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18 - 19 At Home Spa Day

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by Noelle Katai

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23 Every Child an Athlete for Life by Pamela Settle

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Quality Early Learning is Key to Success in School by Benjamin J. Kirby

Be a Woman of Action

30 A Letter to Pinellas County

I am a

by David Lawrence

33 Make Your Fitness Goals SMART by Christie Bruner

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Leading Our Schools to Greatness: Part 2 by Pamela Settle

38 My Story by Rennie Curran About the Cover Rennie Curran, #45 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers contacted GoodLiving magazine because he likes our positive content. He is a huge supporter of kids, so we asked him to help us with our message that as a community we all need to come together to lift our kids up for success. Thank you to Calvary Christian High School for the use of your field and to Corey Conroy Photography for the gorgeous photo. See more at

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FALL 2012

back to school

Here’s to a healthy and happy school year for teachers, students and parents!

Publisher Light Shine Media Group, LLC

Editor-in-Chief Pamela Settle

Contributing Writers Christie Bruner Rennie Curran Noelle Katai Benjamin J. Kirby David Lawrence

Design and Layout

Letter from the Editor A few days ago, my son, entering first grade this year, started asking why he had to go to school. “To learn,” I replied. To which he retorted, “Why do I need to learn?” Well, that’s a really good question and I had stop myself from flippantly saying things like “because I said so,” “because it’s the law,” or “to get a good job someday.” Yes, education is a path to obtaining a good job so you can buy things like food. Yes, the government has laws saying you must go to school until you’re old enough to drop out.

Marcie Kelliher

And yes, parents need their kids in school so they can work to buy things like food.

Account Manager

Those reasons, however, don’t really get to the core of why we pursue learning as humans and so I decided to make it a teachable moment about the value of school.

Tory Perfetti

Data Manager Tom Eckert

Website WP by Design

GoodLiving™ Magazine & P.O. Box 1795 Oldsmar, Florida 34677 (727) 776-3656

FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION GoodLiving™ magazine is a publication of Light Shine Media Group, LLC and and is available to readers by a paid annual subscription available at Promotional copies are distributed through establishments as a courtesy to their customers and clients. Additional copies are donated to local schools as a community service. To request copies, contact All photographs, artwork, design and editorial are the sole property of GoodLiving™ magazine and Light Shine Media Group, LLC. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without written permission. GoodLiving™ magazine and Light Shine Media Group, LLC are not responsible for statements made by advertisers and writers for any consequences arising from omissions or errors. Readers should verify the advertising information of the advertisers and all specials are valid to the expiration date set by the advertiser. GoodLiving™ magazine and Light Shine Media Group, LLC reserve the right to refuse any advertising for any reason. The views expressed in the publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. All rights reserved.

My answer to him was this, “Son. Learning is a most precious gift. God gave us the ability to think, to create, to build, to question, to explore and to experience the mystery and beauty of this Earth, its creatures and other people. It’s our duty and responsibility to use our brains to the best of our abilities and that means going to school to learn how to use that brain.” When he’s older, I’ll elaborate more on how important it is to soak in literature, music, art, nature, science and history for the purpose of bringing joy and meaning to his life. Later, we’ll talk about how without deeper life goals, education can become a repetitive series of tests, report cards and annual attendance calendars. Sort of like climbing stairs in a crowd without really paying attention to where you are going. I’ll want him to understand that he has an inner desire to be on the stairs in the first place; that he can connect spiritually to his drive to learn. To realize that knowledge is not just the means to an end, but a way to fill his heart, his soul and his mind. As a parent I realize that inspiring his inner desire to learn is only half the battle. The other half is being involved in the school system that is in control of a big part of the journey called education. Federal and state law makers, school boards, district staff, unions, textbook companies and research entities are making important, life-altering decisions that impact our children. Are you there? Do you know what they are doing? Are you engaged? Are you a member of PTA or do you attend school board meetings? Are you registered to vote and are you identifying the candidates who support education? Our kids get one life, and one shot at their developmental years. This is about as important as it gets for their future, and the cumulative futures of all our children. Throughout this Back-to School issue, you will read about people working to improve our community for kids from 0 – 18. Agencies and programs are in place to advocate for our children’s future. Whether you are a parent or not, you are needed to get in the game and be a part of lifting our children up for success! Until next time, be good!

Pamela Settle

news Flip Flops for Heroes A Clearwater woman heard that wounded soldiers were entering the military hospital in Kandahar, Afghanistan, often times with their boots cut off, leaving them with no shoes. A veteran herself, Cristine Kreplick, answered this very specific call for help by asking members of the community to donate flip flops through a page on Facebook. “I have a past colleague who works at this hospital and in addition to prayers, she said she needed flip flops for the patients,” says Cristine. The effort worked and they now have more flip flops than they need for the short term. What they need now are plain t-shirts, shorts, sweatpants, shoes and toiletries.

Dames Gone Wild Two women from Pinellas County are on an adventure of a lifetime. After being let go from her mortgage job in January 2012, Carol Hasbrouck came to the realization that after 23 years of earning a paycheck to get a two-week vacation, it was time for her to let go. To really let go and stretch beyond where she was to see what else life could hold. With her friend, Joyce Claflin, the 12-month journey across the United States has begun. Their mission: to learn about themselves by doing service work for free at a variety of different non-profit organizations. Their itinerary is posted on their website, but more important are the blog posts of their experiences. It’s really quite inspiring and a good read for anyone looking for ways to add depth and meaning to their lives. They stay with host families and rely on their GPS to help them “recalculate” when plans change. Carol and Joyce are unofficial ambassadors to the country from St. Petersburg, appearing in local media and making a stir in the communities where they serve. They are inspiring people who have lost jobs from coast to coast with a story that says “We are not our jobs; we have more to give.” They are currently learning how to receive from others as their funds have run low and they need to ask for donations to help them continue their journey. Follow them at and find them on Facebook, too.

Box Car Rally Achieva Credit Union is celebrating old-fashioned fun at their annual Box Car Rally, October 6th in downtown Clearwater’s Cleveland Street District. Proceeds benefit Pinellas County Classrooms. The event is free to attend. There will be food, drinks, balloons, music, kid’s events, 50/50 raffles, local merchant tables and more. If you ever wanted to build and race a box car, here is your chance! Entries are only $50 per team. Get registration information, rules and links to find box car kits at Search Box Car Rally. Photos by Lynzie Hiers Photography

8 GoodLiving back to school

Donations can be sent directly to the hospital in Kandahar, Afghanistan by using this military address: USN LT Danielle Jarvis, NATO Role 3 MMU, APO AE, 09355 Keep up with the effort on the Flip Flops for Heroes Facebook page.


Helping a Friend in Need Reading Pals

For anyone who has tried to arrange meals for a friend who is sick, had a baby or experienced a death in the family, the process can be Thanks to a generous contribution from the owners of Publix, United Way of Florida and The Children’s Movement of Florida are a little challenging. launching a new program called Reading Pals. A website has come along to make it more manageable. Their basic service is free, so it’s a great option for anyone. Locally, the program will match volunteer mentor readers with includes a real-time meal calendar that has the ability to customize PreK to 3rd grade students in Pinellas County who need help right now with reading. Approximately 40% of children who enter dates, times and meal preferences. Invitations can be sent via e-mail Kindergarten are not ready to read. If they stay behind through 3rd or Facebook. It even sends reminders. grade, they run a greater risk of eventually dropping out of school. Early intervention can reverse the situation, and that’s where volunteers come to play. Reading Pals needs 200 volunteers by October 1 to donate one hour per week for the rest of the school year. Volunteers will receive training and the program is approved for Bright Futures volunteer hours. Research shows that children who get extra help before third grade can get and stay caught up, so this volunteer time can measurably change a child’s life for the better. And cumulatively, it can improve an entire community. To find out more on how to volunteer, go to

Recognizing Recovery September 2012 is the 23rd Annual National Recovery Month sponsored by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. It is a celebration of people who have or are now seeking recovery from addictions and the treatment professionals who dedicate their careers to the cause.

For Families with Special Needs Children Family Network on Disabilities is hosting the 6th Annual Heart and Hope Statewide Family Conference at Dunedin Highland Middle School on August 25, 2012. The event is free and is designed to bring together families who have children with disabilities and subject matter professionals who can help them learn their options and rights in regards to the school system and beyond. Free lunch and childcare will be provided. The keynote speaker will be Monica Verra-Tirado, Ed.D., the new Bureau Chief for Florida’s ESE Division. Additional presentations include RTI, Restraint and Seclusion, Self-Determination, Learning Styles, Understanding the Health Care System, Welcome to ESE, IEP, IDEA, and much more. Visit to register.

In recognition of this month, LiveFree! in partnership with Nar-Anon and Operation PAR will host a Day of Serenity for Friends and Family in Recovery on Saturday, September 8, 2012 from 12pm – 4pm. The event will be at Operation PAR’s Beverly and CW Bill Young Center for Research and Recovery at 13800 66th St. N. in Largo. The Day of Serenity will include a special Newcomers Meeting at 1pm. Nar-Anon is a 12-step program for those affected by another’s addiction. For more information on Nar-Anon, please visit or call (888)947-8885. For more information on the day of Serenity, contact livefree@ For more information on Recovery Month, please visit

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GoodLiving back to school


news Good Works Pinellas

comes to GoodLivingMagazine .com! The Link The Givers You’re sitting with some friends, neighbors or your family and the conversation comes up that you want to give some time and volunteer to do something good for someone. Maybe you have a free Saturday coming up or perhaps your group wants to do something on a regular basis. Maybe you have material goods instead of time. There is furniture to donate or your company is willing to collect blankets, food or toiletries. How do you find who needs help?

The Needs Every day local charities and ministries have needs that range from small one-person jobs to large-scale events. Some are long term and others pop up as a need arises. They also have needs for donated goods on a regular basis and some charities have urgent needs. These organizations rely upon people in the community to help them. Beyond their usual volunteers, how do they connect on a regular basis to the community at large?

The key to linking hundreds of thousands of potential givers to the multitude of needs in Pinellas County is a common database. A Tampa organization called Meet the Need has developed database software that can do this job and more. The vision of its founder and president, Jim Morgan, was to mobilize entire communities by sharing up-to-date information on a common platform accessed by an unlimited number of organizations. It took nearly ten years to develop, but the Meet the Need software product has taken off quickly and is being used by churches and ministries in over 100 cities nationwide. Any church or ministry can be a part of the network. To join, go to In 2012, a commercial version of the software is being released so that non-profit organizations and corporations can join the network and expand the reach of the community. This software product is called ServingLynk. For more information, send an email to

news Click on this graphic at

What is Good Works Pinellas? Good Works Pinellas at will serve as the hub of activity for Pinellas County. Individuals and groups who do not belong to a church or an organization utilizing Meet the Need software can access the database at Searchers can narrow the fields to meet their specific desires. If you are looking for something on a particular date, search by date. If you prefer to volunteer to help a senior citizen or serve at a food bank, search by type of organization. The database is flexible and easy to use. No long-term commitments are required. By being able to see the full range of needs in the county, it will open the door for people to have multiple giving experiences – something that is beneficial for teaching kids to have compassion for different situations. The real beauty of this database is that it empowers YOU to be your own leader. You are no longer dependent on someone else to tell you what is planned. The information comes to you as fast as you can click your mouse. Good Works Pinellas will help you find the right project. Any day. Any time. So You Can Be Empowered to Lead the Way!

How to use GoodWorks Pinellas 1. Access the Good Works Page through 2. Search the local database for opportunities to serve or donate material goods 3. Select where you want to help 4. Register to be a volunteer 5. Fulfill your service in the community 6. Repeat!


Schoolbags for Kids

Sparx candy

With their One Here. One There™ mission, sion, two entrepreneurs who used to market luxury products in New York City started their own company to make a difference around the world. While on a journey, one of the founders was passing out pencils to children in Tanzania when he had a vision to give children the tools necessary for learning. That moment led to a company called Schoolbags for Kids that sells high-quality, fitted backpacks for students. With every sale, they send a backpack of supplies to schools and orphanages in several countries. Their inspiring story is on their website, as are pictures of their well-designed backpacks for big and little kids. Backpacks have a horizontal design to make things easier to find, plus they have external pockets, padded shoulder straps and a chest strap to keep the bag in place. The large size can carry a 13” laptop and the small size can fit a sweater or a blanket. Find eight different colors/designs plus three Fuzzy Flyers that come with detachable wings. Price range $49 to $59. You can also purchase backpacks tto be donated for $10 each.

These little candies come in a convenient cylinder pack, just the right size for a backpack. They are a sweet treat actually for oral health. Sparx candies are made with Xylitol, a white crystalline substance that looks and tastes like sugar. It is a naturally occurring 5-carbon sugar alcohol found in many fruits and vegetables. It has the same sweetness as sugar (sucrose) but with 40% fewer calories and none of the negative tooth decay or insulin release effects of sugar. Xylitol also has a low glycemic index (7) and has little effect on blood sugar levels. Xylitol is recommended by dentists worldwide as a sweetener for anyone concerned with dental health, upper respiratory health, and sugar consumption, in general. Sparx candies can be found at health food stores and online.

This company is a Certified B Corporati on, a new type Co of corporati co on rating that certifies a company meets comprehensive com and transparent transp social and environmental performa performance standards; meets higher legal accountability standards; and builds business constituencies for public policies that support sustainable business.

12 GoodLiving back to school

Just for girls When sports practice, marching band rehearsals or gym class take their toll, girls can freshen up with these convenient wipes that don’t contain any fragrances or harmful chemicals like parabens or sulfates. Moms can help their daughters protect delicate skin with healthy hoohoo® products, a gentle line formulated to balance pH, freshen and gently cleanse. Convenient packaging stores easily in backpacks or gym bags. The inspiration for the product came when founder Stacy Lyons studied the dangers of parabens after a friend’s breast cancer tumor biopsy came back with an alarmingly high concentration of the harsh preservative. “I believe that less is more and that harsh chemicals belong nowhere near a woman’s sensitive areas,” states Stacy. Pick your favorite: Gentle Feminine Wash ($12.99), feminine wipes (single .95/10-pack $4.79) or Gentle Feminine Foaming Cleanser ($13.99). Buy online at and

Early Lingo DVDs Kids can learn the basics of a new foreign language or keep their existing language skills sharp during the school year. The award-winning Early Lingo DVD Series gives children ages 6 months to 9 years a solid foundation in a second language through an animated and live-action adventure series. Great gift idea, too! DVDs are sold individually for $19.99 or in a pack of six for $99.99. Choose from English, French, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin and German. Learn more at

products Power Brain Kids

Good Belly Start each morning with a shot of Good Belly to gain digestive health, which can improve immunity during the upcoming cold and flu season. Peel the plastic liner off the top to reveal a smiley face that will wish you a good morning before drinking your shot of certified organic, dairy- and soy-free probiotic juice. Each serving of Good Belly contains 20 billion live and active cultures of Lp299v for maintaining a healthy balance of good bacteria. GoodBelly comes in a wide selection of fruit juice flavors like Mango, Tropical Orange, Pomegranate Blackberry, Blueberry Acai, and Strawberry, and they make a delicious, healthy swap for a traditional glass of juice for breakfast! Buy them in packs of four for under $4 at Earth Origins. Like them on Facebook, too. They have great posts!

Flings® Pop-Up Recycle Bins When entertaining indoors or out, you can now help guests recycle cans and bottles with the efficient and innovative Flings® Pop-Up Recycle Bins. No more flopped-over trash bags or cans stacked on tables. These portable containers open accordion style to form a stable, decorative bin for up to 60 cans or bottles at a time. Use several of them around your party and reuse them by dumping contents into a larger recycling tote. Find 13 gallon bins for under $4 at iParty in Clearwater.

Soap Time® Back to school means exposure to more germs. Keep your kids healthy and save your sick days by encouraging proper hand washing. A fun new product called Soap Time® is a patented hand washing system that plays music and teaches facts for at least 20 seconds (the time period recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). A child pushes the dispenser and activates the battery-powered base to start its show based on the theme: Learning ABCs, Nature or Wild Kingdom. A set sells for $16.97 and the base lasts for over 2,500 wash cycles. Soap refills available.

Power Brain Kids: 12 Easy Lessons to Ignite Your Child’s Potential is an easy-to-use book that can help parents access and support the rich potential in their children. Author Ilchi Lee created a child-appropriate guide for developing concentration, improving memory skills and instilling self-discipline. Each chapter focuses on a particular aspect of mental ability, including concentration, creativity, memory and emotional control. Parents and children can follow lessons, exercises and games with colorful design and photography. For ages 6 – 12. $16.95 at

Emergency ID Jewelery A former jewelry designer, Shelly Hope Fisher, set out to design emergency jewelry that kids, teens and adults would want to wear. The result is her company, Medical ID Marketplace, and now wearing the emergency medical symbol to alert others of a medical condition has never looked cooler or more fashionable. Practical too as hikers and kayakers will appreciate the I.C.E. (In Case of Emergency) silicone bracelets. A Text ID program stores additional information and has an annual fee. Bracelets run the gamut from ultra hip to elegant, using rubber, leather, braided rope, nylon, beads, crystals, stainless steel mesh, titanium and even recycled aluminum. There are also gold necklaces, key fobs, sticker tattoos, backpack/luggage tags and traditional dog tags in a variety of styles. Prices vary and many are affordable for the quality. The STATKids line for kids with allergies feature red rubber Mediband bracelets that can be written on to personalize for only $9.95. Also find food allergy stickers and a red lunch bag with warning.

SafetyTat™ SafetyTat™ specializes in temporary custom or write-on tattoos that are worn by children while they are on field trips, at the beach or at a theme park – anywhere they can be separated from their parent, teacher or caregiver. SafetyTat uses medical-grade, hypoallergenic, latex-free adhesive on all products and can last for days with proper care. Founder Michele Welsh, mom of three, is proud to be called a “Mompreneur” and has personally designed, patented and marketed this line of super convenient child safety products. Get a set of six for $9.99 at

GoodLiving back to school


people Larry Ahern & Tom Spencer Despite a busy schedule, Larry Ahern makes times to be a mentor. “I knew it was the right thing to do. And I knew there was a real need for more men to be Big Brothers and to serve as mentors in our community.” If that name sounds familiar, it’s because Larry Ahern is a long-time business owner in the St. Petersburg area and since 2010, the elected state representative for District 51, serving his neighbors from Largo to South Pasadena. In 2009, he answered the call to be a mentor and began providing leadership and friendship to a seventh-grader named Quinton. Together, they exercise at the YMCA, check out books at the public library and enjoy ice cream at the local Dairy Queen. This positive male attention is critical to the success of boys who lack stable male role models at home. “It’s important for men – and women – to answer this call to service. These Big/Little relationships can have a direct and measurable impact on children’s lives.” Indeed they do. Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) research shows that 46 percent of youth who are mentored are less likely to begin using illegal drugs; 27 percent less likely to begin using alcohol; and 52 percent less likely to skip school. That’s a measurable way to change the world we live in. Mr. Ahern says he encourages other men to volunteer their time and become Big Brothers so they too can make a difference in someone else’s life. Their research also shows that “littles” believe their “big” gave them hope and motivation to pursue their dreams.

Tom and Tyshawn celebrate his graduation

Some of those dreams are big, as was the case with Tyshawn Taylor who at age 7, told his new Big Brother in 1999 that he wanted to play professional basketball. His Big Brother, Tom Spencer, told him to hold on to his dream but realize that the odds were against him. He encouraged him to have a backup plan which included getting his college degree and finding a good job, but he also signed him up to play basketball in the Clearwater for Youth League. For years, Tyshawn played basketball at Tom’s house while continuing to play in youth leagues. Throughout this time, Tom instilled in Tyshawn the importance of finishing school and attaining good grades.

And finish he did. Tyshawn went on to graduate from the University of Kansas and is now an NBA player with the Brooklyn Nets. Tyshawn has achieved his dream of playing for the NBA, a dream that was first set into motion at the age of 9 when his Big Brother began mentoring him. “My proudest day was May 13th of this year when Tyshawn graduated from the University of Kansas. My wife and I went to his graduation. On June 28th, Tyshawn fulfilled his dream and was drafted into the NBA as the 41st overall pick. I am Big Brother Rep. Larry Ahern so proud of him for all the hard work and dedication he invested in and his Little Brother Quinton overcoming many obstacles to achieve his dream.” Tisdale at the Memorial Day service at Bay Pines V.A. Medical Center in May

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pinellas County believe that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. They invite other men like Larry and Tom to sign up to be Big Brothers as part of their “100 Men in 100 Days” campaign. There are hundreds of boys hoping for mentors in Pinellas County.

GoodLiving back to school


people Dawn Lambert That is what Dawn and Kevin saw and read on the Internet while they got ready for Christmas that year. Shortly after the New Year, they met with the geneticist. At the conclusion of that appointment, the doctor handed them a flyer about what to expect and sent them on their way. In January 2011 they had no hope for their son. That changed weeks later when their own version of “six degrees of separation” connected them with Paul Avery, the former COO of OSI Restaurant Partners, LLC (Outback Steakhouse, Carraba’s Italian Grill and Bonefish Grill). “Paul and his wife Suzanne chair the FARA Energy Ball every year and raise millions of dollars for research,” said Dawn. “They are so full of hope. As a board member with FARA, Paul is meeting with researchers around the world and is personally committed to finding treatments and a cure.” Dawn Lambert gave birth to her eldest son on August 9, 2005. This article is being written exactly seven years later. Today Gavin is at Disneyworld celebrating his seventh birthday, and he will have a memorable day, as most seven year olds do. His mom, however, knows in the back of her mind that while walking through a theme park is difficult for her son today, someday soon it may be impossible. Dawn and her husband Kevin noticed around age two that Gavin was constantly falling. At first teachers and doctors thought perhaps it was that he walked too early or due to chronic ear infections. Gavin underwent countless tests for nearly three years. They found nothing. It took a seizure in November 2010 to get Gavin admitted for a full battery of tests including very expensive genetic testing. The seizure was from a high fever. But the inherited genetic condition that was eventually found was shocking because neither parent knew they were carriers. “The geneticist gave us three options and for six weeks we did lots of Google searches. When it came time for the results to come in, we were pretty sure we knew what it was going to be.” The confirmation that Gavin has Friedreich’s Ataxia, or FA, left Dawn in a state of emotion for two months. “I couldn’t concentrate on anything and to make matters worse, we had a six-month old baby.” The description for FA is complex, but according to the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) website, FA is a genetic disorder that causes patients to have gene mutations that limit the production of a protein called frataxin. Frataxin is known to be an important protein that functions in the mitochondria. What this means for Gavin is that progressive damage to his nervous system will impact his arms and legs. Chances exist that he will develop scoliosis, diabetes, heart disorders and a decrease in speech and hearing abilities. He will need a wheelchair. His life expectancy is shortened.

16 GoodLiving back to school

The news she heard from those on the inside of FARA sparked a hope that only a mother can truly comprehend. And so her journey to be a part of finding a treatment that could delay symptoms, or perhaps a cure, began. She calls her effort Kickin’ FA. It started with a golf tournament in the spring of 2011 that raised $10,000. Then a Bingo night that raised $2,500. Also in that year’s time she held a TCBY night, a hair extension night, a kids walk and was one of four charities involved in GetFit4Charity in June 2011 where athletes assembled to break world records in the name of charity.

All in all, Dawn Lambert, a regular mom, has raised more than $22,000 on her own for FARA in the 18 months following Gavin’s diagnosis. “I’m not a scientist, a doctor or a millionaire. But I can do this to help my child. And one day when there’s a cure I can know that I was a part of it and that I didn’t sit home just waiting for it to happen.” Sitting at home would not describe Dawn at all. When she’s not working, being a wife and caring for the routine needs of her two boys, she is driving Gavin 40 minutes to his therapy sessions four times every week. “The therapists at Foundation’s Therapy are worth the drive,” she says. Right now he fatigues easily and loses his balance frequently. That has caused his classmates to tease him, so Dawn spoke to his Kindergarten classmates in person to explain that Gavin has a medical condition that affects his muscles. She hopes that kind of communication will keep kids from being mean to him.

people Butterflies in Pinellas County The butterfly effect is a theory that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings could set into motion a chain of events that will alter a large-scale event in the future. On July 26th, Figueroa-Rivera Family moved into their new home, a large-scale event that was most definitely set into motion by a lot of butterflies right here in Pinellas County! The family who had hit hard times, recently graduated from the Homeless Emergency Project (HEP) to be helped by Habitat for Humanity Pinellas. This is the first time these two agencies have partnered like this, and we are proud to say that both organizations are Community Partners with Lokey Charities. A serious medical condition like this puts some major stress on a family. “Kevin and I have always had a very strong relationship and we support each other. If he’s having a bad day, I can pick him up. If I’m having a bad day, he can pick me up. So far we’ve never had bad days on the same day.” Their friends at FARA are there for them too. Dawn and Kevin will be active participants in the upcoming Research Symposium on September 6th at the USF Health Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation in Tampa. This annual symposium gathers the medical, scientific, advocacy and patient communities from around the world to share insights into energizing the cure for FA.

Because of this natural connection, Lokey Charities sponsored this home and were blessed to be there when this beautiful family got their keys. Our work doesn’t end there. We continue to meet good people who serve the Tampa Bay community and we encourage you to support their upcoming events. You just never know what will happen when you flap your wings!

Two nights later Dawn will dress in a formal gown to volunteer at the FARA Energy Ball, a glamorous fundraising event that generates over a million dollars for FA research. “It’s a fun event. There’s live music and the auction items are really interesting. Last year, they auctioned off a week at Jimmy Buffet’s house.” Gavin’s pediatrician’s office couldn’t attend this year, so they bought a table for Gavin’s entire family to go and have a good time. They will enjoy all the glitz and glamour, auction prizes and entertainment. However for this family, they will have only one thing on their minds: hope for Gavin’s future. For more information about the FARA Energy Ball, go to To contact Dawn about helping her with local fundraising efforts, go to

September 22nd “Mat’s Cup Charity Golf Tournament”in St. Petersburg recognizing National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month September 29th Fashion Show benefiting First Touch Mission & Hope House in Clearwater; for tickets or information, email

Are you a Woman of Action? Find out more at

October 6th Family Abilities Information Rally (a free disabilities awareness event) in Tampa October 12th Sammy Sullivan Memorial Golf Tournament (with Kids Charity of Tampa Bay to provide a safe haven for children)

GoodLiving back to school


Spa At Home – A New Back to School Ritual By Noelle C. Katai

AT HOME SPA DAY for Mothers and Daughters


Back to school. Three words that signal growth, change, a new phase and…shopping!

contain a high concentration of magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, iodine and Vitamins A, B (folic acid) E and F.

The ritual plays out every August as moms and their daughters hit the stores for school supplies, but more importantly, new, trendy clothes. Girls always want to look their best starting a new year in school, whether it is middle or high school or college. School shopping gives moms an opportunity to bond with their daughters, and casually talk about the upcoming year and what she sees for herself next.

Eggs contain lecithin and cholesterol in the yolks, which is great for your skin as it serves as a moisturizer and helps to regenerate and rebuild cell tissue. The egg whites provide a firming action to the pores, and will shrink them and tighten the skin.

While trips to the mall can be quality time together, and result in a new outfit, perhaps a new back-to-school ritual to start would be an “At Home Spa Day,” complete with a homemade face mask. Since girls want to look their best, but may not have the budget for the spa, a natural face mask you can make in the kitchen is a perfect option no matter what your skin type. Many women are surprised to know just how effective face masks made from mostly food ingredients and aromatherapy can be. Nature provides “products” that are powerful, potent and much more affordable. Adding a few drops of essential oil to the blend makes it just like a treatment at the spa. Set a date with your daughter and put on your robes and slippers, wrap your hair in a towel, brew some lovely tea, light some candles and you are good to go. You can make the aromatherapeutic face mask a day ahead if you wish, but since it is natural, it won’t keep longer than that in the refrigerator. If face masks aren’t a part of your normal skin regimen, consider adding it in. Masks cleanse and detox the skin, remove dead skin, and improve the texture and coloring. Essential oils help to treat problem skin, balance and restore tone and maintain normal skin.

Honey is one of those miracles of nature as it is highly nutritive and amazing for skin care preparations. Plus, it is a humectant – a substance that helps attract and retain moisture. It is best to use only naturally pure, unheated honey to get the highest benefit from the nutrients. Used for centuries for cosmetic use, clay clears the skin, stimulates circulation and is anti-inflammatory. There are many types of clay and each has the ability to absorb toxins from the skin, but they differ in their levels of absorption, so a particular clay may be better for your skin type. Dead Sea clay is good for all skin types except the most sensitive. Green and red clays are primarily suited for oily and combination skin. White and Pink clays are the most gentle, and are suitable for normal and sensitive skin. Heavy cream contains lactic acid, a natural acid that gently exfoliates as well as being very nourishing to the skin due to the fat content. For the essential oils in this blend, there are many options to choose based on your skin type: For normal skin: Lavender, Geranium For dry and/or sensitive skin: Lavender, Neroli (Bitter Orange Blossom), Rose, Roman Chamomile

This recipe is one of my favorites, and uses bananas as the base. For combination skin: Lavender, Palmarosa, Eucalyptus Using fruit as a base for a mask will also help maintain the natural acid balance of the skin, and bananas are nourishing and gentle and For troubled skin, including acne: Lavender, Tea Tree, Cedarwood As you can see, you can’t go wrong with Lavender. So if it is the first time making a mask like this, you can just make it simple and use Lavender.

18 GoodLiving back to school

Top Ten Tween Talks By DANNAH GRESH Author of Six Ways To Keep The Little In Your Girl

Noelle’s Easy, Nourishing Face Mask Makes enough for two masks – you can split the recipe in two so you can customize it. 2 ripe bananas 1 egg, beaten 2 Tb honey (best to use raw honey) Dead sea clay, or other cosmetic clay A splash of heavy cream 10 drops total essential oil, choose for skin type

There are ten really essential conversations that you need to start having as your daughter approaches middle school. Asking her these questions might get the ball rolling for the next, well, ten years or so. 10. What would you do if you felt attacked by a mean girl? 9. Are you ready for your body to turn from girl to woman?

Directions Mixing the mask: In a non-metallic mixing bowl or food processor, blend all ingredients except the essential oils.

8. Do you know that even models on the covers of magazines don’t actually look like that?

You can divide the mixture into 2 non-metallic bowls at this point if you want different blends.

7. How will you stay off the boy-crazy train?

Add the essential oils (10 drops for full recipe, or 5 drops for ½ recipe) into the bowl(s), and gently mix.

6. When do you think a girl is old enough to date?

Applying the mask: First, make sure your face and neck are clean and dry. Apply the mask with your fingertips – it can go on thick, and that is ok. Have fun with it and slather it on!

5. Is being a size 0 healthy?

Put your feet up with your tea and relax for about 15-20 minutes.

4. You know it’s ok to take your time to grow up, right?

Rinse the mask off with luke warm water and finish with a cool splash. Take a look at your refreshed face, and feel your dewy soft skin.

3. What kinds of friends do you think are worth having?

Complete the treatment with your favorite toner (or try apple cider vinegar) and moisturizer.

2. Do you know that sex is great and worth the wait? 1. Who is God to you?

Noelle Katai is the host of “Everybody Nose” a series seen on Veria Living TV (Channel 162 on Verizon Fios). Her shows feature aromatherapy and essential oils for health and well being. Noelle is a certified aromatherapist from the Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy, a member of the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy and has been practicing for over 15 years. She lives in San Diego.

Dannah Gresh is the author of many best-selling books and the creator and lead teacher of Pure Freedom, a touring event which brings moms and teen daughters together to talk about modesty, true beauty, and purity. Using interactive games, worship, and deep Bible teaching you and your daughter will grow closer in just a couple of hours. Pure Freedom will be in Clearwater on November 3rd at Countryside Christian Church. Call (727)799-1618 for tickets.

GoodLiving back to school








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Join us Saturday, September 22nd for a day where we celebrate you, and all that is good about raising healthy and happy families in Pinellas County. (Dads and grandparents welcome, too.)

AT THE HEALTHY HAPPY FAMILY EXPO YOU WILL: Discover our Community’s Best Local Resources Meet and Talk to Local Experts Visit Exhibitor Tables and Gain Valuable Information Hear Guest Speakers that Will Motivate and Inspire You Participate in Fitness Demos to Meet Local Trainers Take Home Giveaways and Win Prizes

Admission is


Admission is free with a food donation for the RCS Food Bank or a children’s clothing donation for Clothes to Kids.


We believe it takes a village to raise a healthy and happy family. The Healthy Happy Family Expo brings together businesses, organizations and experts who can help you along your personal and parenting journeys.

AMONG THE MANY TOPICS AT THE EXPO, FIND INFORMATION ABOUT: • Natural health options for you and your family • Where to eat healthy and find nutritional food • A wide variety of local fitness options • Local ways for your kids to be physically active • How to lose weight of any amount • Mom’s clubs and support services • Counseling services and support groups • Medical and dental practices • Edu Educational resources and schools Enrichment opportunities for kids • Enrichmen • Professional serv services for home and finance opportunities • Work from home oppo

1:00 Hear from Jenny Hodges, the woman

who inspired this expo with her weight loss story that ran in the last issue. No drugs, no surgeries. Just sheer determination to lose more than 200 pounds in two years. By doing so, she changed her life and the life of her family forever. Learn how she changed her mindset, made her own health her number one priority, and then successfully arranged her husband, three kids and full-time job around her fitness routine.Today she is training for a 100-mile race. Her message is that any woman can change her life. Don’t miss it and bring your friends who need some encouragement!


Be more than motivated by Forbes Riley, National Fitness Hall of Fame inductee, award-winning TV host, author, motivational keynote speaker, and life coach to celebrities and CEOs. She has helped millions take positive action in their own lives by sharing her story and philosophies.At the expo, she will bring her very special brand of motivation to women of all ages and stages of fitness. After her presentation, she will host a fitness demo of the Spin Gym®, a product she invented and sells on HSN. Check for more speakers and announcements.

In today’s busy world, we are all running from here to there trying to do the best with what we have. In all honesty, we have good seasons and not-so-good seasons as we progress through our time as parents.There are issues out there that threaten our kids and we need to stay informed.We have personal circumstances that challenge the balance of our families and we need support.We have a general need to know the local experts and resources for families. We want to know how we can be engaged and involved in our community. And sometimes we just need to know we are appreciated and not alone. In this craziness we call modern life in Pinellas County, there are people who truly care about you and your well being.They also care about your role as a parent, your kids and the well being of your entire family. GoodLiving magazine has assembled a group of these caring individuals, companies and organizations to spend a day celebrating all that is good about raising a healthy and happy family. They are coming to share their information with you. To see how they can help you with nutrition, fitness, health, finances, education, child development and more. We invite you to take a few hours out of your day and join us for a positive, uplifting and informative event.Wear your athletic shoes to join in some fitness demos. You might just meet a trainer who can inspire you! Bring your friends because we’ll have something for just about everyone. In particular I want to mention that we will have experts on hand to talk with you about some serious issues that demand our attention: the drug abuse epidemic, eating disorders, learning challenges, teenage suicide, depression and risky behaviors. On the flip side, we will also have opportunities for you and your kids to get involved in a variety of activities that can enrich your lives and get you more connected. The event is free. Please consider bringing a donation so we can use this event to help others as well.Thank you and we really hope to see you there! Pamela Settle Publisher

The training program has 12 Fundamental Movement Skills. Children spend their workout time on mastering these skills as part of their games, which according to Blevins is preferred physical activity over picking one sport at the age of six. “If a child picks one sport too early, they will over develop the muscles used for the sport and leave other muscles weak and prone to injury.” For instance, if a child spends time playing only golf, his muscles for rotation will be strong. Muscles, ligaments and tendons needed for jumping, like in basketball, will be weak. Combine360 training trains the whole body and gets it ready to play multiple sports as a high school athlete. The second age group takes those movement skills and applies them to specific sports. This is called the base phase. For example, a child will take striking skills learned in the movement phase and start learning how to strike a tennis ball or strike a hockey puck in the base phase. The high school group then moves into a training phase. Each client has a specially designed program based on the sport or sports he or she is pursuing.

EVERY CHILD AN ATHLETE FOR LIFE by PAMELA SETTLE Adrian Blevins believes every child can develop into an athlete for life. It starts at a young age and consists of physical training that is fun, comprehensive and progressive. It also involves generating a mind set that is about “being an athlete” and not revolving around a set of skills needed for one particular sport. Blevins is the only trainer in Pinellas County certified in Combine360 who is using the Athlete Development Model for kids ages 6 to 18. Combine360 is the training program developed and used at the elite IMG Academies in Bradenton. He calls his gym Viva la Fit and his training program BEAST360. Located in Clearwater, Coach Blevins trains three different age groups: 6 to 9, 10 to 13 and high school. Their age isn’t as important as their abilities. Each child undergoes a physical assessment to test strength, speed, agility, flexibility, balance and coordination and is assigned a level. Similar to martial arts, children are given rubber bracelets based on a color system from white to black. They test to ascend levels based on abilities. “We start the younger age group in the fundamental movement skills where they work to master skills,” said Coach Blevins. “What we do is have fun, so it’s not like exercise. You’ll see kids making up their rules and playing games.” His belief is that activity for any age should be fun, and it starts with a solid foundation that is built during the development years.

Coach Blevins adds that children who develop into athletes in this way are less prone to burn out, as is seen frequently with kids who focus to heavily on just one sport. With the “athlete for life” mindset, a child will continue to pursue multiple activities when the football or baseball career ends with high school or college graduation. “We all have an athletic engine. Some have four cylinders and some have 12. So no matter who you are you should see yourself as an athlete. Moms chasing a toddler or unloading groceries up a flight of stairs are doing athletic movements. They need to train to prevent injury and maintain flexibility. It’s what will keep them young.” And so you don’t mistake Coach Blevins as just a trainer for your children, he has a training partner, Coach Tuck, who has a program called the Beast Revolution. He can work you out before or after your kids do their training time. To learn more about their BEAST360 approach to athletic development, weight loss and training, visit

Meet Coach Blevins at the Healthy Happy Expo on September 22nd!

Coach Adrian “AC” Blevins is a former United States Marine, NASM-CPT, IYCA High School Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Certified Combine360 Level 3 Trainer, and an active FHSAA basketball official. He has over 15 years of experience coaching and working with youth sports in Pinellas County. Coach AC brings passion, energy, Marine motivation, and professionalism to every training session. He believes we should always strive to be our best, and he believes in leadership by example.

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Dental Health and Inflammatory Disease by DR. ANTHONY J. ADAMS

More today than ever before, many patients face health issues that are a mix of oral disease and disease in general. That is why in our practice we address our patient’s total health. We know gum disease and cavities affect cardiovascular disease, some cancers, obesity, diabetes, arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. Likewise, we know those diseases and medications affect gum disease and cavities. With that said, we think it makes perfect sense to treat our patients with a holistic approach to attain optimal health. In fact, that’s the key to our practice because we take value in the fact that each patient is a unique divine creation with different needs and situations. To the best of our ability, we consider anything that leads to your health and success. As a dental practitioner, my natural inclination is to treat disease as holistic and natural as possible. My interests have expanded to explore other “wellness” modalities that can impact the root cause of disease. While some have been around for thousands of years, others are more recent. I’m looking for what works because our overall health outlook is frightening. Therefore it is imperative that each of us be responsible and accountable to the very current trends regarding the human condition, many of which are not good. Obesity is pandemic. It is the single greatest threat to human beings world wide and unfortunately, we are leading the world! The real causes of obesity are known to the industries which profit, but not the common public. It is not primarily excessive caloric intake... how about that? It is not the lack of discipline... how about that? And it is not the fault of your deceased fat ancestor... how about that? Ask about my free community health seminars schedule to learn more.

We are not winning the battle against obesity, but we could. Cardiovascular disease is way too common. Cancer is everywhere. Our life expectancy is decreasing to the point that our grandchildren are not expected to live as long as ourselves. Diabetes is increasing 13.8% per year. The cost of diabetes on the current trend could bankrupt this country on its own in just a few years. Compared to other countries, we do not experience as much life threatening infectious disease. Instead, we suffer and die from uncontrolled inflammatory disease. As much as 70% of Americans experience periodontal disease, much of it silently and undiagnosed. It is known to worsen heart disease and diabetes. Similarly, arthritis, osteoporosis and some cancers are all implicated in inflammatory disease. Oral health is implicated in them all and so we must consider those diseases when we see symptoms of the inflammatory disease process. That is why health care providers must communicate and coordinate collectively on your behalf to be effective. It is more work, but I think it is right. My wonderful staff and I are dedicated to educating and helping people before their well is dry. In the early 1980’s, insulin resistance was 10% in the adult population. Today it is 80%. Insulin resistance increases as we are closer to a diagnosis of diabetes. My passion is defeating diabetes and its effect on health in general as well as in the mouth. Obesity leads to diabetes. Help me turn the trend around so our grandchildren can have long healthy lives. My duty is to help you obtain optimum health. This applies to your dental health, too. It is just a matter of taking that first step. I hope you know how divine and blessed you truly are. Anthony J. Adams, D.D.S. A word about our practice Allow me to share with you the story of me and my wonderful staff. We are incredibly grateful to be able to do what we do and love doing it. We are very blessed to have had so many people trust us with their health over the years. As dental professionals, we are good at restoring the oral health, well being, and confidence of our patients, regardless how they are when we initially see them. If you seek dental care with us, we will offer you a plan that leads to a healthy and beautiful smile that you can maintain and afford.

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eating WELCOME TO THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR. The time of year when parents face the reality that they will be packing lunches for 180 days. Will that be 180 PB & J sandwiches? Or will this year be different? Will you join the bento box craze and spend an hour cutting vegetables into cartoon characters? Or are you looking for as much as convenience as possible? If speed and convenience are critical to the success of your mornings, then unfortunately most of the packaged drop-in-the-lunch box foods at the grocery stores are high-fat, high-sugar and highly processed. There just has to be a better way, so this summer, we set out on a tastetest adventure to find some healthier alternatives to convenience-- that taste good, too. Some can be found at local stores and some need to be ordered online. It may be a little extra effort and even a little more money, but the long-term benefits are worth it!

Our Favorites Bars: Bars can be breakfast replacements or healthy high-energy snacks. They can also be high calorie if you’re not careful so be sure to read the labels.

Crunch Snacks: The chip habit may be hard to break, but these healthier alternatives will satisfy the need to crunch something during lunch.

Corozonas makes delicious whole-grain Oatmeal Squares that are infused with plant sterols, which the company says are proven to lower bad cholesterol and fight heart disease. Oatmeal Squares are available in flavors like Chocolate Chip, Blueberry, Peanut Butter and Banana Walnut. Rickland Orchard Greek Yogurt Bars are the first shelf-stable Greek yogurt product, combining all-natural granola, fruit, nuts and Greek yogurt. These bars got big thumbs up from the testers for their taste. Available flavors are Blueberry Acai, Apples & Honey, Toasted Coconut, Orchard Peach, Cranberry Almond and Cherry Almond. They contain probiotics, 5g of fiber and 7g of protein.

CLIF® Kit’s Organic™ snack bars are made with 100 percent organic fruit and nuts. They are gluten-, soy- and dairy-free and each bar is just under 200 calories. Like all food from Clif Bar & Company, they are free of trans fats, partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, preservatives and ingredients sourced from GMOs. The flavor was fresh and the texture was just right. Enjoy Berry Almond, Cashew, Chocolate Almond Coconut and Peanut Butter. Kit’s Organic is available nationwide at natural food stores and in the natural aisle of select grocery store.

Rise Bars are a new line of Breakfast, Energy and Protein nutrition bars that are 100% all-natural, vegetarian, kosher, and free of gluten, GMOs, preservatives, peanuts and soy. Each Rise Bar is made with 10 whole-food ingredients or less, and blends naturally-sweet fruit and superfruits with hearty nuts and seeds to deliver an all-natural energy boost any time of day. A wide variety of flavors are available and each of them scored high points for taste and texture. Find at Earth Origins or at

Corazonas Tortilla Chips are lighter and healthier than your typical chip, and they are simply delicious. They also contain the plant sterols which help lower cholesterol. Great for dipping in a healthy bean dip or fresh salsa. They come in Lightly Salted, Squeeze of Lime and Black Bean & Cheese.

Plentils are lentil-based chips with 40% less fat than the leading potato chip. Plentils are vegan, gluten-free, and free of the eight common allergens (also Kosher and Halal-certified). They come in four dairy-free flavors: Sea Salt, Sour Cream & Dill, Margherita Pizza, and Garlic & Parmesan. They also come with the benefit of the fiber and protein found in legumes. Their texture is light and airy with a crisp crunch. Some of the flavors were fairly strong, so the Sea Salt may appeal more to little kids.

Pretzel Crisps are flat-baked pretzel crackers perfect for the lunch box and after school snacks. They only have 110 calories per serving (11 crisps), 0-2g of fat (depending on the flavor) and are made without any trans fat, saturated fat or cholesterol. A terrific partner with cheese, deli meats, hummus and fruit. Found in the deli section of grocery stores.

eating Fruit Snacks: Fresh fruit is an ideal snack, but not always possible or practical. But beware. If you reach for some little bags called fruit snacks, you may be getting candy masquerading as fruit. These fruit snacks on Crispy Greens freeze-dried fruit snacks totally rock. The flavors the other hand, are closer to the real deal. are intense and they are simply a lot of fun to eat. Choose from pineapple, pear, cantaloupe, apple or banana. Their other product called FruitziO adds a little cane sugar, and you can get peaches, kiwi and strawberries. They use 100% real fruit with no preservatives (including sulfides). Crispy Fruit comes in single-serving bags for $1.49 each. FruitziO is packaged in travel-friendly, resealable pouches for $3.49. Find them at Fresh Market in Clearwater.

Sharkies brand has organic fruit chews that contain no artifiPeeled Snacks are small bags of gently dried organic fruit pieces with no sugar or preservatives added. They are a nourishing, natural source of vitamins and full of healthy fiber. We like the size of the pieces and that they came in small 1.23 ounce bags, just right for a child’s lunch. A little on the pricy side, but a good quality choice for when fresh fruit isn’t available.

cial dyes, flavors or high fructose corn syrup. They do have 100% Vitamin C and come in little packs just right for lunch boxes. They also have Omega 3 Smart Twists which are made from 100% real fruit and contain 20 mg of Omega 3 EPA/DHA for healthy brains. Look for them at Sports Authority and Earth Origins.

Convenience to go: These food items are clever solutions for packing lunches or eating breakfast on the run.

Sabra-to-go Hummus Packs pack protein into a convenientsized lunch option. Their popular hummus flavors are available in single serving cups with dipping pretzels individually sealed for freshness. Look for them at your grocery store. Power Ranger by Genesis Today are a 100% all-natural drink box with nine essential vitamins and minerals, only 5 grams of sugar and 30 calories – more than 75% less sugar than your average way to start off the day when a fresh breakfast isn’t happening. Served in ready-to-eat, BPA-free pouches and require no spoon, no juice box. They have 250% of the daily value of Vitamin B12, 150% stirring and no heat. Kids get 100% whole grains including Quinoa of the daily value of Vitamin C, plus six other essential vitamins for an extra boost of protein that is combined with fruit to make a and nutrients like DHA omega fatty acids for brain power. Can be blended cereal. The taste is fruity and the smooth texture isn’t gritty found at Walmart. or grainy. Raspberry Swirl, Maple Banana and Oatmeal Raisin. Bitsy Brain Food wins the “WOW” award for surprisingly good Sold as a box of four for $4.99 at Target. taste. These healthy cookies are made with organic ingredients and all-natural fruits and vegetables. Moms will love that each bitePlum Kids All Greek Yogurt Mashups are a new sweet n’ sized treat is packed with vitamins, calcium, folic acid and Omega tangy pouched food combining the natural sweet of organic fruits 3 to support developing bodies and brains. Kids will love the letter with creamy nutrition of Greek yogurt in flavors Cherry Vanilla, shaped snacks, interactive packaging, cool stickers and characters Orange Cream, and Strawberry Lemonade. Sold in boxes of four that spark imagination. Flavors include Zucchini Gingerbread single-serving pouches for $4.99 at Target. Carrot, Sweet Potato Oatmeal Raisin, Orange Chocolate Beet and Jif To Go makes it easy to carry high-protein peanut butter that Lemon Broccoli. $2.79 at can be eaten with crackers, celery, apple slices or rice cakes. Sold in 8-packs and ready to drop in a lunch box. New Jif Hazelnut These featured food products are for entertainment only and are not to be used as spreads also come in convenient sizing and taste great for lunch or nutritional or health advice. Food descriptions were provided by the manufacturer snack. Look for them at your grocery store. and any claims made are not the responsibility of GoodLiving™ magazine.

Plum Kids Organics Morning Mashups are a whole-grain

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What questions should parents be asking about early child care for their children? At JWB, we start with the Eight Components of Quality Early Learning: 1. Are you a facility that has been licensed by the Pinellas County License Board? 2. Do you have national accreditation from the National Association for Education of Young Children, Gold Seal or other nationally recognized accrediting body? 3. What are your staff qualifications? Is each classroom or group of children led by a Bachelor’s Degree level staff person and supported by assistants who hold a Child Development Associate (CDA) or equivalent certification? Both lead teacher and assistants should have specific coursework in child development and/or emerging literacy. 4. What are your staff to children ratios and group sizes? The following are recommendations for children through the age of four from the National Association for the Education of Young Children:

Quality Early Learning is Key to Success in School By BENJAMIN J. KIRBY Every year, more than 2,000 Pinellas County children enter kindergarten classrooms not ready to learn. At five years old, they are already significantly behind their peers – and odds are, they will stay that way throughout their school career. A key reason for this is that many of these children come from child care environments which simply do not prepare them for success in the classroom – which means they are unprepared for success later in life.

Infants 1:3 ratio • max. group size of 6 Toddlers 1:4 ratio • max. group size of 8 2-year-olds 1:5 ratio • max. group size of 10 3-year-olds 1:8 • max. group size of 16 4-year-olds 1:9 • max. group size of 18 5. How do you engage the families to build a positive working relationship between parents and staff? Research studies have indicated when parents become effective partners in their child’s education, performance in school improves.

6. Do you utilize evidence-based curriculum? Quality programs implement an evidence-based curriculum that is thoughtfully Research tells us that providing high quality early learning experiences planned, challenging, engaging, developmentally appropriate, for children has the ability to change the trajectory of their education comprehensive and likely to promote positive outcomes for children and youth. and beyond. The gains – or deficits – of the first five years reverberate through a child’s academic career, affecting everything from reading 7. How do you provide a quality environment? An effectively proficiency to high school graduation. designed classroom and/or setting (including an outside learning environment) has the potential to positively influence all areas of child development: physical, social/emotional and cognitive. The environment can support the development of behaviors that are Important Facts to Know About Early Learning valued in our society, such as cooperation and persistence. Research shows that by age five, 90% of a child’s brain 8. Is your staff trained in cultural competence? Look for facilities that structure has developed. use the basic principles of self-awareness, respect for diversity and Florida ranks 34th among 38 states in per pupil funding sensitivity in communication as a premise for cultural competency. for Pre-K. In Florida, the annual expenditure per prisoner is $19,375. The annual expenditure per public school pupil is $7,812. Currently, the allocation for Pre-K is $2,383 for the school year. The national average for Pre-K is $4,831 per child. If 100 children at the end of first grade are poor readers, then 88 of those children remain poor readers by the end of fourth grade. For every dollar the state invests into Pre-K the estimated return is $7.16. Investment in early education nationally could yield returns of up to $13 per every $1 spent. For more facts and to see data sources, go to

This past July, JWB began working on a Quality Early Learning Initiative to raise the bar for Pinellas County’s children. The overall initiative will serve children from birth to age five throughout Pinellas County. Early education is more than just the right thing to do for our children – it makes good economic sense, too. For every dollar we invest in Pre-K, the estimated return is $7.16. Investing in a child’s early education turns out to be smart policy and smart money. To read more about the initiative, go to our website at Benjamin J. Kirby is the Communications Manager for the Juvenile Welfare Board.

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A Letter to Pinellas County By DAVID LAWRENCE JR. Chair of The Children’s Movement of Florida

Pinellas County is close to my heart. It’s where two of my five children were born. It’s where my wife and I began our now 48-year marriage. It’s where I started my 35 years in the newspaper business as a reporter, then news editor, for the St. Petersburg (now Tampa Bay) Times.

This is simply the “American dream.” Are we not good enough to make sure every child has the quality basics? So, how, for example, can it possibly make sense that we get just $2,383 for a slot in the state’s pre-kindergarten program… yet pay upwards of $51,000 to incarcerate a juvenile?

Yours is a community that understands and values its children. You were the first in Florida to vote to create a dedicated funding source for children – the Juvenile Welfare Board – and now seven other similar children’s services councils exist across Florida.

So, how can you become involved in Pinellas County?

When we launched The Children’s Movement more than a year and a half ago, more than 1,200 people of Pinellas County packed into a local church to show their support for real change in how decisions are made in Tallahassee. While I have no doubt that all of the folks in my county, Miami-Dade, and yours “love” children, we are still a state where more than a half-million children are living without even basic health insurance; more than half of our public school 10th graders cannot read at grade level; and one in four children lives in the full federal definition of poverty.

Join The Movement Insist that children, all children, become our state’s first and highest priority. You can learn more about The Children’s Movement of Florida by visiting our website at Sign up for our weekly email, and learn more about the regional leadership in your own community. Through your voice we can help to give every child the chance to succeed in school and in life.

Become an early literacy volunteer in our ReadingPals program

So, what does such “love” really mean? If we really loved children, everyone’s child in God’s world, we would do so much better and so much more. Do not tell me to wait… that times are tough… that children will have their turn. I don’t believe it. Children were never enough of a priority in even flush times.

The Children’s Movement, in conjunction with numerous local and statewide partners and the generous and public-spirited Carol and Barney Barnett, is in the process of launching a three-year initiative focused on engaging, training and deploying volunteer “reading pals” in 10 Florida communities to increase the number of students who are reading at grade level by the end of third grade.

Do not tell me we cannot afford to do right by children. How shortsighted. How foolish for the future of America. Do not tell me that we don’t have the money. To quote the New York Times columnist David Brooks: “The problem is not that America lacks resources. The problem is that they are misallocated.”

In your community we are working closely with United Way Suncoast, the local school district, Early Learning Coalition and the Juvenile Welfare Board. Our focus: to work with students (in VPK through grade three) in the lower-performing schools to encourage and enhance early literacy.

To do better, we must build a real movement for children – a movement defined as being about everyone’s child. We must build the parental awareness so parents know what their children need to reach their highest potential. We must build the parent, public and political will. Today, I’m proud to tell you that we now have more than 325,000 followers from every corner of Florida (more than 20,000 in Pinellas County alone).

We are asking for volunteers to give an hour each week for 25 weeks to read with a child – ages 4 to 8 – in their community. To learn even more about the program or to sign up, please visit I hope you will join us as we seek to make a difference in the lives of all of Florida’s children.

Our aim: To build something enduring and sustainable – and create real political power for all children. In a state of wisdom, in a country of wisdom, children would be the highest priority of elected leaders – higher than roads, higher than prisons, higher than anything. Why should we settle for anything less than affordable, high-quality basics for all children (the same quality basics any of us would want for our own children and grandchildren)? Why would we not want this for all children?

Get involved!

30 GoodLiving back to school

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parenting ...from GoodLiving’s featured local blogger

Christie Bruner

Make Your Fitness Goals SMART Isn’t it amazing how much a child can change in six months? The younger they are the more changes and developments that occur in a six-month period. A newborn will go from being totally unaware of their surroundings to recognizing mom and dad, reaching for objects, eating new foods and starting movement patterns. Even a grade school child will see marked improvements in reading, writing, cognition and motor skill development in six months. But how about the parents? If parents aren’t setting their own personal development goals, six months will turn into a year, a year will turn into two years and before you know it, you have a ten-year old. And if you’ve neglected fitness goals for yourself, you may have really packed on the pounds. I am not a huge proponent of setting so-called “New Years Resolutions” but it is important to be consistently setting goals and looking back to see if results have been acquired. Statistics show that by this time of the year, resolutions are basically out the window, especially fitness goals. Back-to-school time is a good time to renew your fitness goals and spend a little effort on you. Even new moms, or parents of young children in general, should stop to evaluate where they want to be in six months. It is easy to lose track of yourself, your life and your goals as day-to-day events start to revolve around the children. Weight loss and body image are huge obstacles to overcome, but they can be cut down to size by setting the correct type of goals.

Goals should be S.M.A.R.T. S = specific M = measurable A = attainable R = reasonable T = timely Trying to lose baby weight? First of all, don’t worry about the past! If you did not accomplish what you wanted, do not chastise yourself for this. A major obstacle in goal setting is reflecting on failures. The resulting loss in self-esteem can make it hard to move forward. Remember each day is a new day and spend some time thinking about some of your accomplishments, even the small ones. That will get you ready to set new SMART goals for your fitness. First, the goal has to be very specific. Answer who, what, where, when and why at the beginning. This will help you stick to your plan. Second, to be measurable, establish concrete criteria to track your progress in increments. Next, make sure you can actually attain your goal by keeping it realistic to your individual needs and abilities. This is where the goal becomes very personal- you must feel comfortable with the parameters of the goal to be successful. Also, you must be at a point in your life where you are both willing

and able to work towards the goal. Setting unrealistic goals that are vague will only set you up for failure. The last principle, timely, is imperative to create urgency and set the plan in motion. Also, make your timeline short so you can celebrate successes along the way and feel pride in your accomplishments. That’s the time reevaluate the parameters to create even more success the next time.

An example of a SMART goal My goal in the next two months is to jog around my neighborhood or do a strength workout at my home for 45 minutes a day for at least six days a week. When I workout, my Rate of Perceived Exertion should be at least between heavy and very heavy. So, before you start wallowing in despair about lost time and found pounds, make the back-to-school time of year the time of year you start your first SMART fitness goal. Christie Bruner is the National Director of Fitness Programming for Baby Boot Camp and operates her own franchise in St. Petersburg. She has more than 10 years of experience with sports and fitness for children and adults. As mom to two young girls, Christie is thrilled to combine parenting with her passion for motivating and educating others. Her Baby Boot Camp classes are offered at several locations throughout St. Petersburg including Vinoy Park and Sunken Gardens. She has a B.S. in Exercise Science and is an AFAA certified personal trainer. Email her at christie.bruner@

GoodLiving back to school


business Leading our Schools to Greatness By PAMELA SETTLE

part two

There was a clear sense of urgency and determination around the table at the Pinellas Education Foundation (PEF) as I sat with their CEO Terry Boehm, board president Craig Sher, CEO of The Sembler Company and incoming board president James Myers, President and COO of Crown Automotive Group. A separate interview was conducted with board member Gary Regoli,President and CEO of Achieva Credit Union. This is Part II of a very candid and honest discussion about education in Pinellas County. Since then, Mr. Myers has assumed the role of board president. One of the key themes in the conversation was how community leaders, as part of the PEF, could help to create a culture at the school district that incorporated more business principles. They agreed that any organization with a budget of $1.3 Billion and four times as many employees as any other business in the county should be accountable to its customers. So who are the customers of the school district and school board? Not the students; they are the beneficiaries. The customers are the taxpayers, the people who pay for this organization to provide a quality education to its young people.

Academies of Pinellas Among the customers/taxpayers are the businesses in Pinellas County. Business that need to hire qualified employees in order to keep going. Business that hold a huge stake in how others judge the quality of our education system because it has a direct impact on whether or not a new company will locate here to bring highwage jobs or whether or not qualified employees will be willing to move here and raise their families. “Career education will be the focus of my time on the board,” said Myers who parents were both career educators here in Pinellas County. “We are failing our kids. We are falling behind in our county because school has lost relevance.” “In order to thrive as a county, we need a skilled and educated workforce and we need to grow them here,” added Boehm. He went on to say that 80% of the fasting growing job markets require some kind of industry certification and only half of those need actual college degrees. So in order to prepare for those jobs, students need specialized training for their certificates, which is something traditional high school doesn’t provide. They believe that career academies are the way of the future. In 2011, Pinellas County received a prestigious $200,000 planning grant from the Ford Motor Company Fund aimed at advancing career academy learning throughout Pinellas County schools. They call the initiative, Academies of Pinellas.

36 GoodLiving back to school

Pictured L to R: James Myers, Terry Boehm and Craig Sher.

Pinellas was chosen in part because of its existing network of Centers of Excellence; its strong district experience in developing quality career academies; its goal of expanding the percentage of students enrolling in academies from 17% to 50%; and the fact that the Pinellas Education Foundation is ready to engage the larger community in support of this expansion. One such Center of Excellence is the Northeast High School Academy of Finance in St. Petersburg. Students are introduced to the financial services industry with college-preparatory course work in computers, economics, finance, accounting, banking and financial planning. Students also work with mentors in job-shadowing and internships. Real-world experience is gained by working in the on-campus Viking Branch, a real credit union sponsored by Achieva Credit Union. “This center has been recognized nationally for its excellence, so the program is working,” said Regoli. “Our 4th Street branch assistant manager started at the Northeast High Finance Academy. That is relevance in education.” The planning grant is for a five-year term, during which the foundation will continue to work on shaping and building Academies of Pinellas for the near future. They urge businesses to get involved now because all businesses have a vested interest in the quality of the workforce.

Parents4Pinellas Students Parents whose children are the beneficiaries of the education system represent a major part of the taxpayer/customer constituency. Does this group feel they are a part of the decision-making process? According to a March 2012 survey, 35% of the respondents say they have no voice with the district and 45% say they somewhat have a voice. “There is a level of urgency here. The education foundation and the PTA have joined forces to do surveys that can speak for parents,” said Myers.

business “We needed a vehicle for parents to proactively speak their minds,” added Boehm. The resulting effort is called Parents 4 Pinellas Students or P4PS. To date, two surveys have gone out by email and the results show strong opinions. March 2012 • 76% plan to vote yes on the November referendum to renew the additional property for schools • 76% agreed their child attends a school with high academic expectations • 77% agreed that the schools value parents as partners in education July 2012 • 56% of respondents want to abolish early release Wednesday • 65% want to decrease money spent on non-classroom operations to increase teacher salaries • 61% say the district is not doing enough to remove underperforming teachers • 79% think parents should pay for transportation when they elect a school out of their zoned area • 78% want the school board to receive a letter grade (A-F) for their performance

The surveys are part of an effort to engage parents as partners to improve public education, starting with giving them a voice. The P4PS committee will continue to send out surveys at least once a semester and share the results with the community, the superintendent and the school board. “Parental involvement is a key indicator to success for the student and the schools,” said Boehm. A hopeful byproduct of the surveys is that more parents will join their PTA because they’ll see their participation working and advocating for them and their children. Only about one fifth of the county’s students have a parent participating in PTA. PTA membership is not required to take the surveys and every resident of Pinellas County is urged to sign up for the emailed surveys. Do it easily at The actions of the Pinellas Education Foundation and their partners at PCCPTA are based on the belief that major decisions made in Pinellas County public education should include the voices of parents and taxpayers. Learn more about how to get involved at

My Story by Rennie Curran

Q: What is your personal philosophy about life?

better than anyone. I realize that my athletic I had to work just as hard on the football field as I did in the classroom even though abilities are a privilege and can be taken I didn’t always enjoy being in school. As I If you work hard, have the right attitude, and away at any second. grew older and worked a few jobs, I realized make the most of your opportunities you will It’s important to me to use my platform as be successful. You must also be persistent in a tool for good, helping nonprofits with my the importance of having an education. whatever it is that you hope to achieve or time or money in order to help their cause. From those real life experiences I began to accomplish. I was born the son of Liberian Some of these nonprofits include The Boys take school a lot more seriously. immigrants who showed me from a young One of the biggest lessons I had to learn and Girls Clubs, UNICEF, MAPP, Big age the importance of a hard work ethic and Brothers and Big Sisters, Young Life, The early on my path to reaching my dreams remembering where you come from. American Cancer Society, and Face Africa to was how to manage my time. Everyone is name a few. I have a strong passion for public given the same amount of time in a day, Also, I believe that the achievements we but not everyone makes the most of each speaking and love to encourage youth by accomplish are a result of our environment day. I had to learn to prioritize my time using my story as an example of how to live and the people that help us along the way. and not procrastinate. Also, I really had to your dreams and be persistent in whatever There is not one person in this world who is learn to sacrifice and sometimes do things I it is that you want to accomplish. And once self-made and didn’t have someone give them didn’t feel like doing in order to get future you achieve your goal, it’s about using your a chance or opportunity, whether big or small. platform to influence others in a positive way. rewards. Now that I’m older these lessons My philosophies or outlooks on life have Once you do that, you transcend your title or still continue to help me today as a professhaped me into the man I am today. I am sional athlete. position and become much more powerful looking to make the best of my time and because you’re involved in something that’s Having an education can be the difference I’m always looking for ways to improve bigger than just yourself. between being able to provide for your family myself and those around me. Because of the Q: It’s time for school to start again. and struggling to provide for your family. examples shown by my parents I try to be as smart and as frugal as I can be with my What do you say to kids headed You must invest in yourself today so that money. I love being able to reward myself back to class? you will be given future returns on your for my hard work, but at the same time I try I was like many young kids growing up, full investment. to live well within my means. of hope, dreams and aspirations.

Q: How do your philosophies and football mix together? Because of my faith and my upbringing, I never let my status as an NFL player get to my head and cause me to see myself as

38 GoodLiving back to school

Among my many dreams was to one day become a football star and I can say without a doubt that I would not have been able to make it a reality without having a strong education.

Rennie Curran, #45 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was signed early in 2012. He took time just before training camp to share his thoughts about life and success, in hopes of inspiring young people to achieve their goals and do well in school.

2012 Back to School Issue  
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