Athens-Oconee Parent August 2019

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A Resource for Families in Athens, Oconee County and the Surrounding Area

August 2019

Building Families... Building Businesses


l o o h Sc Zone! Study Space Dr. Jester & Mr. Hide Head Strong


must-haves for new baby

Health &Fitness Guide

2 Athens-Oconee Parent

“Building Families...Building Businesses” August 2019 • Vol. 21 No. 5 LOCALLY OWNED AND OPERATED SINCE 1998


Shannon H. Baker


CBW Creative


Sarah Danis


Anniston Howell WEB MANAGER


Beth Arky, Sarah Danis, Mary Gresham, PhD, Brad Klontz, PsyD, CFP®, Dr. John Norris, Jonathan C. Robinson Athens-Oconee Parent Magazine is published six times a year. Reader correspondence and editorial submission welcome.We reserve the right to edit, reject or comment editorially on all material contributed. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced without express written consent of the publisher. Athens-Oconee Parent Magazine reserves the right to refuse any advertising for any reason. The opinions expressed by contributors or writers do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this magazine. Distribution of this product does not constitute an endorsement of the products or services herein. Athens-Oconee Parent Magazine P.O. Box 465, Watkinsville, GA 30677 Advertising: Editorial: Office & Production: Calendar: Website: PUBLISHED BY

on the cover Twins Delaney (left) and Sydney Woods, age 20, appeared on our April 2005 cover. Here they recreate that image at Vogel State Park 14 years later! PHOTO BY HEATHER WOODS 3


contents Health & Fitness Guide 18-23 18 FEATURES

Delaney and Sydney Woods appeared on our April 2005 cover.


i Athens Parent Magazine! My name is Delaney Woods. My twin sister, Sydney, and I were on the cover of your magazine in April of 2005. The picture was of us at Vogel State Park. On a recent weekend we revisited Vogel and recreated our cover picture. We grew up going camping at Vogel State Park every summer and it holds a very special place in our hearts. We have so many fun memories there, and it was really cool to recreate the cover picture almost 15 years later! We were 6 years old in the picture; now we are 20-year-old nursing students at the University of North Georgia. We always joke that being on the cover of your magazine was our one month of fame! I thought it would be cool to send y’all the picture and update you. And maybe we can have one more moment of fame on your cover 14 years later ... who knows?

Delaney Woods

8 10 TIPS for Creating Your Ideal Study Space 10 Dr. Jester & Mr. Hide 12 Building Good Financial Habits 22 Don’t Brush Off Head Injuries 28 CASA: A Voice for the Children



19 Baby & Toddler Must-Haves 24-26 DEPARTMENTS


6 Show & Tell 14 On Your Mind: “Letting Go” 16 Get Out!

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Athens-Oconee Parent Magazine 5



This & That Lunch Kit is a mom-made company that started with owner Carine Rosalia making quiches with her daughter based on recipes she used to make with her own mom for picnics. She packed them with vegetables and designed a kid-portion container that would make it easy to pack for a lunch box. Why we love it: Safe for oven and microwave; Collapsible; Easy open and close tops; Writable surface to personalize; Dishwasher safe for easy clean-up. Find them at

SPINACH & HAM NO-CRUST QUICHE PREP: Preheat oven to 405F. GATHER: Three Lunch Squares containers (or use a baking dish you have), mixing bowl, fork STEPS: Into a mixing bowl combine: 1 1/2cup of chopped spinach 3 eggs 3 slices of ham chopped 3 Tbsp of flour 5 Tbsp of milk 1 cup of grated Swiss cheese one pinch of salt Pour mixture into the three Lunch Squares containers and bake in oven for 25 minutes. Leave lid of container off while baking. Let cool a few minutes and serve immediately or snap on the lid to save for the lunchbox!

Compiled by Shannon Baker

Our Favorite Bag L

ooking for a cute bag for school OR baby? We are diggin’ this Charlie Kids backpack. It’s not only stylish and easier to get notebooks in and out, the padded, adjustable shoulder straps offer support and comfort for everyday wear. Has TWO bottle holders, is waterresistant and the cute straps are magnetic. Available at

Don’t Worry! Bead Happy! K

ids all of the world worry, but in Greece kids can fidget worry away with Komboloi worry beads, the Greek fidget toy. They just roll a string of beads around in their hand to help relieve stress, worry and tension. Making your own set for fun or stress relief can be done with just a few inexpensive supplies: • 21 inches of yarn (or around 4 hand widths) – even an old shoelace will do • beads (stone, amber or wood beads are nice to handle) • scissors String your smaller beads onto the length of yarn using an odd number of beads, then thread both ends of the string through the larger “shield” bead. Tie a knot to hold everything on the string. Attach a tassel if desired. Idea and images from Marie’s Pastiche

Send your ideas & photos to P.O. Box 465, Watkinsville, GA 30677 or e-mail 6 Athens-Oconee Parent

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.” Wallace Stevens

Make a Splash ... at the Athens Water Festival

Athenians will band together at Sandy Creek Park and once again rise to the challenge to protect our planet. Live music, water trucks, wildlife encounters, and delicious cricket cookies made last year’s event sparkle. This year water organizations and local businesses will provide fun such as: touch sea life, become a water drop, or create a water delivery system. With open-ended activities, participants of all ages enjoy the activities at the festival. The festival will be held Saturday, September 7, 2019 from 10:30 am to 2:00 pm at Sandy Creek Park, 400 Bob Holman Road. Festival activities are free, but there is a park admission of $2 per person for ages 4-64.




Quarto Publishing Group is launching a new series called SEN Superpowers by Tracy Packiam Alloway, PhD. The series celebrates the positive traits associated with a range of common SEN (Special Education Needs) specialties, boosting the confidence and strength-awareness of children with those conditions, while also allowing for better understanding and positivity among their peers. Each book in the series highlights different special needs, features tips on boosting abilities (inclusive for children with and without special educational needs), includes special notes for parents and teachers, and uses a dyslexic-friendly font to encourage accessibility and inclusivity for all readers.

ne of the most beautiful places I have ever visited is Middleton Place near Charleston, SC. Just before arriving in Charleston you will find 110 vibrant acres including 65 acres of America’s oldest landscaped gardens – floral allées, terraced lawns, a pair of ornamental lakes shaped like butterfly wings – as well as a Middleton House Museum, Eliza’s House (a view of African-American life), working stable yards with artisans and heritage breed animals, a restaurant, inn, and organic farm – all waiting to be explored. The historic preservation work and interpretation of history at Middleton Place focuses on major contributions of the Middleton family as well as the enslaved Africans and African Americans who lived and worked here. The stories are a microcosm of United States history. Images courtesy of


he new statewide children’s digital library, eRead Kids, is now available through the Athens Regional Library System’s website! All you need is your library card to access eRead Kids, which provides free online access to nearly 15,000 digital books for children from pre-k through fourth grade to encourage early literacy. “eRead Kids is a new way for our libraries to encourage families and children to engage in reading,” said Athens Regional Library System Executive Director Valerie Bell. “Kids will build confidence and reading skills – and have fun – through eRead Kids,” said State Librarian Julie Walker. The collection is a mix of fiction and non-fiction ebook and audio book titles that can be downloaded onto computers, tablets and smartphones. 7

studyhall From





SOMETIMES, WHERE YOU STUDY is just as important as what you study. Numerous studies have found that the place—or “context’—in which you study affects how you’ll remember that information. Of course every student knows this, since all of us have tried to read in a loud cafe or at an aunt’s house on Thanksgiving or while a roommate is practicing guitar. Some study sessions are more effective than others. Healthcare students have so much information to learn, that sometimes every second counts. Even if you can’t make nearby people whisper like they’re in a library, this is ultimately good news, because you have a lot of control over where you choose to study. Wherever you live, wherever you tend to study, consider these tips for creating the best study space out of your environment. 8 Athens-Oconee Parent


Pick one place, and like it

If you designate one room or area as your study space, over time your brain will catch on. You’ll enter into ‘studymode’ sooner upon entering the space, which is an especially valuable before tests or whenever you’re crunched for time. Moving between libraries and coffee shops and friends’ apartments can be mentally jolting, since you’ll always have new distractions to process and overcome. The place you pick should be near you (ideally somewhere in your home) so it’s accessible, but it should also be a place you like. Studying can be stressful, so it’s best done in a place with colors, decór, and feng shui that appeal to you.


Recreate your environment

“Context-dependent” learning means that that you’ll remember something more in the place where you first learned it. So, if you studied Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in a lecture-style classroom with big windows, you may recall them best in that same or a very similar classroom. This means that you should create a study space that evokes the same atmosphere as where you’ll be tested on that information. Obviously, you can’t stage your apartment with desks and a lectern, but you can make a similar environment by regulating temperature, smells, and noises.


Get comfortable, but not too comfortable

Professional writers and anyone who works from home

have a lot to say about this, and their advise is usually contradictory. Some people work the majority of their lives in sweat pants and a grungy t-shirt; others dress in full business attire before sitting down at the desk in their study. Because you want to enjoy the place where you study, we say be comfortable—but not too comfortable. Change out of your pajamas before you crack open your books to give your mind another signal that this isn’t lounge time, but study time.


Look for natural light

Humans love natural light. It can make or break a space, as anyone who’s worked under fluorescents for nine hours a day knows. Even a little natural light, reflected off a hallway mirror, can bring real warmth and vitality to a room,

which are necessary for making the best study space.


Don’t look into the light

Light shining directly in your eyes is distracting, sometimes painful, and unproductive for studying. Of course, no light is just as bad, so when you’re creating your study environment, pay attention to where you place and position the lights. For reading, it can be effective to have the light behind you, going over your shoulder to illuminate your textbook. For your desk, This Old House recommends positioning the base of lamp shades at chin level, so the source is always out of view.


Swap music for ambient noise

Some students love listening to music while they review notes. Their minds really can focus—but more than a few would still probably focus better with no music. Songs can put you in a good mood, but if you’re paying more attention to lyrics than the procedures you’re supposed to learn, music is counterproductive—and anyway, not something you’ll hear in a test room. Instead, try an ambient noise machine or program, or at least switch to classical music. Orchestras can produce the same pleasant effects without taking your mind off the words on a page.


Get some plants

It’s been proven by NASA that certain houseplants improve indoor air quality, and something green and alive just makes a study space more serene. If you live in your designated study space, buy a low-maintenance houseplant, like aloe or a snake plant. As long as you remember to water it, a plant can make your environment more peaceful, and easier to breathe.


Turn off your phone

Don’t put it in your pocket. Don’t turn it over. Turn it off, or at least switch on airplane mode. When you’re studying, your phone can be your biggest distraction. Even just knowing it’s there, and that texts or Instagram likes might be coming through, will affect your focus. Switching it off can be mentally liberating, so unless you’re expecting an important call, do it whenever you sit down to study.


Keep it positive

Studying has a lot of negative associations, but it shouldn’t. Studying is just another word for learning, and as a healthcare student, you’re learning tasks and medical information you’ll need for your job—or even to save a life. Remember that studying is good, that it’s going to help you, and that the future career ahead of you is exciting. You can bring this positivity into your study space too, by putting up pictures of family, or quotes from your favorite book. Unless you thrive on clutter, tidy up your space regularly to keep it nice. You should also remember to reward yourself, because as good as studying is, it’s work, and you’ve earned it.


Remember to leave

If you’ve created the best study space, you’re going to love being there; it might even be your favorite part of your apartment. You’ll be tempted to do everything there—watch Netflix, sit and call your mother, and chat with friends—but whenever possible, your study space should just be used for studying. Making it a designated study area will preserve its association with learning. When you leave, and you should, your mind will realize it can take a break, and recharge until the next session. n 9

twosides By Beth Arky

Dr. Jester & [mr.hide]


Why are kids different at home and at school? Some hold it together at school, only to lose it at home. Others stress out in the classroom.

IT’S NOT UNUSUAL FOR kids to behave differently in different settings. For instance, you’d expect a child to act one way at a friend’s birthday party and another at her grandparents’ house. But the behavior of some kids — especially those with issues such as anxiety, learning disabilities, ADHD and autism — can vary much more markedly, especially when they’re at home versus school. This discrepancy can leave parents puzzled, if not upset, and worried that they’re doing something wrong. Take the case of Sam, now 15, who is gifted but also diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, ADHD and learning challenges. His mother, Maratea Cantarella, who serves as executive director of Twice Exceptional Children’s Advocacy, recalls how challenges at school led to explosive behavior at home. At school, between trying to please his teachers and interact with peers, “he was really work10 Athens-Oconee Parent

ing hard to keep himself in control,” Cantarella says. By the time he got home, “I felt often that he was just looking for a way to release all the built-up tension.” Release it he did, with 30-minute tantrums over homework or “really anything,” complete with screaming, throwing things, and sometimes kicking and head-butting. Afterward, when he was calm, she adds, “he would feel terrible shame and guilt.” But for some kids, school is where their challenges are most visible. Chloe, 8, has selective mutism and social anxiety. Her mother, Kim Byman, says that at home, Chloe is a “fun, goofy, talkative, energetic girl.” But when she gets to school, she shuts down. She has never spoken to her teachers or classmates, though she participates in all areas that don’t require being verbal. She won’t ask to use the restroom; she waits until she gets home. So why is it kids can perform so differently in different settings?

Why do some kids do better at school? Some children may do a good job meeting expectations at school, but it’s such a struggle for them it will take its toll at home. Children with ADHD, anxiety, autism and learning disabilities “may be using a lot of their resources to follow directions or cope in the classroom,” says Stephanie Lee, PsyD, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute. Once all these kids get home, “it’s challenging for them to conjure up the same amount of resources to manage.” Meanwhile, she adds, many kids, including those on the autism spectrum, benefit from the consistency, structure, predictability and routine that come with their school environment.

This often cannot be mirrored at home “because that’s not how life works,” she says. At school, rewards and consequences are likely to occur in a consistent way that may be more challenging for parents to set up at home. Also, social modeling in school can help kids fall into line, literally and figuratively. Finally, teachers have no time for dawdling: If a child doesn’t follow a direction on the first or second prompt, the teacher will likely have an immediate consequence, whereas parents might end up allowing their child to avoid or delay the next step because they spend a lot of time talking about it.

Suppressing symptoms at school Jerry Bubrick, PhD, a clinical psychologist and director of the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Service at the Child Mind Institute, notes that kids with some disorders,


including anxiety and OCD, are very concerned about how people perceive them, especially when they get into the middle and high school years. So they really try to hide their symptoms. “Typically, we’ll see kids functioning at a higher level at school,” says Dr. Bubrick, “less symptomatic because they’re trying to maintain this social perception that they’re fine. And they tend to have a lot of embarrassment and shame around their symptoms.” Another key reason kids do better at school: They feel safe to be “their worst selves” at home, secure in the knowledge that their parents will still love and support them. “I think sometimes kids come home and it’s like when you take off your shoes and feel a sense of relief,” Dr. Bubrick explains. “Like, ‘Okay, I can be myself now.’” For kids who have done a really good job of suppressing their symptoms at school, at home, where they feel there’s no one judging them, “there can be an explosion of symptoms.” As one mom of a 10-yearold with OCD recalls, at school her daughter would rock herself or doodle on a sticky pad to resist her obsessive thoughts, even though she was in distress. “So she would bottle it up at school, and then basically come off the bus at home and just explode,” she says. “Physically and verbally, she was very upset.” This, too, can leave parents confused. “It’s common for parents to say, ‘I go to the school and the teachers say, Johnny is so lovely in class and I don’t see him squirming. I don’t see any of these things that you’re talking about,’” Dr. Bubrick says. “And then the kid comes home from school and he’s really symptomatic and having a hard time controlling it.”

Why do some kids do better at home? For most kids, academic and social demands at school are above and beyond what they typically face at home, notes Dr. Lee. That may trigger problem behaviors in some their families never see at home. Kids with challenges like ADHD and anxiety often have a very low frustration tolerance; asking them to be patient or persistent at school can be a big stressor. “That can be incredibly challenging for kids,” Dr. Lee says, “so we might see a lot of acting out in those types of situations.” Similarly, children with social anxiety who have worries about how they’re being perceived by others, or children who have anxieties relating to performance, might not have any problem behaviors at home. But when they get to school and have to do math or read a passage aloud, they might engage in some negative behaviors to avoid that. “Acting out in this particular situation might end up being functional for them,” Dr. Lee says, “because if they act a little silly, the teacher might scold them, but then they move on.’” When it comes to autistic kids, they may be allowed very ritualized or self-directed behavior at home, such as screen time or Legos. When they get to school, not being allowed to do those things, or having to wait for activities they may have free access to at home, can be very challenging for them. This can also lead to disruptive behavior.

How to help kids One of Dr. Lee’s major suggestions is encouraging collaboration and open communication between home and school as

much as possible. “If there are strategies or techniques that the child is really benefiting from at home or in school, can they be shared and adapted to support that child in both environments?” she says. For instance, she notes, if a child is helped by being able to see a visual schedule in school, can one be created for home? “Similarly,” she adds, “if we know that a child really benefits from when/then statements at home — meaning ‘when you do this, then this will happen’ — share that with the teacher.” Dr. Lee says the best way to create a collaborative relationship with the school is to “make sure you praise the teacher and value the work they’re doing in addition to giving them information about your child.” For kids whose problem behavior comes out at home, Dr. Lee recommends that they get a chance to decompress when they transition after school: “It’s absolutely okay to have less stringent demands during that period of time for your child if they need a break. That said, it’s important for them to understand that the rules of the household still need to be followed.” Dr. Bubrick echoes that idea, saying it’s vital to note how well-nourished and well-rested the child is.

Coming home hungry, after struggling all day to keep it together, is a good recipe for an afternoon meltdown. He advises parents to get kids back on track by giving them a snack and having them rest, allowing them to regroup to get a healthy start for the evening. The tool most experts rec-

ommend to help kids manage their behavior, whether at school or at home, is cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. CBT has been adapted for many different kinds of emotional and behavioral challenges; what these specialized therapies all have in common is that kids learn self-regulation skills, or how to handle powerful emotions in better ways than acting out impulsively. When kids use CBT skills at school, they are able to function better without having to expend so much energy, Dr. Bubrick explains. So when they get home, there’s less stress and the possibility of an explosion of symptoms. “The more kids practice these skills,” he says, “the better they get at them.” Dr. Bubrick notes that with CBT, parents are included from the beginning, to understand their child’s condition and see what things they’re doing that are, despite good intentions, contributing to the problem. “We teach parents the dos and don’ts on how to parent a child with anxiety disorder,” he says. He gives the example of a child with OCD who is afraid of germs. A parent doesn’t do the child any favors by opening doors for him. Instead, the child must learn skills that will help him deal with his anxieties and compulsions. Dr. Lee says behavioral parent training, which includes components of CBT, is often what is needed to assist parents in determining what’s going on in either environment and the best way to support their child. n

Beth Arky is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and editor covering parenting, health and children’s learning and developmental issues, including autism. This article and other can be found on the Child Mind Institute website 11

money&family By Brad Klontz, PsyD, CFP®, and Mary Gresham, PhD


m Helping kids become financially literate is more important than ever before.

MONEY AND STRESS GO hand in hand. According to the American Psychological Association’s 2014 Stress in America survey, money is consistently among the top sources of stress for Americans year over year. This year’s survey also revealed that parents of children under the age of 18 are more likely than adults with no children to have higher financial stress and are less likely to feel financially secure. Yet many Americans are stressing in silence. The 2014 survey results indicated that 36 percent of Americans are uncomfortable talking about money, and 18 percent say money is a taboo subject in their families. For many Americans money is a touchy subject. That’s a problem, experts say — especially in families with children. We develop our attitudes and beliefs about money in childhood. By talking often about money, and modeling good money management habits, you’ll set your children up for a future of financial success. Helping kids become financially literate is more important than ever before, experts say. Previous generations could count on pensions and social security benefits to sustain them after retirement. Now, individuals must start planning — and saving for— retirement decades in advance. Making matters worse, money has become an even more abstract idea. Credit and debit cards have replaced dollars and coins, making it difficult for kids to grasp the concept of paying for goods and services. 12 Athens-Oconee Parent

With a little planning, you can talk to your kids about money in these healthy, helpful ways: Include the entire family in financial discussions. You may want to avoid the word “budget,” since it makes people think about cutting back. Instead, sit down together to develop a family spending plan. Keep your goals front and center. Consider making a bulletin board to represent your family’s financial goals. A daily reminder of the vacation you’re saving for or the house you’d like to buy helps both kids and adults keep big-picture goals. Save together, spend together. When you decide to save for something as a family — such as a new computer — show kids what saving money actually looks like. Get a big jar, and each week add dollars to the jar so the kids can see the savings grow. When you have enough saved, comparison shop together to help the children learn how to find the best value for their dollar. Choose your words carefully. Parents often find themselves saying, “We can’t afford it.” But that can send a confusing message to kids. Some might worry that their family doesn’t have enough money for necessities. Instead, try saying, “That’s not how we choose to spend our money.” This helps kids think about what they value. You might also say, “We can’t buy it now, but we can talk about how you can save for

it, or you can put it on your birthday wish list.” That helps children learn to delay gratification and plan their spending — two important pieces of financial health. Experts recommend giving children an allowance as a way for them to become financially literate. But that can backfire when kids expect to get paid for everything they do to contribute to the family. Many financial experts recommend piggy banks. Each time the child receives an allowance, he or she should put a predetermined portion into each bank: • Spending — Kids can spend freely from this section. But when it’s gone, it’s gone! • Saving — Children can set a spending goal and save up to meet that goal. • Donating — By setting aside some money to donate, children learn the value of charity. • Investing — Help kids learn to save for the future. Once you have enough money saved up in this section, you can help your child open an investment account. When your child becomes a teen, consider giving allowance on a prepaid credit card. This way, children can learn to track how much they’ve spent and how much they have left to parse out. When they go on to use their own debit and credit cards, they’ll already understand how to track and manage electronic money. n If you’d like help your family’s financial behaviors, consider talking to an expert. Some certified financial planners also work with financial therapists. Visit the American Psychology Association at 13

onyourmind By Jonathan C. Robinson, Ph.D.

“Letting Go”

d Dear Dr. Robinson,

My fourth grade daughter wants to try school lunches this year. I’ve been packing her lunch since she started school. It’s no trouble. In fact, I enjoy packing her lunch. I always slip a thoughtful note into her lunch box, with love. Now, she tells me that all her friends buy the school lunches now and she doesn’t want to be left out. Also, the notes make her “feel like a baby.” Is my little girl growing up? What about my needs and feelings? Signed, Now Unimportant Dear Now, Did you know that there’s a new, informal, developmental stage for how your daughter is presenting. It’s called being a “tweenager.” The term, tweenage, acknowledges that, from ages 10-12, kids are not children any more, nor are they teenagers. So, they are “between ages,” hence, a tweenager. Yes, your little girl is growing up. Your lunchbox notes are cute, and she will cherish their memory when she has children of her own. But for now? Not so much. Habits at any age are hard to change. Your loving habits toward your daughter, packed lunches and loving, cute notes, are not what she needs now. Part of the parenting contract is keeping up with your child’s developmental stage and helping her navigate the one she’s in currently. As a tweenager, friends are becoming more important than family. Belonging is key. Stretching her boundaries is her goal in life. Accept her and reinforce who she is becoming, while cherishing who she was,

14 Athens-Oconee Parent

as the bundle of joy that you and her dad created and birthed. By doing so, you maintain your importance in her life, as you help her navigate change. What about your needs and feelings? They continue to be important, and you are the one who satisfies them. Your daughter, nor anyone else, is not responsible for your needs and feelings. First, as family is important to you, use family meetings to secure your family-ness. Individual schedules, plans, collective chores and responsibilities, family vacations, other time together, all become apparent and part of the family collective consciousness when they are identified on a big calendar in the common area, where everybody passes by it each day. If you need to give your daughter cute and loving notes, and have no lunch box to put them in, then put a note on her bed at night. Second, fill your needs and feelings in other ways. Participate in a mom’s group, where all of you can commiserate together. Plan outings with friends and others with hubby. Stay active and fit. Remember that “raising” children takes many forms and changes as our children grow older. Be there for them, and also be there for yourself. Happy parenting. n Dr. Robinson is a licensed, clinical psychologist. His specialty is in school-clinical, child psychology, with emphasis on child development, parenting and family counseling. He is also author of Teachable Moments: Building Blocks of Christian Parenting, now available nationwide in bookstores and on-line as an e-book. 15


Compiled by Sarah Danis


n Storytimes at the

n Farmers Markets Enjoy locally and naturally grown food, crafts, art and sometimes music and cooking demonstrations at these weekly events. Athens: Saturdays at Bishop Park 8am-noon; Wednesdays at Creature Comforts Brewing Co. on Hancock 4-7pm, Watkinsville: Saturdays at Oconee County Courthouse 8am-1pm, oconeefarmers n Garden Earth Explorers Families join one another for a morning of adventure discovering Garden Earth through songs, puppets, stories, hikes, activities or games. Each week will highlight a new theme such as water, soil, foods we eat, pollination, plants or trees. The Garden Earth Explorers program is an informal way to give young naturalists a better understanding about the importance of our shared earth. Thursday mornings will be geared towards ages 3-6, and Saturday mornings will capture the interest of our more advanced learners ages 7-10. This event will not take place during inclement weather or a scheduled festival. Through November 14. 10:15am. Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden at State Botanical Garden of Georgia. Free. 2450 South Milledge Avenue.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10am and 11am starting back after August 14th. Storytime is for all preschool aged children and their caregivers. Come for stories, songs, movement, crafts, and fun! 769-3950 n Preschool Story Time

beginning Tuesday, Sept 3 through Oct 11 in preparation for the Oconee County Library’s Costume Swap on Saturday, Oct. 12! Bring in your costumes you want to swap now, and come back in October to pick out a new one for free. 769-3950 n Lego Club at the

Story program for children ages 18 months to 5 years old and their caregiver. Lively time of sharing books, songs, puppets, nursery rhymes, early literacy and preschool activities. Tues and Wed 9:30-10am and 10:30-11am. 613-3650 n Open Chess Play

Let’s build! Join us in creating Lego art and playing Lego-based activities. Lego blocks provided! Children up to age 11. Sundays 8/18 and 9/29. Tuesdays 8/27, 9/10, and 9/24. Oconee County Library. 4pm. 769-3950 n Athens Mothers’ Center

All skill levels, come out for chess! Led by volunteer members of our local Chess and Community Conference who assist players and build skill levels. Open to ages 7-18 years. Athens-Clarke County Library. Mondays. 4-5:30pm. 613-3650 n Infant Story Time

Come and meet other moms experiencing similar joys and challenges! Tuesday and Friday mornings from 9:30-11:30am year-round (except when Clarke County Schools are closed). Dads are welcome on Fridays. Covenant Presbyterian Church

Oconee County Library

at the ACC Library

at the ACC Library

at the ACC Library

Babies love books, too! This is a special Storytime for the youngest readers-to-be, 0-18 months. Share fingerplays, songs and simple books with your babies as they sit in your lap. Mondays. Athens-Clarke County Library. 10:30am. 6133650 n Bedtime Stories

at the ACC Library

Story program for working parents and their children ages 2-5. Join us for stories, rhymes, and lively participation fun. Pajamas, blankets, and stuffed animals welcome. Wednesdays. Athens-Clarke County Library. 7pm. 613-3650 n Get Ready for the

Costume Swap at the Oconee County Library Collecting costumes

16 Athens-Oconee Parent

OC Library

Social Group

AUGUST 2019 17 Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden Performance Series: Ukulady

Come experience music, laughter, and connection in nature as Ukulady brings excitement to the weekend. Theater-in-theWoods at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. 2450 South Milledge Avenue. Free. 9:30 and 11am shows.

19 The Wiggles Live in Atlanta

The Wiggles are proud to announce their biggest U.S. tour in nearly a decade to support their new Party Time! Album. $40 via,, the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre Box Office, and by phone at 1-800-745-3000. Children under 12 months are free. Please visit for more info. 6:30

PM. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

20 Sunflower Music Series: Austin Darnell

Austin Darnell, formerly of the Darnell Boys, is now fronting an outfit based on his material. The Darnell Boys were described a as “a diverse blend of American musical elements that draw upon the Blues, Country, Gospel, Soul, and Rockabilly traditions, all centered upon unique song writing and vocal work.” Flower Garden Lawn, $10-15 for adults. Kids up to 12 free. State Botanical Garden of Georgia. 2450 South Milledge Avenue. Free. 7-9pm.

22 Baby Music Jam at the OC Library

Preschool-aged children and caregivers play musical instruments, sing, and dance together. Oconee County Library. 10:30am. 769-3950

24 Family Day: Women of the WPA

Help us celebrate the contributions of women to WPA art. The Works Projects Administration was an American New Deal agency created in the 1930s to provide jobs for the unemployed, to build infrastructure, to document American history and to create new works of art. Join for gallery activities and to learn more about printmaking at the Georgia Museum of Art’s Michael and Mary Erlanger Studio Classroom. Georgia Museum of Art- 90 Carlton St, Athens. 10 am – noon. Free.

29 Infant Storytime at the OC Library

This is a special Storytime for our youngest readers-to-be, 0-24 months. Stories, songs, nursery rhymes, bouncing, cuddling, and playtime. Oconee County Library. 10:30am 769-3950

31 IndieSouth 1st Anniversary

Come celebrate one year in the Hawthorne Avenue location with activities, food, drinks, and giveaways! 4-9pm. Free. 470 Hawthorne Ave, Athens.

31 Sensory Exploration at the Oconee County Library Preschoolers can explore different stations filled with sensory materials! All ages. Free and open to the public. 2pm. Free. Oconee County Library. 769-3950

SEPTEMBER 2019 3 James Dean

at the ACC Library

Bestselling author/illustrator James Dean shares his latest book in the beloved Pete the

Kayak on the water, meet animals, splash around with the water trucks, and more! $2 park admission. 10:30am2:00pm. Sandy Creek Park400 Bob Holman Rd, Athens.

7 Looked Like Spilt Milk at the ACC Library

“Sometimes, it looked like Spilt Milk. But it wasn’t Spilt Milk.” If it’s not spilt milk, what could it be? A rabbit, a bird, or an ice cream cone? Help us decode these mysterious shapes in this classic story by Charles G. Shaw. After our special storytime, enjoy hands-on mystery shape activities and crafts to go. Ages 3-8. Athens-Clarke County Library. 11am. Free. 613-3650

14 Little Athens Pop-Up at Georgia Square Mall Little Athens Children’s Museum will bring their pop-up exhibit to Georgia Square Mall the second Saturday of each month during 2019. 10am-12pm about-little-athens

16-20 Pirate Week at the OC Library Cat series – Pete the Cat and the Perfect Pizza Party. When Pete’s friends start adding their own toppings to his perfect pepperoni pizza, will his pizza party be ruined? Meet the creator of Georgia’s favorite blue cat at this groovy event, with free pizza while supplies last! For children ages 3-11 and their caregiver. This special event is proudly cohosted by Avid Bookshop and the Athens-Clarke County Library. Books will be available for purchase. Athens-Clarke County Library. 10:30am. Free. 613-3650

7 Athens Water Festival 10th Anniversary

Join your fellow Athenians at the Athens Water Festival to celebrate the 10 year anniversary! With open-ended activities, participants of all ages enjoy the activities at the festival.

Arrrr, matey! Join us for pirate-themed activities all week long as we celebrate Pirate Week! Pirate Scavenger Hunt, pirate-themed storytimes on Tuesday and Wednesday, and Pirate Crafts all week long (2-4pm)! We’ll be dressed like pirates every day and you can too! Be sure to pop in Friday, September 28 at 4pm, when we will watch a family-friendly pirate movie! Free. Oconee County Library. 10:30am. 769-3950

Some events, dates and times are subject to change. Please call individual event organizers to confirm schedules. All area codes are 706 unless otherwise noted.

bum, “Sunlight On The Moon” combines the rough recording qualities of their early lo-fi masterworks with their powerful live bombast, with experiments in Kraftwerk-styled/Eno-esque drum machine minimalism, into a seamless, perfectly flowing whole. Flower Garden Lawn, $10-15 for adults. Kids up to 12 free. State Botanical Garden of Georgia. 2450 South Milledge Ave. Free. 7-9pm.

19 Baby Music Jam at the OC Library

Preschool-aged children and caregivers play musical instruments, sing, and dance together. Oconee County Library. 10:30am. 769-3950

19 Cook Like a Pirate: A

Culinary Adventure! at the ACC Library

Celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day by learning to cook like a pirate! Hear the story of one-armed John Thompson in Cook’s Cook: The Cook Who Cooked for Captain Cook! by Gavin Bishop and help us make real maritime recipes with our new portable kitchen! Pirate food sampling and crafts to go. Ages 7-11. Athens-Clarke County Library. 3:30pm. Free. 613-3650

26 The Recycled Orchestra In a town built on a landfill, how can a group of children

learn to play music? Come celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and learn the amazing true story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay. After hearing stories about instruments made with different materials, we’ll make our own and play them! Ages 6-11. Athens-Clarke County Library. 3:30pm. Free. 613-3650

26 Infant Storytime at the OC Library

This is a special Storytime for ages 0-24 months. Stories, songs, nursery rhymes, bouncing, cuddling, and playtime. Oconee County Library. 10:30am 769-3950

28 Family Day: Plein Air Painting

Join us to explore works of art by French Impressionists from the Terry Collection. Freed from their studios by the invention of tubed paints, artists painted outdoors. This free, drop-in program includes gallery activities and an impressionism inspired art project in the Georgia Museum of Art’s Michael and Mary Erlanger Studio Classroom (and outdoors, weather permitting). Georgia Museum of Art- 90 Carlton St, Athens. 10 am – noon. Free. n

17 Sunflower Music Series: Elf Power Elf Power formed in 1994 and over the last 19 years have released twelve albums, two EPs, and a handful of singles, while touring North America, Europe, and Japan many times. Their latest al- 17

Health&FitnessGuide Featuring Athens-Oconee Parent Magazine Supporters

Athens Dermatology Group

Athens Family Vision 706-769-1550 706-543-3599

Dr. Karen Maffei graduated Cum Laude from Emory University School of Medicine in 1989. She completed her residency in dermatology at Emory, training in Mohs surgery, procedural dermatology and general dermatology. Her training also included plastic surgery. She is a member of the American Society for Mohs Surgery, the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery and the American Board of Dermatology. Morgan Rains, PA-C received her Bachelor of Science degree graduating Magna Cum Laude from the University of Georgia and then earned a Master of Physician Assistant Studies graduating Summa Cum Laude from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. She is a NCCPA board certified Physician Assistant, as well as a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants, the Georgia Dermatology Physician Assistants and the Georgia Association of Physician Assistants.

Athens Family Vision offers comprehensive eye care to all family members. Dr. Russell D. Springer, Dr. Elisabeth Lawson, and Dr Marsha Beckham are all board certified Optometrists. Each doctor will provide a full range of care and treatment for your eyes. Our doctors have a combined 30+ years of experience and use the best technology to best serve their patients. We perform computer assisted eye exams, diagnosis and treatment of ocular disease and injury, complete contact lens services including all specialty lens products, co-management for laser and cataract surgeries, and frame styling to compliment your lifestyle.

Athens YMCA 706-543-6596 The Athens YMCA has something for everyone! The Y offers a fitness center, basketball gyms, group exercise classes, indoor pool, track, trails and more. Stop by the Y to see what all you can do today!

18 Athens-Oconee Parent 19

Health&FitnessGuide Leading Edge Gymnastics Academy 678-975-7469 The mission at Leading Edge Gymnastics Academy is to provide a gymnastics training facility that can accommodate athletes from tumbling toddlers to the highest level of gymnastics. They strive to provide an environment that is fun, structured, and coached with Christian values and mentorship. Through gymnastics they believe we can teach teamwork, discipline, and physical fitness that has benefits far beyond the doors of our gym. Conveniently located near 316 and Hwy 53 in Winder, Georgia, our fully-equipped 20,000 square foot facility and team of seasoned coaches are excited to begin a new LEGAcy at Leading Edge

Linder Family Dentistry

Newell Orthodontics William R. Newell, DMD 706-387-0122 Dr. Bill Newell is a board-certified and Invisalign®-trained orthodontist. His commitment to excellence and years of clinical experience enable him to manage all types of orthodontic cases successfully: from simple crowding to complex surgical cases and TMJ disorders. Two convenient, state-of-the-art locations in Jefferson and Watkinsville offer flexible office hours to make it easy to fit your orthodontic appointments into your busy schedule. Give us a call today to schedule your free new patient consultation and learn more about how we can help you discover the smile you’ve always wanted!

Northeast Georgia Health District 706-549-4244 1.800.4PD.HELP

Dr. Scott Linder and his father Dr. Emory Linder have been serving patients in Athens, GA for over 50 years. Consultation with the dentist includes services such as: Diagnostic digital x-rays as needed, Comprehensive dental exam and screening for cavities, Occlusal analysis to look for bite problems. Periodontal screening and .Oral cancer screening

The Athens Area Health District is comprised of 12 health departments and 5 teen clinics within a 10-county region including Barrow, Clarke, Elbert, Greene, Jackson, Madison, Morgan, Oconee, Oglethorpe and Walton counties. The goal of the Athens Area Health District is to promote a healthy lifestyle and to offer free or low-cost services to all people, regardless of income, within their community. Some of the clinic services offered include: Diabetes/ Keto diet information and education, Family Planning and Birth Control, Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening and Referrals, Adult and Child Immunizations, including HPV vaccines for boys and girls, WIC Supplemental Nutrition Program and infectious disease testing and treatment. Visit our website for more information on services, clinic hours and locations.

New Revolution Taekwondo 706-850-8811

The philosophy at New Revolution is that the principles of Taekwondo (Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control, and Indomitable Spirit) and the principles of life are one and the same. New Revolution Taekwondo enriches students’ lives by promoting fitness, self-esteem, confidence, and respect for others. Master Yu has over 35 years of martial arts experience and is committed to providing students with the highest level of professional martial arts instruction in a positive, safe and fun environment.

20 Athens-Oconee Parent

Women’s Center of Athens 706-227-8999 Women’s Center of Athens is a group practice providing care to women of all ages in both Obstetrics and Gynecology. The physicians practicing Obstetrics and Gynecology are Melissa Anderson, M.D., Melissa Halbach, M.D., and Camille McPherson, M.D. All physicians are board certified by The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. In addition, physicians hold current fellowship status with the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology (F.A.C.O.G.). Services offered include Gynecology, Infertility, Laparoscopic Minimally Invasive Surgery, Bone Density, Menopause, Blood Work, and Obstetrics (general and high risk). n 23 21

headstrong By Dr. John Norris


Head Injuries


When it comes to concussions, children are not simply small adults.

A CONCUSSION IS A trauma-induced, temporary disruption of normal brain function. Importantly, the traumatic forces do not need to impact the head. A blow to the face, neck, shoulder, or elsewhere on the body, sufficient to transmit an impulsive force to the soft, jello-like brain, can result in concussive symptoms. A brief loss of consciousness, though sometimes seen with concussion, is not required, and actually occurs only about 10 percent of the time. More than 44 million youth participate in sports annually. With this high level of participation comes the opportunity for a variety of injuries, including an estimated 1.1 to 1.9 million sports-related concussions annually. Sports with the highest concussion rates include men’s football, men’s ice hockey, men and women’s lacrosse, and men and women’s soccer. When it comes to concussions, children are not simply small adults. Children’s brains differ from adult brains in water content, mineralization of 22 Athens-Oconee Parent

the skull, and other significant structural, functional and developmental ways. Collectively, these unique features account for the fact that younger brains seem to be more susceptible to concussions, take longer to heal, and be at greater risk for long-term complications. Because the brain serves a wide variety of functions, it is not surprising that brain damage from concussive force may present as a wide array of physical and cognitive symptoms. The most common of these are headache, dizziness, balance problems, and difficulty concentrating. Other less common but significant impairments include: amnesia, nervousness, confusion or disorientation, fatigue, personality changes, emotional lability, feeling foggy or slowed down, delayed speech, vacant stare, irritability, loss of consciousness, hyperexcitability, decreased sleep, inability to fall asleep, increased sleep, drowsiness, sensitivity to light or other visual changes, sensitivity to noise, ringing in the ears, nausea and

vomiting. While symptoms often appear immediately following impact, symptoms may continue to develop over minutes or hours. Currently, there is no specific diagnostic test for concussion, so concussion remains a clinical diagnosis. Because patients typically are well appearing, diagnosis of concussion can be difficult. When concussions occur alone – without brain contusions, skull fractures, or intracranial bleeding – imaging studies such as CT are normal and not helpful for diagnosis. Standard orientation questions (time, place, and person for example) and standard balance testing are unreliable in sporting situations. In contrast, brief neuropsychological test batteries such as the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool version 5 (SCAT5) or Standardized Assessment of Concussion (SAC), consisting of small-scale assessments of attention and memory, have been validated for sideline screening for concussive symptoms, but not for

diagnosis. Athletes experiencing a significant impact and a positive screening should be removed from action, followed by a more thorough diagnostic evaluation in a distraction-free environment, rather than on the sideline. Because symptoms may evolve over time, the player should not be left alone after the injury, and serial assessments are often necessary. Though not every athlete requires this, those with more numerous, severe or prolonged symptoms can undergo neuropsychological testing. Neuropsychological testing refers to a host of computer-based or written tests that help define subtle cognitive impairments in attention, concentration, memory, auditory and visual processing, visual-spatial functioning, language and reading skills, etc., more precisely, and are often compared to pre-season baseline testing. Baseline testing can also be especially useful in children with learning disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, anxiety, or other brain-based

disorders that might contribute to abnormal neuropsychological testing, complicating post-concussion assessment. During the period of cell membrane and organelle repair that follows concussion, athletes seem to be particularly vulnerable to worsening injury, additional concussions, or potential catastrophic outcomes such as second impact syndrome. Currently, the main treatment for concussion is rest – both physical and mental. The main benefits of rest seem to be limiting patient discomfort from brain-injury related symptoms, and promoting healing by minimizing additional energy demands such that the brain energy available is shunted toward healing. The best current recommendations are to encourage gradual and progressive activity that does not bring on or worsen their symptoms. Unfortunately,

this remains more art than science and, optimally, should be individualized for each patient. In school, lingering signs and symptoms of concussion that may pose temporary learning difficulties include headache, dizziness, visual problems, noise sensitivity, difficulty concentrating, and sleep disturbances. Since students with concussion are often well-appearing, educators, school administrators, coaches, and peers, may fail to understand fully their temporary disabilities. Establishing the time needed for full recovery from a concussion has proved difficult. Each individual and injury is unique. Further, there is evidence that concussion symptoms often resolve before complete healing of the microstructural damage to the brain cells and their immediate environment occurs. In general, most childhood athletes with a first, uncomplicated

concussion, recover completely in 2-4 weeks. Currently, the strongest and most consistent predictor of slower recovery is the number and severity of a patient’s initial symptoms during the first days following injury. Those that do not fully recover in a reasonable time-frame should be referred to a concussion specialist and undergo detailed neuropsychological assessment. Brain scientists tend to focus on school sports concussions, since they are the ones for which data is most readily available, but numerous other recreational activities and accidents can lead to pediatric concussions including: motor vehicle accidents, bicycle accidents, skate- and snow-boarding, falls, equestrian events, abuse, etc,. We have learned much in these past ten years. Using game film and helmet sensors, we now have an improved understanding of the trauma

leading to concussive injury. We are working to make helmets and other equipment safer. Practical, validated, side-line screening tools have been developed. Neuropsychological testing and monitoring techniques for making detailed cognitive assessments have been developed. New diagnostic imaging techniques and biomarker assays to diagnose and track concussions are being developed and refined. Our understanding of why and how rest contributes to concussion recovery is growing. Finally, additional symptom-specific, pharmaceutical treatments are being developed. n John Norris, MD, PhD, FAAP is an assistant professor of Medicine with the AU/UGA Medical Partnership.

(Publisher note: this article has been edited for space. Go to to read the full version.) 23

Baby &Toddler Must-Haves

Compiled by Sarah Danis

2019 s

I love discovering new-to-the-market and new-to-me items for our little ones! Many of these great items will be given away on the Athens-Oconee Parent Magazine Facebook page. Be sure to check out the page often and see what’s up for grabs! - Sarah Danis

Gerber’s Just Born

Gerber has a great new line of baby clothes, bedding, and towels. These 100% cotton hooded towels are snuggly and stylish for after bath time splashes and snuggling! They’re exceptionally soft, absorbent terrycloth and machine washable.

Earth Baby On-the-Go Kit

This includes their Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30, Diaper Rash Cream, Hand Sanitizer Gel, and Aromatherapy Calming Mist enclosed in an organic travel bag. They have offered a free Aromatherapy Mist and free shipping with a $35 purchase if use the coupon code ATHENSMIST.

BEB Organic Newborn Products

This full product line includes their bestselling, FDA-approved Healing Gel along with Bubbly Wash, Silky Cream, Nourishing Oil and Diaper Balm. All of their products are currently being used in top NICUs across the country and are proven to dramatically improve healing time and skincare issues like dehydration, rashes, eczema and more.


Made with love and little ones in mind; for tiny hands to hold and little mouths to find. Moonjax teethers are the best teethers for little ones to hold and are easy for their little mouths to find. These non-toxic baby teethers are the best teether for molars. 24 Athens-Oconee Parent


This is a line of skincare for kids that is making moisturizing fun! Packaged in reusable playful containers designed to inspire creativity, our organic coconut oil-based formulas are made for all skin types and never include parabens, phthalates, or sulfates.

Itzy Ritzy’s Mom Boss

This 4-in-1 multi-use cover is a stretch cotton wonder that can be worn as a breathable nursing cover or fashion infinity scarf, or used as an infant car seat cover or a shopping cart cover. Its’ soft, luxurious fabric is gentle on baby’s skin and the size of the cover provides full coverage to ensure privacy while nursing.

Indestructibles Books

These books are built for the way babies “read”– with their hands and mouths. Chew-proof, rip-proof, and drool-proof, they’re printed on a unique 100% nontoxic, paperlike material that holds up to anything babies can throw at it – gumming, spilling, dragging across the floor.

Hipster Plus 3D Baby Carrier

With up to 9 carry positions, the Hipster Plus 3D baby carrier is truly the most versatile carrier on the market. Ergonomic for baby’s hips, the seat absorbs the weight of the baby so it’s also super comfortable for both Mom and Dad.

Angelcare Baby Breathing Monitor

The Angelcare AC527 is a dependable, trusted, and beautifully designed baby care essential. It has Angelcare’s new 40 % smaller Wireless SensAsure Breathing Sensor Pad. Rest assured, the pad offers the exact same precise levels of movement detection.

ezpz Tiny Cup

The Tiny Cup, along with Tiny Spoon and Tiny Bowl, are full of small details with big payoffs, like the slight arc of the tiny spoon, which makes dipping more effective and helps develop lip closure, and the weighted base and tactile bumps on the tiny cup, which stability and sensory awareness to decrease spills.

Rockit Portable Baby Rocker

Does your little one wake up as soon as the stroller stops moving? The Rockit will keep rocking so you don’t have to! Created to help parents on the go, this handy musthave accessory keeps babies moving and snoozing. Simply attach to your stroller, push the button and adjust the speed to gently rock your baby, just like you would.

more! 25

2019 Baby & Toddler Must-Haves

Skin Slipper

This is a reusable applicator that keeps fingers clean while applying topical treatments, such as diaper cream, and eliminates further inflammation or irritation of the baby’s precious skin. This unique applicator provides precise application, allowing products to spread smoothly, and evenly — eliminating waste and extending the use of the diaper cream.

Armrest Buddy

This makes flying so comfortable for the parent, the child, and will probably be appreciated by the other 300 passengers on the plane. A specially designed super soft pillow slips snugly over the plane seat armrest and the built-in blanket keeps the loved ones cozy and warm.

Mifold Booster Seat

Mifold is the most compact and portable booster seat ever invented and is designed for kids aged 4 and up, 40 to 100 lbs, and 40 to 57 inches tall. It keeps your child secure by optimally adjusting the adult seat belt to fit the child.

Sposie Booster Pads

When nighttime diaper changes start taking their toll, there’s only one way to save the night--Sposie, the dad invented, American-made, 100% chemical-free diaper booster pads! Double your diaper absorbency, double your peace of mind for only $10 per pack.

Tiny Love’s Gymini

Especially designed to support baby’s development from day one, the Gymini’s contrasting colors and clever features perfectly match your baby’s innate desire to explore. It stimulates baby’s vision, encourages bonding, and is the ultimate tummy time.


Often high chairs are not available when you need them while on the go. Look no further. The Roamwild Airtushi is an inflatable high chair without compromise. Its unique design is totally safe, 100% padded for ultimate comfort and so easy to wipe clean after use. It also packs down extremely small so that it is completely portable wherever you and your child go.

Mia’s Moccs

These moccasins are great for your children to grow in, each step of the way, from new-born to toddler. Mia’s Moccs also make great baby shower, birthday and holiday gifts.


This is an eco-friendly tableware line for your kids age 4 months and up. The products offer self-feeding features, with interchangeable parts for different ages and meals. The entire line is made from plant-based materials like bamboo fiber. Products range from the Teething Spoon Set to the First Bites Set to the Healthy Meal Set. 26 Athens-Oconee Parent 27

advocatesneeded By Athens-Oconee CASA, a program of Children First, Inc. • Illustration by Jane Baker

“To give a child a CASA is to give them a voice. To give them a voice is to give them hope, and to give them hope is to

give them the world.”


AT ANY GIVEN MOMENT in Clarke and Oconee Counties, about 300 children are in foster care. Currently, 60% of these are served by 87 active volunteers in the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program. A CASA is a trained volunteer appointed by the Juvenile Court to advocate for a child in foster care and represent their interests everywhere – at court, in school, with the Division of Family and Children Services 28 Athens-Oconee Parent

(DFCS), with their biological and foster parents, and with medical care providers. The program’s goal is to serve every foster child in the jurisdiction. Children with CASAs spend, on average, 40% less time in foster care than those without. This is the story of two foster children and their CASA. It is a true story, with all names and several minor details changed to maintain confidentiality.

On a hot summer day in Athens, the owner of a local business glanced out her display window and was transfixed by what she saw. There, wandering aimlessly only a few feet from the busy street, were two small children. The older child, “Marcus,” appeared to be preschool age, and the younger, “Maya,” was a toddler. They were all alone. The business owner noticed that the children were dirty and covered with bites and scratches. Unable to tell where they had come from or where they were going, she led them inside and called the police. While they waited, she offered them food and water. They consumed everything she put in front of them. Since their caretaker could not be located, the police called DFCS. Eventually it was established that the children’s mother was in jail. At the time of her arrest, she had left them with a relative who lived in a tent at a nearby homeless camp. The police report indicated that they had wandered away from the camp and had crossed several streets plus a set of train tracks before they were found. With their mother in jail and no relatives who were capable of caring for them, the children had nowhere to go. They were declared dependent on the state and entered the foster care system. They were placed into separate foster homes. A few months later, “Kate”, the mother of two school-age children, had just finished her CASA training and was ready to choose her first case. She had been sworn 29

in by Judge Robin Shearer as an officer of the Western Judicial Circuit Juvenile Court. From the many sibling groups who needed an advocate, the CASA staff members selected several cases that fit Kate’s talents and interests. After carefully reading the files, she chose Marcus and Maya. Both were in excellent foster homes while their mother (who had spent much of her own childhood in foster care) worked toward reunification with her children. Kate’s role in the children’s journey toward a “forever” home is beautifully described by Maya’s foster parent: have been a foster parent for more than 3 years. About four months into my second placement, we got a CASA. Little did I know that having a CASA on our case was a game changer! Kate is a community volunteer who has been trained and mentored to look after the best interest of the child. CASAs want what’s best for the child, whether that is working toward reunification with a rehabilitated parent or recognizing that a different path may be best. To do this, they invest in the child. They see and hear the child, and they say, “You are important, what you think is important, and how you feel is important.” At one of our court hearings the judge


said, “If you did not have a CASA, this case would look very different right now.” Why? Because our CASA has the time, resources and support to investigate the details of the case. She provides information to DFCS and the judge and presents a holistic view of what is currently happening. She functions as part of a team that includes foster parents, the judge, case manager, attorneys, therapists, and teachers. But the CASA has a unique advantage: this is her only case. My little foster absolutely adores our CASA! She gets so excited when she knows she is going to see her. She has sat and spilled her heart out to her CASA. Kate has attended the children’s visits with their biological mom, she brought Maya a special travel bag for her first flight on an airplane, and she came to her birthday party. Kate has seen Maya’s tears and her joy. My heart’s wish is for all foster children to have a CASA. Having a CASA on the case makes the team whole. Our CASA will forever be in our lives as someone who loved so well and fought for what’s best for those who could not fight for themselves. Today Maya is thriving in the care of her foster mom. Marcus, more deeply marked by childhood trauma, has been in a series of foster homes but now has an experienced, caring foster parent and an extensive support and service network. Their mother is receiving an array of services in the hope that she can eventually provide a stable home for her children. If she does not succeed, both foster parents are willing to adopt. Kate will continue to speak up for these children as long as they need a voice. In the words of a former foster child, “To give a child a CASA is to give them a voice. To give them a voice is to give them hope, and to give them hope is to give them the world. I believe that with all my heart.” For more information, visit or the Athens-Oconee CASA Facebook page. n

Please support our advertisers who make this FREE family resource possible! Alice DePass Studio of Dance 3

Baker & Slider Attorneys at Law 13

Manning Brothers 13

Pump It Up 15

Athens Academy 9

Clarke County School District 14

Newell Orthodontics 19

Rush Trampoline Park 31

Athens Dermatology 21

Children First 32

New Revolution Taekwondo 21

St. Joseph Catholic Parish School 3

Athens Family Vision/Dr. Springer 9

Double Helix STEAM School 2

Northeast Health District NEXPLANON 29

UGA Community Music School 30

Athens Little Playhouse 30

Full Moon School of Music 4

Northeast Health District WIC 27

Women’s Center of Athens 19

Athens YMCA 21

Leading Edge Gymnastics Academy 19

Oconee Youth School of Performance 13

Linder & Linder Family Dentistry 3

Prince Avenue Christian School 23

30 Athens-Oconee Parent

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