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Talking with two generations of TEACHERS How to help TROUBLED TEENS Strategies for students with SPECIAL NEEDS



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Tips for parents of students with special needs. Two generations of teachers discuss the job and how it’s changed. To raise a child together, you have to communicate with your co-parent. Adults can help troubled teens by talking openly about suicide. An optometry practice that focuses on developmental vision care. Today, teaching students to read uses new strategies, assessments and tools. Born at 28 weeks, the triplets needed time in neonatal intensive care. Take advantage of the new school year to zero in on your fitness goals.







25, 27, 29 LEARN














Teaching reading has changed. As Verona kindergarten teacher Christine Amodie says, “We start sight words before (kindergartners) even have letter recognition or sound recognition.” Students are reading harder books, earlier, and their teachers are using lots of strategies to help them become fluent readers and writers. Find out more in the story on page 20. In this back-to-school issue, we also have an interview with 2017’s New York Teacher of the Year (page 8). And, in Deborah Cavanagh’s column, she and other parents of students with special needs suggest ways to have a successful school year (page 6). But even if you don’t have kids heading to school, you can use the energy of a fresh start to help you get fit; see page 28 for some inspiring ideas. In this issue, as well, we have: the second part of Alexia Conrad’s story about the birth of her triplets (page 24); an interview with a doctor of optometry (page 18); advice for co-parenting after separation (page 14); and a story on understanding and talking about suicide (page 16). We hope you find much to nourish your mind and heart in this month’s issue.

MANAGING EDITOR Bill DeLapp PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR Michael Davis CIRCULATION DIRECTOR Tom Tartaro (Ext. 134) CREATIVE SERVICES MANAGER Robin Turk GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Natalie Davis Greg Minix DIGITAL MEDIA MANAGER David Armelino CONTRIBUTORS Deborah Cavanagh, Tammy DiDomenico, Aaron Gifford, Eileen Gilligan, Linda Lowen, Maggie Lamond Simone, Laura Livingston Snyder, Chris Xaver SALES MANAGER Tim Hudson (114) ADVERTISING CONSULTANTS Elizabeth Fortune (ext. 116)

Lesli Mitchell (ext. 140)


Correction: The profile of Mommy + Me Cover Contest winner Samantha Fitzgerald and her family in the August 2017 issue contained an error: Samantha did not have an emergency cesarean, as the story stated; she was threatened with a c-section but in the end avoided surgery. We apologize for the mistake.


Jonathan, who turns 7 in September, holds a book on a tablet (you can’t see it, but he’s reading an ebook, They All Saw a Cat).



Jonathan and his mother, Elaine Williams, take a look at a book.

Advertising deadline for September is is March March 3. Advertising deadline for October Sept 16. 14. Calendar Calendar deadline deadline for for September October is is Sept.1. Design by Natalie Davis Photos by Michael Davis



Paige Hart (ext. 111)



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Striving for Success Back-to-school tips for parents of students with special needs BY DEBORAH CAVANAGH


he start of a new school year is always filled with excitement and anticipation.

Students and parents scrutinize schedules. People post to Facebook to see which teacher is assigned for each subject or grade. First-day outfits are coordinated. After-school activities are discussed. As a parent of a student with special needs, I wanted to share in this pre-September excitement with my student. But these feelings were usually accompanied by nervousness—and sometimes fear. My daughter, Amanda, has Down syndrome, along with type 1 diabetes. She has medical issues, including requiring a tracheostomy tube from the age of 18 months until she was 13 to assist with breathing. She has a raspy voice due to vocal cord damage, which makes it challenging for people to understand her at times. To put it bluntly, she came with “stuff.”

Some of her school years sailed by uneventfully. Others seemed like an uphill battle as we tried to put supports in place, adapt strategies, or change classroom or teaching assistant assignments. 6

Our worst year was kindergarten. We lived in California. Our assigned teacher was in her last year before retirement. And as she stated, “I have never had one of those students in my class before”— meaning Amanda. To say it was a rocky year would be an understatement. I was scarred for life. If an educator ever starts discussing the “red light, yellow light, green light” behavior plan, I start to twitch, and then I get very angry. Amanda’s kindergarten year was my first school experience outside “early intervention,” where all the therapists and adults working with my child seemed caring and motivated. I thought—with a bit of preparation and discussion—school life would be the same. While this might be true sometimes, it is not always reality. At the end of that trying kindergarten year, I realized I needed to come up with strategies so as not to repeat that experience. Meetings I started by implementing monthly team


meetings. I invited everyone who spent time with my daughter throughout the day. I had an agenda. I requested input, prior to the meeting, from teachers and therapists about issues that needed to be addressed. I facilitated discussion regarding positive experiences or areas that needed work. The goals were to: 1. Discuss learning strategies that worked. 2. Nip any developing, challenging behavior in the bud. (Consistency in handling these across all professionals worked best.) 3. Share success stories. These meetings had to have value for the participants to want to attend. They had to be relatively short, packed with information and to the point. And I always brought food. Communication and Preparation What else works for students with special needs? I asked some other mothers (via Facebook and text message), and we all agreed that communication and preparation are the key elements in a successful school year. We, as parents and caregivers, like to believe that every teacher or therapist has the time to prepare for our student, but

given class size and diversity of students that just isn’t always the case. Usually they appreciate any support offered.


Jessica O’Donnell, mother of Jaylin O’Donnell, told me: “I always tried to meet with his new teacher(s) before the school year started. I also put together tips and strategies that would help Jaylin. Examples: 1. When he gets really ‘bouncy,’ remind him to ‘keep it under control,’ which gets him to control himself and get back on track. 2. Always try to implement ‘first this, then this’ wording with his schedule (first math, then lunch), so he can mentally prepare. 3. Jaylin is a visual learner, so if you write things down, especially changes to his routine, it helps his day go smoother.” Another mother, Pamela Sartori, includes her daughter Rachel in the preyear communication. “I have her write a letter to her new teacher every year. She includes things the teacher should know about her. I also write a little note to the teacher and send copies for other teachers my daughter will be with so that they know all the ‘positives’ and the challenges she brings. I might even add in some behaviors and strategies that are helpful for them to know. I have the teachers sign them so I know that they’ve read them.”

Get Your Student Ready Preparing your student for his or her daily routine is also important. Sometimes we forget that this is a huge transition from the less-structured, carefree days of summer to the scheduled, organized days of the school year. Doreen Wall, teacher and mom, wrote: “I visit the school beforehand and have my children walk through their schedule. I find it is helpful to practice bedtime and waking up so that the first week isn’t the first time their bodies are feeling the school year schedule.” Food Practicing morning and lunchtime routines is also helpful. Good nutrition and making sure snacks and lunches allow for independence and timeliness help with the lunchroom experience.

ads and grab-and-go protein bars, cheese and fruit make for easy mornings.” Remember, others have gone before us into that big unknown of whatever grade level you are about to embark on. Not only should we communicate with our educators, but we also need to share ideas and strategies among ourselves. We are our own best resource. Plan, prepare and get ready for the adventure of another school year! It can be amazing. Deborah Cavanagh lives in Manlius with her husband and two children. She has written for local organizations supporting children and adults with special needs.

Helen Camardella uses these strategies with her daughter: “Packets of almonds or nuts make a powerful protein snack. Water is the No. 1 reason our stomach growls; we are thirsty when we think we are hungry. Drink tons of water. Give your student fun, refillable water bottles. Buy a new one every two to three months to make them interesting and more likely to get used. Add calorie-free flavors; kids love that stuff. Also having packaged sal-



Jim was one of the few male teachers in the district.

The Family Business

“Even in college he would talk about how he didn’t think it was good that students were being taught only by female teachers all the way through the elementary grades,” Judy says. “He really believed in having male figures in the schools.”

Two generations of teachers discuss the job and how it’s changed | BY TAMMY DiDOMENICO

“Guys are different,” Jim says. “They approach emotions differently. They approach teaching styles differently.” The close proximity was never an issue for the couple. “I just stayed out of his way,” Judy jokes. But for their daughters, it was a little more difficult. “I never got in trouble or got detention because I lived in fear of my parents’ disappointment,” Hysick recalls with a laugh. “I never, ever wanted that. And if I did put any toe out of line, they knew before I could tell them.” Looking back, Judy Sonich admits having your parents as teachers in your school might not be a child’s preference. “Amy did feel as though there were more eyes on her in the buildings with both of us working there.”


After graduating from Cicero-North Syracuse High School, all three Sonich sisters settled in the area. They have eight children among them. “Our family’s roots run deep in this school district,” says Hysick, who lives in North Syracuse with her husband, Chris, and daughter, Tessa, 7. “And now, I will be the eyes of the building for all of our offspring.”

Amy Hysick, 2017 New York State Teacher of the Year, in her classroom at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.


hen Amy Hysick was growing up in North Syracuse, she developed a passion for learning and adventure. She was an active girl who loved the outdoors, so no one was surprised when she decided to study science in college. The surprise came a few years later, when Hysick, now 42, followed her parents, Jim and Judy Sonich, into teaching. Today, Hysick, the oldest of three sisters, teaches science in the Cicero-North Syracuse School District. Her parents taught in the North Syracuse district for the entirety 8

of their careers: 68 years combined. And last fall, they were sitting in the audience in Albany when their daughter accepted her award as the 2017 New York State Teacher of the Year. “I was always into science,” Hysick recalls, describing a childhood spent catching frogs and learning to fish. “Dad would go fishing. I was the gross kid who would poke the fish eyeballs. I knew the internal anatomy of a fish before I went to kindergarten.” Jim Sonich was a sixth-grade teacher. Judy taught German at the junior high and high schools. When they began teaching,


Reflecting on her school years, Hysick says there was more inspiration than trial. A healthy respect for teaching, and those who do it, was nurtured. “Educators were always role models,” Hysick says. “Education was what the adult conversation was in the house most of the time.” But when it came time to go off to college, Hysick’s plan was pre-med. As a junior at Binghamton University, Hysick experienced a turning point taking a microbiology class. Her professor saw “something” in her approach to the material and asked her to teach a section of the lab the following semester. “It flipped the switch all the way in my head,” Hysick recalls. “I loved doing it.” After completing her undergraduate degree in biology, Hysick informed her parents that she would be going to graduate school for secondary education, not medicine. “It was a little bit of a shock,” Hysick says. “Going into ‘the family business’ wasn’t discouraged, but it wasn’t encourcontinued on page 10



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continued from page 8 Amy Hysick: teaching at Cicero-North Syracuse High School (top and bottom photos); and with her parents, Judy and Jim Sonich, in Albany in 2016 for the presentation of the Teacher of the Year award by the Board of Regents.

aged. We were encouraged to do whatever it was we wanted to do.” S TEVE JACOBS PHOTO

Hysick’s sprawling classroom shows the depth of her commitment to her subject and her students: There are live animals in habitats, including a bearded dragon and three snakes, and Pinterest-worthy displays demonstrate her crafty side. Creating a welcoming space is just a small part of how Hysick tries to connect with her students. Hysick co-taught a Science Explorations class in addition to three sections of Regents Living Environment last year. She has worked hard to get students to embrace a growth mindset; assignments can be revised, and tests can be used as opportunities to revisit material until students are comfortable in their understanding of it.


“We tried a lot of things to boost student engagement,” Hysick says. “There (were) kids in my science explorations class who (were) disinterested or disengaged. They don’t want to be here. They don’t want to learn science. It’s a graduation requirement. The special ed. teacher who co-teaches with me (Jeff Colasanti). . . we brainstorm trying to figure out different strategies.” One strategy was to craft a lesson around a Hollywood movie: looking at fact and fiction. “By using that, we have found that some of the students who were the most disengaged, who always were looking at their phones, are now the ones with their hands up first. They are the ones asking questions.” “It’s a way to look at learning as authentic experiences,” Hysick adds. “It’s real-world applicable.”


Using technology is another key to Hysick’s success. She is a big fan of ZipGrade, a grading app with real-time feedback on quiz results that can be shared with students. Hysick can then tweak lesson plans based on the information gleaned from those results. The feedback Hysick’s students get enables them to “study smarter, not harder.”



continued on page 12

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Judy Sonich says of her daughter’s teaching style: “You have to feel comfortable in your own skin, and you have to entertain a little.” continued from page 10 “The most important message I want students to take away from my class is that you learn from failure. It’s part of the learning process,” Hysick says. “When you get something wrong, you’re driven to find out why. It’s a constant refining process.” Hysick applies that same approach to her own role. As changes to the New York state learning standards and Regents core curriculum have come down the line, Hysick has changed her lessons and how she presents the material. Relationship building, she says, is an important element of effectiveness. “It isn’t the curriculum that has changed the most,” Hysick says. “It is how I approach planning. It is how I approach interactions with students. It is how I set up my classroom. Those sorts of strategies have changed more than anything else. “I am not the same teacher I was when I started teaching—by far. I’m not even the same teacher that I was two years ago. I’m always learning from my students how to be better. And I’ve made my mistakes, too.” Hysick considers her parents two of her most important sounding boards. But Jim Sonich says they are rarely compelled to give advice. 12

“Since we are out of it now, our input is minimal,” he says. “I’m in awe of how different teaching is now, and of what Amy does.” Judy Sonich wonders how much value the current emphasis on teacher evaluation contributes to the student experience. But observing Hysick’s enthusiasm makes Judy think many things haven’t changed. “What strikes me is that teaching, no matter what the subject, can be creative,” she says. “You can revamp your whole approach every year.” Judy says Hysick inherited her dad’s sense of humor and stage presence, which have served her well in the classroom. “You have to feel comfortable in your own skin, and you have to entertain a little,” she says. “She has all of that as well as the love for her subject.” Hysick is finishing her role as a state ambassador for the teaching profession this summer. A new Teacher of the Year will be announced in September. While she appreciated being chosen to represent her profession in this way, Hysick’s biggest rewards come from the feedback she gets from former students. She keeps what she calls a “happy file” of notes and


Amy Hysick’s classroom has a bearded dragon and three snakes. cards. Breaking it out at the end of a tough day can reaffirm her commitment to the vocation her parents modeled for her while she was growing up. “It’s the kids who come back and visit,” Hysick says. “There is really nothing better than that. Just knowing you made a difference—even just a little bit—that’s my reward.” Award-winning writer Tammy DiDomenico lives in DeWitt with her husband and two sons.


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All About Co-Parenting

Raising a child together means communicating, even if you’d rather not | BY NEIL DAVIS JR.


long time ago, after college graduation, two of my ex-roommates attempted joint owner ship of a beloved armchair. It sounds ridiculous (because it was), but each had developed an emotional attachment to the chair after splitting its cost back in sophomore year. I couldn’t blame them: It reclined, it was nearly leather and it had built-in cup holders. But there were logistical issues. Who would transport the chair? Who would pay to fix it when it broke? Who loved it more? Who stained the seat cushion? Who would get it on Super Bowl Sunday? I learned few things from my college roommates. The armchair co-ownership annulment, however, stands out as the one life lesson that stuck with me. It was like a page from chapter one of a beginner’s guide to co-parenting, complete with all the common pitfalls divorced parents often face. Children are not furniture. But the Tale of the Perfect Chair 14

reflects the principles of compromise and understanding that are vital to any two parents, whether married or not.

parents to recognize if one of them is shouldering an unfair amount of the psychological load.

My ex-wife, Jill, and I have spent the better part of a decade fine-tuning our shared parenting skills. We have one amazing daughter, Sadie, around whom our joint worlds happily revolve.

The beginning, of course, wasn’t easy. Marital separation inevitably ushers in a period of mistrust and uncertainty. Even the smoothest divorce goes a lot like a tattoo removal: It can be painful, take years to heal and might leave a scar. The impact to the involved children will depend on how equipped the parents are to navigate through the transition that follows.

I can’t say that we’re experts: Parenting experts are a myth with fewer sightings than Bigfoot. But we have, over time, established an effective and balanced parenting system that I like to believe has had at least something to do with our daughter turning into the wonderful young lady she has become. Jill agreed with me on this, although she seemed hesitant to accept credit. “I get Sadie unleashed,” she said, suggesting a Jekyll-and-Hyde scenario in which I am exposed only to the sunny side of our 15-year-old while she suffers Sadie’s hormonal wrath. I think she was hinting that it’s important for divorced


One common mistake is assuming that once you sign the paperwork, the difficult part is over. The lawyers walk away after ironing out a plan, and you get filled with a sense of relief, as if every difficult parenting decision has been clearly etched in stone. The reality is that the written agreement is merely a set of guidelines. Even if both parents see eye to eye on the weightier issues—religion, politics, breakfast cereals, etc.—new obstacles will continue to

test your ability to maintain separate lives while jointly solving problems. There will be cavities and skinned knees, school projects and broken cell phones. Separation agreements almost never dictate at what age the children can start watching Game of Thrones or how frequently they should eat carrots. These are the parenting decisions that matter, the ones that are so much more meaningful than deciding whether Mom or Dad gets the kids on Arbor Day. The good news is that there is a solution: Listen to each other. Couples often part ways due to a breakdown in communication. When children are part of the equation, open dialogue becomes even more vital than it was during the marriage. Conversations, texts and email are the simple keys to success. Patience and empathy help, too. Remember, you are in this together. Just because you are divorced doesn’t mean that you can’t rely on one another. In fact, it is even more reason to do so. Also, listen to your children. Their needs, both practical and emotional, can get overlooked when parents are forming new boundaries and hashing out their own feelings. I recently asked my daughter how having divorced parents has affected her, knowing that she gives an honest and insightful response. “Well, I always get two Christmases,” Sadie responded. Teen sarcasm aside, I think we are doing OK. I’ll admit that our daughter has not mightily tested the limits of our parenting abilities. A kind, generous girl who refuses to swear and gets straight As is not exactly the definition of a problem child. But I like to believe that her character is a reflection of our influence. Like all parenting, co-parenting is an ongoing learning process, and I don’t expect to ever have it completely figured out. But, through time, perseverance and support from relatives, we’ve evolved into a modern, if unconventional, family. We even spend most holidays together and often vacation in a large group. “We aren’t normal,” Jill is quick to point out. She’s right, but divorces don’t come with universal solutions. It’s up to the parents to find the version of normal that works best for them and, most importantly, their children. Remember, a child’s needs are not changed by a divorce. She will still want the same simple things she always wanted: love, recognition, safety, stability, comfort, hugs. In other words, marriages sometimes end but parenting is forever. Neil Davis works at Bristol-Myers Squibb and lives in Liverpool with his daughter.

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Reidenberg would like discussions to include more than drama and controversy, though. “Suicide is preventable,” he said. “It is a real public health crisis, but there are things we can do to prevent it. It’s clear young people are exposed to it, so it’s important to talk about it.”


Although stigma about mental health and suicide remain, “there are more conversations about it in the last 10 to 20 years,” Reidenberg said. “Social media and technology have changed and influenced young people and everyone. In that sense, there’s more communication and dialogue.” There’s a flip side to technology, Giarrusso noted. “Bullying can be a precipitating factor (to suicide),” she said. “It’s not just at school anymore. It’s on your phone and computer. You can feel so hopeless and helpless.”

Talk About Suicide

Adults can help troubled teens by starting a conversation BY RENÉE K. GADOUA


heryl Giarrusso is no fan of the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, and she’s not happy a second season is planned for release in 2018. The series tells the story of high school student Hannah Baker’s suicide through the 13 cassette tapes she left behind. “It glorifies the whole notion of suicide,” said Giarrusso, crisis intervention services director at Contact Community Services. “It’s too glammed up. It gives people the wrong idea that you can be responsible for a person taking his own life.” Many educators and mental health experts share Giarrusso’s concerns about the series, which is a fictional account based on a novel. Suicide is tragic, not brave, experts say. The show fails to show adults responding appropriately to Hannah’s urges to hurt herself, they add. As concerns about the series emerged, school districts nationwide released letters to parents with information about preventing and talking about suicide. The National Association of School Psychologists issued guidelines for discussing the show with children, and Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE, which has a Central New York chapter), released a set of talking points. Critics and fans of the controversial series do agree on one thing: It’s healthy to talk about suicide. Daniel Reidenberg, a psychologist and


SAVE’s executive director, urged producers not to release 13 Reasons Why, arguing that it did not discuss suicide in a helpful way. But he concedes its popularity illustrates the frequency with which suicide appears in culture and media. “There’s immense attention around suicide,” he said. “It is in the public eye. It is in entertainment and news more than ever.” As other current examples, he pointed to the deaths by suicide of rock musicians Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington; the case of Michelle Carter, convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the suicide of her teenage boyfriend; and the Blue Whale game, an online challenge thought to encourage young people to kill themselves. As the school year begins, young people may encounter these high-profile cases in addition to traditional stressful events: new social situations; changing bodies, sexual orientation and gender identity; family stress; and bullying. “It’s important that people educate themselves,” said Giarrusso, who manages Contact’s 24-hour hotline and Crisis Chat. Contact is a backup call center for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The agency also provides training for teachers, staff and students to encourage appropriate conversations and intervention if someone exhibits suicidal behavior or the community experiences a suicide.


Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States for all ages and the second-leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2015, the CDC reported 11 deaths by suicide by New Yorkers ages 5 to 9 and 180 deaths by New Yorkers ages 15 to 24. Contact has trained students in grades 9 to 12 in some local schools. “The main push is to get them to identify a trusted adult,” Giarrusso said. “We tell them, ‘This is too big an issue for you.’” Trainers tell young people that suicidal feelings are not contagious, she said. And while mental illness is complex (serotonin levels in the brain are thought to be connected with depression), Giarrusso describes depression in simpler terms: “Can you fix a broken heart? A broken heart can lead to a broken brain.” Increasing openness about sexuality is often a related topic, she said, noting that LGBTQ people experience higher rates of suicide. But, she added, “Everyone is at risk.” The common denominator is a person saying, “I have no reason to live and no one to take care of me,” she said. Parents, caregivers, teachers and coaches need to watch for “any changes in behavior,” such as increased or decreased sleeping, weight change or changes in hygiene. “The changes don’t have to be striking to warrant a conversation,” Giarrusso said. Contact trains teachers to recognize the signs and “get students to guidance or someone who is going to take a second look and ask the suicide question,” she said. People may miss, dismiss or avoid warning signs of suicide, she added. “It may not be on your radar,” she said. “You may dismiss it because you think only a certain

type of person would behave that way. Sometimes we see changes and signs that something is wrong but don’t ask the question.” Should a family or community experience a suicide, talk about it, Reidenberg said. “You use different language with younger kids,” he explained. “It’s important parents know it’s OK to have these conversations.” With younger children, it may not be appropriate to use the word “suicide,” Reidenberg said. “Be careful or thoughtful so you don’t frighten them. You need to make them understand these illnesses happen in the head. If people get a headache, they get something to help. That’s a very easy way to engage children.” There’s no wrong thing to say to a person exhibiting warning signs of suicide, Giarrusso said. “It’s about having a conversation, showing your concern, being genuine. Know your limits. You don’t have to be an expert. If you’re fearful of having the conversation, call us. We’ll talk to you as long as you need.” Renée K. Gadoua is a freelance writer and editor. Follow her on Twitter @ReneeKGadoua.

Reasons to Get Involved

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Here are some common signs to be aware of and ways to respond if you see them.


• Talking about or making plans for suicide. • Expressing hopelessness about the future. • Displaying severe or overwhelming emotional pain or distress. • Showing worrisome behavioral cues or marked changes in behavior, particularly in the presence of the warning signs above. Specifically, this includes significant: withdrawal from or change in social connections; changes in sleep (increased or decreased); anger or hostility that seems out of character or out of context; or recent increased agitation or irritability.


• Ask if they are OK or if they are having thoughts of suicide. • Express your concern about what you are observing in their behavior. • Listen attentively and nonjudgmentally. • Reflect what they share and let them know they have been heard. • Tell them they are not alone. • Let them know there are treatments available that can help.

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• If you or they are concerned, guide them to additional professional help. Source:


Contact Community Service Suicide hotline: (315) 251-0600 National Suicide Prevention Online Chat at National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255

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Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide: Trevor Project (support and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth):; (866) 488-7386 Suicide Awareness Voices of Education Central New York: save-charter/central-new-york-save-charter/ FAMILY TIMES SEPTEMBER 2017



How Eyes See

Optometry practice has a focus on developmental vision care | BY TAMMY DiDOMENICO


or over 30 years, Dr. Leonard Savedoff has offered patients the latest advances in the field of optometry. Currently, this can include anything from treating vision problems exacerbated by the demands Leonard Savedoff of computer and handheld device use, to pediatric vision therapy. He was initially partnered with the late Dr. Jerome Weiss, who started the practice more than 70 years ago. With his current partner, Dr. David Ciccone, and Dr. Donna Konick, Savedoff treats thousands of patients each year between offices in downtown Syracuse and Manlius. Savedoff is a New York City native who lives in Manlius with his wife, Susan; he is the father of three. Family Times recently caught up with Savedoff at the end of a typically full day. (This interview has been edited and condensed.) Tell me a little about the origins of the practice. Leonard Savedoff: Dr. Jerome Weiss started this practice almost 70 years ago. He took me on as an associate. He was aware of the importance of developmental vision care and there wasn’t a (local) doc18


tor specializing in this. I went to the SUNY College of Optometry in Manhattan. It has one of the best programs in developmental vision care and rehabilitation the country, if not the world. So, I came here and brought that aspect to this practice. I started out talking to school districts all around Central New York, with reading teachers, school psychologists, school nurses as well as more recently—getting more involved with professionals such as physical therapists and occupational therapists. The work we do in developmental vision is evaluating the visual skills of children to see if their performance matches the age-expected performance for their chronological age. Some people don’t realize that, for example, tracking skills mature through age 14. So, it’s a problem if an 8-year-old is tracking like a 6-year-old. What is involved in that kind of treatment? LS: They are eye exercises that primarily provide, in a sense, a biofeedback—keeping in mind that the eye muscles are sometimes 100 times stronger than they have to be. It’s not weak muscles. Kids with these problems are not sending out the right signals from the brain to control these reflexes. They’re just not happening. It’s like having a symphony without a conductor. You can have a lot of great musicians,

but they have to be brought together and integrated by a conductor. Why is this not happening? Some of these skills are normally developed around the time of birth. If they don’t happen then, they don’t happen on their own. But if you make the patient aware of it through different activities and exercises—some of which are done on special computer programs—that is like a biofeedback to let the patient know what they are doing. Are they crossing their eyes? Are they diverging their eyes? Are they relaxing focus? Are they on target? Are they off target? When they get this feedback, they develop better control and accuracy. With young children who have not developed those skills we are just enhancing them to where they should be, and in other cases, we help people to regain what they’ve lost. In our practice, we are very fortunate to enjoy a great relationship with Upstate’s concussion clinic. We see many patients who are having visual symptoms after a concussion. Most recently, we have been in the NCAA protocol for Syracuse University. Is that an increasingly frequent issue? LS: Yes. It used to be, “Why don’t you come and check this out?” Now, it’s a mandated policy. When someone is seeing double after a concussion, you have to have a protocol for getting that person the proper care. You can’t just go to your own

eye doctor. A regular exam might indicate that the person is seeing 20/20, and everything’s fine. But some of these people I see, they’re having problems seeing double, getting headaches. A lot of people don’t have effects from concussions. But, these days, I see a few people every day with concussions. Are a lot of those patients kids with sports-related injuries? LS: I saw a 12-year-old the other day, and I saw someone who was 17 yesterday. But I also see adults who are 80. I think it’s more common with teens and above. The reason is that the activities they are involved in have rougher play. Football, lacrosse and basketball—there are a lot of injuries related to those sports. It could be a lacrosse player taking a stick to the head, or a football player taking a late hit, getting smashed in the skull. Sometimes it’s the oddest injury. It could be someone standing still on a bike and they lose their balance and flip backward and hit their head. What are some other common issues that come up with children these days? LS: Everyone is very much aware of nearsightedness. One of the biggest problems actually with prescription issues is farsightedness, because kids who are farsighted can see clearly (close up) by focusing extra and harder to make up for their problem. But they are likely to get tired or get headaches from fatigue, or to start avoiding reading because it’s not really fun to focus twice as hard to read. It’s kind of like an invisible problem. Without a full, complete eye exam by an eye doctor, you don’t know if you are missing things like that. If you have a huge amount of farsightedness, you’ll see poorly. But usually what is causing a lot of academic-based issues in school with reading and so on is uncorrected farsightedness. Kids are straining to focus and get fatigued, yet they still see 20/20. Glasses can help that problem. At what age would you recommend that kids get their first full eye exam? LS: Without any obvious problems, kids should certainly have a complete exam by the time they enter kindergarten or first grade. Let’s say there is a little farsightedness. If you didn’t correct it at 4 years old, it’s not going to have much of an impact on them. But if you’re not learning your letters and numbers right, and your penmanship is not right because your vision is blurred up close, that could become a problem in first and second grade.

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Vision training has been getting a lot of publicity lately. LS: I think that schools have become more aware of the impact of vision problems on reading and academics. Athletes are becoming more aware of this. Most professional athletic teams now have eye doctor consultants. Now, in the medical community people are more aware of treating head trauma, stroke, concussion, and brain surgery problems with vision therapy too. In addition to that, physical and occupational therapy is so big now. These allied professions don’t overlap exactly, but we touch upon the same patients to the point where there are more professionals out there dealing with rehabilitation that are aware of what can be done with vision.

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In our practice, because we deal with a lot of complex cases, we actually employ a team of a doctor and an occupational therapist. Between the field of occupational therapy and what we need to do in vision care, we meld the two together and have a very full ability to care for people. Some of these patients with vision problems are also having problems with hand-eye coordination, balance, and that’s where the occupational therapy comes in. Award-winning writer Tammy DiDomenico lives in DeWitt with her husband and two sons. FAMILY TIMES SEPTEMBER 2017



NEW Tools

Early-elementary teachers use books, tablets, tests and more BY TAMMY DiDOMENICO

Jonathan holds a tablet, one of reading’s new tools.


hen Christina Amodie begins teaching this fall, she will be spending an even larger chunk of the school day helping her students become better readers. “When I first started teaching kindergarten, everything was focused on learning letters,” says Amodie, who is beginning her 20th year in the profession at Verona’s J.D. George Elementary School. “We had the Letter of the Week. We would teach the sounds for each letter. Now, we have them doing 50 sight words. We start sight words before they even have letter recognition or sound recognition.” She confirms what many parents have long known: Kindergarten is no longer a leisurely transition from home nurturing to structured academics. And the push to get students reading and writing as early as possible has become more demanding. In addition to sight recognition and phonemic awareness—identifying the sounds that make up words—elementary school 20

classrooms are now tasked with developing complex critical thinking and text evidence recognition skills. But Amodie, of Camillus, and other local educators are finding creative ways to get students building the literacy skills they need. “The reading piece is so key,” she says. “We’re trying to foster a love of reading. I have book nooks and little reading corners in my classroom, and I have all kinds of literature.” In Amodie’s class, students are counting syllables and recognizing context clues during a lesson about the days of the week—bringing literacy practice and skill building into other subjects whenever possible. Students have activities based on their reading levels, but Amodie also has a “quiet time” read-aloud during which she chooses material that is just beyond their reading levels. “That builds vocabulary, but also piques interest in something that they couldn’t


read themselves,” she says. “They are listening to vocabulary that is a little bit higher than what they would be used to hearing in some of their grade-level stories.” More Content, Earlier Getting students to make progress in reading comprehension before they have mastered decoding is not easy. But the Common Core—more formally, the New York State Common Core Learning Standards Assessments—requires that students become adept in their understanding of complex text, starting in kindergarten and even earlier. Building reading comprehension while also working on decoding (figuring out what words mean) early is the new normal, says Eric Larison, assistant superintendent for instruction for the Solvay Union Free School District. For the past two years, Solvay has been implementing the Core Knowledge Language Arts program, which is recommended by the New York State Education Department for use in kindergarten through

grade 2. (Solvay is using it through fourth grade.) CKLA is a curriculum that encourages teachers to bring complex vocabulary into their lessons, and to build on what students have already learned. The West Genesee, Lyncourt and Syracuse city school districts are also currently using it. “We are finding that children who may be able to decode a word, if they don’t have the background knowledge, they are not going to necessarily understand what that word means,” Larison says. “This causes problems down the road because reading comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading.” Parents as Partners Building literacy into a family’s evening routine is strongly encouraged in the West Genesee School District. Literacy coordinator Stephanie Finn encourages parents to keep reading to their children for as long as possible. “There is such value in reading to your child. We stop that way too young,” she says. “Children eat it up when they are being read to. That’s where they get the vocabulary and that’s where they get the background knowledge. Even if it’s way above their reading level, if it’s a topic they are interested in, or something they know you’re interested in and you can share it, it’s a wonderful thing. “

“Time for parents is so precious,” says Lori Keevil, K-2 principal at Stonehedge Elementary School in Camillus. “Getting parents to think of reading aloud to their children as a pleasurable experience, instead of a task that has to be done, is the paradigm where the shift needs to happen.” Keevil points out that the listening component teachers use with CKLA can also be done at home. When children express an interest in a subject, parents can go to the library and get higher-level books to read to their child. When content and vocabulary is presented in context, children absorb more of it. When students prefer to read on their own, there are still things parents can do to be active participants, says Solvay’s Larison. “They can talk to students about their independent reading books. That dialogue in itself becomes an encouragement for the child to read. It’s a very powerful thing that parents can do, and it’s very simple.” Administrators in the West Genesee Central School, where CKLA was also implemented last year for grades K-5, will educate parents this fall on how the curriculum works and how they can support it.


With students more overscheduled than ever, some parents wrongly assume that it is OK to skip reading at home.

New readers need to practice at home, according to Laurie Black of Early Childhood Alliance Onondaga. Leveled readers and rote memorization are no longer part of early literacy instruction, Finn says. “One thing with the core knowledge program is that it does go slow to go fast. There is a purposeful sequence that they go through to teach children how to read so that by the end of the year you have true readers.” When More is Not Enough When students get beyond third grade, and are still struggling, parents need to take a more active role, says Stonehenge Elementary principal Keevil. “The classroom teacher and the reading specialist are there to support and to partner with parents in order to make sure that child succeeds.” The need for academic intervention services (or AIS) is determined, primarily, by student performance on assessments, typically given three times a year. With the

advent of Common Core, schools were required to offer reading intervention services to students who scored below a certain level on annual standardized tests. Many districts saw a jump in students who qualified for services based on those criteria. Some districts are now employing creative ways of providing additional support. Some schools use learning centers or “reading buddies,” when an older student reads aloud to a younger student, to enhance reading. At Seymour Academy in Syracuse last year, 140 first-grade students participated in a Book Buddies program staffed by local volunteers. They read with students twice a week for 30 minutes, and worked with struggling readers one on one.

continued on page 22 FAMILY TIMES SEPTEMBER 2017


to focus on specific skills. There are many online resources that enable teachers to let students work independently while they are assisting other students.


Before-School Work While many children now attend pre-kindergarten or day care programs that include at least some structured learning, teachers are still finding that too many children are not prepared for kindergarten. A cycle of catch-up begins.

Parents can encourage students to read aloud to them, which helps develop readers’ skills. continued from page 21 Laurie Black, one of the coordinators of the program and director of the nonprofit Early Childhood Alliance Onondaga, says most of the participants were testing about a year behind grade level. “They keep making progress, but they never actually catch up,” Black says. “I say you need a good three-legged stool to read: a great teacher, intervention for struggling readers, and reading practice. It really is a muscle that needs to be used in order to get stronger.” Solvay is considering having literacy specialists push-in to support students rather than pulling students out of class, as has been the norm, says Amanda Simmons, who served as Solvay schools literacy coordinator for more than a decade before recently taking a new position. “We at Solvay are hoping to build into our master schedule an intervention/enrichment time. It would be where everyone goes into skills groups and works on what they need.” By having that time set for everyone, students who need additional support would be less likely to feel “different” from their classmates. “There certainly is still a stigma associated with AIS support,” Simmons says. “Especially when students are older.” Tracking Progress Most parents are aware that assessment—more commonly known as “testing”—is part of the literacy education process, starting in kindergarten. Amodie’s Vernon-Verona-Sherill School District, among many others, uses DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) assessments to measure how students are acquiring early literacy skills. 22

DIBELS measures several areas of literacy development: phonemic awareness, alphabet principle, accuracy and fluency with connected text, reading comprehension, and vocabulary. Short assessments are administered three times a year. Scores, along with teacher observations, enable those students with difficulties to start receiving intervention services with a reading specialist as early as November of their first year of school. “We give students a baseline assessment in September,” says Amodie. “We compile a list of students that we are concerned about—right from the get-go. Our specialist sees about five of the most at-risk students from each classroom.” For students with difficulties, West Genesee’s literacy coordinator Stephanie Finn says it’s important to intervene early. “The time to get them caught up is when they are in K, 1 and 2,” she says. “By the time they are in third and fourth grade, the gap is so big, it’s really difficult to get them caught up.” Tech As Tools Elementary teachers also use technology to assist in learning. Tablet devices and smart tables are being introduced to students as tools—not just as rewards to use during earned downtime. Amodie employs a variety of online resources in her kindergarten classroom; current favorites include Starfall, ABCya! and TeacherTube, a video-sharing website similar to YouTube. Says Finn: “Students come in knowing how to use technology, but using it as a tool for reading and writing—that’s a change.” Simmons adds that technology has already become a fixture as a teacher support tool for managing student data. And it can be particularly helpful for differentiated instruction of students who need


“Language development is key,” literacy specialist Finn says. “Reading and writing are not natural processes, but what we do in our brains is link it to language, and if we are deficient coming in, that’s going to delay our reading and writing.” It’s best if children start learning crucial language skills before they even start school. The Early Childhood Alliance, launched in 2015 as the result of an Onondaga Citizens League study, is working to foster that. “When children come to kindergarten behind, they often stay behind because there is such a language gap to begin with,” says executive director Black. She says studies have shown that the peak time for development of the language skills that enable kids to transition into good readers is between 6 and 9 months old. By 18 months, opportunities have been lost. “What we are doing is trying to beef up what is happening in those early years so that they enter kindergarten on par and ready for school,” Black says. Earlier this year, the Early Childhood Alliance launched Too Small to Fail’s national Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing campaign in Onondaga County. The campaign offers parents tips for talking with their children in ways that can inspire real learning. Black encourages families to register their children for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. It’s free for Onondaga County residents from birth to age 5, and participants get a book a month. (Visit enroll-a-child/.) Black says getting appropriate materials in the hands of parents to help their struggling readers practice at home is important. “Once a struggling reader starts not wanting to read because it is hard work, they start not wanting to do it at all,” Black says. “I believe in my heart of hearts that schools will do well with all kids if they can come ready to learn.” Award-winning writer Tammy DiDomenico lives in DeWitt with her husband and two sons.


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Born at 28 weeks, our triplets needed intensive care | BY ALEXIA CONRAD


fter enduring a high-risk pregnancy and the unexpected delivery of our triplets at 28 weeks, I and my husband, Rob, were faced with the next phase: the neonatal intensive care unit. We had no choice. When Baby A had had enough of Babies B’s and C’s antics, she took matters into her own hands, so to speak, and made a break for it. So we all made our way to the NICU on the ninth floor of Crouse Hospital, some of us more quickly than others. That first sleep-deprived-yet-adrenaline-fueled encounter wasn’t much to speak of, mainly because I was overwhelmed and not quite sure of what to think of things after the 2:06, 2:07 and 2:08 a.m. delivery. I focused on what I could: naming our girls. Since Baby B was our boy, he was easy. We toyed with naming him after my oldest brother but decided, instead, to name him after my father, who had passed away eight years earlier. Baby B would be Theodore Nicholas. 24

But I had to see Babies A and C before naming them. And I was wheeled first to Baby C, who seemed to be the strongest of the three at the time. I recalled the nurses saying she was “stubborn” and immediately I shouted out, “That’s my Ukrainian. That’s my Olena.” Olena is Ukrainian for the name Helen, which is Rob’s mother’s name. Her middle name, Cecilia, is after my mother’s sister, Celia. Then we visited Theo, who was the biggest of the three, but still a micropremie at 2 pounds 7 ounces. That left Baby A—our 1 pound 4 ounce little firecracker—with Gretchen Estelle, a first name for Rob’s German heritage and a middle name that came from both sides of the family. Three strong names for three tiny babies. Neither my husband nor I had a chance to hold our babies after birth. And I was too focused on asking about my health, which, years later, I understand completely as a need to protect myself. That first encounter made it difficult to see any hope. It was hard to feel optimistic when my preemies were covered in oxygen

PERSONAL ESSAY Family Times • February 2017

tubes, protected by an incubator, bathed in billirubin lights and, in Theo’s case, attached to an oscillator. Those early days in the NICU were like one step forward, three or four steps back, while I was sleep-deprived and nursing. NICU life comes with a crash course in medical terminology: apnea, bradycardia, central venous line, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), echocardiogram, trach tube (and intubation and extubation), hearing screen, heart murmur, hemoglobin, jaundice, lead wires, nasal cannula, nebulizer, pulse oximiter, patent ductus arteriosis, phototherapy, respiratory syncytial virus, retinopathy of prematurity, tachycardia. . . oh, and hernia. It was grueling. It lasted for three months. It was definitely not a sprint. As trying as those three months were, there were also moments of joy. I remember the first time I was able to kiss Olena on her cheek when her nurse told me she was stable enough. That was one day after she was born. She was still too fragile to be held. continued on page 26


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continued from page 24 A week later I got to hold Gretchen when they were changing the bedding in her isolette. She looked like she was all eyes—super deep, dark brown eyes—peeking through the oxygen tubing that surrounded her tiny frame. This girl fit in the palm of my hand. Theo was a troublemaker—and 10 years later, he still is. He was the most unprepared for birth, so it took longer for that first contact. I think I cried the most when I first held him. (He still has that effect on me.)

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Contact such as that is unforgettable. Here you have this very fragile, imperfectly perfect being that you struggled to bring into this world on your chest, growing and thriving. And among the world of monitors with alarm bells that signal every brady and tachycardia, for the moment it’s just you and her, or you and both of the girls, or you and him. That is, until it gets to be too much, or it’s too late, or visiting hours are over.

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Kangaroo care means skin-on-skin contact between a parent and a baby. The baby wears its diaper, and any leads or wires that may be attached, and is positioned in an upright position on the parent’s chest. The baby is then draped in a receiving blanket or in your clothing. The contact helped the baby calm, promoted production of breast milk, and really healed us in the process. Kangaroo care was only possible once the babies could handle the contact. Sometimes it would be oneon-one contact, while other times Rob or I would have two at a time.

and then...

ke” !

And while each of those moments was brief, more prolonged contact known as kangaroo care was really the highlight of our NICU days.

Our triplets remained in the NICU for an average of three months. Olena, although jaundiced, was the first to come home. A week and a half later, big brother Theodore came home with strings attached: an oxygen tank and a sleep apnea monitor. Then, 10 days and one hernia surgery later, the baby who started it all, Gretchen, Baby A, came home, appropriately on a rainy Independence Day. While the pace of the NICU was intense, the babies did have care around the clock by an incredible team. Coming home, they would be entrusted to the care of a first-time mom and dad. The NICU dance was giving way to the first few weeks at home. And we were all in for a surprise.


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Alexia Conrad resides in Canastota with her husband and her now 10-year-old girl-boy-girl triplets.

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For example, you might determine that you’ll run in place for the first five minutes, then spend the next 10 minutes on body-weight exercises. You can set a goal for how many push-ups you’ll achieve in a period of time or how long you can hold a plank before resting, etc. If you’re following a fitness program online, try to establish the path you’ll take from your starting point to your desired end point. Write your goals down in a clean notebook, where you can revisit previous goals, make notes on progress and plot your next steps over time. TREAT YOURSELF TO NEW GEAR Are you motivated by seeing your goals written out? Then splurge on some finetip markers to color-code a wall calendar and chart your path to success. Do you feel strong when you look the part? Treat yourself to a new pair of sneakers, or some sleek new workout clothes. Just like in the business world, dressing for the role you want can help you get there faster.

Make Back to School, Back to You Leverage the new year with a refresh on fitness goals BY LISA BARNES DOLBEAR


ack-to-school time is the perfect time to freshen up your fitness goals. Whether you’re a stayat-home parent or a full-time employee in an office, the beginning of the school year offers a chance to regroup around a new schedule and updated goals. Here are a few ways you can turn backto-school time into you time. CREATE YOUR AGENDA Outline your day in blocks of time. If you have children getting on the bus, how much time can you carve out of the school day for yourself while managing other responsibilities? A good fitness routine can take as little as 20 minutes, and can even be broken up into a couple of 10-minute sessions throughout the day. By starting with an outline of the set times, you can focus on fitness each day, and you’re taking the first step toward more complex and specific goals. Don’t forget to give yourself credit for this critical first step. When you’ve completed your workout on Day One, use that as motivation to look at your schedule and lock down a time for Day Two. Taking ad-



vantage of a positive experience will help keep you on track. SET UP YOUR CLASSROOM Now that you’ve made a schedule, look for a place to dedicate to fitness. All you need are the basics: enough floor space to do body-weight exercises (like push-ups, sit-ups and planks), enough headroom to jump from the floor (for jumping jacks, burpees, and other plyometric moves), and a surface that you can move safely on (hardwood floors and sweat do not mix, and some carpeting can hinder effective movement). With a laptop and an internet connection, you can access many free workouts online (YouTube has lots of options for all abilities), or just put on your headphones and make up your own routine to your favorite tunes. First goal? Just keep moving through the whole block of time. MAKE A LESSON PLAN Once you’ve figured out where and when you can work out, it’s time to establish some milestones. If goal one was to simply get your heart rate up for a set duration of time, your next goal should be to add some specificity to that movement.

YOU DON’T HAVE TO SWEAT IT TO GET IT Making time for yourself isn’t just about finding ways to increase your physical fitness; it’s about mental fitness, too. It’s just as important to carve out time and space for relaxing, soul-searching activities as it is to raise your BPMs (beats per minute). If you can’t make time for both, alternate the time you do have between body and mind. Perhaps one week per month is devoted to spiritual wellness, while the rest of the time is spent on training and exercise. Find the right mix for you. DEFINE WHAT SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE In school we get feedback on how we’re performing: We pass a test, we get a grade, we complete an assignment. As you outline your agenda and prepare your space, think about what your gold star looks like in fitness. (Remember, everyone is different.) Maybe it’s simply keeping your commitment to your allocated “you time.” Maybe it’s doing one new thing during every workout. The most important thing is to recognize, and reward, your commitment so you’re motivated to come back for more. Lisa Barnes Dolbear lives in DeWitt with her husband and two children. She is a three-time Ironman finisher, fitness instructor and lifestyle writer. She blogs at


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2017 Please note: Mistakes happen. To confirm event details, call the sponsoring organization’s phone number or visit the website.

Friday, Aug. 25

New York State Fair. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (exhibits); through Sept. 4. The fair features thousands of animals, hundreds of commercial attractions, scores of rides and countless styles of deep fried food. Also see the works of New York artists and crafters. New York State Fairgrounds, Syracuse. Admission: $10/general; free/age 12 and younger. $3/Thursdays. $1/Aug. 23 & Sept. 4. Parking: $5. (800) 475-FAIR.

Saturday, Aug. 26

Community Library of DeWitt and Jamesville Grand Opening. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. The library formerly known as the DeWitt Community Library reopens with a celebration at its new location, including games, giveaways and entertainment for all ages. Community Library of DeWitt and Jamesville, 5110 Jamesville Road, Jamesville. Free. (315) 446-3578.

New York State Fair. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (exhib-

its); through Sept. 4. See Aug. 25 listing.

KidsFest with Joey Alexander. 11 a.m. Jazz

comic version of the tale, in which children in the audience help the Dwarves save Snow White from the silly Queen, who only cares about “being beautiful.” Spaghetti Warehouse, 689 N. Clinton St., Syracuse. $6. Reservations recommended: (315) 449-3823.

Sunday, Aug. 27

Inner Harbor Peace Runs. 8:30 a.m. 2K race starts at 8:30 a.m.; 5K race at 9 a.m. Other activities include: bouncy house, ice cream, meet Otto the Orange, and more. Sponsored by It’s About Childhood & Family Inc. Syracuse Inner Harbor, West Kirkpatrick and Rensselaer streets, Syracuse. $25/5K; free/2K. (315) 382-0541. New York State Fair. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (exhibits); through Sept. 4. See Aug. 25 listing.

Monday, Aug. 28

New York State Fair. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (exhib-

its); through Sept. 4. See Aug. 25 listing.

Tuesday, Aug. 29

New York State Fair. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (exhibits); through Sept. 4. See Aug. 25 listing.

prodigy Joey Alexander, age 14, talks about his story and performs. First Presbyterian Church, 97 E. Genesee St., Skaneateles. $5/adults; free/under 18. (315) 685-7418.

Wednesday, Aug. 30

Snow White. 12:30 p.m. The Magic Circle

its); through Sept. 4. See Aug. 25 listing.

Children’s Theatre presents an interactive,

New York State Fair. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (exhib-

Back to School DIY. 2p.m. Use a variety of

craft materials to make pencil pouches, book covers and more. Beauchamp Branch Library, 2111 S. Salina St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-3395.

Teen 8 Bit Perler Design. 6-8 p.m. Teens in

grades 6-12 can learn how to make perler designs or create their own. Liverpool Public Library, 310 Tulip St., Liverpool. Free. (315) 457-0310. Registration required:

Thursday, Aug. 31

New York State Fair. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (exhibits); through Sept. 4. See Aug. 25 listing.

Friday, Sept. 1

New York State Fair. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (exhibits); through Sept. 4. See Aug. 25 listing. Wii and Game Fun. 3:30 p.m.; also Sept. 8, 15,

22 & 29. Kids age 5 and up can test their skills on the Nintendo Wii and play board games while they wait. Beauchamp Branch Library, 2111 S. Salina St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-3395.

Popcorn Fridays. 3:30-4:30 p.m.; also Sept. 8, 15, 22 & 29. Young people ages 12-18 can eat popcorn and play games in the teen space. Central Library, 447 S. Salina St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-1900.

Saturday, Sept. 2

Fun with Plants. 10 a.m.-noon. Dissect fruits and flowers, then make your own chia pet to



Pre-K Storytime. 10 a.m.; also Sept. 13, 20 &

New York State Fair. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (exhibits); through Sept. 4. See Aug. 25 listing.

ages 3-6 and parents can learn yoga and literacy skills in a session that features puppets, stories, songs and breathing exercises. Participants must wear socks; mats provided. Fayetteville Free Library, 300 Orchard St., Fayetteville. Free. Registration required: (315) 637-6374.

Snow White. 12:30 p.m. See Aug. 26 listing.

Mother Goose Time. 11 a.m.; Tuesdays. Chil-

Children ages 2-6, accompanied by caregivers, can hear stories, sing songs, make crafts and more. Onondaga Free Library, 4840 W. Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse. Free. (315) 492-1727.

take home; for preschoolers and older, as well as curious adults. NOPL Cicero, 8686 Knowledge Lane, Cicero. Free. Registration required: (315) 699-2032.

Sciencenter Showtime. 2 p.m.; Saturdays. An

interactive presentation explores different aspects of science each week. This month’s topics include: biomedical engineering; citizen science; chemistry; and art and archeology. Sciencenter, 601 First St., Ithaca. Admission: $8/ages 2-64; $7/seniors, age 65plus; free/under 2. (607) 272-0600.

Sunday, Sept. 3

27. Early readers can practice literacy skills with music, rhymes, movement and stories. Beauchamp Branch Library, 2111 S. Salina St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-3395.

Family Storytime. 10 a.m.; Wednesdays.

dren age 2 and under, with caregivers, can play at the library with toys, blocks, felt board activities and more. Onondaga Free Library, 4840 W. Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse. Free. (315) 492-1727.

Baby Storytime with Signs. 10:30 a.m.; also Sept. 13, 20 & 27. Babies and caregivers can take part in a language-building program that teaches and reinforces six basic signs. Fayetteville Free Library, 300 Orchard St., Fayetteville. Free. (315) 637-6374.

3D Modeling for Beginners. 2-3 p.m. Participants age 12 and up can learn the concepts behind computer aided design and find out how to make their ideas into reality. Central Library, 447 S. Salina St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-1900.

Read, Sing, Play Storytime. 10:30-11 a.m.; also Sept. 13, 20 & 27. Children from birth to age 5, accompanied by an adult, can enjoy a fun storytime. Central Library, 447 S. Salina St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-1900.

Tails to Tell. 3:30 p.m.; also Sept. 12, 19 & 26.

New York State Fair. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (exhibits); through Sept. 4. See Aug. 25 listing.

Kids ages 5-12 can read a story to a dog from Paws of CNY. Mundy Branch Library, 1204 S. Geddes St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-3797.

Monday, Sept. 4

Java Coding for Kids. 4 p.m.; first of three-part

Toddler Storytime. 10:30 a.m.; also Sept. 13, 20 & 27. Children ages 2-4 (and siblings), accompanied by caregivers, can hear stories, sing songs and make crafts. Hazard Branch Library, 1620 W. Genesee St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-5326.

series. Students in grades 3-5 can learn how to do simple Java coding. Fayetteville Free Library, 300 Orchard St., Fayetteville. Free. Registration required: (315) 637-6374.


New York State Fair. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. See Aug.

25 listing.

Multiple Moms Mingle. 6 p.m. Monthly meet-

ing of mothers and expectant mothers of multiples. Tully’s, 2943 Erie Blvd. E., Syracuse. Reserve if you wish to attend:

Wednesday, Sept. 6

Early Learners Storytime. 11 a.m.-noon; also Sept. 13, 20 & 27. Children ages 2-4, accompanied by an adult, can enjoy and learn from stories, rhymes, songs and crafts. Salina Free Library, 100 Belmont St., Mattydale. Free. (315) 454-4524.

Children who are good walkers, up to age 3, can with a caregiver take part in a program with music, movement, crafts and more. Fayetteville Free Library, 300 Orchard St., Fayetteville. Free. (315) 637-6374.

Lego Robotics. 1-3 p.m. Children ages 9-12 work in teams to make Lego blocks move, dance and drive using basic computer skills. Liverpool Public Library, 310 Tulip St., Liverpool. Free. (315) 457-0310. Registration required:

First Steps. 9:30 a.m.; also Sept. 13, 20 & 27.

Tuesday, Sept. 5

Yoga Storytime. 10:30 a.m.; also Sept. 19. Kids

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Back to Homeschool Party. 1:30-3 p.m.

Parents and students can check out homeschooling resources and take part in games and activities. Liverpool Public Library, 310 Tulip St., Liverpool. Free. (315) 457-0310.

Teen Geeks. 6-8 p.m.; also Sept. 20. Teens

can hang out, eat snacks, and play a game or do another activity at each week’s session. Liverpool Public Library, 310 Tulip St., Liverpool. Free. (315) 457-0310.

Words and Music Songwriter Workshop.

Family Storytime. 11 a.m.; Thursdays. Children ages 2-6, accompanied by caregivers, can hear stories, sing songs, make crafts and more. Onondaga Free Library, 4840 W. Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse. Free. (315) 492-1727.

Teen Writer’s Guild. 4-5 p.m.; also Sept. 14, 21 & 28. Join fellow teens to write in any of a variety of genres, receive feedback and get support. Fayetteville Free Library, 300 Orchard St., Fayetteville. Free. (315) 637-6374.

6:30-8:30 p.m. Songwriters of all ages and skill levels can bring work, and get and give constructive opinions and suggestions. Liverpool Public Library, 310 Tulip St., Liverpool. Free. (315) 457-0310.

Craft Club. 5:15 p.m.; also Sept. 14 & 21. Kids

Thursday, Sept. 7

Pajama Storytime. 6 p.m. Children ages 2-4 can come in pajamas and bring a stuffed friend for a storytime with songs, snacks and a craft. Siblings are welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Hazard Branch Library, 1620 W. Genesee St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-5326.

Home School Nature Series. 10 a.m.-noon.

Homeschooled children ages 5-12 can join wildlife biologists as they band ducks and gather data to learn more about waterfowl populations. Montezuma Audubon Center, 2295 Route 89, Savannah. $8/student. (315) 365-3588. montezuma.

Stretching Food Dollars. 10:30-11:30 a.m. Learn about healthy eating on a budget, with nutrition educator Holly Adams. Central Library, 447 S. Salina St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-1900. Free to Be. 10:30-11:15 a.m. Children ages 3-6

(younger siblings welcome) can take part in this early childhood music and acting class with live guitar music, creating unique lyrics. Fayetteville Free Library, 300 Orchard St., Fayetteville. Free. (315) 637-6374.

age 5 and up can discover new ways to make unique items with a variety of materials. Beauchamp Branch Library, 2111 S. Salina St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-3395.

Emergency Preparedness. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Learn how to respond to a natural or man-made disaster. Find out how to draw up a family action plan and devise a strategy for stocking up on supplies. Sponsored by Liverpool Public Library. Runnings of Clay, 3949 Route 31, Liverpool. Free. (315) 457-0310. Registration required:

Homeschooling 101 for Parents. 7-8:30 p.m. Homeschooling parents meet and talk about preparing a high school transcript and getting ready for college. Liverpool Public Library, 310 Tulip St., Liverpool. Free. (315) 457-0310.

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Sept 16 through Oct 22

Friday, Sept. 8

Time for Tots Playgroup. 9:30-10:45 a.m.; also

Sept. 22. Education playgroup for children ages 18 months-5 years and their caregiver. Stories, songs, arts and crafts, and more. Cross of Christ Lutheran Church, 8131 Soule Road, Liverpool. $3/ family. Registration recommended: (315) 622-2843.

Toddlers’ Tango. 10:15 & 11 a.m. Children ages 1-5 can play with instruments, sing and dance. Onondaga Free Library, 4840 W. Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse. Free. Registration required: (315) 492-1727. David’s Refuge Fundraiser. 7-10 p.m. An

evening of food and drink, with emcee Skip Clark, raises money for the nonprofit that devotes itself to “caring for the caregiver.” Beak & Skiff 1911 Cafe and Tasting Room, 2708 Lords Hill Road, LaFayette. $125/person. (315) 682-4204.

Saturday, Sept. 9

Golden Harvest Festival. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; also Sept. 10. Highlights of the festival include: arts and crafts, live music, storytelling, and a petting zoo. Homemade seasonal foods and beverages for sale. Beaver Lake Nature Center, 8477 E. Mud Lake Road, Baldwinsville. Admission: $5/adult; $1/ages 6-17; free/age 5 & under. (315) 638-2519. Central New York Tomatofest. 10 a.m.-6

p.m.; also Sept. 10. Join the celebration of tomato season’s end—with crafts for sale, activities for kids, and more. Various locations in downtown Auburn. Children’s entertainment located at Auburn Public Theater, 8 Exchange St. Proceeds


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Paws and Books. 10:30-11:30 a.m.; also Sept.

23. Children ages 5-12 can read a story to Cooper, a trained, lovable dog certified as a Canine Good Citizen. Hazard Branch Library, 1620 W. Genesee St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-5326.

Toddlers’ Tango. 10:30-11:30 a.m. Toddlers and preschoolers can join a music and movement class. Salina Free Library, 100 Belmont St., Mattydale. Free. Registration required: (315) 454-4524. Fishing Class. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Kids of all ages can learn how to fish with Mike McGrath. Live bait and lures will be used; bait and tackle are provided. Those over age 16 must have a valid New York state fishing license. Lake Neatahwanta pier, Route 3, Fulton. Free. Snow White. 12:30 p.m. See Aug. 26 listing. Technology Camp. 2 p.m.; also Sept. 16, 23 &

30. Kids age 8 and up can learn about a variety of topics including circuits, robotics and coding. Mundy Branch Library, 1204 S. Geddes St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-3797.

Open Chess. 2-4 p.m.; also Sept. 16, 23 & 30.

Players of all levels can meet up with others and play with provided boards, or bring their own. Petit Branch Library, 105 Victoria Place, Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-3636.

Teens Tin Can Banjo Project. 2 p.m. Learn

about the anatomy and history of the banjo, and make a simple two-string instrument, complete with tuners. Petit Branch Library, 105 Victoria Place, Syracuse. Free. Registration required: (315) 435-3636.

Sensory Friendly Time. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Staff

turn down the noise, turn off flashing lights, and shut off air compressors so people with sensory processing challenges can enjoy the museum. Museum of Science and Technology (MOST). 500 S. Franklin St., Armory Square, Syracuse. Museum admission: $12/adults; $10/seniors and ages 2-11. (315) 425-9068.

Sunday, Sept. 10

Golden Harvest Festival. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. See

Sept. 9 listing.

Central New York Tomatofest. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. See Sept. 9 listing.

Monday Funday. 5 p.m. Children ages 5-10 can come make a craft each week. Maxwell Memorial Library, 14 Genesee St., Camillus. Free. Registration preferred: (315) 672-3661. Anime Club. 4 p.m.; also Sept. 25. Participants

will watch episodes of an anime series, talk about manga and comics, share fan art, and more. Fayetteville Free Library, 300 Orchard St., Fayetteville. Free. (315) 637-6374.

Tips for Low-Intervention Birth. 6 p.m. Pregnant women can learn what an intervention is and how to prevent unnecessary ones in a hospital setting. Presented by CNY Doula Connection. CNY Healing Arts, 195 Intrepid Lane, Syracuse. Free. Registration recommended: (315) 395-3643.

Jewish Music and Cultural Festival. Noon5:30 p.m. Ethnic music, children’s activities, and an abundance of kosher foods featuring Middle Eastern and Eastern European favorites. Jewish Community Center of Syracuse, 5655 Thompson Road, DeWitt. Free admission. (315) 445-2040, Ext. 114.

Tuesday, Sept. 12

Monday, Sept. 11

Teen Cooking. 4-5 p.m. Teens can make cookie dough that you can eat without having to bake it. NOPL North Syracuse, 100 Trolley Barn Lane, North Syracuse. Free. (315) 458-6184.

Gaming for Adults with Special Needs.

1:30-3 p.m. Adults with special needs can build communication and social skills while playing Wii and board games. Caregivers must remain in the room. Liverpool Public Library, 310 Tulip St., Liverpool. Free. (315) 457-0310.

Paws to Read. 3:30-4:30 p.m. Any child who

wants to work on reading can join therapy dog Mollie; each reading session lasts 15 minutes. Salina Free Library, 100 Belmont St., Mattydale. Free. Registration required: (315) 454-4524.

Signing Storytime. 10:30 a.m.; also Sept. 26.

Children ages 3-6 can learn six to seven signs that correspond to the week’s story. Fayetteville Free Library, 300 Orchard St., Fayetteville. Free. (315) 637-6374.

Teen MOPS. 4-6 p.m.; also Sept. 26. Young mothers, ages 13-21, with children under 6 enjoy a faith-based program with fun, food and activities while their children are cared for by the childcare program. Liverpool First United Methodist Church, 604 Oswego St., Liverpool. Free. (315) 569-2542. Tween Scene. 5 p.m. Students ages 10-14 can engage in an activity, whether a craft, game,

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project or open mike. Maxwell Memorial Library, 14 Genesee St., Camillus. Free. Registration preferred: (315) 672-3661.

Wednesday, Sept. 13

Lego Club. 4-5 p.m. Kids ages 5-12 can build with Legos. Salina Free Library, 100 Belmont St., Mattydale. Free. Registration required: (315) 4544524. Teen Anime Night. 6-8 p.m. Teens can come

Pokemon. 6:30 p.m. Children in grade 3 and up, of all skill levels, can bring their own decks and engage in this game of strategy. Onondaga Free Library, 4840 W. Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse. Free. Registration requested: (315) 492-1727.

Thursday, Sept. 14

La Festa Italiana, Sept. 15-17

Smartplay. 10:30-11:30 a.m. Children age 6 and

under can explore a free-play environment that promotes discovery, creativity and the development of early literacy skills. Fayetteville Free Library, 300 Orchard St., Fayetteville. Free. (315) 637-6374.

happening in the book. Maxwell Memorial Library, 14 Genesee St., Camillus. Free. Registration preferred: (315) 672-3661.

and receiving feedback from peers. Petit Branch Library, 105 Victoria Place, Syracuse. Free. Registration required: (315) 435-3636.

Creation Station. 6 p.m. Kids ages 5-12 can

fun, seasonal crafts in the Children’s Room with provided materials. Liverpool Public Library, 310 Tulip St., Liverpool. Free. (315) 457-0310.

Teen Trading Card Game Day. 3:30-4:30 p.m. Young people ages 12-18 can join TCG Player, a local company, for an afternoon of games and prizes. Central Library, 447 S. Salina St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-1900.

Preschool Book Club. 1:30 p.m. Children ages 3-5, accompanied by an adult, can read a book with other participants and talk about what’s

Teen Writing and Drawing Group. 3:30-5 p.m. Meetings will include writing or drawing in response to a prompt, group games, sharing work,

Friday, Sept. 15

Drop In Crafts. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Kids can make

make their own pencil case out of duct tape; all supplies provided. Hazard Branch Library, 1620 W. Genesee St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-5326.

Toddler Dance Party. 10:30 a.m. Toddlers and

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and talk about anime. Cosplay is okay, but library staff must approve. Liverpool Public Library, 310 Tulip St., Liverpool. Free. (315) 457-0310.

New York State Fair, through Sept. 4

preschoolers, ages 18 months to 5 years, accompanied by caregivers, can enjoy musical instruments, bubbles and tunes. Community Library of DeWitt and Jamesville, 5110 Jamesville Road, Jamesville. Free. (315) 446-3578.

animals, music, games, crafts and a chicken barbecue. Great Swamp Conservancy, 8375 N. Main St., Canastota. Admission: $3/adults; $1/under 12; $8/ family maximum. (315) 697-2950. greatswampcon

Fayetteville Festival. Noon-dusk. Family event includes displays by local organizations; music; children’s activities; and a fireworks show at dusk. Beard Park, South Manlius Street, Fayetteville. Free. (315) 637-9864.

Music and Stories with Donna B. 10:30 a.m.

FFL Book Sale. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Thousands of

La Festa Italiana. Noon-11 p.m.; through Sept. 17. See Sept. 15 listing.

Donna Butterfield leads children age 3 and up in songs, dancing and stories. Onondaga Free Library, 4840 W. Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse. Free. Registration requested: (315) 492-1727.

La Festa Italiana. 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; through Sept.

17. Celebrate Italian culture, including food and music, and bocce. In front of Syracuse City Hall, Washington and Montgomery streets, Syracuse. Free admission.

Full STEAM Ahead. 3:30 p.m. Kids ages 5-12

can create a holder for a library card, learning measuring and some simple sewing techniques as well. Mundy Branch Library, 1204 S. Geddes St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-3797.

Saturday, Sept. 16

Mini Childbirth Education Class. 10 a.m.-1

p.m. Learn about the birth process and comfort measures, and address concerns. Course book available for $10. Bring a yoga mat and small pillow; partner or support person encouraged to attend. Presented by CNY Doula Connection. Natur-Tyme Community Room, 3160 Erie Blvd. E., Syracuse. Free. Registration recommended: (315) 395-3643.

Fall Migration Festival. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Festival features educational and environmental exhibits,



books, CDs, DVDs, and more materials for sale. Fayetteville Free Library, 300 Orchard St., Fayetteville. (315) 637-6374.

Read, Make, Play. 10:30 a.m.; also Sept. 23 & 30. Children ages 3-6 and caregivers can enjoy games and more. Mundy Branch Library, 1204 S. Geddes St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-3797. Paws to Read. 10:30-11:30 a.m. Kids can read to one of three friendly dogs from Paws Inc. of CNY. Liverpool Public Library, 310 Tulip St., Liverpool. Free. (315) 457-0310.

Tails to Tell. 11 a.m. Kids ages 5-12 can read a

story to a dog from Paws of CNY. Mundy Branch Library, 1204 S. Geddes St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-3797.

Robot Petting Zoo. 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Schoolaged kids can drop in and interact with robots including Dash Robots, Spheros, Codeapillars, Ozobots and others. Fayetteville Free Library, 300 Orchard St., Fayetteville. Free. (315) 637-6374. ffl. org. Rice Creek Rambles. 11 a.m.; also Sept. 23

& 30. Explore trails, woods and wetlands with a naturalist on a family-friendly hike. Those under 17 must be accompanied by an adult. Rice Creek Field Station, SUNY Oswego, Thompson Road, 1 mile south of Route 104, Oswego. Free. Call day of to check trail conditions: (315) 312-6677.

Snow White. 12:30 p.m. See Aug. 26 listing. Kids Fishing Tournament. 1-3:30 p.m. Fishing tournament for kids; participants receive tackle box, fishing tackle and copy of “NY State Beginners Guide to Freshwater Fishing” (while supplies last). Salmon River International Sport Fishing Museum, 3044 Route 13, Pulaski. Free. (315) 3742997 or (315) 882-1549. Dan the Snakeman. 1:30 p.m. Audience mem-

bers can see a variety of reptiles up close. Beauchamp Branch Library, 2111 S. Salina St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-3395.

Apple Science. 2:30 p.m. Kids ages 6-12 can make apple volcanoes, boats, towers and more. They’ll conclude by making apple play dough to take home. Hazard Branch Library, 1620 W. Genesee St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-5326. Shopkins Live. 4 p.m. The popular kids toy

turns into a live musical show, with performances by Jessicake, Bubbleisha, Peppa-Mint and more. Landmark Theater, S. Salina St., Syracuse. $19$100. (315) 475-7980.

Sunday, Sept. 17

Petit Book Sale. 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Thousands

of books, music CDs, DVDs and audiobooks will be on sale, most for $2 or less each. Bring your own bag. Petit Branch Library, 105 Victoria Place, Syracuse. (315) 435-3636.

Westcott Street Cultural Fair. Noon-6:30

p.m. The neighborhood puts on its 26th annual festival, starting with a parade at noon and followed by live music and dance performances, crafts for sale, and a chance to learn about local nonprofit organizations. Westcott Street between Concord and Dell streets, and on side streets, Syracuse. Free. (315) 313-5447.

La Festa Italiana. Noon-11 p.m. See Sept. 15


Fall Concert Series. 2-3 p.m. Skip Murphy and His Merry Pranksters perform. Liverpool Public Library, 310 Tulip St., Liverpool. Free. (315) 4570310.

Monday, Sept. 18

Moms Club of Syracuse East. 10 a.m.-noon.

Meet other mothers while the kids play. Fayetteville Free Library, 300 Orchard St., Fayetteville. Free. Registration required: (315) 637-6374.

Teens Minecraft. 3-4:30 p.m. Teens in grades

6-12 can play on the library’s server. Salina Free Library, 100 Belmont St., Mattydale. Free. Registration required: (315) 454-4524. MICHAEL DAVIS PHOTO

American Girl. 6 p.m. Young people ages 7-12

can travel back to the historical events and culture that influenced the American Girls in an event that features stories, crafts, snacks and more. Onondaga Free Library, 4840 W. Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse. Free. Registration requested: (315) 492-1727.

Tuesday, Sept. 19

Hazard Teen Poetry Society. 5 p.m.; also Sept. 26. High school senior Chris Costello teaches the fundamentals of poetry, and how to gather ideas and produce new work; for ages 1319. Hazard Branch Library, 1620 W. Genesee St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-5326.

Wednesday, Sept. 20 Nature on Wheels. 1 p.m.; also Sept. 27.

Visitors with mobility limitations can go on a 90-minute electric-vehicle excursion led by naturalists. Beaver Lake Nature Center, 8477 E. Mud Lake Road, Baldwinsville. $3/tour; $4/parking. Registration required: (315) 638-2519.

Thursday, Sept. 21

crafts; enjoy some cider or apples any time today, while supplies last. Onondaga Free Library, 4840 W. Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse. Free. (315) 492-1727.

Trail Tales. 1 p.m. Children ages 3-5, accompa-

nied by an adult, can hear two stories and then go on a guided hike on the stories’ themes. Beaver Lake Nature Center, 8477 E. Mud Lake Road, Baldwinsville. $4/parking. (315) 638-2519.

Hazard Branch Chess Club. 5-7 p.m.; also Sept. 28. People of all ages and abilities can play with others; those age 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Hazard Branch Library, 1620 W. Genesee St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 4355326. DIY Girls. 6:30 p.m. Girls in grades 5-7 can take

5 Days or 45 Days

Friday, Sept. 22

Family Dance Party. 2-3 p.m. Celebrate the end of the week with music and dancing; grownup participation is encouraged. NOPL Cicero, 8686 Knowledge Lane, Cicero. Free. (315) 699-2032. Kids Minecraft. 3:30-4:30 p.m. Kids in grades 3-5 can play on the library’s server. Salina Free Library, 100 Belmont St., Mattydale. Free. Registration required: (315) 454-4524.

Saturday, Sept. 23

Fall Exhibition Opening. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Apple Day. 11 a.m. Hear apple stories and do

What if you could choose?

part in fun hands-on activities. Onondaga Free Library, 4840 W. Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse. Free. Registration required: (315) 492-1727.

Explore contemporary life and culture in China through the stories of four young people in the new exhibit Children of Hangzhou: Connecting with China. Sciencenter, 601 First St., Ithaca. Admission: $8/adults; $7/seniors; $6/ages 3-17; free/under 3. (607) 272-0600.

Fishing Class. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Kids of all ages can learn how to fish with Mike McGrath. Live bait and lures will be used; bait and tackle are provided. Those over age 16 must have a valid New York state fishing license. Oneida Fish Hatchery, 3 Hatchery Road, off Route 49, Constantia. Free. Sportsmen’s Days. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; also Sept.

24. People of all ages can try outdoor pursuits such as skeet shooting, waterfowl identification, turkey calling, archery, fly fishing, canoeing, muzzle

Don’t call me an addict I am someone’s mother wife daughter sister I have a substance use disorder for help call




Saturday, Sept. 30

Apple Day, Sept. 21

Stride to SAVE Lives. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. A fun run, children’s activities and run/walk (11 a.m.) help SAVE promote suicide awareness and reduce stigma associated with depression and mental illness. SUNY Oswego, Hewitt Union Ballroom, 7060 Route 104, Oswego. Donations. (952) 946-7998. Green Apple Day. 10-11 a.m. Make posters to raise environmental awareness, and learn about reducing, reusing and recycling at home. NOPL Cicero, 8686 Knowledge Lane, Cicero. Free. (315) 699-2032. Lego Club. 2 p.m. Kids ages 5-12 can complete Lego building challenges and win prizes. Hazard Branch Library, 1620 W. Genesee St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-5326.


Downtown Syracuse Farmers’ Market.

Tuesdays, 7 a.m.-3 p.m.; through Oct. 10. Farmers and produce dealers offer vegetables, fruit, nuts, flowers, baked goods and more for sale. Clinton Square, Syracuse. (315) 422-8284. downtownsyr

loading and more. Demonstrations by woodsmen and displays of local wildlife art. Carpenter’s Brook Fish Hatchery, 1672 Route 321, Elbridge. Admission: $5/vehicle. (315) 689-9367.

Great Chocolate Wrecktoberfest. Noon-4 p.m.; also Sept. 24. In honor of the 1955 chocolate train wreck in the village, the celebration will include: free guided bus tours to the train wreck site (2:30 p.m.), live music, a display of photos taken at the wreck. Good Nature Farm Brewery, 8 Broad St., Hamilton. (315) 824-2337. Snow White. 12:30 p.m. See Aug. 26 listing. Early Autumn Paddle. 4 p.m.; also Sept. 30. Go

on a paddle with a naturalist. Snack on cheese, crackers and cider. Beaver Lake Nature Center, 8477 E. Mud Lake Road, Baldwinsville. $25/canoe, including rental. Registration required: (315) 638-2519.

Sunday, Sept. 24

National Down Syndrome Society Buddy Walk. 10:30 a.m. (registration at 9:30 a.m.).

Individuals with Down syndrome along with their friends and families promote acceptance and advocacy with a two-mile walk; picnic lunch and festivities follow. Music by Skip Clark Entertainment. T-shirts available for purchase. Long Branch Park, Longbranch Road, Liverpool. Free. Early preregistration recommended: (315) 682-4289.

Sportsmen’s Days. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. See Sept. 23 listing.

Great Chocolate Wrecktoberfest. Noon-4

p.m. See Sept. 23 listing.

Family Festival. 1-4 p.m. People of all ages can

enjoy games, bounce houses, live music and more. Each family receives a free pumpkin. Vintage Faith Church, 6836 Route 3, Cicero. Free. Vintagefaith

Monday, Sept. 25 See Ongoing Events



Tuesday, Sept. 26

Banned Books Week Challenge. 5 p.m. Children ages 5-12 can try to pick out banned books from a photo lineup. Prizes for each challenge. Hazard Branch Library, 1620 W. Genesee St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-5326.

Wednesday, Sept. 27

Creative Writing Workshop. 3-6 p.m. Young people ages 8-15 can learn the basics of storytelling and create a short story of their own. Stories will be compiled in a bound volume and added to the library’s collection. Mundy Branch Library, 1204 S. Geddes St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-3797.

Thursday, Sept. 28

Teen Book Club. 3:30-4:30 p.m. Rashawn Sullivan will talk about his book, iapologize, and his experiences as an incarcerated youth. Central Library, 447 S. Salina St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-1900. Science Experiments. 4 p.m. Kids in grades

K-2 can learn about science, technology, engineering and math in this program. Fayetteville Free Library, 300 Orchard St., Fayetteville. Free. Registration required: (315) 637-6374.

Graphic Novel Club. 5 p.m. Young people ages 13-19 can discuss Brian K. Vaughan’s Pride of Baghdad and use it as inspiration for their own graphic novels. Hazard Branch Library, 1620 W. Genesee St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-5326.

Friday, Sept. 29

Drop in Family Storytime. 10:15-10:45 a.m. Children age 5 and under, with caregivers, can share songs, stories and games. Liverpool Public Library, 310 Tulip St., Liverpool. Free. (315) 4570310.

Canoeing & Kayaking. Through Sept. 4: Saturdays & Sundays, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; weekdays: 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Paddle around Beaver Lake searching for beaver lodges, turtles and herons. Beaver Lake Nature Center, 8477 E. Mud Lake Road, Baldwinsville. $10/hour of rental. Admission: $4/vehicle. Call for current weather conditions: (315) 638-2519. Horseback Riding. Sept. 1-Oct. 29: Friday,

Saturday & Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. See Highland Forest on an hour-long guided horseback ride. Highland Forest Park, Route 80, 3 miles east of Fabius. $35/hour (age 5 and up). Reservations required: (315) 289-3775.

Weekend Walks With a Naturalist. Saturdays and Sundays, 2 p.m. Nature discovery hike with different topics each weekend. Beaver Lake Nature Center, Route 370, Baldwinsville. Admission: $4/vehicle. (315) 638-2519.

Great Swamp Conservancy Nature Trails.

Daily, dawn to dusk. Throughout the year, visitors can grab their walking shoes and explore 4.5 miles of well-groomed, flat trails. Trails feature a 900foot boardwalk, osprey nesting platform, and wetland and grassland restoration areas. The area is a stop for many migratory waterfowl and songbirds; other wildlife include muskrats and beavers. Great Swamp Conservancy, 3.5 miles off I-90, Exit 34, 8375 N. Main St., Canastota. Free. (315) 697-2950.

Baltimore Woods Nature Center. Hiking trails and parking are free and open every day from dawn to dusk. Interpretive Center open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; closed Sundays. 4007 Bishop Hill Road, Marcellus. (315) 673-1350.

Calendar listings are free! Email information about your family-friendly event to: Listings are due by Sept. 1 for the October issue.

93Q.........................................................................................................34 Abbott Farms.......................................................................................15 Ballet & Dance of Upstate NY.........................................................13 Baltimore Woods Nature Center...................................................25 Before and After School Child Care on Location (BASCOL)...29 Big Kahuna Party Rentals..................................................................23 Bluebird Music Together...................................................................29 Canterbury Stables............................................................................. 17 Critz Farms...........................................................................................33 Dance Centre North............................................................................9 Dance Studio CNY.............................................................................30 Edge FCU............................................................................................... 17 Elevation Contemporary Dance......................................................30 EYE Studio.............................................................................................26 Faith Heritage School.........................................................................27 Family Life Network...........................................................................19 Flamingo Bowl...................................................................................7,23 Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo..............................................................32 Four Seasons RV Rentals...................................................................33 Fun Jump................................................................................................23 Hematology/Oncology Associates..................................................37 Interact Language Center..................................................................27 J&B Seamless Gutter Co. Inc...........................................................26 Jewish Community Center......................................................... 29,35 Joan Condlin’s Liverpool School of Dance....................................30 Joe Ball’s Home Improvement..........................................................34 Jordan Elbridge Country Kids..........................................................34

Madison Irving Pediatrics...................................................................32 Mike Carter’s Cartoon Island..........................................................23 Montessori Discovery School of Syracuse....................................27 Montessori School of the Finger Lakes.........................................25 Music for Life........................................................................................29 Naughty Nits.......................................................................................... 9 Once Upon a Child............................................................................... 9 Pathfinder Bank.................................................................................... 11 Pediatric Associates............................................................................34 Prevention Network...........................................................................37 Rochester School of the Deaf........................................Inside Front Rothschild Early Childhood Center................................................27 SewSyracuse....................................................................................... 29 Shining Stars Daycare, Inc.................................................................25 Spinnaker Custom Products.............................................................30 Sport Center 481................................................................................30 Springside Farm....................................................................................15 St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church.............................................. 11 St. Vincent De Paul Day Care Center...........................................25 Syracuse Children’s Theatre...............................................................5 Syracuse School of Dance.................................................................25 The Dance Theatre of Syracuse......................................................34 The Lioness Club of Central Square..............................................13 Trillium Stables.....................................................................................30 Upstate Medical University............................................. Back Cover Weiss, Savedoff & Ciccone...............................................................13

G I V E A W AY ! Enter to win

A Family Pass to Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo Entry deadline is noon on 9/12/17.


Send contact info to with “Fort Rickey” in the subject line.



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Family Times September 2017  

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