Lawrence Kids Winter '18/'19

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Lawrence Kids Winter, 2018/19


Lawrence Kids Winter, 2018/19

Season’s Readings Seasonal Essentials - The Fellers Family Youth of the Year Henry & Tasha’s Modern Family These Lawrence Kids - Entrepreneurs

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Top-5 Sledding Spots in Lawrence


cover photo by Amber Yoshida

a project of Four Birds Media (785) 766-5669 Thank you for reading.

Winter Reading Suggestions from the Librarians at the Lawrence Public Library Chick ‘n’ Pug by Jennifer Gordon Sattler A fun picture book about a little Chick who idolizes a Pug and finds that he may be his very own superhero after all. Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Bryan Obed A short and beautifully illustrated chapter book that chronicles one family’s love affair with winter. Ages 5 and up Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner A non-fiction classic that illustrates the world of plants and animals living in the layer of warmth beneath the snow. Ages 3 and up Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit by Il Sung Na What do animals do in the winter? This lyrical picture book will reveal all. Ages 0-5 Snowy Day by Jack Keats A little boy named Peter puts on his snowsuit and steps out of his house. In 1962 The Snowy Day transformed children’s literature with its pioneering portrayal of an African-American child and the charming story and artwork that won it the Caldecott Medal. Come to the Children’s area at the Library to see our Snowy Day mural! Ages 2-7. The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm What if you could take a pill and be young again? What if your cranky grandfather took that pill instead? Magyk by Angie Sage One night, the seventh son of a seventh son is stolen from his family and replaced by a baby with purple eyes. Years later, everyone involved is thrust into the adventure of a lifetime. This is a great read if you like adventure, magic and kid heroes. The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale Ani is the Crown Princess of Kildenree but she is also blessed, and cursed, with special magical abilities. When her family changes their plans and sends her to

a foreign land she learns who her true friends are and how to trust herself. This is the book for readers that like retellings of fairy tales and strong girl characters. Hidden by Helen Frost When she was eight years old Wren Abbott was accidently kidnapped by Dara’s father. A few years later, Dara and Wren end up at the same summer camp and have to learn how live with and forgive one another for a summer. A William Allan White Award winner, Hidden is a great short read for kids who like stories about friendship and summer camp life. The Doom Machine by Mark Teague When a spaceship lands in the small town of Vern Hollow in 1956, juvenile delinquent Jack Creedle and prim, studious Isadora Shumway form an unexpected alliance as they try to keep a group of extraterrestrials from stealing eccentric Uncle Bud’s space travel machine. Funny! Middle grades. The Crossover by Kwame Alexander Josh Bell tells of life on and off of the basketball court through furious rhymes. His twin brother barely pays attention to him once he falls in love with the girl with the pink shoes and his ex-basketball star father won’t listen to heath advice. Kwame’s writing is as fresh and entertaining as it is moving. The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy Spend some time with the eclectic Fletcher family (all of the boys are adopted and from different cultures)! Soccer practice, a brainy private school, imaginary friends and a cranky neighbor are all part of this wacky, heartwarming story. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin What’s better than reading a twisty mystery when it’s cold outside? If you like the game Clue, you’ll love this Newbery-winning murder mystery who-done-it!

Seasonal Essentials

Between hours of running Eccentricity and running a family, Morgan Fellers and husband Zak make the most of the season with Carter (6), Campbell (4) & Charlie (5 months)... photos by Amber Yoshida

Winter Seasonal Essentials

from the Fellers Family... 01. Winter Wonder Weekend with all the great local businesses in Downtown Lawrence 02. Letting the boys get a little wild at open gym at Sports Pavillion Lawrence 03. Sledding on Campanile Hill 04. Sipping hot coco and sitting by the fire watching holiday movies 05. Staying warm and wild at the Natural History Museum on the University of Kansas campus 06. Driving around and looking at Christmas lights 07. Creating masterpieces during the art activities at the Spencer Art Museum

08. STROLLING MASS ST WHILE LOOKING AT THE LIGHTS AND WINDOW SHOPPING 09. Enjoying local theatre productions at the Art Center 10. Annual gingerbread house making party with friends

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Boys & Girls Club

Youth of the Year photos: Jason Daley

Each year the Boys & Girls Club nominates members who embody the values of leadershi p service, academic excellence and healthy lifestyles as their Youth of the Year. The winner will be announced January 31 at Liberty Hall. The nominees are...

Ruth Gathunguri

Free State / Senior

As the reigning 2018 Kansas Youth of the Year, Ruth is dedicated to serving youth in Lawrence. She is a member of the Boys & Girls Club staff at the Sunset Hill Elementary location and is making her third Youth of the Year appearance. This spring, Ruth became a vital piece of Live Well Lawrence’s Tobacco 21 Task Force & even spoke on the floor of the Kansas Senate, advocating for raising the legal age to purchase tobacco. The daughter of Faith Gathunguri and Gilbert Karuga, she went to the Boys & Girls Club Quail Run site as an elementary student. Ruth is a member of Can We Talk? and the Student Council.

The son of Linda & Travis LaPierre, Clay LaPierre has attended the Boys & Girls Club since sixth grade. Clay was named the Junior Youth of the Year at the Teen Center during eighth grade. Clay is a member of the Chesty Lions Marching Band. At the Club, he serves as the treasurer for the Dane Floyd Keystone Club, a community service initiative led by high school students.

Clay LaPierre Lawrence High / Junior

Allie Martinez is junior at Free State High School with a passion for creating art in many forms, from painting and drawing to singing as a member of the Free State Aurora Choir. She began her Boys & Girls Club days in elementary school and earned Junior Youth of the Year honors in fifth grade. The daughter of Lisa Rooney, Allie aspires to become an interior architect, combining architecture and interior design.

Allie Martinez Free State / Junior


Jafiya — Sixth-grader Drivers: Please don’t kid around.


Henry & Tasha’s

Modern Family

The story of 8 kids, 2 parents and 1 incredible family photos: Amber Yoshida

“It would not be possible for me to love my kids anymore. I mean, it just wouldn’t be possible. I know that’s what moms say, but I thank God every day that I get to play a role in these kids’ lives.” - Tasha Wertin

“Iimagine our lives are pretty much the same as most fam-

ilies,” Henry Wertin says with obvious modesty. “We have schedules and expectations that we need to follow, otherwise the chaos can take over,” he adds with a laugh. While Henry has a point, not many families in Lawrence include 8 kids, 7 adopted from foster care. Henry and his wife Tasha beam with pride when they discuss the life they are building with their kids - Jonathan (17), Carisa (16), Malachi (12), Mary Beth (10), Nisha (10), Braylon (2), Henry III (2) and a new baby girl. When Henry and Tasha talk about their family both are candid about the challenges but clear about one thing: they wouldn’t have it any other way. The couple tried unsuccessfully for a number of years to conceive a child and began looking into adoption. A friend who had a career in social work asked if they’d ever considered being foster parents or adopting an older child. “We both admired people who fostered, and understood the need for foster parents,” Tasha explains. “But I’m not sure we’d really considered it at that point. We had a lot of long conversations about adopting an older child. But once Henry and I really talked about it, we kind of jumped in with both feet.” Not long after being licensced foster care providers, the Wertin’s phone rang and a 4 year-old boy needed a home.

“We had our first visit with Jonathan and Henry and I both knew: that’s our son,” Tasha says. “We didn’t discuss it after that first visit, but I think we both knew that whenever we got a call about a kid, we would say yes.” The Wertins began the formal adoption process and, after 6 months, the day came for Jonathan to come home. “We were so young then,” Tasha says with a laugh. “We weren’t totally prepared for Jonathan to come home. If you have a baby, you have 4 or 5 years to get to know them and help mold their personality and habits. When you adopt a 4.5 year-old kid, as new parents, it’s a real crash course in parenting.” Henry echoes Tasha’s thoughts and acknowledges the initial challenges. “There were definitely some tough days,” Henry says. “But Tasha and I expected that, to a degree. We knew we had to be there for our son. We got the hang of it.” Just as the young family was starting to settle in and develop their new normal, the phone rang again. A 3 month-old blind, baby boy needed a home. “He was at our house in about 15 minutes,” Tasha says. “Again, as soon as we held him we knew he was our son.”

The little boy was diagnosed as developmentally blind and would soon gain full sight, which was the first real health battle the family won. When Henry III came into their lives, he was 3 hours old and in the NICU battling withdrawal. Doctors told the couple he would need to be in the hospital for three months. Tasha spent two-straight weeks in the hospital making as much physical contact with her baby as possible. He needed to feel love, she explains. That love worked, and Henry III came home in less than a month.

For Henry, there’s nothing odd about big families. Of course, he is one of ten kids and always wanted a big family.

“I believe love heals,” she says. “It may take awhile, it might be frustrating, but love heals in the end. So, with all our kids and any challenges they face, I tell them love heals and then we give them all the love they can handle.”

Tasha and Henry are quick with gratitude for the resources at Bert Nash, their Catholic community, close family and many friends. While each new child has brought new challenges on top of the common, everyday issues of raising a family, the couple have zero regrets.

Over the next decade, the Wertins have maintained a simple policy: if the phone rings, the answer (as long as the whole family agrees), is yes. That ‘yes’ policy has filled their home with 8 kids from different backgrounds and with various needs. But, as the couple says, each and every member of the family is consulted. “We have family meetings on the couch,” Henry says. “Each time we bring in a new child, we meet on the couch and talk with the other kids, asking if they want to help save this child. They all understand how our family works. We’re a team and we’re all here for each other.”

“Absolutely, this is exactly what I always imagined,” he says with his omnipresent excitement. “We are 100% dedicated to our family. Everything we do revolves around our family. We have to work together to make sense of this chaos. And, of course, we have a lot of great help and are a part of a great community.”

“Without question, this is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done and will probably ever do,” Tasha says. “That said, it would not be possible for me to love my kids anymore. I mean, it just wouldn’t be possible. I know that’s what moms say, but I thank God every day that I get to play a role in these kids’ lives.” So, are they open to adopting more kids? “We still have the phone,” Tasha says with a laugh. “And if it rings, we’ll answer and have a family meeting.” LK (785) 840-9555

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These Lawrence Kids

Young Entrepreneurs

Lawrence students learn business lessons by doing.

If there’s one thing CTE-Business teacher Amber Nickel wants her Entrepreneurship class to take from the semester, its that this idea of starting a business - they can do it.

says. “They need to know that interaction on a personal is an essential aspect of business. The team needed to identify who their best presenter is and make sure they were prepared to answer any questions asked.”

“We’re a nation of small-business owners,” Nickel explains. “I want these kids to know that they have the ability to create an actual business and the purpose of the class is to give them an idea of how and give them some of the tools. When I was in high school I had no idea what jobs were available. I didn’t have a clue what marketing was or how a small-business loan might work.”

Groups went through the process of applying for a small business loan from a Lawrence bank. Students applied for loans anywhere from $1 to $100 to fund their operation for a one-day sale during lunch at Free State High School. Nickel proudly says all groups who applied for loans were approved (one group only asked for $1 - their business plan did not factor in debt) and all have repaid their debts.

Nickel has learned a thing or two about developing a small business. In addition to teaching, she’s the owner/operator of Pawsh Wash (a long-time Lawrence pet grooming service). She uses her experience in the business world in her Entrepreneurship class. Nickel challenges her students to develop, market and fund a small business. The class is as hands-on as it can get. The students do the work of a small business owner.

“I love this class,” Nickel says with clear passion. “They’ve really all tackled this semester and got the work done. Maybe one of the best business lessons they can learn is that getting the work done is half the battle and they got the work done very, very well.”

Students formed groups and were tasked with developing a new drink company. The groups created the drink, established a business plan, marketing materials including logos and advertisements and funding proposals.

Though Nickels is proud of the work her Entrepreneurship class has produced, she beams when discussing Drag Strip Road Marketing - a full-service, student-ran marketing firm consisting of Free State and Lawrence High students.

“I’ve learned from doing this in the past to stagger the deadlines,” Nickels says with a laugh. “I can’t expect these students to have everything they need at one point at the end of the semester. So we go in phases and work on different aspects of their business at different times.”

“These students are amazing,” Nickels exclaims. “I’m surprised almost every day by their ingenuity.”

This fall Nickel and her Entrepreneurship class invited dozens of people from the Lawrence business community to the Lawrence College and Career Center for interaction and critiques at a trade show. Bankers, restaurants, marketers, teachers, accountants etc spent part of an afternoon listening to students pitch their drink company, viewing business plans and taste testing samples. Students needed to be able to answer questions from business leaders and sell their concept to potential customers and investors. “I think it’s important that they gain some experience presenting their business ideas to the public,” Nickel

Drag Strip Road Marketing

Drag Strip is comprised of three distinct teams: Account Services handles marketing, Audio-Visual creates promotional videos and Graphic Design constructs visual identity for clients. “The students are in charge of all aspects of the marketing firm,” Nickels says. “They handle client relations and communications, managing marketing projects and then, of course, creating the best and most professional material they can.” Thus far Drag Strip has secured working relationships with the I C.A.N. Foundation, which works to help underprivilegded families, the Lawrence Farm-to-School Program and the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Nickel is quick to heap praise on the students for their work, but eager to build the Drag Strip Road Marketing brand. “We could, conceivably, work full-time for any of the current clients,” Nickels says. “We’re still feeling our way through this, but so far these kids have excelled and conquered the challenges put in front of them.”

The biggest challenge for the future of Drag Strip is consistency, Nickel says. “We will turn over our staff a bit every sememster,” she says. “So we need to figure out how to maintain service to the clients withour starting from scratch each time new students come on board. But these kids seem capable of pretty great things, so I’m excited for the future.” LK

Top-5 Sledding spots in Lawrence An old study by a team of scientist from Southwest Texas State University and Arizona State University proved that Kansas is, in fact, flatter than a pancake. Regardless of the rest of the state’s elevation inadequacies, Lawrence boasts fantastic sledding spots. Get your sleds, toboggans and snowboards ready... 1. Centennial Park Between 6th and 9th Streets; Iowa St & Rockledge

West and North parks feature solid sledding slopes. The hills near the West playground are steeper and more popular. The playground is on a small plateau with short, steep hills bordering the east and north sides. Tall natural grass puts the brakes on any runaway sleds. The North park has smaller hills, perfect for younger children (and lazy parents). Also, the vast open field is perfect for snow angels, snowmen and snowball fights. The more adventurous sledders can take to the woods. The central portion of “Dad” Perry Park is dense woods dissected by trails. Many steep, tree-lined routes are available, but sled at your own risk! 3. Campanile Hill - North side of Memorial Drive Is there a more iconic sledding destination in Lawrence than in the shadow of the symbolic bell tower? Even after recent construction on “the hill” the long slope directly north of KU’s Campanile remains a “must-do” for Lawrence sledders. The hill is wide enough to comfortably accommodate the crowds and it’s almost a guarantee that someone will build a snow jump. Without question, Campanile Hill features the most varied selection of rides. Everything from sleds and skies to trash sacks and cardboard boxes will likely be spotted. Speed junkies have been know to forgo the grassy hill and opt for the ice covered sidewalk (bring a helmet!). If classes are in session, parking can be an issue so plan on walking from your car. Be aware that students like to hit the hill after hitting the bar, so you might have to cover Jimmy’s ears a few times. Don’t forget to bring a camera and capture the views of Lawrence and Douglas County. 4. Carruth O’Leary Hall - 1246 West Campus Road

The 35-acre park is one of the most centrally located parks in Lawrence. Oregon Trail settlers once used the land now known as Centennial Park as an area to graze livestock as they traveled west. The most-popular sledding spot is the big hill just west of the Ninth-street parking lot. On a snowy day, cars fill the lot and families take to the hill in mass. The wide sledding area has a steep downhill which levels on a large field. Get moving too fast, and you might need the foot brakes before landing in the creek. North of the parking lot and playground is another popular hill. Though not as steep, when ridden correctly, the hill offers a longer ride. Centennial Park is filled with hills and trees, so ditch the crowds, take a walk and find your own sledding slope.

The hills just beyond the parking lot behind Carruth O’Leary Hall on KU’s campus are often overlooked by Campanile Hill sledders. The hills are steep and fast, so they may not be the best fit for younger kids. The parking lots West of Memorial Stadium have cut the length of a few routes, but many options remain for the more daring. If you can dodge sidewalks, a great run could land you on the banks of Potter’s Lake. Beware of rocks and branches covered by the snow. Like Campanile Hill, parking can be an issue when classes are in session. The buildings on campus may be open, so you might be able to sneak in for a quick restroom break or to warm your hands and toes.

2. “Dad” Perry Park (2 parks) 1200 Monterey Way & Harvard & Parkside Road

5. That Hill at the Dam East of Clinton Lake - E 900th Road / Near Outlet Park

The park is named in honor of the “Father of Gymnastics in the State of Kansas,” L.R. “Dad” Perry. The 45-acre park is filled with naturally wooded areas, native grasses and includes nature trails that wind throughout the park. In addition, two large park shelters with rest rooms and parking are available that allows families and groups to reserve. Both

For the older kids and parents that are a bit more adventurous, head out west to Clinton Lake. Park on E 902 Road and hike up the hill to E 900th Road (BE VERY CAREFUL AND WATCH FOR TRAFFIC). Be sure to watch for rocks and hold on tight - the ride down is fast and not for the meek. We warned you! LK