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• Practical Nursing • BSN in Nursing • A.S. Nursing (LPN to RN) • Dental Assistant • Pharmacy Technician • Medical Assistant/Phlebotomy • A.S. Medical Laboratory Technician • A.S. Respiratory Care • Surgical Technologist • Medical Office Admin. Specialist • A.S. Culinary Arts • Pastry Arts Licensed by O.B.P.V.S.

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September 2012

10 MLB Fan Cave Edmond-native Kyle Thompson is living the dream in New York City getting paid to watch baseball in the MLB Fan Cave.


Hollywood Dreams

10 Sports

Fan Cave

12 Louise


13 Shopping

Fabulous Fall

15 Food

Los Arcos Food Favorites

18 Business

Science Fit OK Allergy & Asthma Heritage Renovations

22 Home

Making Homework Fun

25 Style

Fall: Get The Look

27 Life Goes On How a tragic accident can change everything yet nothing

30 Get to Stepping Santa Fe HS Stomp Team competes in New York City

32 Second Chances How pet fostering saves thousands of animals in OK

34 Safe House Local organizations strive to eradicate human trafficking

36 I'm Just Me Miss Black UCO 2012 shares her struggles with dyslexia

38 My Edmond Outlook

Regan Killackey, HS Teacher Cover photo of Heather Herrera taken by Marshall Hawkins

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13431 N. Broadway Ste. 104 OKC, OK 73114 Office: 405-341-5599 Fax: 405-341-2020

PUBLISHER Dave Miller EDITORIAL & ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Krystal Harlow EDITOR Erica Smith ADVERTISING SALES Laura Beam Lori Cathey PRODUCTION DESIGN Karen Munger PHOTOGRAPHY Marshall Hawkins DISTRIBUTION The Edmond Outlook is delivered FREE by direct-mail to 50,000 Edmond homes.

(Volume 8, Number 9) Edmond Outlook is a publication of Back40 Design, Inc. Š 2012 Back40 Design, Inc. Articles and advertisements in Edmond Outlook do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the magazine or Back40 Design. Back40 Design does not assume responsibility for statements made by advertisers or editorial contributors. The acceptance of advertising by Edmond Outlook does not constitute endorsement of the products, services or information. We do not knowingly present any product or service that is fraudulent or misleading in nature. Edmond Outlook assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials. 7


assidee Vandalia never planned to be in movies. Now, she’s already acted in five and four of them were just this year. All five were shot, at least partly, in Oklahoma. That helps, considering she’s a relatively normal teenager at Edmond Memorial High School. Still, there are conflicts. Her latest feature, “Hollis,” lensed in the town of Hollis, Oklahoma in May, but she wound up playing hooky so she could spend more time on the set. “I was scheduled for four (days), but I stayed for a couple more just to hang out with everyone,” she said. “I was missing high school, but really, on a set, there’s no other place I’d like to be.” Vandalia started acting at Central Middle School in Edmond, under drama instructor Beth Stukey. “It was just something I did for fun and realized that I loved it and that I was good at it,” she said. “Really, it surprised everyone.” Vandalia did a lot of theater in middle school, and in eighth grade she attended the Oklahoma Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain to develop her craft. Her judge, local casting director Chris Friehofer, said to her, “I want to put you in movies.” “It was really exciting,” she remembers. “I never thought of doing film.” In addition to “Hollis,” later this year she can be seen in visionary director Terrence Malick’s “To the Wonder,” his first film since his Academy Award nomination for “The Tree of Life.” In it, Vandalia shares a scene with Javier Bardem, the actor who played a memorable hit man in “No Country for Old Men” and will square off against James Bond this winter. Bardem plays a priest and Vandalia plays a bride-to-be. Also this year, she filmed “Yellow” with director Nick Cassavetes (“The Notebook”) and “So This is Christmas,” a

HOLLYWOOD DREAMS by Nathan Winfrey

holiday drama. In 2010, she appeared in “Heaven’s Rain,” about a real-life Oklahoma tragedy. She says sometimes actors forget about each other after they part ways, but this summer she spent a month in California catching up with her younger “So This is Christmas” cast mates and she hopes she never forgets the people she worked with on “Hollis.” “There’s just so many people there that I completely connected with,” she remembers. “It really was a great cast and crew.” Vandalia landed the role of Mary in the film “Hollis” after writer/director Sonny Priest saw her in a test scene filmed for another movie. “You could tell she had talent right away,” Priest said. What led Vandalia to accept the role in Priest’s film was the quality of the script. “It was really good,” she said. “Hollis” is about a high school grad having to choose between family obligations and college. She also was interested in the subject matter, which addressed autism. Once she took the role, Priest wasn’t disap-

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pointed. “She doesn’t overplay things, which is really hard for young people not to do,” he says. “It’s so hard not to overact,” Vandalia admits. She says the best characters are the ones who seem like they could be someone’s mom or best friend. “You can relate to those people.” One thing Priest thinks helps her as a film actress is that these days she only does movies and she doesn’t need to “unlearn” anything from the theater acting style. “She hasn’t picked up what would be film bad habits but theater good habits,” he explains. “That’s one of the reasons I think she’s really natural. She’s really good; she has good instincts.” In “Hollis,” Vandalia plays a nice, moral person. Although that’s closer to Vandalia’s real-life personality than some of her other characters, it was still a bit of a departure from the norm. “In middle school I played ‘Rizzo’ in ‘Grease’ and in ‘So This is Christmas’ I was kind of the edgy girl,” she said. “I’ve never really played a ‘girl next door.’ My character in ‘Hollis’ is sweet; she’s caring. She’s

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innocent and wholesome. It was refreshing to play a character like that.” However, she doesn’t want to limit herself to one type. “I like both because I’m a complete goof, so playing an edgy girl — bad, the wrong side of the tracks — is fun because it’s completely the opposite of me,” she explains. “Hollis” is still in postproduction, so a distribution plan isn’t nailed down yet, but Priest hopes to start with some festival showings. In the meantime, Vandalia has a couple auditions coming up, Cassidee Vandalia on the set of Hollis and she recently had her first experience with the other side of filmmaking, as a production assistant. “It’s my first time being on set and not acting,” she says, adding that while directing might interest her in the future, for now she plans to focus on acting. After graduation, she plans to skip college for now and head for Hollywood. “When I get to L.A., however long it takes, I just want my dream to come true.” 9

Kyle Thompson enjoying the MLB Fan Cave (Photos courtesy of Jessica Foster/MLB)


ots of people wish they could watch baseball for a living, but no one expects to actually get to do it, except for Edmond man Kyle Thompson and a few lucky “cave-dwellers” whose job is to watch all 2,430 Major League Baseball games this season. Squirreled away in the MLB Fan Cave in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, with a wall of TV screens and a bevy of celebrity couch-mates, life since March has consisted primarily of one thing: baseball. So far, they’ve watched more than 1,700 games, sometimes as many as 14 simultaneously. It’s partly to prove they can do it, but it’s more to let people all over the world get a taste of every fan’s dream job. “We’re literally in baseball heaven,” Thompson beams. “As a baseball fan, there is no better experience other than if you were to actually go watch all of the games, and that would be impossible.” About six months ago, almost immediately after earning an MBA from the University of Central Oklahoma, Thompson and his wife, Kelsi, temporarily said goodbye to Edmond and their home state and reported to New York City. No one actually lives in the Cave — Thompson and his wife have an apartment close by — but he has spent nearly every waking hour in the Cave since he arrived, and he never gets a day off. “I don’t leave until the West Coast games are over, which is one or two in the morning, most nights,” he says. Thompson admits it wears on him when he can’t spend every evening with his wife, his dog and his friends. He wouldn’t still be in New York without Kelsi’s support. As for their new city, “She loves it,” he reports, although he admits, “We’re not living real life right now; we’re living in New York City and


FAN CAVE by Nathan Winfrey

someone’s paying me to watch baseball.” He and eight others were picked from 22,000 applicants who submitted two essays and a video. The cave-dwellers relay their experiences to the outside world through social media and TV. They blog, tweet and post, upload videos to YouTube and host concerts and special guests. “There’s a different challenge that comes up every day, so it’s definitely not a stagnant environment,” Thompson assures.

“...we're living in New York City and someone's paying me to watch baseball.” He keeps a running list of every celebrity, team and band he’s met since he arrived in New York, and that list now has more than 200 names on it. Thompson has played drums while actor Craig Robinson (“The Office”) played keyboard. He’s performed a magic trick for Penn Jillete (of Penn & Teller). He’s hung out with Derek Jeter and met Charlie Sheen. “He was one of the most cordial and polite visitors that we’ve had,” Thompson says of Sheen. “He knows everything about the game of baseball.” Thompson even has his own baseball card, created by Topps. On it, he’s swinging a bat while wearing the jersey of his beloved Cardinals. “I was like a little kid the whole time,” Thompson says of

the experience. The cave-dwellers were treated like baseball players and got to sit down with their own personal designer who put the cards together right in front of them. “As a kid, I played all the time,” he said, and from an early age he’s been a Cardinals fan. “I wasn’t the type of fan who would exclusively watch one team,” he said. It didn’t matter who was playing, he would be watching baseball. “It’s interesting to look back and say, ‘Wow, I started doing this back then, and sort of have been my entire life.’” Life in the Cave is a dream, but eliminations come at unexpected times with little warning. When they learn that someone will soon be sent home, “it hangs above you like a big, mean cloud,” Thompson said. The original nine have been whittled to four. Who gets cut is based on fan voting, social-media following, Facebook likes and how the cave-dwellers communicate with their followers and handle themselves in general. “There’s a lot of things that go into it,” he explains. Thompson predicts, “There will be more people sent home. They say there is one overall winner of this thing.” Attending the World Series in October is the final stage of their adventure. Thompson tries to be a good ambassador for Oklahoma. “[It] makes me feel like I’m accomplishing the goals I set out to do, and that’s to represent the Cardinals well, to represent my state well and represent my God well. And I feel like if I fail in any of those areas, it wasn’t worth being here.” Those who want to help Thompson stay in the Fan Cave can vote for him an unlimited number of times on or follow him on Twitter @KyleOKC. 11

About the Author

SNAKE! by Louise Tucker Jones


kay, I was minding my own business, getting my son, Jay, set up to watch TV, having removed the orthopedic boot he was wearing for a stress fracture. Afterwards, I opened the back door, as is my daily routine, to let in the morning light when what to my wondering eyes should appear on the threshold of the doorway but a SNAKE! No, I was not wearing my SUPER MOM shirt as in years past when a large, black serpent sidled up to our patio door then disappeared into the monkey grass.

“Yikes, it's in the house, crawling along the wall and corner behind the door.” Having three young ones at home at that time, I yanked on my boots and grabbed a garden hoe to go search out the creature. Not sure how to kill a snake with a gardening tool but that’s what my mama always used on the farm to kill such creepy critters when I was growing up. It seemed fitting that I was wearing the SUPER MOM shirt the kids had given me for Mother’s Day. Now I had to prove I was one. Thankfully, my husband drove up and saved the day after staring at me in disbelief and laughing himself silly over my appearance. Thank goodness there were no cell phones to snap pictures in those days.


Louise Tucker Jones is an award-winning author and inspirational speaker. Author and co-author of four books, her work has been featured in numerous publications. Contact her at: or

He is not enjoying this—neither am I. Blood presSo here I am, years later, and faced with another sure rising, heart palpitating. Deep breaths! Deep cold-blooded creature. I slammed the door shut, breaths! Guide the snake back to the doorway. He feeling certain that would save us from the reptile, quickly slides through the opening, past the threshbut no, the skinny serpent started slithering in unold, out of the house and onto der the door. I grabbed Jay’s the deck through a tiny openwalker and pushed the wheel ing in the bottom corner beup against the snake’s shiny low the storm door. black body then ran to the gaI grab a can of ant rage for a weapon. A one-inch spray—the only thing I have cube yardstick that I once on hand—and shower the used to kill a mouse seemed threshold with it, hoping it appropriate. Okay, there was a will discourage snakes. Then I hatchet close by so I grabbed slam the door shut and lock it. it too. Right, the lock means nothing Back in the house, I still to snakes, spiders and scorsee part of the snake’s body pions but made me feel betsquirming under the door. ter. 
Whew! I’m exhausted! I think maybe I can just let Did you ask how long, him outside if I can open the how big the creature was? glass storm door, so I gently, Hmmm, about a foot long and gradually open the wooden, Alexandria Jones with pet snake as big around as a pencil. Solid inside door but the snake black with a red ring around his neck. I look it up on disappears. I can’t see it on the threshold anywhere. Google. As I read about the common, non-poisonOh dear, what happened? Did I squish it with the ous ring-neck snake, I can almost hear Alexandria, door? Did it escape? I have no shoes on so I can’t my seven-year-old, curly-haired granddaughter and stomp on it if it’s near me. Where did it go? Yikes, little snake-catcher say, “It’s a friendly snake, Gramit’s in the house, crawling along the wall and corner mi-Lou.” Well, for my sake, we hope so. Actually for behind the door. the snake’s sake too, because if it returns, the yardOh no, I must save my son who is stuck in the stick will not be my weapon of choice! 

 recliner. I grab the yardstick and poke at the snake.

Pet Medical Center of Edmond is hosting the 3rd Annual Pet Health Fair on October 6, 2012 from 10a.m.- 2p.m. This event is FREE and open to the community. A silent auction and raffle will be held to raise money for the Edmond Animal Shelter. There will be food from Wild Al's food truck, Edmond K9 Unit demonstration, educational seminar and live pet adoptions. Many thanks to all our generous donors who made this event possible. Located at 1001 W. 15th St. 348-6580 •

Need an honest, hardworking individual you can trust to clean your home? Ree's Housekeeping & Sweets is insured for your peace of mind and offers weekly, bi-weekly, special event and deep cleaning services along with specialty homemade sweets with each visit. Plus enjoy great discounts for referrals. Call 330-6157 for a free estimate!

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Beaucoup Boutiques has all the latest looks for fall, featuring over 15 vendors with boutique clothing, decor, purses, hand-made jewelry and children’s items! Open Mon-Sat 10-5:30. 111 S. Broadway in downtown Edmond 285-7511 •


It's about time to close up the pool! Call Oasis Pools & Spas to schedule your pool closing or to set up a winter maintenance plan. Our licensed, bonded and insured technicians are experts in pool repair, cleaning and remodeling. Stop by our store at 1333 N. Santa Fe or call 340-6442.

Always a blast at the Parkhurst Pumpkin Patch! Feed the animals, ride a pony, conquer the new Fun Fort or roast a s’more or two. Bring in this ad to save $1 opening weekend, Sept. 27th–30th! Now booking parties, field trips, and other events, as well as trips through the Moonlight Maze! 720 Henney Rd. in Arcadia 405-315-7392 • For details check out Like us on Facebook!

It's football time! Accessorize in style at Hip & Swanky! We have everything you need to support your favorite team including a great selection of hip tees, hard-to-find boutique dresses, tops and jewelry as well as Corral and Old Gringo boots. Located at 1247 E. Danforth (Kickingbird Square) 341-3066

One Lucky Mutt natural health market and selfserve dog wash is now open! You'll find an array of fun gift items, all-natural food, treats & grooming products. Pamper your pooch at the self-serve dog wash which includes natural shampoos, conditioners, eye and ear wipes, toothbrushes, grooming tools and towels - Half price when you mention this ad! 15220 N. Western • 348-6888 Find us on Facebook! (oneluckymuttokc) 13


French Onion Soup


2 lbs white onions, sliced thin Swiss cheese 1 tbsp butter French bread crustinis 2 oz white wine Salt and pepper to taste 2 qt beef stock or broth


In a medium sauce pan, combine butter and onions. Cook onions until dark brown and caramelized, stirring occasionally. (This will take at least 20 minutes) Add white wine and cook for 1 minute. Add the beef stock and let simmer for 45 minutes, salt and pepper to taste. Top soup with bread and Swiss cheese to serve.

Note: To make crustinis, slice French baguette into thick slices. Spread

with butter and toast at 325 ° for 20 minutes or until very crisp.

Submitted by: Shauna Petty Shauna works from home as Chef Shauna giving cooking lessons, catering small parties and decorating cakes. She’s also a full-time mom to 5-year-old Kyla.

To submit a recipe for consideration in future publications, email:


LOS ARCOS by Laura Beam

Co-Owners, Fernando Garcia & Rene Diaz


n today’s society of mass-produced goods and drive-thru lifestyles, discovering a truly authentic treasure in your hometown is a welcomed treat. Los Arcos Mexican Restaurant is one such treat, bringing the flavor and flair of Mexico’s famed cuisine home to Edmond. Hailing from Aguascalientes, a Mexican state two hours outside Guadalajara, Mexico, Los Arcos owners Fernando Garcia and Rene Diaz come by their culinary roots naturally. Though the two never met while living in Aguascalientes, they found an extraordinary kinship after moving to Oklahoma. Separately drawn to a popular Mexican chain restaurant in Oklahoma City by relatives employed there, Garcia and Diaz diligently worked in service positions. As the two openly recount about their early beginnings in the states, “When you come to America, you come to work.” From dishwasher and server positions and up through the ranks over more than a decade, they paid more than their dues; they paid attention. Sharing a strong working relationship and an integral faith through their church affiliation, Garcia

and Diaz formed a trusting bond. In 2006, the two partnered as co-owners, opening Los Arcos Mexican Restaurant in Edmond. Aptly named in honor of the ranch where they grew up in Mexico, Los Arcos, meaning ‘the arches,’ pays tribute to their heritage. Throughout the restaurant, arches are a prevalent decorative feature along with colorful earthen hues and scenic wall motifs reminiscent of the Mexican landscape and culture. Garcia and Diaz drew on their mutual strengths to realize the dream of owning their own restaurant. A tenacious work ethic and desire to offer customers the best food at reasonable prices is still their guiding mantra. The owners recall that the first two years of business were the most challenging, especially since they had worked for many years in south Oklahoma City and were relatively unknown in Edmond. “We were happy to find out how friendly the Edmond people were. After six years here, we still have new customers every day and love seeing all of our regulars, too,” the two remark. To the delight of Edmond residents, Los Arcos’ creative spirit and excellence are as plentiful on

the menu as in their operations. Customers enjoy their favorite traditional dishes plus a choice of five salsas, fish and shrimp entrées, mixed grill skillets, soups, appetizers and desserts, all prepared with the signature flavors of Mexico. One of the most popular dishes, Brochetas Los Arcos, tempts diners with two skewers of chopped steak, shrimp, chicken, bacon, bell pepper and onion, grilled and served with guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo, rice and beans. Fajitas are another menu highlight, with the beef marinated in Los Arcos’ own special marinade for 24 hours. Families with children especially enjoy Los Arcos, given the restaurant’s quick seating and 10 to 15-minute serve time, Diaz says. Flavored waters are fun for the kids and complimentary Queso and soapapillas score big with all diners. A full bar is also available. Located at 1718 East 2nd Street in Edmond, Los Arcos is open seven days a week. For more information, call 348-1800 or visit 15

FOODFAVORITES by Krystal Harlow

Edmond Wine Shop

The Melting Pot

Ron's Hamburgers

As wine festivals, football games and Oktoberfest celebrations usher in fall, let Edmond Wine Shop be your tour guide to a world of great taste this season. Around every corner of this impressive neighborhood shop, you’ll discover a variety of hand-selected wines, beers and popular spirits, all at great prices. Pick winning vintages from fall’s annual grape harvest, find a favorite new label you’ve enjoyed at a restaurant or ask about great tailgate wines for game day. Descriptive note cards and an expert, friendly staff let enthusiasts and newcomers browse with ease. If Oktoberfest’s toasty malt brews get your juices flowing, choose from a superb round of the season’s top quaffs. Shop at 1520 S. Boulevard and follow them on Facebook and Twitter for the latest tasting events and special sales. Or call 341-9122.

Teachers and school administrators, The Melting Pot’s September special is a true class act you don’t want to miss! Now through Sept. 30, school officials enjoy a chef-selected, four-course fondue dinner at half price. Your evening begins with luscious forkfuls of bread, veggies and apples dunked in a steamy pot of creamy cheese fondue. Next, enjoy a crisp salad with signature dressing followed by an entree platter that includes steak, chicken, seafood and pasta. The grand finale completes your dining extravaganza with fresh fruits, cheesecake, brownies and marshmallows swirled in a blissfully warm pot of gourmet chocolate fondue. Is there a more appealing way to reward yourself at the end of the day? Call 235-1000 for reservations. Located in Bricktown at 4 E. Sheridan Ave. Visit online at

Ron’s is the perfect lunch or dinner treat. Stop in and cool off with a real draft root beer in a frosted mug or an ice cold bucket of beer. Then treat yourself to the new Philly Cheesesteak Burger complete with a 1/3 pound Angus beef topped with grilled onions and bell peppers, sirloin steak and melted swiss cheese. The homemade chili is another hot item or try the famous Sausage Cheeseburger. Sides like fresh cut fries, beer battered onion rings and okra complete the delicious line-up. Want to spice things up? Try the Spanish Fries, deep fried with onions and jalepenos and you’ll know why Ron’s is one of Oklahoma’s best-loved burger and chili joints. If you need to feed a crowd on game day, Ron’s Hamburgers also does catering! Stop by 216 S. Santa Fe, call 844-7667 or find them on Facebook at ronsedmond.

16 17

Science Fit by Linda Treadway

Emblazoned on the Science Fit door is their philosophy: “Build your workout around your life… not your life around your workout!” Science Fit, located at Western Avenue and Memorial Road, opened its doors in May 2011 and has gained enough momentum for Dr. Trey Milligan to anticipate opening a second workout center in downtown Oklahoma City. Milligan graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in 1998 and has been a board certified family physician practicing urgent care since 2001. He read the research-based book “Body by Science” coauthored by Dr. Doug McGuff and John Little in college and became hooked. “I had read many of the research articles Doug lists in his book back in the ’90s, but I never put it together like Doug did,” he explains. “As soon as I read Doug’s book, I said, ‘Yeah, this makes sense.’” “Thirty minutes … once a week … no sweat!” is the mantra of the Science Fit workout. “Knowing you can get a safe, productive, metabolic conditioning workout in a 30-minute slot … we hope that


people would invest that much in their life to make that much difference down the road and maintain their function and not decline,” said Milligan. The workouts are private and the room is kept at a constant 64 degrees, so participants don’t sweat. Traditional exercise is often low-intensity over long periods. However, Milligan explains that by using the body’s naturally existing “adaptive response,” high-intensity and low-frequency workouts increase muscle mass in anticipation of future needs. This is why supervision is critical to get the level of exertion needed to produce this preprogrammed metabolic response. “We’re aiming for deep fatigue in the muscular effort,” he said. Science Fit uses technologically advanced MedX Exercise Equipment designed to ensure proper biomechanical function and enhance safety. It is also designed to work with the body’s natural range of motion to ensure proper muscle and joint function. “We do what you can do. I have clients with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or artificial joints. Therefore, we do a low-impact, slow, controlled style

Owner, Trey Milligan MD of training. But even within that, people have limited range of motion, so we have ways of changing the routine to accommodate those limitations and still achieve muscle stimulation and reap the benefits,” explains Milligan. There are many testimonials on the Science Fit website, with clients as young as 12 to some older than 80, with different backgrounds and health and fitness levels. However, they all have one thing in common: Science Fit is making a difference in their quality of life. For more information, go to or call Science Fit at 748-0028.

OK Allergy & Asthma by Linda Treadway The fall allergy season is almost upon Oklahoma, and that means the Oklahoma Allergy & Asthma Clinic (OAAC) is ready to help allergy-sufferers find relief with its high-tech facilities and highly-trained physicians. Serving the needs of Oklahomans and patients throughout the U.S. since 1925, they have kept up-to-date on the latest research and treatments. What does it take to become an allergist? Garyl G. Geist, chief operating officer, explains that after completing medical school, physicians undergo three years of training in internal medicine or pediatrics and must pass either the American Board of Internal Medicine or the American Board of Pediatrics exam. Internists and pediatricians interested in becoming an allergist/immunologist have at least an additional two years of study, called a fellowship, in an allergy/ immunology training program. Within the past two years, OAAC has added three new allergists from some of the top allergy, immunology and asthma programs in the country: Dr. Shahan Stutes from Ohio State University, Dr. Gregory Metz from Duke University and Dr. Laura Chong from Johns Hopkins University. With these additions to their existing staff of board-certified

physicians, it’s easy to see why the clinic has one of the best-trained staffs in the country. Most people think when they go to an allergist they will have to take allergy shots (immunotherapy). Actually, only about half of the patients referred become allergy patients. And only about half of those actually need allergy shots. The rest might only need medication. If immunotherapy is needed, it normally takes three to five years for completion. Immunotherapy represents one of three basic treatments, including allergen avoidance and medication, for allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis and asthma. Allergy shots are not effective for those with food or drug allergies or non-allergic conditions like infections. “In my first week working at the clinic I became a patient so I could understand what it was like from a patient’s perspective,” Geist said. “Turns out I was allergic and had moderate persistent asthma. Other than being diagnosed with bronchitis as a child, I’d never sought treatment. My primary physician would give me medicine to help manage the symptoms. I never knew there was a better way. I went 20 years as an adult without realizing I could

(L to R) Dr. Metz, Dr. Claflin & Dr. Bozalis have gone 20 years without feeling the way I did.” When testing for allergies, the needles are so small they barely scratch the skin. Immunotherapy is not the typical shots people think of and are far less painful and hardly felt. Considering they handle about 5,000 patients on immunotherapy at any given time, the staff goes out of their way to make sure they give the patient plenty of options. The main office is located at the Oklahoma Health Center campus with three satellite facilities around the metro area with additional hours on Saturdays. For more information, go to 19

Heritage Renovations by Linda Treadway “If you can dream it, we can build it!” That is the motto of Leslie and Dan Peake, owners of Heritage Renovations and experts in the home renovation business since 1985. Using the latest in architectural software, high-grade woods and their own cabinet shop to produce the highest quality materials, they ensure your renovation project will be a success. “We use a lot of high-tech machinery so we do produce the best quality cabinets possible, whereas most remodeling companies will build their cabinets on site, which means at the owner’s house,” explains Leslie. “You just cannot get the same quality.” During their 25 years of experience, the Peakes have completed thousands of projects. These not only include homes, but also businesses like Jason’s Deli, Cafe 7 and Panera Bread. Dan starts out providing a free estimate and discussing all available options. Once the client accepts the estimate, a special architectural program called Chief Architect Design enables the customer to see three-dimensional pictures of the plans and finalize


details before work begins. “We are a complete home renovation company. Kitchens and baths are one of our fortes, but we just finished a beautiful theater room in a home where we renovated their kitchen last year,” said Leslie. “Everything we do has our name on it. We were born and raised here and we try to keep up our values and always think of our customer’s convenience first.” As an experienced interior decorator, Leslie often goes with clients to pick out items from the showrooms, reducing the stress and confusion clients might experience when faced with so many choices. A smooth and stress-free experience, beautiful results and making their clients’ dreams come true are among their primary goals. They keep the work area clean, often bringing in special equipment to reduce dust and dirt, and complete the project as quickly as possible. Heritage Renovations works directly with Historical Preservation Societies when working on homes in historical neighborhoods like Crown

Leslie Peake with Heritage Renovations Heights and Heritage Hills, anticipating they will have specific requirements when it comes to renovations. The Peakes also work within a customer’s budget and provide a two-year workmanship warranty. “Many of our customers turn into our friends,” said Leslie. “I would say that more than half of our projects come from repeat business and referrals from previous clients.” She said references are available by request or can be found on Angie’s List where they hold an A rating. To see pictures of previous work, go to For more information, call Leslie at 887-4121 or 974-1174 or email her at 21



aving kids who don’t want to do homework is nothing new to parents, but one Edmond teacher is trying to change that. Marty Newport teaches second grade at Oakdale Elementary. Her upcoming book, “Homework Games,” is not only an insightful compilation of advice for parents and teachers, but also a colorful guide to games that children can enjoy.

“I understand it's not easy making your kids do their homework.”

“I actually wrote the book because I had pretty much the same question for 17 years of teaching: How can I help my child?” said Newport. “It’s a great work of support from my experience as a mom and also as a teacher.” The book helps families prioritize their time and be able to fit homework into their busy schedules. “I made it short and sweet for a reason,” said Newport. “I want my book on their nightstand, on their kitchen counter, so that they can quickly look at it and go, ‘OK, what game can we play now?’” One of the main points that Newport makes in the book is that teachers and parents need to work as a team and stay in communication. Teachers work with the students at school and teach them the required skills. Parents should be reinforcing those skills by making sure kids do their homework. She explained that in situations when kids dread talking about homework, parents could facilitate the process by asking their children about what’s in their back-


pack. Newport added that parents should remember not to degrade what the teacher has assigned. “I understand it’s not easy making your kids do their homework, it’s not easy being a parent, but I do relate with them, that’s for sure,” said Newport. She admits that many of her students, and even her own children, were not big fans of homework. “I think that kids are intimidated by it but that’s when the parents can help.” She explained that if the parents’ attitude towards homework is positive, that would help kids be more positive as well. Newport pointed out that children learn differently and parents should respect their child’s unique way of learning. Some kids respond better if they play for a few hours after school and then start working on their homework. Others prefer to get started right away and be done for the evening. In any case, Newport said, kids need to have some leverage — understanding that homework is important, but also getting a reward for their hard work. “It doesn’t have to cost a lot; it can be going to the park,” she said. However, if some children continue to complain about homework, parents can compare their own responsibility of going to work and providing for the family to the duties of their kids. “I tell my secondgraders that my job is to be your teacher. Your job is to do your homework,” she explains. Newport shared that one of her students once told her, “Homework is the best when it’s done.” Another one said, “Homework is hard and fun,” then explained, “It’s hard, because sometimes it’s hard to understand what it’s trying to get you to do. It’s fun, because once you know how to do it, it’s fun.” That is why the second part of the book features

different games with cards, Legos or clay. Some of them are new; others are well-known but have a fresh twist. The games are interesting to play and at the same time they help develop students’ reading, writing and math skills. “I thought, let’s first make homework fun with games, and the movie ‘Hunger Games’ came out, and I thought, that’s good — ‘Homework Games!’” Newport’s book could be handy during school breaks when families tend to lose their routine. “It’s amazing what you can do with a deck of cards,” she said. “Kids don’t have to be doing worksheets to build their academic foundation.” Karin Dallas, owner of College Nannies & Tutors in Edmond, agreed that different ages come with different challenges and parents should first contact the teachers if they notice signs of trouble in their children’s schoolwork. She added that parents could consider contacting a tutor if needed. A quali-

Teacher & Author, Marty Newport

fied tutor would develop an individual learning plan for each child. “Today, college admissions are more competitive than ever,” said Dallas. “Those students who are college-bound really need to make sure that they are looking at their entire academic résumé and positioning themselves as well as possible to achieve their college admissions goals and aspirations.” Dee Allenbach, owner of Club Z! Tutoring adds, “It is important for a parent to be accessible while a child does homework, preferably in the kitchen or room away from television or other distractions.” Creating an interactive, engaging environment is key to helping children connect homework with real life. Allenbach notes that especially middle school students feel schoolwork is unrelated to life and something they’ll never use. Club Z!’s philosophy often incorporates industry professionals that can help students see that homework and learning are necessary to achieve life’s bigger dreams. Newport’s dream is to write a follow-up book, appropriately called “More Homework Games.” “It would make me so happy if the books could help families spend more quality time together while working on their skills,” said Newport. “Homework Games” will be released in February. Newport is planning book signings at Best of Books in Edmond and Barnes & Noble on Memorial Road. She also welcomes questions at 23






Summer may be fading but its edgy, concert-inspired fashions are rocking the runway right into fall. Amped up with biker embellishments or tempered with sophisticated pieces, the season’s mixed separates allow great individual style and wardrobe diversity. Funky Monkey masters the trend with this ultra-soft Chaser vintage concert tee layered under a smart Vintage Havana jacket. The violet adds a pop of color to this transitional piece for chilly fall days. Stretchy Bardot rider leggings with ankle zippers pair perfectly with platforms or boots for a well-heeled rockstar finish. Flats provide daytime versatility while a silver spike cuff bracelet intensifies the look for evening. Funky Monkey specializes in the hottest trends for ‘tweens’ and adults alike. Look for studs, bold stripes, tribal prints, distressed fabrics, leather leggings and denim, too. Shop at 14101 N. May, OKC or visit

Looking fabulous for fall doesn’t have to be complicated. With stand-out pieces like this comfy cotton slip-on dress, Hip & Swanky’s gorgeous fashions create instant, one-of-a-kind style. This dress by Joyous & Free, a popular brand at Hip & Swanky in Edmond, sports a vibrant, modern art pattern, one flirty exposed shoulder and one fitted bell sleeve for a drama all its own. The fuchsia, purple and melon tones get an extra hint of glam with sequins. Finished with studded Gladiator sandals and a jeweled clip cuff bracelet, this fun and functional outfit looks like a million bucks in mere minutes. For other stunning dresses and all the season’s hottest trends like tops with peek-a-boo shoulders, hot new red jeans, great jewelry, cowgirl boots and cool tees, stop by Hip & Swanky at 1247 E. Danforth in Kickingbird Square or find them on Facebook.

Saying goodbye to summer doesn’t mean farewell to colored denim and Anabelle’s has “!It” along with everything else that your wardrobe needs to transition into fall. Add the perfect pop of color to your wardrobe with these red jeans by !It paired here with a simple white tank and an open cardigan by Pura Vida. This sweater is a gorgeous shade of cornflower blue and the lightweight knit is perfect for this time of year. The charming houndstooth bag by Steve Madden has plenty of space for all of your necessities with cute front pockets to keep you organized. Strappy black boots by Axxiom compliment sleek skinny jeans and would add spice to just about everything in your closet. John Wind accessories add the perfect amount of sparkle to this ready-to-wear outfit. You’ll find this look and so much more at Anabelle’s Galleria, 1201 NW 178th (2nd & Western) in Edmond and on Facebook. 25


LIFE GOES ON by Heide Brandes


t 22, Mary Beth Davis is just a semester or two away from graduating at Oklahoma State University with a degree in zoology, and like other college seniors, she’s looking at places to intern or a job working with animals in the veterinary field. She knows she’s graduating behind schedule, but in the past two years, the vivacious brunette has dealt with and overcome more than most people have to in their lifetimes. Her entire world changed in a mere glance down, and in the two years that followed Davis has emerged with an optimistic, neverquit, keep-looking-forward state of mind. On a bright sunny August day in 2010, Davis glanced down for a second while driving her truck from OSU to her parents’ house north of Edmond. That glance made her truck shift. She overcorrected into the left lane. She overcorrected again into the right lane. Her truck hit the shoulder and, in a space of seconds, flipped three times, and Davis was trapped in the now-crushed cab of her truck, her head bent at an unnatural angle as the C-6 and C-7 vertebrae in her neck broke. “I remember flipping. I remember all of it,” said Davis. “I just looked down for a split second. I had my seatbelt on, but it was the cab roof that broke my neck. It took them an hour to cut me out, and I just hurt everywhere and my neck was in such a bad position.” Luckily, a police officer was following close behind Davis when her truck flipped, and she was flown by helicopter to OU Medical Center. “I didn’t

Mary Beth Davis with her dog Lucy realize how bad it was, but they immediately stabilized my neck and later I had surgery. I stayed in ICU for two weeks, and then they moved me to Jim Thorpe South.” Through the surgeries and the medicine that made Davis sick and sleepy, she was told she would never walk again, that she should learn to live in a wheelchair and change her profession. “I was like, ‘No!’” she said. “When they told me, I freaked out of course. I had anxiety attacks. But my mom and dad were by my side the whole time. My mom was amazing. When something bad happens, she takes control and gets things taken care of.” Still, doctors told the young woman that although she would get stronger, she would have to adjust to her new life without the use of her legs.

“I remember flipping. I remember all of it.”

“When I was first injured, I was numb. I couldn’t move my arm and nothing below my chest. But being positive helped,” she said. “My core strength was really weak and that’s what I work on.” Two years later, and through hundreds of hours of physical therapy, Davis’ core strength is stronger. She owns a car equipped to allow her to drive. In the months following her release from the hospital, she continued to work on upper body strength, dexterity and had to relearn basic life skills like dressing on her own, cooking and other activities. She had to learn to navigate a wheelchair, and she had to get used to people staring. Missing just one semester of college, she returned to OSU spring of 2011. “I really got strong then, pushing my chair all over campus. I got tired a lot, but I started physical training at the gym with a trainer. It was new for

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...continued from page 27 him, training someone in a wheelchair, but going back to school opened up so much more — it gave me more strength and independence,” she said. The dark days are still there, too. Some days, the frustration is overwhelming; so is the idea of never walking again. “You just get so frustrated that you want to quit, but you deal with it, cry and let it out,” Davis said. But hope remains. In June, Davis took part in Project Walk, an innovative and intensive physical therapy camp in Carlsbad, California, that specializes in spinal cord injuries. In a gym setting, Project Hope participants work on stretching, range of motion and movement. “You stand. They never want you in your chair. If you can’t stand, then you crawl, kneel or use a walker,” Davis said. “I was exhausted the second day. By the second and third week, I was so tired, but you realize you can do more than what you thought you could. I can do a little movement in my glutes. My hip flexors were trying to move.” But it was getting the car that really gave Davis a sense of normalcy. The vehicle allows Davis to push a hand pedal to brake and for speeding up. She didn’t want a wheelchair ramp, so she had to learn how to get into the car, and then pull her wheelchair in after her. “I finally learned how to get in and out of it, but the car has scratches all over,” she laughed. “Having


Mary Beth Davis in physical therapy a car gives me so much independence. It took about a month of training with my instructor to learn to drive it, but he was so much fun.” Davis is still trying out different therapies with the hopes of eventually walking again, like the Ekso bionic suit, which essentially walks for a person. “It does 100 percent of the walking, but you have to work on balance. It’s a strange feeling,” she said. However, the suit stays at Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation Center, and frankly, Davis said, it’s faster and easier to get around in her wheelchair. “Next year, they will have the bionics ready for home use, but it’s insanely expensive,” Davis said. “It won’t replace

the wheelchair. You can rent it if you want to go to a nice event or something, but I get around so much quicker in the chair.” She also owns an FES bike, which uses electrodes to stimulate her leg muscles to push the pedals. Movement — even with paralysis — is important to maintain bone density health. “I love it. It’s pretty cool,” she said. “I want to walk again, but I’ve come to the point that walking isn’t everything. If I never walk again, it’s not a big deal. It may be the ultimate goal, but if it doesn’t happen, it’s OK. I’m still going to be happy and I’m still going to be a veterinarian.” Above all, Davis said life without use of her legs is still life. Her faith in God keeps her strong, as does her family’s support. “Depression gets you nowhere. In fact, I feel like there’s us disabled people who are fully capable and then there’s able-bodied people, and the able-bodied people don’t realize that life isn’t over for us. We’re still the same people. We’ll still have good days, bad days, get married, have children. Stop. I’m fine!” Davis also counsels other recent spinal cord patients at Jim Thorpe. “This happened for a reason and that’s reason to keep going. This isn’t the path I thought my life would take, but a lot of good has come out of it,” Davis said. “I’ve helped a lot of other people. I go talk to new patients who have spinal cord injuries and I help them too. Life goes on.” 29

Schoo e High F a t n Sa


m l Step Tea


t started in November 2011 with Black Entertainment Television’s Blaze the Stage national competition stop at Oklahoma City’s Millwood High School. Some eight months later, it turned into the opportunity of a lifetime for Santa Fe High School’s Stomp Team. Stomping, or stepping, is a combination of foot and hand movements set to rhythmic music. The motions come from African foot dances or military exhibition drills. The group formed as an extension of the school’s multicultural club in 1996, and Richard Bean, an instructor at the school, has served as club sponsor since 2007.


“Stepping really develops these young ladies’ creativity,” Bean said. “It develops coordination and teamwork. They work together extensively and also learn humility and belief in accomplishing a goal. It’s also a way for them to pay tribute to their heritage.” That hard work paid off as the team won a preliminary competition in June after appearing on BET’s “106 & Park’s Wild Out Wednesday.” Besting other step teams from Virginia and Texas in votes gave the group a chance to return to “106 & Park” in early August to compete for a large cash prize. Despite not winning the second competition, the trips to New York City were a prize in themselves.

by Cassie Gage

Senior Chezney Wallace followed in the footsteps of her older sister in joining the team. The three-year veteran says the experience of visiting New York City for the first time was exciting. “[New York] is really different from Oklahoma,” Wallace said. “It’s the fast life. I loved going to Times Square and shopping.” As for taking the stage in front of a national television audience, “I wasn’t really nervous,” she said. “It was the realization of being there. The stage was not what I imagined. On TV it looks big, but it’s actually small. You’re not nervous because you’ve done this so many times before, you just know what to do.”

Joclynn Phillips, another senior, is also in her fourth year as a member of the team. Phillips grew up dancing and chose stepping over cheerleading and pom. The New York City experience for her was larger than life. “It was scary, and I’ve been in front of a camera before,” she said. “I’m thinking, what if I mess up? It’s kind of hard and stressful. You have to be on point the whole time. It was fun though.”

“The stage was not what I imagined. On TV it looks big, but it's actually small.” Bean recalls the excitement on the team members’ faces when they experienced New York for the first time. “We stayed in New Jersey, so we had to take the bus to Manhattan,” he said. “I’d been before and knew what to expect but these girls didn’t. When we got to the bright lights, their eyes were as big as saucers. They were in awe.” And while performing is a big part of the group’s core, Stomp is not just a dance team. Bean takes pride in the involvement team members have with the Edmond community. At Santa Fe High School,

am today,” Phillips said. “I’ve grown so much.” STOMP stands for Students, Teaching, OpportuniPart of that community involvement includes ty, Mentoring and Parenting. Bean says the group’s traveling throughout the metro area to perform and focus is more on community service and developgive lessons. The team has ment. He hopes the values plans to sponsor a clinic learned from being in the later in the year and hopes group are something each to continue to introduce member takes with them locals to the art of stepping once they graduate. throughout the 2012-13 “We want them to realize school year. they’re learning things that’ll It takes long hours and help them no matter what dedication to reach the arena they go into,” Bean point the Santa Fe High said. “It could be college, School Stomp team has. trade school or straight to After the June performance in NYC Bean credits his team memthe workforce. One thing we bers for giving up countteach is efficient processing less hours of their time and As performers, it’s important thanks the community for to attack each routine instead its support of the group. of bouncing from movement The team’s primary to movement. The hope is fundraiser is the Wolfpack they can take those prinStomp Down, held every ciples and apply them to January. Bean continues anything. They also learn to to seek additional donaperform under pressure.” tions for the team so fuGroup members agree ture trips are possible. For more information, go to and are grateful for the opportunity to be on the team. “Without this team, I wouldn’t be the person I

Call for Free Estimates! 31

SECOND CHANCES by Christy Shuler


nimal fostering is a term that many have never heard of, or have disregarded. But in reality, it could mean saving the lives of thousands of unwanted, stray or abandoned animals every day. Heather Herrera is both animal foster parent and coordinator of adoption events for the Central Oklahoma Humane Society. Animals, she says, have always held a special place in her heart. As an animal foster parent, Herrera works with her organization to take animals subject to euthanasia and bring them into her home to rehabilitate them and find them a permanent residence. Though fosters are not paid, their organization will give them the majority of supplies they require, including food, medications and even crates. While the term “fostering,” brings up notions of child fostering, there is one major difference between the two. Because of limited space, the animals face the possibility of death, a threat that does not apply to children. According to Herrera, shelters are being forced to euthanize 50 percent of their intake. With


Animal foster parent, Heather Herrera approximately 30,000 animals being brought in each year, it can equal to thousands being needlessly put down. Foster homes have become a ‘middle man’ to give that animal a second chance at life. But, the negative side effects of overpopulation tend to bring a bad name to animal shelters, Herrera says. “[They] have these reputations that nobody cares. That’s absolutely not true. They are working their hardest to make a difference and save as many lives as they can,” she explains. When shelters are forced to make room for more, they reach out to animal rescues who then contact foster parents. Rather than simply adopt one or two dogs, fosters offer a temporary residence and train them until they are more likely to be adopted. Herrera says she has seen well over 100 animals pass through her door. “I generally foster small, adult dogs. Puppies require a lot more attention,” she says. Puppies also are more likely to get adopted directly from a shelter. Adult dogs, particularly solid-colored, dark-haired ones are least adopted, Herrera explains.

Most rescues require foster parents to undergo a brief screening and interview process to ensure they are prepared for the responsibility, she says. One of her previous foster pets, a rat terrier named Gogo, proved that fostering can prove to be a challenging, yet rewarding experience. Gogo was living underneath a house with her puppies when she was rescued. Having lived her entire life outdoors, she was scared of humans and couldn’t socialize with other animals. As a result, she growled and nipped at those who tried to interact with her. She spent her days inside her crate, facing the wall. However, the time spent in her foster home allowed her the chance to acclimate and she found a new family. Out of the 100-plus animals Herrera has brought into her home, there are two that never did make it out. “Two of my foster cats have turned into my personal cats,” Herrera laughs. She notes, however, the general time frame for fostering is about two weeks. Of course, some dogs may prove to be more difficult to adopt, depending on their look,

personality, or any medical conditions. Recently, Herrera spotted one of her previous foster dogs at the park. She remembers the dachshund as a particular challenge to adopt, though she never understood why. She had named him Shaun White, for his red hair. “He was the sweetest, greatest dog,” she recalls. Like all foster pets, Shaun White spent his days at adoption centers and his weekends at dog shows to be viewed by potential owners. After two months, he finally found a home. Herrera says running into him was “bittersweet.” While most people fear getting too attached to their foster pets, she says the experience is well worth it. “Without [the foster parent], the animal probably would’ve been dead,” she said. Joining Herrera in the fight toward a no-kill status for the greater Oklahoma City area is Edmond resident Shannon Hinton. She is a part-time foster parent and volunteer. She works two jobs and attends school full-time, yet she still helps animal rescues across the city, taking dogs to adoption events throughout the state. Currently, Hinton’s living conditions do not permit her to foster, a situation that many can relate to. She suggests that those wishing to help in other ways can volunteer at their local shelter either walking the dogs or feeding them. The less time the staff has to spend attending to the animals,

the more time they have to find them a permanent home. These small tasks greatly increase the living conditions of the animals. Hinton points out that while most grown dogs have been taught not to relieve themselves indoors, they are given little to no time outside. As a result, they get stressed and often become sick. A condition known as “kennel cough” is also common with animals left in shelters for an extended period of time. Hinton says one of the chief problems addressing overpopulation is owners not spaying or neutering their pets. They want to have one or two puppies running around and aren’t prepared for a dozen. Often, these families don’t realize that half of that litter will wind up on the streets. This is why Hinton urges everyone to help. Even if only for one or two weeks, she points out that the small amount of time you take them into your home could be all they need for a second chance. Donating is always an option for those less active, or who suffer from pet allergies. “If you can’t adopt, foster. If you can’t foster, volunteer. If you can’t volunteer, advocate,” said Herrera. “Everything goes hand-in-hand.” Those wishing to foster, volunteer or donate can contact the Central Oklahoma Humane Society or their nearest pet rescue or animal shelter. Go to for more information.

“They are working their hardest to make a difference and save as many lives as they can.” 33

SAFE HOUSE by Stephanie Rasch


he 2011 brutal murder and dismemberment of 19-year-old Carina Saunders from Mustang has thrown Oklahoma and human trafficking into the national spotlight, where many Edmond residents least expected to see it — close to home. Oklahomans Against Trafficking Humans (OATH) is a non-profit organization that was created to combat this horrific and overwhelming problem. Started in 2008 by a group of Tulsa residents and led by director Mark Elam, OATH began with the goal to simply raise awareness in Oklahoma. According to the their website, Oklahoma ranks in the top ten states for human trafficking and Edmond OATH spokesperson Lori Ford explains why. “It’s because Oklahoma ranks among the top five states in the number of reported cases of child abuse, divorce, and teen pregnancies. Our state also has a high number of children who suffer from hunger.” Ford shares, “I was shocked to learn that the OK Board of Education reported in 2010 that Oklahoma was ranked number two for homeless youth. And the OKC inner-city public schools are at 50% drop out rates.” Combine these negative


factors with our convenient transportation system with I-35, I-40 and I-44 and you have created a ripe harvesting ground for predators. Ford adds, “What we found is that truckers have a saying that goes, ‘Go to Kansas for good food, Oklahoma for young girls.’” The average age of these “young girls” is barely 13 and getting younger as time goes on. Proactive in their approach, OATH has trained numerous police officers and state officials, and Elam remains the first point of contact when someone calls for help. “We try to offer everything that we can so that [each victim] can get her life back and move forward,” Elam says on their website video. OATH partners with the Salvation Army in reaching out to the community in regards to human trafficking. But the Oklahoma City area shelter options are limited in space and many only accept women 18 and older. Elam shares, “There needs to be a special long term program developed to help these girls recover.”

“Most of these girls have the social maturity of a child, while predators exploit them to use their body in adult acts,” Ford says. Because of this and victims’ “inability to believe they deserve something good in their lives,” OATH is now raising funds to buy property outside Oklahoma City. Their goal is to create a safe house where young girl residents can live without fear and have a chance to restore their confidence, their ability to trust and their lives. “Twelve to 18-year-old girls is our target group for the safe house. We will have experienced counselors willing to work with these girls as well as a well-screened house mother to provide a more nurturing and healing atmosphere,” Ford says. To fund their safe house’s purchase, the organization is planning a golf tournament in the spring and receives private and corporate donations. OATH isn’t the only organization taking action against human trafficking. Jennifer Crow, local Victory Church co-pastor and author of “Perfect Lies,” was called to extend her helping hand all the

The average age of these young girls is barely 13 and getting younger.

way to Lesotho, Africa, through a vivid dream. In the dream, the word “Lesotho” was spelled in large letters over the horizon. Crow didn’t know what Lesotho was until she did a Google search on it. What she found was a 61-page report by the United Nations on human trafficking there which inspired her to found the Beautiful Dream Society. “Often, young women are promised a job in a shop [in South Africa]. Once they get there, it is actually an older man who wants a wife. She is forced to remain on the property and have sex with him,” Crow explains. “Because they are transported illegally, they have no passport and the men can threaten them: ‘If you go to the police, they will arrest you.’” Trafficking isn’t limited by gender. Ranchers force boys as young as 10 to become “herd boys” for their livestock in the mountains. “They live with sheep 24/7, only given enough food to subsist, no education and not allowed to contact his family or leave,” Crow said. From Crow’s original dream, the organization built a shelter overseen by fulltime Lesotho house moms, psychologists and social workers. The rest are Lesotho volunteers. “The people of Lesotho want to see this stopped. They have been very open. It has been a great team effort,” Crow said. It’s working. In January 2011, Lesotho passed its first legal act outlawing human trafficking. There are five trials already in progress. “Less cases are being brought in to the police…” Crow said. “It could start going underground, but people are realizing we can’t treat other human beings this way. We’ll be there for the long haul, either way.” For more information about OATH, go to To learn more about the Beautiful Dream Society, visit 35

I'M JUST ME by Heide Brandes her, thinking she was purposely speaking gibberish in order to make her classmates laugh. “I’d have that heartattack feeling when I had to read out loud,” she said. “They laughed at me and the teachers thought I was a troublemaker.” Still, the words jumped and bounced around, sometimes disappearing off the page entirely. As the words tormented and eluded her, Thompson’s teachers and other adults tormented her as well. She was labeled mentally retarded. She was told she was too stupid to do anything with her life. “I was told that because I was mentally retarded and black and a girl, I’d never make it. I had one teacher say, ‘no one of your skin colMiss Black UCO 2012, Tiffany Thompson or will be successful or go to ight-year-old Tiffany Thompson college. Your mom doesn’t have money to send you would open a book, and as she read, to college.’ Hearing that made me feel very small,” the words would spiral around, slide she said. “I never told my family what they said. No off the page and rearrange themselves one in my family had gone to college… I told my into a mess of symbols. She thought everyone read grandmother only that I had trouble at school. She like this, navigating the moving and dancing words, told me to believe in myself and the power that God but only she couldn’t make sense of it. gave me. When she died, I made the promise that I She hated to read in class. When she was forced would let nothing stop me.” to read aloud, her teachers would scowl and scold At 22, that same girl they called retarded and



stupid and a ne’er-do-well stepped on the stage at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Miss Black UCO 2012 pageant. That heart-attack feeling was still there. That fear of being different was still there. But behind it all was the courage to admit for the first time to her family, friends and colleagues that there was something she struggled with, but overcame. As a pretty, bubbly and confident young lady, Thompson faced a crowd during the Miss Black UCO pageant. Her monologue was called “Who am I?” and her message was one of hope and understanding. “It was about the shame of growing up afraid to talk about my learning disability. It was about growing up having people tell me I wasn’t going to be a success,” Thompson said. “For the first time, at the Miss Black UCO pageant, I came out and said ‘I’m dyslexic.’ I was scared, but in that moment, I finally set myself free. I finally decided that I was going to tell the world. I was so nervous — my aunt, my family, they didn’t know. But the crowd and everyone just went wild,” she recalls. Dyslexia is a developmental reading disorder that occurs when the brain does not properly recognize and process certain symbols. It occurs when areas of the brain that help interpret language are problematic. It is not caused by vision problems. Delivering that message on dyslexia contributed to Thompson’s win in the pageant. She was awarded a $1,600 UCO tuition waiver and the chance to help others face or understand an invisible learning disability that makes it difficult for intelligent people to read. For the first time, Thompson’s family and friends and teachers heard her describe what living with

dyslexia was like, especially for a child who wasn’t even diagnosed with it until her teens. They heard the shame, the fear and the struggle to succeed. “After the win, all these people came up to hug me. They whispered in my ear, ‘I have dyslexia too.’ I must have had 20 people come up to me, my peers. I had to come out with the truth — for them, not for me,” she said. Thompson controls anxiety by taking deep breaths and processes information when the words spiral and disappear. She was finally tested for dyslexia in high school after her Douglass High School teacher Linda Oliver told her she had the signs. “I hated myself. I thought I could never be successful,” said Thompson. “But Ms. Oliver roared, ‘No! You will be successful.’ She helped me fill out college applications and helped with pre-college education.” Other Douglass teachers also became mentors. Basketball coach Terry Long hired Tiffany as a manager for the team, and from him she learned to never

break under pressure. “They honed in on my potential. My drama teacher, Mary Brown, taught me that I was good at creative arts. They didn’t discuss it with me really, but they taught me to embrace who I am and it changed my life,” she said. College was a challenge. Reading one chapter of a textbook could take up to 25 hours for Thompson, and when a college professor told her she wrote on a fifth-grade level, she knew she had to get help. The UCO Office of Disability Support Services and the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services have been important in training Thompson to work through the dyslexia by providing guidance, funding, assistive technology and more. Since winning the pageant, Thompson’s platform to educate the public about dyslexia has made the once terrified and shy girl into a public speaker. UCO hired Thompson to put her natural compassion and communication skills to work in a program

“I thought it was a curse to be dyslexic. Now I call it 'the gift' because I just learn different.”

called Compass Learning Communities. In the fall, Thompson, now a senior at UCO who wants to be a family life therapist, will be a paid peer mentor living with 48 incoming freshmen, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college. She also speaks on a regular basis on her platform of GIFTED, which stands for Greater Individuals Facing Truth Esteem in Dyslexia. She speaks to high school students and colleges around the state. “At first for a long time, I thought it was a curse to be dyslexic,” Thompson explained. “Now, I call it ‘the gift’ because I just learn different. I look at the world different. I’m just me.” For more information about UCO’s Compass Learning Communities, call 974-6903 or go to Visit to find out more about the Department of Rehabilitation Services’ vocational rehabilitation and employment programs, or call (800) 487-4042 to be connected to the nearest DRS office. 37


OUTLOOK by Krystal Harlow

Name: Regan Killackey, Edmond Memorial High School Teacher How long have you been teaching? This will be my 10th year teaching high school English. I've been fortunate to teach at every level from 9th grade to AP English. Did you always want to be a teacher? My life would have taken a significantly different path if it were not for the wisdom and guidance of a few. Teachers. Yes, I always wanted to be a teacher. Who's your favorite author and why? This question is quite unfair to Edmond Outlook for they would have to run an extra section to fully develop an adequate response. My colleagues would say Joseph Conrad and Heart of Darkness because of his challenging word choice. I would have to say F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby because of his explicit warning concerning the dangers of materialism. I am also a big fan of Hemingway and T.S. Eliot. The beautiful, pessimistic moderns. What are you most passionate about? What is an inspiration every year is navigating teenagers through difficult subject matter and watching new talent, confidence and pride surface within my students. Your favorite hobbies? Most recently, I enjoy exploring a variety of old Oklahoma highways on my motorcycle. From time to time I’ve been known to skateboard at our local skate parks. Where did you grow up? I was born in Oklahoma City, and I was raised in Edmond. I have been given a unique opportunity to teach at the high school I once attended. Let’s just say my former teachers were surprised at best. When did you get your first tattoo? I received my first tattoo when I was 17 years old at an artist’s house. I guess you could call him that. It was quite large, a band logo, on my back, and yet to be covered. What made you want to get more? The art of tattooing is connecting to identity. As outlandish as it may seem, people that get tattoos are doing so for the individual to participate with their identity. Tattoos have always represented the independence of the individual along with the independence of social norms. I believe if Mark Twain lived during the twentieth century, he would be tattooed from neck to knuckles. What are your top three favorite tattoos? 1. An East Asian Oni mask 2. My children's names 3. Piggy Wonka (Swine Week 2010) Go Dogs! What do you hope to teach your students above all else? I want my students to walk away from my class with an increased sense of kindness, a global perspective, a higher level of life dedication and sharper academic talent.

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Profile for Outlook Magazine

Edmond Outlook September 2012  

The Edmond Outlook is a monthly, full color, glossy magazine mailed free of charge to 50,000 homes in all five Edmond zip codes. Since 2005,...

Edmond Outlook September 2012  

The Edmond Outlook is a monthly, full color, glossy magazine mailed free of charge to 50,000 homes in all five Edmond zip codes. Since 2005,...

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