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SPRING, 2014

Whether it’s a place to jump, play or go out of this world, I can help you find the perfect fit‌ for all the things that move you.



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contributing photographers Tasha Keathley-Helms Emmalee Schaumburg Leah Evans Cover photo by Emmalee Schaumburg

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Alix Stephan’s

Seasonal Essentials photo by Tasha Keathley-Helms

Alix Stephan’s Spring

Seasonal Essentials

with Pete, Wyatt (12), Marlowe (10), Cici (8) & Eoghan (8) 1. Pack up the mittens and casserole recipes (finally). Gas up the grill and stock up on bug spray & sunscreen. 2. Air up the bike tires and ride to the park for catch & batting practice. 3. Brew-2-Brew. I’ve only missed one in the last 15 years! Pete has been on our team for the last 4 or 5 years and it’s such a blast of an event. 4. Annual Easter gathering with good friends. A mega egg hunt takes place with more than 400 plastic goody filled eggs hidden throughout the woods on their property. Included are the grown-up-only ‘orange’ eggs (Jell-O shots!). 5. Paint a basketball court on the road. The kids get the all clear from our neighbors that we can paint a fresh court on the road in front of our hoop. 6. Begin planning/planting the deck garden. We grow a lot of mint for our favorite spring cocktail: the Bootleg. 7. Ladder toss, washers, corn hole, MLB starts, NFL draft and NBA 4th quarter stretch. Yeah, we’re big sports fans. 8. Baseball! The boys play on DACABA teams while Pete and I are on a coed softball team. 9. The start of the outdoor music season begins. We love street concerts downtown - perhaps Wilco will come back through town someday. 10. Our Bunnies, Happy & Charlie move to their outside hutches after the thaw. Bunny races commence and the Tour de Bunny (carrot races) begins! 11. Plan a wedding. We’re Gettin’ Hitched! Alix is the owner/operator of Crabcakes Couture, a children’s clothing company.

We’re Open!

New Pediatric Practice

Lawrence Pediatrics believes in complete preventive care and Dr. Kirsten Evans has lived in Lawrence since 1989. healingschool for children from birth She completed medical and residency at Theto ageMedical 21. Center and has practiced University of Kansas

pediatrics in Topeka, Kansas City and Virginia, treated children of all ages withmission: a wide variety of illnesses. Dr. Our Evans has workedprovide in private practice, as faculty at The comprehensive pediatric KU Med Center and as a pediatric hospitalist at Storcare for your child’s lifelong mont Vail Health Care. Dr Evans serves as adjunct fachealth. ulty for Saint Louis University and is president Welcome of the Welcome Kansas Medical Education Foundation.

to to our our new new practice. practice. .. .open .open to to all! all!

Dr. Kirsten Evans has lived in Lawrence since 1989. She Welcome to our new practice. . .open t Kirsten Evans completed medical school and Kirsten E. Evans M.D.,to Ph. D., practice. . .open t Welcome our M.D., Ph.D., F.A.A.P. residency at The University of Kansas Medical Center, and has Welcome to our new practice. . .open to all! ,, p.a. p.a. practiced pediatrics in Topeka, Kansas City, and Virginia, treating children of all ages with a wide variety COMPREHENSIVE of illnesses. She has worked in private practice, as a faculty PEDIATRIC member at The COMPREHENSIVE PEDIATRIC , p.a. University of Kansas Medical Center,CARE and as aFOR pediatric hospitalist at YOUR CHILD , p.a. CARE FOR YOUR CHILD Stormont Vail Health Care. Dr. Evans also serves as adjunct faculty for COMPREHENSIVE Saint Louis University and is president of the Kansas Medical Education PEDIATRIC , p.a. PEDIATRIC COMPREHENSIVE Foundation. CARE FOR YOUR CHILD

Welcome to our new practice. . .open to al

Lawrence Pediatrics Lawrence Lawrence Pediatrics Lawrence Pediatrics


Pediatrics, p.a. Pediatrics Lawrence COMPREHENSIVE PEDIATRIC


MONDAY - FRIDAY 543 Lawrence Ave 543 Lawrence Ave MONDAY FRIDAY 9:00 AM -- 5:00 PM Suite D , p.a. Suite9:00 D 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM MONDAY - FRIDAY 543 Lawrence Ave, Suite D, 543 Lawrence, KS 66049 Lawrence Ave 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Suite D Ave 543 Lawrence 785-856-9090 www. Suite D 785-856-9090 785-856-9090 543 Lawrence Ave COMPREHENSIVE Suite D PEDIATRIC www. www.



This Kid in LAWRENCE We do all we can to support the kids of Lawrence. This town is full of great youngsters; kids that go out of their way to help others. We had been thinking of a way to identify a Lawrence kid that selflessly helps others when we received this great message from Kendra Metz. Kendra is a local teacher that was compelled to talk about a Lawrence kid named Blake Wagner. “Dear Lawrence Kids, I want to share what I learned about Blake Wagner, a student of mine. I teach 7th grade at Southwest Middle School and this young man is in my afternoon class. He comes in every day with a smile and every day, without fail, he THANKS me on his way out the door. But that’s not all. Yesterday a colleague told me that each day it has snowed, she has woken up dreading cleaning their driveway. To her surprise, when she looks outside the driveway is miraculously clean. She couldn’t figure it. Then, after another night of snow, Blake approached her in class and apologized for not being able to get to her house that time. Apparently he had been getting himself out of bed each morning around 4am to shovel (no snow blower) neighbors’ drives. He never bothered to mention it to the neighbors, let alone ask for thanks or compensation. I sent his mother a note telling her how polite and kind Blake is. Today she responded to let me know that he is like that at home, too. His younger brother is blind, and Blake takes great care of him, yet treats him just like any other brother. Blake is a great example of so many things we try to teach young people today - leadership, responsibility, empathy (not sympathy) and care for others. ~Kendra Metz“ Do you know a great kid in Lawrence helping others? Let us know:

Spring Reading Suggestions from the Librarians at the Lawrence Public Library For the Younger Kids Bluebird by Lindsey Yankey / Lindsey used to work at the Library, and has gone on to publish this beautiful book! Her delicate, whimsical illustrations would grace any story, but the simplicity of this one is perfect. Bluebird can’t find her friend the wind, who has always been with her when she flies. All ages Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig / One of our old favorites could be your child’s new favorite. It’s impossible not to fall in love with Sylvester, a young donkey magically disappeared, and his parents who are bereft without him. The book climaxes on a beautiful spring day, but we won’t give the end away! Preschool - 2nd grade And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano / In this delicately illustrated book about the anticipation of spring, a boy and his dog (& a turtle & a rabbit), tired of winter, begin preparations for a spring garden. Waiting for brown to turn to green, they worry about whether the seeds will grow. A sweet read. Preschoolers. The Sugaring-Off Party by Jonathan London / Maple Syrup Season by Ann Purmell / Sugar On Snow by Nan Parson Rossiter / It’s true we don’t make maple syrup in Kansas, but that does not diminish the old fashioned wonder of getting sweet stuff out of a tree at the end of winter, boiling it down and having it on snow. Preschool - 2nd grade

The Little Red Hen & the Passover Matzah by Leslie Kimmelman / Would it be too much to ask her friends Dog, Horse, and Sheep to help plant and harvest some wheat for the delicious Passover treat? Couldn’t they at least help schlep the wheat to the mill? All ages Wonder Bear by Tao Nyeu / Two kids, a packet of seeds, a night to dream and an amazing magical bear move through this wordless story decorated with dazzling illustration. All ages

And For the Older Kids All the Wrong Questions by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler) / Mr. Snicket’s new series (2 titles so far) has all the inspired humor and page turning mystery we’ve come to expect from one of the biggest kid-friendly writers in the world. If you loved A Series of Unfortunate Events don’t miss out on this series. 3rd-6th grade

The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt / Any novel that is written from the point of view of a pair raccoons deserves a read. Bingo and J’Miah (aforementioned adorable raccoon bros) are newly initiated swamp scouts. When danger arrives in the form of an alligator wrestling theme park development and a wild pack of feral hogs the brothers are put to the test. 4th grade and up


THE AHH CHOOS OF SPRING Seasonal Health Issues by Dr. Kirsten Evans / Lawrence Pediatrics

The snow is gone, but the sniffles remain. If your child’s nose is running as much as they are, it might be time to check with your doctor. It’s allergy season in Kansas and there is help available!

Spring is finally here! The winter colds and flus have stopped! The sun is out and the flowers are blooming. But now your child has a cough and runny nose again. Could this be allergies? Seasonal allergies are allergy symptoms caused by annual outdoor pollens such as grasses, pollen and ragweed. These symptoms include runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, cough and dry scratchy throat. About 12 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies, and 40% of American children have them. Many of these children may have asthma as well. The symptoms range from mild to severe and can cause irritability, insomnia and poor school performance. It can be difficult to tell whether your child’s symptoms are those of allergies or some other condition, like sinusitis or another problem. Symptoms suggestive of allergies include watery mucous, sneezing, nasal obstruction, itchy eyes and nose and red eyes. Symptoms suggestive of some other illness include thick yellow green mucous, fever, pain, recurrent bloody nose, or a runny nose consistently just on the same side of the nose. If your child does have allergies, you that they can make

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your child very miserable. Your child may have a headache, be very itchy and suffer from general congestion. Allergies can interfere with sleep, which may cause your child to be very cranky. They can even cause other symptoms like vomiting. So what can you do? There are multiple treatment options available for seasonal allergies. The goals of treatment are unimpaired sleep, the ability to engage in all normal activities and improvement in or resolution of symptoms with minimal side effects. Over-the-counter medications include nasal saline and antihistamines. Rinsing with nasal saline after playing outside and before bedtime is one a very effective treatment for allergies. Antihistamines dry up the congestion and can be very helpful in reducing symptoms. They can, however, have side effects such as sedation or agitation, so caution in using them is needed, and you may want to discuss their use with your doctor before trying them, as well as to find out the appropriate dose. In addition, they can dry out the body’s natural secretions. Also note they are generally not helpful if your child has a viral illness.

able through your doctor. These include nasal steroids and eye drops. Nasal steroids help reduce the inflammation caused by allergies right at the site where the symptoms occur, that is, inside the nose. They have been shown in several studies to be superior to antihistamines and to have less side effects. They can, however, cause side effects like headaches and nose bleeds. Your doctor can help you decide if this might be a good option. Eye drops will help with inflammation and itching and redness caused by allergies, and they can give relief to tearing as well. Finally, if your child has severe seasonal allergies, you may need to keep the windows closed and the air conditioner on, and be sure to change the sir conditioner’s filters monthly. Have your child shower as soon as he comes into the house for the evening, and use nasal saline to remove allergens in the nose. If you have concerns and questions, call your doctor. LK Dr. Kirsten Evans has practiced pediatrics in Topeka, Kansas City, and Virginia. As a pediatrician who has worked in private practice, a faculty member at The University of Kansas Medical Center, and a pediatric hospitalist at Stormont Vail Health Care, she has treated children of all ages with a wide variety of illnesses. She also serves as adjunct faculty for Saint Louis University and is a board member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, tiny-k and Safe Kids.

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Mama D’s Funnies by Julie Dunlap

photo by Tasha Keathley-Helms

It would come to be known as the most epic game of chicken our cul-de-sac had ever seen. The battle for ruler of the monkey bars had been waging all summer. My younger sister, my younger brothers and I spent hours working on our upper body hanging strength, the palms of our hands covered with blisters just under each finger, each patch a mark of pride. But there was no time for aloe and cocoa butter, for our competition was fierce. Just across our backyard was Steve, and two doors over from him lived the Manning family, which produced seven of the most talented athletes to ever come out of our suburban subdivision. This particular summer, three Mannings were of backyard combat age. Lori was a year ahead of me; Keith, a year behind; and Mark, two behind Keith. Pick-up games ensued from dawn to dusk. Brothers and sisters pitted against each other in one round and cheering for each other in the next. Each dangling duel produced loads of sweat, a few tears and (as far as anyone knows) never a single injury. This was the end of a golden era for children, just before cable television and Atari and organized sports threatened to monopolize our free time. These were the days before leading scientists and daytime talk shows would instill a fear of germs and dirt and blood. Those summers on the cul-de-sac were spent playing kick-the-can, building forts out of giant cardboard boxes and burying dead birds and squirrels in crudely marked hand-dug graves near the city-planted evergreens. So in charge of our playtime were we, that we capped off our summer with an impromptu chicken tournament and seeded the ‘hood by age and ability, with 10:1 odds one of the Mannings would triumph. The rules were simple: Competitors would start on opposite ends of the monkey bars. At the gunshot (just kidding; kids may not have had bicycle helmets in the ‘80’s, but we didn’t have guns either… there were some safety standards) - or the referee’s signal - the two competitors would make their way across the monkey bars, swinging with just their hands, until they reached the center. They were then permitted to use only their legs to physically force the opponent off the bars and onto the ground. Tennis shoes were

permitted, cleats were not. The first person to fall was deemed loser. There was no crying. There was especially no crying to our parents about it, lest they ban the game indefinitely. Round after round we faced off, swooping from rung to rung and grabbing with all of our might. I was out early, followed by the others as they dropped, one-by-one, until only two remained. In hindsight, it really wasn’t fair, and we should have all seen it coming. Lori and Keith quickly hit the middle of the monkey bars, surrounded by cheering neighbors. Keith held strong, but Lori held a significant height advantage, reaching around Keith’s backside with her legs, ankles locked, pulling hard to loosen his grip above. The sun was beginning to set, and we all knew dinner would be waiting and that kick-the-can was just an hour away. We watching Keith and Lori battle it out, resetting their grips without ever fully letting go. For a moment I wondered if the game would ever end. Could these two masters of the monkey bars actually remain hanging forever? Or at least long enough to set a world record? Just when I thought the game could not get any more intense, Keith’s grip loosened and he fell to the ground. But not before his pants did. In an instant the chants and cheers from the crowd moved from “Blood! Blood! Blood makes the grass grow!” to “I see London, I see France…” as Keith, feeling a breeze in a new place behind him, dropped to the ground and raced back home while struggling to pull his pants back up. Lori was deemed ultimate champion, a title I believe she still holds, as no one was ever going to challenge her after that round. As the weather warms and the sun lingers longer into the evening, I hope you all (and I’m talking to the kids now, though you adults could stand to do the same) take an evening to turn off the iThings, blow off T-ball practice (yeah, I said it) and spend some time just playing outside. Your very best childhood memories are waiting to be made. LK

Things We Dig Spring, 2014 / Flying a Kite

Really though, is there anything better than flying a kite with your kids on a windy Spring day? We can’t think of much more fun than fresh air, flying kite tails and laughing kids. Our pick for the best flying spot? Those KU playing fields smack in the middle of Lawrence.

Healthy Kids Marathon Club From the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department Story and Photos by Karrey Britt

At elementary schools across town, students are hitting the road to happier, healthier lives. Two boys are taking the lead. Langston Hughes first-grader Justin Girard was grinning from ear to ear as he walked beside his father along the path in DeVictor Park. His school’s marathon club had started back up for spring and he was thrilled. “I get to be with my friends,” he said, enthusiastically. “I like that there’s a goal.” The goal is to accumulate enough miles to complete 26.2 miles, the distance of a marathon, by the end of the school year. Completing a marathon is no small feat for Justin, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was 18 months old. Cerebral palsy is a disorder caused by brain damage that can affect children in different ways. For Justin, cerebral palsy has mostly affected the muscles in his legs. His parents, Greg and Julie, said their son has endured surgeries, doctor’s appointments and lots of physical therapy, all of which have helped Justin. But, they said, the marathon club has been life changing for him. Before joining marathon club as a kindergartner, Justin mostly used a walker to get around. If the family visited a zoo or mall where they expected to walk a lot, they took a stroller for Justin to ride in. “He would get fatigued,” Julie said. “So if we went into the mall — maybe a quarter of the way in — he wouldn’t want to walk anymore. He needed somebody to carry him.” Julie and Greg didn’t think Justin would even be able to complete a mile, so they told the volunteers who organized the club that they would walk with him. “That first time, he was just like, ‘I want to keep going,’” Julie said. “He’s never once not finished a mile. He may fall down a time or two, but he keeps going.” After completing 20 miles, Justin had grown stronger. He no longer needed a walker or a stroller for those visits to the mall or the zoo. That year he completed the marathon and then went another six miles. “The marathon club has really built up his stamina and now he walks part of the time and runs part of the time when he participates,” cont.

That first time, he was just like, “I want to keep going.” He’s never once not finished a mile. He may fall down a time or two, but he keeps going.

she said. Last May, Justin received an inspiration award during an end-of-the-school-year marathon club ceremony. Carrie Mandigo, co-chair of the marathon club, said, “Justin has just been a joy. He always has a smile on his face and he’s motivational for others.” ••• Mandigo was among a group of PTO members who started the Bobcat Marathon Club at Langston Hughes in 2006 to get students outdoors and to get them moving. While health and wellness are the obvious benefits, there are also the benefits of being outdoors, being in a group where they can socialize, developing self-motivation and being able to accomplish something on their own. “Research has shown children do better in school when they spend time outdoors,” Mandigo said. The marathon club meets twice a week — before school on Mondays and after school on Wednesdays — for 30 minutes. “What I love to see are the kids who aren’t participating in organized sports being able to come out here and get that sense of accomplishment,” she said. She’s also watched students who are overweight go from struggling to complete a mile to finishing a marathon and then coming back the next year and accomplishing two or three marathons. In 2011, the PTO group received a grant from LiveWell Lawrence to provide starter kits — boxes filled with items like clipboards, T-shirts, pencils, a cowbell, a First-Aid kit and a “how-to” guide — for other schools. Since then, marathon clubs have sprouted at about 15 elementary schools across Lawrence and they’ve grown in numbers with hundreds of students participating. Marilyn Hull, founder of LiveWell Lawrence, is thrilled to see the growth of marathon clubs. “I think they’ve been successful because they work for both parents and kids. Parents have the convenience of a great program provided at their child’s school, and the kids have a blast walking or running with their friends.” The marathon clubs are organized and run by volunteers, and each school has its own rules about how the club works, like how often it meets and how it recognizes students for their accomplishments. At Langston Hughes, students run their last .2 mile to the ringing of a cowbell and cheers from fellow students

and volunteers. They get a prize after each marathon completed, and their picture is taken and posted on the gymnasium wall. ••• Over at Deerfield School, third-grader Ian Murphy’s picture is one of three that hangs on the gymnasium wall for completing a marathon this school year. If he hadn’t joined marathon club, it could have been years before his parents, Joy and Scott, learned he was not only a good runner, but also an exceptional one. “I think marathon club showed a skill that we would not have found for a long time because we are not big runners,” Joy said. During the first year of Deerfield’s marathon club, Ian was 6 years old and a first-grader. He ran a mile and three-quarters without stopping and his mom couldn’t believe it; she had to double check with the volunteers. “It was the first time he had run anything and he ran it flat out,” she said. However, Ian decided not to participate again that year. He said, “I was too wiped out.” Then, the second year rolled around and Ian was a second grader. He was ready to participate and did he ever. He completed four marathons that year, the only student to do so. He enjoyed running so much that he started entering 5K runs with his dad and earning accolades. Among his first runs was a Thanksgiving Day 5K race in North Lawrence. He won second place in his age group that year — 2012. The next year, he won first with a time of 21:27. Coaches with the Kansas City-based youth crosscountry club called the Brocaw Blazers saw Ian’s talent and asked him to join. They have practices and participate in races across the state and country. During the past year, Ian estimated that he had participated in a dozen runs of varying lengths in Lawrence, Emporia, Manhattan and Topeka. This summer, he won the gold medal in a 5K at the Sunflower State Games in his age group. In November, he competed in his first national race in Louisville. He competed in a 3K — 1.8 mile — run and finished 20th out of 211 9-and-10-year-old boys with a time of 11:56. “I just love running for the joy of it,” he said. “I love running because it’s fun to do and I enjoy doing it.” LK

FOR THE KIDS / Spring, 2014


Big Brothers Big Sisters helps match caring mentors with children who need the friendship of a special adult in their lives.

It’s really powerful to think that I can have an impact on someone else’s life just by talking, cooking some food and hanging out.

In Lawrence, there’s a lot of talk about the need for bigs. Coach Self talks about it a lot. He thinks Lawrence needs as many bigs as possible. He’s even done a commercial trying to recruit bigs. However, nobody in town talks about bigs more than Stacie Salverson-Schroeder. She spends her days trying to recruit as many bigs as she can… and she doesn’t even work for the University of Kansas. “I’m not worried about Coach Self,” Salverson-Schroeder says with her infectious laugh. “We certainly appreciate his support of Big Brothers Big Sisters, but he can worry about his basketball team. I’m worried about finding people to help the 160 kids on our waiting list hoping to be matched with a big brother or big sister.” Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lawrence provides children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. “This is such a great program,” Salverson-Schroeder says. cont.

As the area director, Salverson-Schroeder oversees the programs in Anderson, Douglas, and Franklin & Miami Counties. She’s busy, but the work is a labor of love. “I have two kids of my own and I know how important adults are in their lives,” she says. “I’m pretty thrilled that I get to spend my working hours trying to help other kids in our communities.” Big Brothers Big Sisters is a non-profit organization that helps match caring mentors with children who need the friendship of a special adult in their lives. Children are referred to the agency by their parents, schools or other social service agencies. Professional staff interviews each child and parent, visits the home, and assesses individual needs. Carefully screened volunteers provide Littles with one-on-one time and attention in their communities and schools. By providing each child with a mentor and friend, Big Brothers Big Sisters aims to provide children with the skills they need to manage every day challenges. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Douglas County is an affiliate of Kansas Big Brothers Big Sisters, the largest affiliate of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Big Brothers Big Sisters is the nation’s oldest and largest youth mentoring organization and celebrates 110 years of service in 2014. Since 1991, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Douglas County has paired more than 1600 adults and children, helping them to develop fulfilling friendships. Salverson-Schroeder says the biggest misconception of the program is the expected time commitment from a big. “One hour a week,” Salverson-Schroeder says. “That’s

it. That’s all we ask. Of course, we encourage more time, but we understand the demands people have on their time. It’s amazing, really, how much impact we can have in an hour.” Big Brothers Big Sisters works diligently to qualify applicants – both bigs and littles. The safety of the kids is always the program’s top priority. “I’ll admit the application and qualifying process can be a little daunting,” Salverson-Schroeder says. “Most people understand why we are so protective of our littles. Many of these kids come from some difficult homes and we will do everything we can to protect and support them.” Once a big and little are approved and matched, it is up to them to figure out what to do. “Sure, we give them suggestions,” Salverson-Schroeder says. “But we don’t dictate what they do. Some of our matches just have lunch together once a week at school. Others hang out and watch television for an hour. Most of the matches figure out what they like and what works for all involved.” Brooke Lennington says she and her little do a lot, without doing much. “We really just hang out,” Lennington says. “I normally pick her up on Sundays, right around dinner time, so we eat a lot. We cook together and I try to get her to try some new foods.” Lennington said she wanted to be a big as a way to get involved in the Lawrence community. The 6 News reporter was involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters in high school

(western Kansas) and college (K-State), and was excited to meet her little in Lawrence. “We went to a KU women’s game once,” Lennington says with a laugh. “I even had my picture taken with a Jayhawk tattoo on my cheek. I don’t think she appreciated that as much as she should.” Lennington says the impact of just spending time with a kid is tremendous. “It’s really powerful to think that I can have an impact on someone else’s life just by talking, cooking some food and hanging out,” she says. “Who knows, maybe our time together will inspire her to be a chef or a reporter.” Salverson-Schroeder says, like all non-profit groups, funding is a constant battle. Though the organization receives some funding from the national group, they are always thinking of ways to raise extra funds. “There are so many great organizations in this town,” Salverson-Schroeder says. “I know how hard each of them work to raise funds to help others. We are very appreciative so many people work with us to create funding sources. We do not take it for granted.” Funding is great, and Salverson-Schroeder says the group will certainly take it, but the most pressing need is for adults to be matched with the kids on the waiting list. “Again, we have 160 kids on a waiting list,” SalversonSchroeder says. “Believe when I say that these kids will absolutely appreciate the time you spend with them. You may even change their life.” LK


Call (785) 843-7359 to inquire

2. Play Golf & Eat Food

1st Annual Tee & Taste! “Lawrence’s newest and most exciting community event is set to be held Saturday, May 31st, 2014 at Alvamar Golf Course. This all day event provides fun for not only the weekend warrior golfers but the entire family. Under the shining sun and with a cool spring breeze, come join us under the huge white tents and experience a variety of local food, beer and wine to relax the day away.” 100% of all funds raised will benifit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Douglas County. For more information, please call (785) 843-7359

. . ..

Children making healthier choices through increased fruit and vegetable intake Teaching the connection of fresh food and good health Teaching preparation of healthier meals Reinforcing positive perceptions of healthy foods

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THE FAMILY THAT PLAYS TOGETHER Music, dancing and a legless animated robot One Lawrence family’s big plan for big fun. photos by Leah Evans

Play Along With Us Takes Off with Music, Dancing and Fin! Really, the whole thing started with music. Palmer Davidson was enjoying a cup of coffee in his favorite hometown coffee shop when a pretty blonde girl caught his eye. When Amanda, that blonde girl, knew about the band The Mars Volta, Palmer knew he had met his match. “Not many people in my hometown, outside of my circle, were familiar with that band,” Palmer says. “So when this pretty girl knew about them, I was done. I pretty much knew right then that she was the one.” Amanda also seemed to like Palmer. The two started dating and got married. Fast forward a few years and the couple now lives in Lawrence and has 2 adorable kids, Isabella (4) and Isla (1). cont.

Palmer’s love of music kept him active with his guitar, performing with various local bands, singing and playing with his daughters and his church. About 3 years ago, Palmer began pursuing his interest in video production and has successfully built a base of clients. His work concentrates on television advertising production and, generally, Palmer works from home while Amanda takes care of the kids. As is the case with almost all parents of young children, Palmer and Amanda found themselves watching a couple of shows on Noggin or Nickelodeon. The singing and dancing and teaching were fine, Palmer thought, but an idea kept bugging him. “Every time Isabella watched a show I would think the same thing,” Palmer says. “I just thought, ‘Well, I can do that.’ Eventually Amanda got tired of me talking about it and she gave me the push to just do it.” So Palmer got to thinking about what type of show he would want to produce. He knew he had the equipment for the videos and the musical talent to pull it off; he just needed the idea that was “just right.” “Music has always been a staple in our lives,” Palmer says. “I knew, just by default, that the videos would center around music. We love basic nursery rhymes and I’ve

always played them for my girls on my guitar. So, we thought, why not play some songs, and dance around? I have the green screen, so I figured we might as well be in another world while we do it.” Palmer thought about what videos he loved as a kid. Something about animation has always intrigued him. “I remember when I was growing up, even if there was only one piece of animation on a video, I was always drawn to that aspect,” Palmer explains. “I knew we needed something, some sort of character, that would blend the real life with the animated world we created.” Sketches and ideas were thrown around for a while. One day, Palmer had the idea for a floating, cute robot named Fin. The idea of Fin not having legs didn’t happen by accident. “Well,” Palmer says with an exhale and a laugh. “I’m not very advanced at animation, so not having to create and animate legs is a big, big help.” Palmer knew there was one very important critic that needed to approve Fin before any type of production could begin. “The first time Isabella saw Fin she said, ‘Ahhh, he’s so cute! Can we keep him,’” Palmer says. “Anytime I’d make

changes to Fin, maybe add legs or a different color or a different antenna, Isabella would complain and ask to have him ‘back to normal.’ That was a big relief. She liked the easiest character to animate.” Though the ideas were flowing, Palmer and his family didn’t really get to work on the videos until this year. Palmer said he wants the videos to be loose and fun. They don’t worry too much about a strict script and instead want to have fun. The family films the videos, currently playing on their YouTube channel and website (www.playalongwithus. com) in a production room Palmer had already built in their basement. The first couple of videos feature Amanda, Palmer and the girls, but new videos are planned with more friends. As Fin floats around projecting objects onto the screen, Palmer plays his guitar and sings. The videos are bright and the music is good. The star of show is Isabella, however. She dances and sings with the type of happiness only 4 year-olds can. She is a joy to watch. “Yeah,” Palmer says. “She has a lot of fun, that’s for sure.” “This absolutely will be a community thing,” Palmer says. “We want Lawrence to know we are proud to be from this town and we want to find ways to get as many kids involved as we can. We are pretty easy to work with. Our

requests are pretty simple. Just dance around and have some fun.” Palmer says he and Amanda discussed the future of “Play Along With Us” and giving the videos one year. They started filming in the beginning of 2014, so by January, they will have some decisions to make. “We’re going to be very honest with ourselves,” Palmer says. “If, after a year, the videos haven’t caught on, we’ll probably stop investing the time into making them. Right not, these video are not cost prohibitive at all. I already had all the equipment from my ad production business and, well, the talent is free.” Palmer is very honest with himself and realistic about the future of Play Along With Us. “Sure, we think we have something here,” he explains. “I really hope other families will like our videos. If they do, who knows what the future could hold. If this doesn’t take off, what is lost? I spend a year playing music and dancing with my kids while teaching myself some great new production skills? That’s still a great outcome.” You can check out Play Along With Us on their website:, Facebook and on their YouTube channel. LK

Where Healthy Eating is Not a Trend. IT’S THE MERC’S 40 YEAR TRADITION Food trends and fad diets come and go, but healthy eating is what The Merc has always been about. We offer our community the best in fresh, local and organic food every day.

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PROJECT CREATE How a group of teachers are challenging Lawrence’s brightest students

We want these kids to be challenged. We want them to think critically and we want to put their minds to work in new ways.

PROJECT CREATE: Cultivating Responsible Enriched Artistic Tech-Savvy Enthusiasts The thing about good teachers is that they are never satisfied. They always want more from their students. Three years ago, when a group of Lawrence teachers found themselves sitting around a table at a teaching conference in Olathe, it was inevitable that they would start coming up with ideas for ways to challenge their students. “We had all thought, independently, that we wanted to do more to challenge our best students,” explains Kathy Bowen, President of Project Create. “I guess when we all sat together that day, there was a spark of inspiration. We were all facilitators in the school district and we decided we would go for it. We could design a program outside of the school system that offered a greater challenge to the students that wanted it.” cont.

Bowen, an elementary teacher on special assignment, and the 5 other teachers got to work. They met, informally in October of 2012 and ‘got to work’ the following January. The group established Project Create (Cultivating Responsible, Enriched, Artistic, Tech-Savvy Enthusiasts). Though comprised of teachers and local students, the group is independent of USD 497. Bowen says the school district wanted to be involved, but did not have the resources to support the program. However, Project Create is allowed to hold their events on USD 497 property. “Our goals, in theory, are pretty simple,” Bowen explains. “We want these kids to be challenged. We want them to think critically and we want to put their minds to work in new ways. The kids to which we wanted to catered excel in the classroom and are thirsty for more information and opportunities.” The group quickly ran into roadblocks. The first, and biggest, was the financial obstacle. All the ideas the group had needed to be funded. “We had a couple of ideas of ways to find financial support, but initially we struggled,” Bowen says. A “fortunate” award and cash prize for one of the teachers provided the catalyst Project Create needed. Bowen is hesitant to name specifics, but one of the teachers involved received the Kansas Master Teacher Award. That teacher (we’ll let you figure it out) graciously donated the prize money to Project Create. “We all had a lot of really good ideas,” says Kristin Flor,

another of the teachers. “I think we all had been thinking about a project like this for years, so when the opportunity presented itself, all of us went for it with a lot of energy and excitement.” The first event was held on a Saturday a few years ago. The response was overwhelming. “I know we were all kind of nervous before that first event,” Flor says. “But, wow, what a great day. We had a good turnout and the kids were all engaged and the lessons and plans all worked. It was a big success and we knew we were onto something.” Project Create works to challenge the brightest students in Lawrence elementary schools. The 6 teachers involved plan activities and lessons for months. Each session is centered on a theme, with various subjects addressed. The program is not like a regular school day. In fact, they strive to get the kids out of that way of thinking. “Project Create lessons are much more engaging and participatory,” Flor says. “We really want to the kids to get up and get involved. We allow free thinking and free association as a way to solve a problem.” Since that first event, Project Create has steadily grown and typically hosts an event each quarter. Last summer they hosted their first Summer Camp. The all-day seasons opened the door to even bigger learning opportunities. “Having the kids for consecutive days really gives us a chance to dig into some great topics and projects,” Bowen says. “Because these kids are so excited, we’ve had to actually limit the number of topics they can participate in, just in

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the interest of time.” learn in new ways. I really cannot say enough about those Bowen says that, currently, there are not specific require- teachers and their dedication to the kids. The are doing ments for Project Create participants. However, the group tremendous things for so many Lawrence Kids.” is working on a baseline level of academic achievement to Bowen said the program is on stable ground, but is alqualify for the program. ways looking for financial support. Interested parties are “We are working with higher-level thinking skills and encouraged to contact the program: projectcreatekids@ finding ways to challenge these kids,” she says with a very matter-of-fact tone. “Without question we want these kids For Summer 2014, Project Create’s camp will run June to have fun at Project Create, but we want them to work. 9-13, and focus on the “The Future.” Most of these kids have a relatively easy time with school. “We have some really tremendous things planned for this We want them to work on their skills in a unique way.” camp,” Bowen says with excitement. “It’s going to be such Julie Heatwole is a big fan of Project Create. Her daugh- a fun camp and we’re pretty sure the kids will love it.” LK ter, Elena, is a 3rd grader at Quail Run Elementary and has participated in the program. “Elena is a very, very motivated girl,” Heatwole says with a laugh. “She really loves academic challenges and she is crazy about Project Create.” Heatwole says she was initially reluctant to send Elena to last summer’s camp. When she picked Elena up after the June 9-13, 9 a.m. – noon OR 1 – 4 p.m. first day, she knew she made the right decision. Prairie Park Elementary in Lawrence, KS “The first thing she said was ‘I love it.’” Heatwole says. “Then she asked if she could go back every day for the Cost: $145 if postmarked by May 31 entire summer. I was so happyCultivating she foundResponsible, an outlet to Enriched, challenge herself. She was so excited everyTech-Savvy morning. And, she Artistic, Enthusiasts! $160 for late registration made new friends. It was a really great experience for her.” Limited scholarships available. Contact Heatwole says the credit for the program should be for details. placed squarely on the shoulders of the teachers involved. To be  completed  by  the  parent/guardian:         “They are phenomenal, really phenomenal,” Heatwole “They(9a.m.   know how to push and make them ______  says. Morning   –  noon)   these  _kids ____   A1ernoon   (1  –  4  p.m.)  

Registration Form Summer Camp 2014

Student’s  Name:  _____________________________________________________________Male  or  Female:  ______                       I   can’t   wait to   go to  Lastthe   dentist   again!  First     Entering  Grade  Level  (3-­‐7):  ___________    School:  _______________________________________________________   The  student  listed  above  is  applying  for  an  academic  program  called  ProjectCREATE  designed  for  high  achieving   (~90%ile  or  higher  on  district  assessments)  and/or  highly  creaEve  students.    He/she  will  parEcipate  in  an  intensive,   fast-­‐paced  educaEonal  experience  requiring  self-­‐discipline,  academic  focus,  and  moEvaEon.    Social  and  peer  group   interacEons  during  the  program  serve  an  important  purpose  and  consEtute  a  learning  experience  of  their  own.  To  help   us  learn  more  about  your  child,  please  use  the  second  page  of  this  form  to  provide  input.       Parent/Legal  Guardian(s)  Name:  ____________________________________________________________________   Address:  ________________________________________________________________________________________   Phone:  ______________________________    E-­‐mail:  ____________________________________________________   Summer  registraKon  fees  include  a  t-­‐shirt.  Please  indicate  size  (Youth  S,  M,  or  L,  Adult  S,  M,  L,  or  XL):    ___________     If  a  family  member  would  like  to  order  a  ProjectCREATE  t-­‐shirt,  please  add  $10  to  your  registraKon  fee.   AddiKonal  t-­‐shirt  order  (Youth  S,  M,  or  L,  Adult  S,  M,  L,  or  XL):    ___________________________________________                    (please  indicate  size  and  quanEty)  

Theme for  Summer  2014:  ProjectCREATEs  the  Future!       (785) 856-5600 To  allow  parKcipants  to  have  more  choice  in  their  learning,  five  workshop  opKons  are  available.  Students   will  be  assigned  to  two  workshops  for  the  week.  Please  rank  ALL  opKons,  1-­‐5,  with  1  being  most   preferred  and  5  being  least  preferred.    We  will  do  our  best  to  honor  the  parKcipants’  top  choices.  Full    


1425 Wakarusa Drive, Suite D

HOME SWEET HOME by Dain Dillingham

Dain Dillingham was a Lawrence kid. He was a was a standout student and athlete at Free State High School. He played college ball at Drake and Baker University. He followed his brother to Washington state and started making wine. Then tragedy struck. While celebrating his 28th birthday in Seattle, Dain fractured his C5 vertebra in a roughly 15-foot fall, leaving him paralyzed with limited use of his hands. Between rigourous physical therapy sessions, Dain has been writing about his new life and experience on his Facebook page and blog. His writing is funny, focused and positive. He writes candidly about his physical struggles and psychological outlook. We asked if he’d be willing to write something for Lawrence Kids. This is what he sent...

One day, when I was talking to my mother about life & this new journey, she asked me to think about what it meant to be from Lawrence.

“It’s impossible to say what family means to everyone else, but I know without a doubt what it means to me.

about what it meant to be from Lawrence, the heart of America’s most important free state. It was a question that took me a lot of places.

Nine months ago I broke my neck in the type of accident nobody ever thinks will happen to them. It was my birthday. A great celebration turned into a tragedy. That tragedy turned, ultimately, into triumph.

“Well,” I started...

As I write, I sit paralyzed and with only the limited use of my hands. However, my soul is as full as its ever been. Thanks in large part to my family, and to a city that refused to give up on me. The truth behind the science of the bond between mothers and their children will never be fully understood. The night of the accident I felt my own mom’s heart break for me, from two-thousand miles away. I have also felt every ounce of strength she sent to me from that point on. What I couldn’t feel was my brother’s hand, holding my own as we rode in the back of an ambulance to the hospital. I could hear him though, and in spite of the fear that gripped my body, I found peace.

Growing up in Lawrence meant taking my dogs to Brook Creek for walks in the woods. It meant building forts with my friends in those same woods and running wild until it was almost dark and safely walking home down the middle of the street. It meant playing basketball during the day at Hobbes park, and night games at Holcomb, the Community Building and the East Lawrence Center. It meant playing at least one Sunflower State Game in the stifling heat of Robinson Gymnasium, and starting a game of kickball anywhere there was a field. It meant hanging out downtown on Mass. Street, drinking Cherry Cokes at Penny Annie’s and having lunch at La Parilla. Swinging at the train park. It meant watching movies at The Varsity, before it was Urban Outfitters. It meant feeling fancy and taking your girlfriend to Paisano’s.

The road to recovery is paved with frustration, muscle spasms, pain, small victories and glimmers of hope. Fortunately for me, my family has been there every step of the way. They are not, however, the only ones that have had my back.

It meant country parties with your best friends, sitting next to the bonfires and beneath the stars.

One day, while I was talking to my mother about life and this new journey, she asked me to think

It meant walking the state streets and remembering Quantrill’s raid.

It meant catching another great show at the Bottleneck and dancing your heart out at Liberty Hall.

Growing up in Lawrence meant knowing what it means to be a Jayhawker and the importance of standing up for what’s right.

It means they pray for you.

It meant summer nights at your best friends cabin, sleeping in hammocks and waking up to sunshine and mosquitos.

They laugh with you.

It meant driving around with nothing to do. Red Dog Days. Fireworks over the river. Walking up the hill to football games. Losing your voice in Allen Fieldhouse. Sledding down campanile. And Christmas reunions at the Jazzhaus.

They love you.

Most importantly it meant growing up with 1000 brothers and sisters and 100 moms and dads some you didn’t even know you had.

They cry for you.

They send you good vibes.

They are your family. Growing up in Lawrence means you deal with a lot of small town nonsense from time to time, but you wouldn’t trade it for the world. Lawrence is your home and everyone you’ve touched has vowed to always have your back. Growing up in Lawrence means you’ll never be alone.

What does growing up in Lawrence mean now? It means that when you get hurt and need a little help, the town gets together at the Taproom and throws a concert for you. It means the town rents the Granada and tells everyone to come party just to support you. It means the Lawrence High and Fress State High football teams put rivalry aside and make time to honor you. It means old high school adversaries who wanted nothing more than to knock your helmet off all those years ago send you messages and tell you they read your posts every night with their wife, and that they’re praying for you.

In the end, I couldn’t be more thankful Lawrence is my hometown and I’ll never be able to say all that it means to me. The tears I shed as I write this are my best attempt at the endless thank you’s owed to everyone for everything they’ve done and all that they continue to do. I’ve been blessed beyond belief and it’s people like this who mean so much to Lawrence and make the city everything it is. Life is a beautiful struggle, and not one we were meant to fight alone. Family is more than your last name and nothing short of amazing, and I hope all of you are as proud of yours as I am of mine.” ~Dain Dillingham, 28 Follow Dain and his writing on Facebook.

Growing up in Lawrence meant knowing what it means to be a Jayhawker and the importance of standing up for what’s right.

SPRING, 2014 MUST DOS 1. LAWRENCE KIDS DAY AT KU BASEBALL We are so excited to partner with the University of Kansas to host Lawrence Kids Day at the KU Baseball game. We love baseball. We love the Jayhawks. We love helping our town. Bring the kids and some canned goods to donate to Just Foods. We’ll make sure Big Jay and Baby Jay are ready for pictures games and prizes. Be sure to come early and hang with us around the bounce house and maybe even meet some of the Jayhawk players. Bring the family and friends and spend the day with us at the ballpark. May 4 / University of Kansas

2. Monarch Watch Open House Monarch Watch is an educational outreach program based at the University of Kansas that engages citizen scientists in large-scale research projects. Monarch Watch gets children of all ages involved in science. They provide a wealth of information on the biology and conservation of Monarch butterflies and many children use it as a resource for science fair projects or reports. “We encourage children to showcase their research or school projects on our website and we involve them in real science with the tagging program.” May 10 / Monarch Watch Center - 1200 Sunnyside Ave.

3. Lawrence Farmer’s Market With more than 90 vendor members, the Lawrence Farmer’s Market has become the premiere place to obtain the freshest, most nutritious locally produced agricultural products in the region. As a “producer-only” market, patrons are presented with the unique opportunity to directly connect with the grower, rancher or cook of what they purchase. “We like to say, ‘If you raise it, bake it or make it in Kansas, you can sell it.” Every Saturday, 7-11am / 800 New Hampshire Street

4. Hike Sander’s Mound No, we don’t have any major hikes in Lawrence. We do, however, have a fun hike at Clinton Lake that will reward you and your little adventureres with a great view. Pack a lunch, grab some sunscreen and bug spray and hit the hill. Even the smallest kids can manage the short hike from the parking lot to the top of Sander’s Mound. There are plenty of neat places along the way for a picnic and creature spotting, too! May 5 / 10am-6pm / South Park

5. Plant Flowers Do it early. Do it often. Get your kids’ hands dirty and create something beautiful. Then share.

REUSE LAWRENCE KIDS / SHREDDED PAPER Looking for something for the kids to do during those wet days of Spring? Using your Lawrence Kids, make these fun and colorful ticker tape parade, inside rain storm or just make a mess! Play is one of the most (maybe THE most) important developmental activities for children. I’ll let you in on a little secret... You don’t always have to have toys to promote play in your home. Try shredding Lawrence Kids Magazine for instant fun! Shredded paper play is a great sensory experience for toddlers and preschoolers. Not only will it get kids thinking and learning, it will occupy them longer than an episode of Dinotrain. Trust me. By Rebecca Dunn / Full-time stay-at-home-mom by day, part-time youth librarian by night and on weekends, Rebecca has pages of creative ideas for seasonal fun on her beautiful blog

Lawrence Kids, Spring 2014  

A seasonal magazine highlighting the best of family life in Lawrence, Kansas

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