing things getting better. It has been a true blessing I never could imagine.” For more information or to help, go to www. or go to the group’s Facebook page.

Lori Pruitt is associate editor of Birmingham Parent. | 31

our family

“I WAS ADOPTED” By Stephanie Rodda

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. Did you know that there is an adoption triad? That triad is comprised of birth parents, adoptive parents and adoptees. As an adoptive mom of seven and a freelance writer, I knew I wanted to write an article to promote adoption awareness. If you’ve ever wondered how an adoptee perceives adoption, several adoptees share their thoughts here. As I talked to them, I adoptees here, expected tender moments as they shared from their hearts. I was not expecting the depth of emotion I experienced as these five individuals gave me a glimpse into their personal adoption experiences. Not all adoption stories have happy endings, but these do. Here are some adoption stories that changed lives and ended happily ever after: Jeremy is a teenager, adopted internationally and out of extreme poverty. Elizabeth is a college student who was adopted out of the foster care system. Benjamin is in his thirties and was adopted by a birth family member. Debbie is in her fifties and was adopted privately. Libby is in her sixties and was adopted through an agency.

32 | birminghamparent | november 2016

Jeremy’s answer won’t be a surprise, but it is heart-rending: “Do it. It won’t only change your life, but it will most definitely change the life of the child you adopt. It might even save a life, too.”

Two in our group are African American and three are Caucasian. All five were adopted as infants or toddlers. Two have other siblings who were also adopted, while three were the only adopted child in the family. thoughts shared

Q: HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR LIFE WOULD BE DIFFERENT IF YOU HAD NOT BEEN ADOPTED? Elizabeth answered that she would most likely still be in the foster care system. She is likely right, as there are presently more than 100,000 children in the foster care system waiting to be adopted in the United States alone. According to the Children’s Bureau, http://  there are currently more than 400,000 children (ranging in age from infancy to 21 years old) in foster care, and more than 100,000 of them are available to be adopted. According to, each year more than 20,000 of those waiting children will age out of the foster care system. The age at which a child is considered to be an adult, and thus too old for the foster care system, varies from state to state. In Alabama, a foster child is considered to be an adult when they reach age 19. Debbie told me that while she couldn’t know what her life would have been like if she hadn’t been adopted, she did know she would never have met her adoptive mom, who she considered her best friend. Libby says, “Since I have been reunited with my birth mother, and am aware of the dire circumstances of her pregnancy, I am sure my life would have been quite difficult if she had not blessed me by putting me up for adoption.”   She’s not the only one who views their adoption as a blessing. It appears to be a common theme among those I interviewed, as well as other individuals that I spoke to off the record. One man at our local community center shared with me that not only had his birth mother blessed him by allowing him to be adopted, the blessing continues in his family as he now has an adopted grandchild.  Perhaps the most startling answer to this question came from Jeremy. He was short and to the point – “I would be dead.” He was born in Haiti, among the poorest of nations in the

western hemisphere, with nearly 80 percent of the population living in extreme poverty, according to - Haiti Adoption Guide. The reports found on www.unicef. org  state that  Haiti  has the highest rate of mortality in children under the age of five in the western hemisphere.  


Jeremy’s answer won’t be a surprise, but it is heart-rending: “Do it. It won’t only change your life, but it will most definitely change the life of the child you adopt. It might even save a life, too.” Benjamin was more cautious with his answer to this question. “It is good that you are thinking about choosing adoption,” he says. “But it is also good that you are hesitant. This is not a decision to make lightly.” Elizabeth says, “I know that in the beginning it can be a scary process, but in the end you will feel a great amount of joy. You have given a child a forever home.”   Debbie says, “I think I would encourage them to realize that the child they adopt will be THEIR child.”  


Benjamin says he feels the culture of adoption has become less of a mystery. He adds that , Benjamin says.sbeing an adoptee had been almost a novelty at one time, and that was no longer the case. Elizabeth says, “I believe the adoption culture has changed for the better in respect to multi-racial families.” I agree with her whole-heartedly. Our first adoption, which was transracial, wasn’t always received well when it took place 20 years ago. Today, the overall attitudes and acceptance are much improved.   Libby notes that she is glad that medical and family histories are more readily available to adoptees now, even with closed adoption records. Her attempt to gain even the most basic of information was a lengthy ordeal due to the privacy laws during the time of her adoption. continued on page 34 | 33

continued from page 33

Jeremy says that he was concerned that international adoptions may now be more difficult and expensive. In many cases, he would be right. Due to policy changes in some countries as well as abuse of the adoption system by some people, international adoptions are sometimes delayed or made more complicated.  Debbie, who was not told she was adopted until she was 16, says, “I think that it was a much more secretive thing when I was born; today it is totally accepted and I think that is a change for the better.”

Q: HOW OPEN ARE YOU CONCERNING YOUR ADOPTION? All five answered similarly. They weren’t ashamed; they were proud of their adoptions, and they didn’t mind discussing it with others. Noting that some details were private, without exception they were glad to share their story with others as an encouragement to those considering adoption, or who themselves were adopted.


“Adoption is the best thing that ever happened to me,” says Jeremy. “Adoption is an awesome way to make a child’s dreams come true by giving them a forever home,” Elizabeth comments. “Adoption is a beautiful choice, but a careful decision,” Benjamin says. “Adoption is a wonderful thing for everyone involved!!!” says Debbie. “Adoption is a blessing; a gift from God to both an adopted child and their adoptive parents,” Libby says. I couldn’t resist asking my two teenaged daughters to fill in the blank, as well. Their answers reminded me that the risk we took by adopting a sibling group of what is considered older-children (they were six and seven) was exactly the right choice for us. One answered with one powerful word. “Hope. Adoption is hope.” The other wrote her thought on our chalk board in eloquent handwriting. “Adoption is proof that you are loved.” They were both exactly right. Stephanie Rodda is a Birmingham freelance writer and mom to 7 beautiful children who were adopted.

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Thanksgiving FOR YOUR games LITTLE TURKEYS By Pam Molnar

Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends to gather – up until dinner is over, that is. When their bellies are full, the men retire to watch football, the kids scatter to empty rooms and the women are often left with kitchen duty. Avoid the after-dinner segregation and keep them together with these seven Thanksgiving games and activities: Photo by Christy Pierce Photography LLC

LEAF BLOWER – Split the group into two teams. Each team needs to blow a leaf from Point A to Point B using a straw in a relay race style. The next player will blow it back from Point B to Point A until everyone has had a turn. First team to finish wins. I WAS SO HUNGRY – This memory game is a fun way to get the party laughing. The players sit at the table or in a circle. The first player starts, “I was so hungry that I ate a juicy drumstick for Thanksgiving.” The next person adds something like, “I was so hungry that I ate a juicy drumstick and a mound of mash potatoes for Thanksgiving.” Keep repeating and adding until the whole party is stuffed.

your favorite memory from elementary school?” This multigenerational game will be a hit! DRESS THE TURKEY – Select a volunteer from the family to be the turkey. Using brown crepe paper streamers, wrap up the turkey until he is covered. Decorate the turkey with a yellow beak, feet and colorful feathers made from construction paper or foam sheets. Don’t forget your camera!

TABOO – Try to get your team members to guest the word on your card without using specific keywords. Look for holiday versions online.

PASS THE CRANBERRIES – Using a turkey baster, pick up a cranberry and bring it to a bowl on the other side of the room. The first team to pass all their cranberries from one bowl to the other is the winner.

PICTIONARY – A drawing version of the classic Charades game. Use Thanksgiving terms to complete your holiday theme.

STUFFED TURKEY – Wrap a piece of candy in brown box tape. Continue to wrap the tape in a ball, adding additional pieces of candy as you go. The size of the ball will depend on how many players and candy you have. (This is a great way to use up the rest of your Halloween candy.) To play, place the ball in the center of the table. Using a pair of dice, each player takes a turn rolling for doubles. If you get doubles, you can start unwrapping the ball to get candy for as long as it takes the next player to get doubles. The ball is then passed to that player and so on until the ball is completely unwrapped.

FILL YOUR PLATE – This is a two part game. Use free printables of Thanksgiving meal items – drumstick, cranberries, potatoes, stuffing, corn and pie. Have the kids color and cut out their dinner items. When everything is colored, pass out a paper plate to each player. The game is a spinoff of the Cootie game, but instead of building a bug, we are filling our plate. Assign each meal item with a number and each time a player rolls the die, he gets to put that item on his plate. Whoever fills their plate first is the winner.

TOSS & TELL – All players sit in a circle. Start by tossing a small turkey stuffed animal or small football to a player and ask a question like, “Who do you think will make it to the Super Bowl this year?” or “What is

Pam Molnar is a freelance writer and mother of three. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving at her house without games! Follow her on Etsy at PamsPartyPrintables for more party and game ideas.

36 | birminghamparent | november 2016


SPOONS – A simple card game for kids or adults. Try to find four of a kind while passing cards from player to player. The last one to grab a spoon is out. TRIVIAL PURSUIT – There are so many versions of this classic party game. Include some of your own family or Thanksgiving trivia for an added challenge. DOMINOES – Match dotted tiles in a variety of domino games like Mexican Train. Simple enough for the kids; challenging enough for the adults.


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NOVEMBER calendar highlights

November 11 is Veterans Day – a day when we honor those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. And there are so many events this month that mark this day that would be great for the entire family to honor veterans and learn important history. On Monday, November 7, Aldridge Gardens in Hoover will dedicate its Veterans Memorial Arbor; on Thursday, November 10 at 7pm, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra will salute the Armed Forces with a patriotic concert; the oldest and largest Veterans Day parade in the nation is right here in downtown Birmingham on Friday, November 11 starting at 1:30pm, and on Thursday, November 17 at 6:30pm, celebrate Veterans Day with the StarSpangled Girls of Homewood High School and a real-life Rosie the Riveter! Check our calendar for more Veterans Day information and events.


20 Spend a beautiful afternoon with Southeastern Outings admiring the wildflowers in the lower Homewood Forest Preserve on Sunday, Nov. 20. The two-hour walk is rated moderately easy; children 6-older welcome. No smoking or pets. Meet 2:30pm in the Homewood High School east parking lot.

The ever-popular and fun Pepper Place Market is still going strong! November is the last full month of the market; the last day is Dec. 10. Every Saturday this month, rain or shine, come to 2829 2nd Ave. S from 7am-noon to purchase fresh produce and other items from vendors. www.

5, 12, 19, 26 | 39


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Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

1 TUESDAY Lego League 4-4:45pm, Albert L. Scott Library, Alabaster. Kids of all ages can build with bricks of all sizes! A special guest from Alabama 4-H Clubs will host a building contest with awards! Kids 6-younger must be with an adult.

2 WEDNESDAY UAB Jazz Ensemble in Concert 7:30-8:30pm, Alys Stephens Center. 205-934-7376, FREE.

4 FRIDAY Rocky Ridge First Fridays 5-8:30pm, Rocky Ridge Square/ Rocky Ridge Plaza, Vestavia Hills. Arts and crafts, bands, demonstrations, games, kid zone, outdoor family movies, specialty foods and more. Parking available at Vestavia Hills High School with shuttle service.

Art After 5 5-9pm, Birmingham Museum of Art. The museum’s newest series with art, music, making and mixing. Each month brings a new blend of art and entertainment, including mini studio art classes, guest musicians, tapas tastings, local mixologists and more. All galleries open. BMA members free, general admission $10. Doctor Dolittle JR. 7:30pm, Red Mountain Theatre Company Cabaret Theatre. The classic tale of kindness to animals in this family musical. Tickets $20 adults, $10 children. 205-3242424, our-season/doctor-dolittle/. Falling in Love with Music 7:30pm, Dorothy Jemison Day Theater, Alabama School of Fine Arts. Fall music performance

featuring ASFA’s orchestra, choir and jazz ensemble. $10 adults, $5 students. .

5 SATURDAY Pepper Place Market 7am-noon, 2829 2nd Ave. South. Fresh produce, vendors and more. Rain or shine. Vulcan Run 8am, Birmingham City Hall. The 42nd annual 10K run has attracted more than 1,500 runners in recent years. Register, https:// Moss Rock Festival 10am-5pm, Moss Rock Preserve, Hoover. A two-day free, eco-creative festival exploring nature, eco-ideas, art + design. Free shuttles from the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.

Lego Club 10-11:30am, North Shelby Library. Creations go on display in the Children’s Department! All ages welcome, no registration required. Teen CPR and First Aid Training 1-4pm, Homewood Public Library. The library and the Homewood Fire and Rescue Service present this American Heart Association-certified class. $10 fee, registration online required. Limited space. Doctor Dolittle JR. 2pm, 7:30pm, Red Mountain Theatre Company Cabaret Theatre, see Nov. 4.

6 SUNDAY Daylight Savings Time Ends Moss Rock Festival 10am-4pm, Moss Rock Preserve, Hoover, see Nov. 5.

PLEASE NOTE: Events may change after publication deadline; please phone ahead to confirm important information. The deadline for submitting calendar items for the December 2016/January 2017 print issue is November 4. Mail calendar items to: Calendar, Birmingham Parent, P.O. Box 326, Helena, AL 35080; fax to 987-7600; e-mail to; or enter directly to the online calendar at Entries added online after the print deadline will not appear in the print version. Information cannot be accepted over the phone. Guidelines: Birmingham Parent’s calendar is intended to be a resource and service to the community and our readers. Events which are open to the public, fundraisers, free classes, etc., are events that may be included in our monthly calendar. We reserve the right to reject any event or listing due to rules or space restrictions. For questions regarding calendar entries, call 987-7700 or e-mail 40 | birminghamparent | november 2016


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Out of the Darkness Community Walk 1-5pm, Heardmont Park and Senior Center. Presented by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Check in/registration begins at 1pm, walk at 2:30pm. Funds will raise money for AFSP research, education, awareness and saving lives. FREE admission. Doctor Dolittle JR. 2pm, Red Mountain Theatre Company Cabaret Theatre, see Nov. 4.

7 MONDAY Veterans Memorial Arbor Dedication Aldridge Gardens, Hoover. The 125-foot Veterans Memorial Arbor across the dam of the Aldridge Gardens lake will be officially dedicated. Information, start time, 205-682-8019, Knight Chess Tournament 5:30-7pm, Homewood Library.

A monthly chess tournament to learn strategy and have fun! Preschool to 12th grade. FREE. UAB Percussion Ensemble 7:30pm, Alys Stephens Center. Directed by Gene Fambrough. 205-934-7376, edu. FREE.


ELECTION DAY UAB Jazz Combos 7:30pm, Mary Culp Hulsey Recital Hall. Directed by Carlos Pino and Steve Roberts. 205-934-7376, FREE.

9 WEDNESDAY UAB Brass Chamber Ensembles in Concert 7:30pm, Mary Culp Hulsey Recital Hall. Featuring Blazer trumpets, trombone choir, tuba and euphonium ensemble and other brass student ensembles. 205-9347376, FREE.

10 THURSDAY Homeschool Hour: What’s Up, Doc? 1:30pm, Homewood Library. Interested in learning more about the medical field? Maybe you have an interest in learning how the heart works or discovering how food affects your body. Six doctors from various medical areas will discuss their specific fields and what they do every day. No registration required. Suggested for ages 10 years old and up. For more information, please contact Judith Wright at jrwright@bham. or at 205-332-6622. iTween: Survival Skills 4pm, Homewood Library. Most people are prepared to survive in the woods if they are camping or backpacking but most times people are not prepared when they get lost in the woods while taking a short hike. Troop 95 will teach participants some basic skills and practices should anyone get lost in the woods. No registration. Open to 4th-7th graders.

Alabama Symphony Orchestra Red Diamond SuperPops! Series 7pm, Wright Center, Samford University. On the eve of Veterans Day, the symphony salutes our Armed Forces with a patriotic concert featuring Big Band favorites. Tickets, information, 205-975-2787,


VETERANS DAY Veterans Day Celebration 9am-4pm, Children’s Hands-On Museum, Tuscaloosa. Our Thanks to Veterans Everywhere! We hope that you’ll join us at CHOM on Veterans Day as we make Flag Cards for veterans. 205-3494235, http://www.chomonline. org. National Veterans Day Parade 1:30pm, 18th St. and 8th Ave. N, downtown Birmingham (near Boutwell Auditorium). The oldest and largest Veterans Day cele- | 41


Let ou r hearts be full of both

Thanks and Giving

Help us stock the diaper bank for families in need Businesses, local organizations & individuals all welcome!


Where all the dental needs of your child can be met under one roof! Dr. Olga Sanchez-Hernandez is dual trained as a pediatric dentist and a board certified orthodontist

SERVICES INCLUDE: Dentistry for children and adolescents Dentistry for patients with disabilities Orthodontics for children and adults We offer traditional metal brackets, as well as clear We also do Invisalign

4814 Bell Hill Rd. Bessemer, AL 35022 205-477-8004 like us on facebook WE FILE ALL INSURANCE AS A COURTESY. WE ARE PROVIDERS FOR MOST INSURANCE COMPANIES.

42 | birminghamparent | november 2016

bration. Stand and be counted! Honoring our veterans, celebrating the freedom that their dedication and sacrifice afford us each day. Information, Full Life Ahead Foundation Family Camp Weekend Nov. 11-13, Children’s Harbor. Full Life Ahead takes families with teens and young adults who have disAbilities on Family Weekends. To maximize time during the weekend we have agendas for the teens and young adults, while parents enjoy their own separate educational sessions. Children’s Harbor donates their facilities on the beautiful Lake Martin for a family weekend full of fun, learning and sharing that include camp activities such as boating, arts and crafts, a Saturday night karaoke party, campfires, putt-putt and more! The cost for camp is $30 per person and includes meals, accommodations, programs and activities for the entire weekend. For more information or to register for camp, 205-439-6534 or visit www. UAB Computer Music in Concert 7:30pm, Mary Culp Hulsey Recital Hall.

12 SATURDAY Pepper Place Market 7am-noon, 2829 2nd Ave. South. Fresh produce, vendors and more. Rain or shine. www. Hikes for Tykes 10am, Birmingham Botanical Gardens. A handson program for preschool children and their families. FREE. Gobble and Wobble at CHOM! 10am-4pm, Children’s Hands-On Museum, Tuscaloosa. It’s Turkey Trot Music Time! Gobble Turkey Toast and track a turkey! All activities included in admission 205-349-4235, http:// Take Out Bullying – Sketch Comedy Show 2:30pm, Alabama School of Fine Arts. Renowned student written and acted show about bullying. FREE.

13 SUNDAY Southeastern Outings Dayhike 1pm, Oak Mountain State Park. Enjoy a moderate 4-mile walk in the woodlands. Well-behaved, properly supervised children 8 and up able to walk the distance welcome. No smoking or pets. Depart 1pm from park office parking lot. Bring park admission $5/person, $2/seniors plus a drink. Edd Spencer, 205-317-5868.

14 MONDAY Extreme Etiquette: Holiday Edition 4:15pm, Albert L. Scott Library, Alabaster. Join Kathie Martin of the Etiquette School of Birmingham. The whole family can learn by enjoying a simple meal before the holidays. Learn what is acceptable to eat with your hands, appropriate table conversation and more! Sign up in advance – space is limited. 205-664-6822.

15 TUESDAY ASFA Open House for Prospective Students 3:30pm, Alabama School of Fine Arts, 1800

Calendar sponsored by

Rev. Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd. Birmingham. Reservations not necessary. Learn about the school and its admission process. Admission to ASFA, a tuition-free public school, is by audition only. Birmingham Science Café 6-8pm, John’s City Diner. The McWane Science Center and the Research Civitan Club at UAB team to present this monthly event for geeks and non-geeks alike! UAB Gospel Choir presents “The Classics” 7pm, Alys Stephens Center. The choir’s 21st anniversary concert, directed by Kevin Turner. Tickets, information, 205-975-2787, www.uab. edu/cas/music. UAB Piano Studio and Piano Ensembles Recital 7:30pm, Mary Culp Hulsey Recital Hall. Featuring the students of Yakov Kasman, with piano ensembles directed by Tatiana Kasman. 205934-7376, FREE.

16 WEDNESDAY UAB Student Recital 12:20-1:20pm, Mary Culp Hulsey Recital Hall. Featuring advanced students in the Department of Music, with Chris Steele, pianist. 205934-7376, FREE. Dailey & Vincent Concert 7:30pm, Hoover Library Theatre. Nine-time Grammy award winners individually, three-time Grammy award nominees collectively, and winners of 35 IBMA awards altogether, Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent are some of the most reputable and elite entertainers in bluegrass, traditional county and gospel music. Tickets, $25 plus processing fee. 205-444-7888.

17 THURSDAY Star Spangled Salute Family Event 6:30-7:30pm, Homewood Library. Celebrate Veterans Day with us as we listen to wonderful singers, learn some swing dancing, meet a real life Rosie the Riveter and dance along with Homewood High’s Star Spangled Girls! 205332-6619. FREE. Dailey & Vincent Concert 7:30pm, Hoover Library Theatre, see Nov. 16.

18 FRIDAY American Girls Club 4pm, Albert L. Scott Library, Alabaster. Girls age 7 and older can come with or without a doll to learn about Kit and her 1934 world. Sign up at 205-664-6822. Dailey & Vincent 7:30pm, Hoover Library Theatre, see Nov. 16. Autumn Dance Performance 7:30pm, Dorothy Jemison Day Theater, Alabama School of Fine Arts. Mixed repertory show with classical ballet and contemporary choreography. $10 adults, $5 students. www.

19 SATURDAY Pepper Place Market 7am-noon, 2829 2nd Ave. South. Fresh produce, vendors and more. Rain or shine. www.


Calendar sponsored by

Hikes for Tykes 10am, Birmingham Botanical Gardens. A hands-on program for preschool children and their families. FREE.


Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra Fall Concert 2pm, Alys Stephens Center, UAB. FREE.

Pepper Place Market 7am-noon, 2829 2nd Ave. South. Fresh produce, vendors and more. Rain or shine. www.

Fred L. Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award Celebration 7pm, The Lyric Theatre. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute will present its highest honor to Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. Information, 205-328-9696.


Autumn Dance Performance 7:30pm, Dorothy Jemison Day Theater, Alabama School of Fine Arts, see Nov. 18.

20 SUNDAY Southeastern Outings Wildflower Walk 2:30pm, Homewood Forest Preserve. The city of Homewood owns two forest preserves on Shades Mountain adjacent to Homewood High School. Spend a relaxing two hours walking and admiring wildflowers in the lower preserve. Rated moderately easy. Well-behaved, properly supervised children 6-older welcome. Meet 2:30pm in the high school east parking lot off Lakeshore Drive. Dan Frederick, 205-631-4680, seoutings@ Autumn Dance Performance 2:30pm, Dorothy Jemison Day Theater, Alabama School of Fine Arts, see Nov. 18.

21 MONDAY LEGO Club 6-7pm, Homewood Library. Join us for an exciting new building challenge each month. K-5th grade.


Southeastern Outings Dayhike 1pm, Horse Creek Trail, Dora/Sumiton. Easy 3.2 mile walk. Walk on one of Alabama’s rails to trails conversion routes on an old railroad right of way. Smooth, flat, wide and level paved trail. Bring a drink. No smoking or pets. Depart at 1pm from the now-closed Kmart Green Springs or at 1:30pm in the left entrance lobby of WalMart in Sumiton. Dan Frederick, 205-631-4680,

28 MONDAY Family Flix 3:30pm, Homewood Library. Enjoy a box of popcorn and a cup of lemonade and watch our beloved fish friend find her way home! ACT Practice Test 4-7pm, Homewood Library. Teens invited to take this free test offered through Kaplan Test Prep. Space limited; online registration required via the library’s website. Information, 205-332-6622,, www. FREE.

29 TUESDAY Homework Help 4pm, Homewood Library, Room 101. Need some extra homework help? Elementary and middle school students are welcome to drop in for some free homework assistance from local high school students. No registration required. For more information, please contact Judith Wright at or at (205) 332-6622.




BY BECKY The only voice in travel that MATTERS! Catch The Travel Voice by Becky on Saturday’s in Shelby County on FM 99.9 APH Radio at 11 a.m. and anytime on iHeart Radio! Great travel information, special deals, awesome guests, spectacular on location LIVE events and amazing giveaways!

For more information, visit | 43

events & attractions Birmingham Museum of Art Winter Wonderland and the Magic of Model Trains. It’s the most wonderful time of the year at McWane Science Center! November 19-December 31.

Bart’s Art Cart! Free drop-in art program for kids and families features a different theme from galleries and art activity each month. Saturdays from 11am-1pm. 2000 Rev. Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd., Birmingham. 205-2542565,

Birmingham Zoo

Aldridge Botanical Gardens 3530 Lorna Road, Hoover. 205-682-8019,

*Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame 1631 Fourth Ave. N., Birmingham. 205-254-2731,

*Alabama School of Fine Arts

sure to download the treasure map to take with you. www. 2612 Lane Park Road, Birmingham. 205-414-3900, www.

Birmingham Children’s Theatre

*Alabama Sports Hall of Fame

1001 19th St. North, Birmingham, AL, 35203, 205-458-8181,

2150 Richard Arrington Blvd. N., Birmingham. 323-6665,

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

1800 Rev. Abraham Woods, Jr. Blvd.

Alabama Wildlife Center 100 Terrace Drive, Pelham. 205-663-7930.

Albert L Scott Alabaster Public Library Story Times: Tunes & Tales: Wednesdays at 3:30pm in Library Meeting Room, all ages Toddler Tales: Fridays at 10:30am in the Library Meeting Room, 2 and 3 year olds. 100 9th Street NW, Alabaster, AL, 35007. 205-664-6822,

American Village Highway 119, Montevallo. 205-665-3535,

Barber Motorsports Park 6040 Barber Motorsports Parkway, Leeds. 205-298-9040,

Birmingham Botanical Gardens When visiting the Gardens, be

BCRI will present its highest honor, the Fred L. Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award, to Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton at 7pm November 19, The Lyric Theatre. Information, 205-328-9696. • Hope in Motion: The Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. ACMHR was founded in 1956 by Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth and other Birmingham ministers after Alabama banned the NAACP from operating in the state. The exhibit features rarely seen photographs and is made possible with funding from the Alabama Humanities Foundation. Through December 31. • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. & the Chicago Freedom Movement: Photographs by Bernard J. Kleina. BCRI will display its collection of rare color photos in this exhibition marking the 50th anniversary of the Chicago Freedom Movement. Through December 31. 6th St. N., Birmingham. 205-328-9696,

In-park Special Attractions include: Giraffe Feedings, 9:30-11:30am; 1-3pm, daily. $3. Train Rides, 9am-5pm Monday-Sunday, $3. Children’s Zoo Fountains daily. Carousel Rides, 9am-5pm daily. Sea Lion Training, Daily 10am & 2pm Lorikeet Feedings, 10am-4pm, daily. $1.50. Predator Zone, Saturday & Sunday 11:30am & 3:30pm. Children’s Zoo Goat Show, 2pm daily. 2630 Cahaba Road, Birmingham. 205-879-0409,

Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum The popular North Pole Express rides start November 18, and the Santa Special gets moving on November 26! Get your tickets now! Information on the events, tickets, 205-757-8383, www. 1919 Ninth St., Calera. 205-6683435,

McWane Science Center Turkey Science! From 9am-5pm November 21 to November 23, enjoy these special activities that feature November’s favorite bird.

gift for kids when checking in, 30 percent discount on gift shop purchases, $1 small popcorn at IMAX concession stand and a free members-only evening event each month. Also, on the second Monday of each month, McWane opens its doors from 5-8pm for its members. IMAX Movies: • Wild Africa. Come on a spectacular ride across, over and through the magical realms of the most dramatic continent on earth. Through January 31, 2017. • National Parks Adventure. Travel over exposed rock faces, down steep mountain cliffs and through other-worldly realms found within America’s most legendary outdoor places. 200 19th St. N., Birmingham. 205-714-8300,

*Moss Rock Preserve Preserve Parkway, Hoover. 205-739-7141,

*Oak Mountain State Park 200 Terrace Drive, Pelham. 205-620-2520,

Roy Downs Calera Library Story Times: *Family Story Time: Tuesdays at 10am *Sweet Pea (0-2 years old): Thursdays at 9am *Calera Kids (3 and up): Thursdays at 10am Summer Reading Program: Tuesdays at 5:30pm 9700 Highway 25, Calera. 205668-7200.

Ruffner Mountain Nature Center

• Winter Wonderland and the Magic of Model Trains. It’s the most wonderful time of the year at McWane Science Center! The Magic of Model Trains and Winter Wonderland is back to delight families throughout the holiday season. Coast down the Ice Slide and take a whirl across the room on the extended zip line. Climb aboard the McWane Train and go for a ride before checking out the Magic of Model Trains exhibit. November 19December 31.

1214 81st St. S., Birmingham. 205-833-8264,

Member Mondays. Every Monday, McWane Science Center members receive extra perks while visiting! Includes a special

Vulcan Park

Southern Museum of Flight 4343 73rd St. N., Birmingham. 205-833-8226,

Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park 12632 Confederate Parkway, McCalla. 205-477-5711,

1701 Valley View Drive, Birmingham. 205-933-1409,


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poetry party

by Charles Ghigna

Autumn Poems Autumn is a colorful time of year! The air is fresh, the sky is blue, the trees wear their brightest hue! Here are some autumn “leaves” for you!

Autumn The time of year that I like best Is when the world is color-blessed, When trees put on their brightest clothes And chilly winds light up each nose, When playful days are turned inside And families feast at fireside, Before snowflakes begin to fall And sleds and snowmen have a ball.

NOW YOU TRY IT! What do you like about this time of year? Pumpkins? Leaves? Thanksgiving Vacation? Pick a topic you like about autumn and write your own colorful poem about it! 46 | birminghamparent | november 2016

Autumn Haiku

It’s always fun this time of year When autumn comes and winter’s near.

Artist Autumn comes, paints her blush across each tree, drops palette, and leaves.

Autumn’s Way


In their yellow-most goings, leaves of maple ride breezes to the ground. You can hear their sound each autumn afternoon as the crisp air cuts through the trees and hurries us along the golden sidewalks home.

When owls hide in the treetops, When fields are stubble and bare, When geese fly high in the cool, clear sky, And the days are sunny and fair, When pumpkins appear on the porches And shadows chase after the day, When runaway leaves dance in the breeze— Winter is on the way.

For more poetry activities, visit the Father Goose website at Want to submit YOUR poems for publication? Parents, here are some magazines that publish poems written by children: • http://www.,



DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR KIDS WANT TO DO NEXT SUMMER? Saturday, February 11, 2017 • 10am-3pm • FREE RIVERCHASE GALLERIA UPPER LEVEL Booths & Sponsorships available! CALL NOW! 205-987-7700 or


200 19th STREET NORTH • BIRMINGHAM, AL • (205) 714-8300 • WWW.MCWANE.ORG

48 | birminghamparent | november 2016

Birmingham Parent Magazine November 2016  

The November 2016 issue of Birmingham Parent

Birmingham Parent Magazine November 2016  

The November 2016 issue of Birmingham Parent